Post Free Agency-Power Rankings #1
Hey fellow Rumblers, I’m getting a little sick of all the Draft talk, and so I figured, for a bit of a reprieve, I’d post a Power Rankings here, and maybe it will spark a bit of a debate, who knows? If you guys like it maybe I’ll do them during the regular season too. Anyways, here it goes.
What follows isn’t so much a ranking of the teams as they sit now, but a prediction of where I think they’ll end up by the end of the year (yes I know, based only on FA, but you gotta work with what you’re given).
- 1. Green Bay Packers- I know they have done pretty much nothing in Free Agency this year, but that’s been Green Bay’s M.O. throughout their storied history. Their running game is a glaring weakness, but with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, their passing game will always be good enough to carry them to victory. Then when you take the fact that they have the weakest strength-of-schedule into consideration and a 12-14 win season isn’t just conceivable, it should almost be expected.
- 2. San Francisco 49er’s- I would love to pat myself on the back and take credit for predicting San Fran’s incredible season last season, but before this season I have never made any predictions publically. But here I am today, still incredibly excited about this team. Their defense is stacked, and their offense should be better with their additions at WR. This is the most complete team in the NFL, aside from one position, QB. Alex Smith will make-or-break this team’s season, but if he can replicate last season’s performance then the 49er’s should be in store for another great year.
- 3. Atlanta Falcons- This ranking feels wrong, almost like dirty money. Without the Saints shocking fall from grace there is no way the Falcons are ranked this high. But now they are clearly the best team in their division, and with a more consistent offense should coast through the regular season. They won’t truly be judged as a team until the post season rolls around.
- 4. Denver Broncos- To say that the Broncos got the Free Agent of the year feels premature, because while the Broncos are highly ranked, the ranking is entirely predicated on the fact that Manning stays healthy, without him this becomes a 7-8 win team quickly. But with him at the helm, and if the Broncos D maintains their late-season form (Bills game not-withstanding), then this team should tear up the league.
- 5. New England Patriots- I hate myself for doing this, but there just isn’t any way to get around the fact that the Patsies are one of the best teams in the league. That being said, there are more than a few holes on this roster, especially on defense. But with the upgrade at WR (Brandon Lloyd), and the possible emergence of Steven Ridley at RB, the Patsies’ offense should be more than capable of covering up for a terrible defense a second year in a row. Plus, Tom Brady.
- 6. Chicago Bears- In one of the biggest coups since the Seahawks got Lynch from the Bills for a 4th, the Bears stole a pro-bowl WR from the Phins (which made me so so so happy) for a 3rd. Now with Marshall and Cutler together again, and the severely underrated Michael Bush backing up Forte, the Bears should finally have the offense to match their Defense. Or at the very least, Cutler is out of excuses and needs to prove his worth now more than ever.
- 7. Philadelphia Eagles- After a surprisingly bad season the Eagles have been relatively quiet, but the few moves they have made have been more than solid. They got a much needed LB in Ryans from Houston, and found an Injury Replacement for former-Bill Jason Peters in former-Bill Demetress Bell. This season should see a return to form for this team, and they should win their division.
- 8. New York Giants- I know, I know, what are the Super Bowl champs doing this low in the rankings? Well, the fact of the matter is that the Giants simply aren’t very good in the regular season. The past two times the Giants won the Super Bowl they barely made the playoffs with 9-7 records, and I foresee the trend continuing this year.
- 9. Cincinnati Bengals- This team is a bit of a Wild Card this season. On paper they should be golden, and probably should win their division. But this is the Bengals we are talking about, and betting on them is never a good idea. However, I believe that with the return of AJ Green and Andy Dalton, this team should find its way into the playoffs yet again.
- 10. Detroit Lions- Like the 49er’s I was certain this team was going to make the playoffs before last season began, and like last season, I was right. However, I’m not too certain I like the way they got there. Much like the Bills last season they won too many games due to timely turnovers, and History shows that it’s difficult to rely on those moving forward. But with Stafford and Johnson, and a healthy Jahvid Best, that offense should be great, and with Suh the defense should be good.
- 11. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are facing a turning point this coming season, as they face the imminent retirements of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, while this season may not be there last, it’s a question that undoubtedly will be brought up repeatedly throughout the year. While the Defense should be great, and the run game should also be fine, this team just seems beatable, and I just can’t quite put my finger on why… Joe Flacco! That’s why.
- 12. Buffalo Bills- I’m sure most of you scrolled down to see where I put our beloved Bills. Well here they are. The homer in me wanted to put them in the top 10, but I just can’t do it yet. The defense should be much improved, and the run game should be excellent with a healthy Freddy Jackson and CJ Spiller splitting the load. But Fitzpatrick is the real wild card here. If he can cut down on his turnovers without losing any production then the Bills should be a 10 win team. But if he plays erratically ala last season, then this season could see some drama.
- 13. Tennessee Titans- With a revitalized Chris Johnson, and good QB play from either Jake Locker or Matt Hasselbeck, this team should win the AFC South with ease.
