It's time to run down our picks for NFL power rankings as we begin the new season. Here's our 10-top picks.
10. Arizona Cardinals
With starting guard Mike Lupati out of the picture for at least three or four weeks as he lets his knee heal following surgery, and with Bobby Massie out due to a suspension, the Cards look good but second-stringers are all that will be in the way of Palmer's rehabbed knees.
9. Miami Dolphins
Following a rock star preseason, where Ryan Tannehill had a QBR of 121 and a better than 80% completion percentage, the Fins look great on offense. But can their defense give them the opportunities that they need?
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
With Pouncey injured and out and Bryant suspended, the Steelers have trouble in the defense. Big Ben is on fire. But he may not be enough win games, especially if they are not able to stop other offenses.
7. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys look good all around. The thing is, they've looked great on paper for several seasons, and it never amounted to going to the Big Dance. But, considering their awesomeness last year, they're better rounded and stronger this year, earning a top 10 slot.
6. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco has not been able to do much since he won the Super Bowl and got his big contract. But with a trio of veteran receivers to toss the pigskin to, he'll have plenty of chances. Age may have made these guys slower, but with Flacco's touch, they should be able to catch them all.
5. Denver Broncos
Do not ever mistake how this team does in preseason (or any team for that matter) with how they will perform during the year. Just think about the last two years, and how much they sucked in preseason then. Manning can still play. The more important question will be does he choke again in the post season or can he win one more big outing?
4. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are early slotted in many predictions to be Super Bowl contenders this year. But given their trouncing by the Pats in last year's AFC Championship game (in which deflated footballs wouldn't have mattered due to the point differential), it will be interesting to see how Luck adapts to the post season this year. If he can, he'll be a sure bet to go all the way.
3. Green Bay Packers
With Nelson out, it's touch pickings for Green Bay. But even with their star gone for a bit, they still have a well-rounded team. Expect to see Rodgers spreading the ball around a bit more and getting some other names into the mix. Sure 1,500 yards to one guy is great, but 300 to five guys still gets the job done without Nelson to help out.
2. Seattle Seahawks
No, Chancellor will not sit out the entire season. But after two Super Bowl appearances in a row, the odds are against them going three times in a row. If they do, you'll likely see them win it again. What would be stellar is a rematch between the Hawks and the Pats to see if they can save face from what has to be the worst call ever in the end zone on a Super Bowl game-winning drive that required "Beast Mode," not "Depeche Mode."
1. New England Patriots
A lot of worry about Darrelle Revis has been going around. But the people who are not worried at all are the Pats. They've already had a two-peat on Super Bowls before, and this team is superior to the team that did that. They are favorites to go all the way again, for sure.