Matzek's NFL Power Rankings: Week 1
Here we go! After a strange off-season, it's time for football in America. It's a clean slate for all 32 teams, but some are certainly in better shape than others. Below are my week 1 rankings and commentary.
1. GREEN BAY PACKERS - As Super Bowl 45 champions, the Packers will hold the top spot until they are beat. The return of TE Jermichael Finley, RB Ryan Grant, and S Morgan Burnett (among others) negate the fact the Packers chose not to be a player in free agency.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - They will always have a chance with Brady. WR Chad Ochocinco and DT Albert Haynesworth were brought is as complimentary pieces and will help so long as they can stay healthy. Overall weakness is their pass rush.
3. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - With the exception of the drafted rookies, this is just about the same team that took the field last season. The biggest difference is that Ben Roethlisberger will be under center for week 1, and not Charlie Batch.
4. ATLANTA FALCONS - Have people forgotten they were the #1 seed in the NFC last season? It won't be easy to duplicate their turnover margin from a year ago, but they are rock solid. DE Ray Edwards was brought in to compliment John Abraham in pressuring the QB.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - The Saints will throw the rock, but are in better position to tote the rock with Mark Ingram replacing Reggie Bush. They had 26 picks in 2009. That number fell to 10 in 2010. If the defense can put up a number somewhere in between, this team will challenge for home field advantage in the playoffs.
6. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Some people see Michael Vick, Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha. I see Vick running for his life, Jenkins being injured, and Nnamdi a non-factor for teams who will run all over the Eagles front line. Talented? Yes. Dream team? No.
7. BALTIMORE RAVENS - The Ravens are running out of time with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed controlling the defense. The addition of WR Lee Evans will help the passing attack as QB Joe Flacco seeks greater consistency.
8. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - I'm still trying to figure out how a team that finished tops in the league in offense and defense failed to make the playoffs. They are in the top 10 based upon their talent. Second year RB Ryan Matthews must have a bigger impact on the offense.
9. NY JETS - Either Head Coach Rex Ryan has been quiet this off-season, or I've just tuned him out. He's promised a Super Bowl for three years...if I'm a Jets fan, it's time to deliver.
10. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - The schedule is a killer for the Chiefs this season. Four of their first six games are on the road and they face the Packers, Patriots and Steelers. They start at 10 given their finish last season, but face an uphill battle to remain in this spot.
11. HOUSTON TEXANS - OK THIS is the year the Texans make the playoffs...right?
12. CHICAGO BEARS - They did a lot of shifting with their offensive line in the off-season. Did it work? We'll see if they can improve on their 22nd ranked rushing offense from a year ago and their atrocious pass blocking. I don't think there is a lot of separation among the Bears, Bucs, Giants and Lions. The Bears earn this spot based upon their finish last season.
13. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - It's the youngest team in the league. Expectations are very high for a team that challenged for a playoff spot last season and plays in a very tough division.
14. NY GIANTS - They better hope Osi Umenyora gets healthy. Their defense is very strong, but what I saw of their offense in the pre-season was awful.
15. ST LOUIS RAMS - I'd like to welcome the first team from the NFC West to the power rankings. Sam Bradford has more weapons than he did a year ago.
16. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - No better than a "middle-of-the-pack" without Peyton Manning.
17. DETROIT LIONS - If I had to put an arrow next to the Lions, it would be in the up direction.
18. DALLAS COWBOYS - I think they are better coached with Jason Garrett, but from a personnel standpoint, there's nothing new to be excited about. I see an 8-8 season.
19. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - They were surprising contenders in the AFC South last season. The big question in Jacksonville is how long will David Garrard be able to fend off rookie Blaine Gabbert as starting QB?
20. ARIZONA CARDINALS - The Cardinals were in desperate need of a QB this off-season. They got one in Kevin Kolb. They should be better, but not playoff worthy.
21. OAKLAND RAIDERS - Al Davis has a screw loose, but his team isn't too bad. Offensive consistency will be the biggest key.
22. MIAMI DOLPHINS - Does the addition of Reggie Bush counter the loss of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown? I don't think so.
23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - They are running out of time with Adrian Peterson as a featured back.
24. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - They have added weapons on offense with WR Sidney Rice, and TE Zach Miller, but QB Tarvaris Jackson is terrible but managed to beat out Charlie Whitehurst for the starting spot.
25. CLEVELAND BROWNS - I think Colt McCoy has a chance to be a very solid QB in the NFL, but this season is going to be tough for the young Browns.
26. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers - They're still relying on QB Alex Smith? Oh my...
27. DENVER BRONCOS - They'll score points with Orton, Lloyd and Moreno, but their overall defense is ugly aside of Elvis Dumervil.
28. WASHINGTON REDSKINS - Rex Grossman is their starting QB. 'Nuff said.
29. TENNESSEE TITANS - It's all about rebuilding in Nashville.Jake Locker will take over for Matt Hasselbeck at QB by week 6.
30. BUFFALO BILLS - QB Ryan Fitzpatrick really helped boost the offense last season, but their defense is terrible and cannot stop the run. They need LB Shawn Merriman to rejuvenate the D.
31. CAROLINA PANTHERS - Alright Cam...time to show your stuff.
32. CINCINNATI BENGALS - On the clock for Stanford QB Andrew Luck.