- 14. Pittsburgh Steelers- Much like how it’s never good to bet on the Bengals, the opposite is true for the Steelers, they’re always a good bet. But this season could be the start of a rebuild for the Black and Gold. Their defense is rapidly aging, and last season Ben Roethlisberger began to slow down. Without improved O-line play, this could be a long season for the Steeler Nation.
- 15. Carolina Panthers- Last season, the Panthers showed that they were a force to be reckoned with on Offense. But the issue lies on Defense, where they are still a few solid pieces away from fielding a solid team. But address those issues in the draft and this team could easily nab a wild card slot.
- 16. Kansas City- Jamaal Charles should be back next season, and if he is fully healthy then his return, along with the return of TE Moeaki should give KC a boost and perhaps even bring them back to the post season.
- 17. Tampa Bay- The issue with the Off-Season is that every team has a case to be made for why they should make the playoffs, and yet each year only 12 teams make it. This is a case where "winning the offseason" probably won’t mean making the playoffs. That being said, they should definitely improve as the year goes on, but it may take some time for this team to gel.
- 18. Arizona Cardinals- I want this team to win and yet I get the sinking feeling that it just won’t happen. Their defense is above average and won them a few games last year. But they are hurting on offense where their only legitimate starters are Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells. If Kolb steps up this season, then they could make some noise.
- 19. Houston Texans- After last season’s playoff run I am predicting a precipitous fall for the Texans. They have lost a lot of veteran pieces from last year’s team and look like they should fall back to their usual 8 win season.
- 20. New York Jets- Part one of why this offseason has been one of my favorites as a Bills fan. They took the powder keg that is the NY Jets locker room and added in a little QB controversy for good measure. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if we were talking about a team that has proven itself when faced with adversity, or a team with great leaders in the locker room, but the Jets have proven the opposite of that. Win or lose, this should be a fun season for the Jets.
- 21. Seattle has a good Defense and a good run game, but you need to throw the ball in today’s league, so unless their defense truly shuts down opponents this season, or Matt Flynn turns into the next Matt Schaub, this team should be hovering right around .500 all season.
- 22. New Orleans Saints- Needless to say the Saints have had a rough offseason and with player suspensions forthcoming and Drew Brees holding out for a new contract, this could turn out to be just as ugly of a regular season.
- 23. Dallas Cowboys- I’m predicting that both Romo and Jason Garret don’t last the season. They aren’t winning with the current roster, and the current roster isn’t getting any younger. This could turn into a Minnesota Vikings-esque situation quickly.
- 24. St. Louis Rams- The Rams are still building, but aside from Cortland Finnegan they have had a relatively quiet offseason. They need offensive linemen, they need wide receivers, and soon they will need a running back too. This team is still a few years away from being relevant.
- 25. San Diego Chargers- This season could be rather disastrous for the Chargers. It’s win-now time for Norv Turner and AJ Smith, and that kind of desperation can lead to either inspired, or hideous results. Phillip Rivers is one of the most over rated quarterbacks in the league today, and the team hasn’t brought in enough talent to replace what it has lost. I’m predicting that this season is the last for Norv Turner, and many on the Charger’s roster.
- 26. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III should provide the Skins with a boost this season, but not much more than Cam Newton did for the Panthers. The Redskins should be a fun team to watch, but should still lose more games than they win.
- 27. Jacksonville Jaguars- Another quick prediction I had last season, I thought Blaine Gabbert would be a bust. Now it’s much too early to officially label the Jags QB a bust, but early indications are not good. MJD gives this team a chance to win every game, as does their top defense, but expect to see a lot of close losses, as this young team slowly tries to improve.
- 28. Miami Dolphins- Here’s reason number 2 why this offseason has been my favorite so far as a Buffalo fan, the implosion of the Miami Dolphins. They go after Manning, wind up with Garrard, lose their best WR, lose their best Safety, players are insulting the team… kinda reminds you of the Bills circa 2011 doesn’t it? Either way, the defense should be decent, but the Phins are entering yet another rebuild phase, and this year should be considered a wash.
- 29. Cleveland Browns- The Browns have given up on playing offense it seems. Peyton Hillis is gone, and their WR situation needs upgrading. All this and they still aren’t sure if they like what they have at QB. They are headed in the right direction as they have some solid players on their roster, but they need a lot more before they start winning in their division again.
- 30. Indianapolis Colts- Assuming they add Luck, this season is more about the future than the present. While winning would be nice, this team should focus on improving as the year progresses and adding another high draft pick next April.
- 31. Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings need a rebuild in the worst way, their defense is old, their offense is non-existent, and if they don’t hurry then they won’t be relevant till past Adrian Peterson’s prime. WR, CB, LB, DE, OT, you name it, they could use more of it. This team was allowed to get old by the last regime, and is now years away from really competing.
- 32. Oakland Raiders- Roster purging has been the name of the game this offseason, as some of the crazier contracts that Al Davis (RIP) handed out in his final years, are being cut. But that leaves behind a young, thin roster, that will struggle this season. If McFadden stays healthy, this season may not be a total loss.
So there you have it. My take on where the 32 teams will rank by the end of this year. Again, I will do these throughout the year if you rumblers wish. Thank you for reading that ridiculously long piece, and have a great day. Go Bills!