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2010 NFL Week One Power Rankings, Final Season Predictions

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Jonathan Bales

Every Tuesday I will be posting my NFL Power Rankings.  Remember that these aren’t a projection of how teams will finish, but rather a list of where they are as of right now.

At the bottom of this particular set of power rankings are my predictions for how the season will turn out.  Remember that I do not subscribe to the theory that 50 percent of playoff teams from one year must miss the tournament the next.  That sort of thinking is no better than choosing a coin to come up heads simply because it has been tails 10 straight tosses (actually, it’s worse).

Yesterday, I also posted my 2010 fantasy football predictions.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for my bold Cowboys-only predictions.

Week One Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints

Until someone takes them down, New Orleans is the top dog.   They are explosive on offense, make plays on defense, and have one hell of a coach.  Expect a huge season from Reggie Bush.

2. Dallas Cowboys

A home Super Bowl?   Dallas is perhaps the league’s most talented team, but the Cowboys have got to show they can step up when expectations are through the roof.

3. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is the real deal.  If the Packers’ two-year old 3-4 defense gels this season, watch out.  This could be the Cowboys’ toughest opponent all year.

4. Indianapolis Colts

I don’t really like the Colts in 2010, but with Peyton Manning at quarterback, they are always going to be in the hunt.  They need to get the running game on track.

5. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens always draft well, but now they finally brought in a few play-making wide receivers to aid Joe Flacco.  If the offense can put up top-five points, they will be nearly impossible to beat, even with question marks at safety.

6. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are the Cowboys of the AFC: loaded with talent, but yet to take that next step.

7. Minnesota Vikings

Brett Favre may be the most annoying player in the NFL right now.  It will hurt him a lot to not have Sidney Rice the first half of the season.

8. Houston Texans

Yes, the Houston Texans at No. 8.  This team has less holes than you might think.  If they can get even average play from their secondary (which is a big ‘if’), this team will be in the playoffs.

9. New York Jets

The Jets are this year’s sexy Super Bowl pick, but let’s slow down a bit.   While their defense is ridiculous, this is still a team with a second-year quarterback.

10. New England Patriots

The door may have closed for New England. Coach Belichick has had success with veterans in the past, but at a certain point you need youth.  They are only this high because of one man: Mr. Gisele Bundchen.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

Even with Big Ben out for four game, the Steelers are a good (not great) football team.  Dennis Dixon can hold down the fort for the first month of the season, and their defense will be much better than in ’09.

12. San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have been close to breaking out for a couple of years now.  The transition to a spread offense will help them immensely, although they won’t be in it as much as they were at the end of last season.  Still, they have to win a lot of close games because they don’t have much explosion on offense.

13. Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve come around a little on Cincy since my offseason power rankings, but like their most vocal player, they are too streaky.  Could they make the playoffs?  Yes. Will they advance far in them?  No.

14. Miami Dolphins

Chad Henne has the big arm necessary to get Brandon Marshall the ball.  This team will take big strides this season.

15. New York Giants

The Giants’ defense soured on them last season, yielding 40+ points in 10 games.  They made an obvious attempt to improve it through the draft, and they are one of a handful of teams in the NFC who confuse the hell out of me.

16. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan will rebound in 2010 and the addition of cornerback Dunta Robinson will really help Atlanta.

17. Tennessee Titans

The Titans came on strong over the last half of the ’09 season, but they simply don’t have many weapons on offense other than Chris Johnson.  Their defense will keep them in games, but that can only take a team so far.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Quarterback Kevin Kolb is obviously the key to Philly’s success.  I think he will put up pretty big numbers (including in the interception category).

19. Oakland Raiders

Mark it down: the Raiders will contend for the AFC West title.  The defense is solid and Jason Campbell is light-years ahead of JaMarcus Russell.

20. Chicago Bears

New Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz always makes his offense perform better, but it is usually at the cost of the success of the defense.

21. Washington Redskins

A lot of people think the acquisition of Donovan McNabb will make Washington competitive again.  I don’t.

22. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are a sleeper in what could be a suddenly competitive AFC West.  They have a solid quarterback and a rejuvenated rushing attack.

23. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers’ defense is pretty awful and their only big-play threat on offense is constantly double-teamed.

24. Denver Broncos

What is coach Josh McDaniels’ strategy in Denver?   If it is to alienate and rid himself of the team’s best players, then he should have won Coach of the Year last season.

25. Arizona Cardinals

The drop-off from Kurt Warner to Derek Anderson is huge.  Beanie Wells will have a monster season and the Cards are aided by playing in the NFC West, but will it be enough?

26. Detroit Lions

The Lions are finally on the right track.  After securing the offensive building blocks of the future, they are now concentrating on the defense.

27. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have finally secured their quarterback of the future.  Oh, now wait. . .

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

David Garrard is a stable quarterback and MJD is a beast, but the Jags’ defense (particularly their pass-rush) is atrocious.

29. Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs’ talent may actually be the worst team in the league, but at least they have Josh Freeman.

30. Cleveland Browns

And the award for the most awkward quarterback in the NFL goes to. . . .for the seventh straight year, Jake Delhomme!

31. St. Louis Rams

The Rams are probably worse than the Bills, but at least Sam Bradford gives fans hope.

32. Buffalo Bills

The Bills have a ton of holes on both offense and defense, so their first-rounder was a player at arguably their strongest position. Makes sense.

————————————-

Final Standings Predictions

NFC
East

1.  Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
2.  New York Giants (9-7)
3.  Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
4.  Washington Redskins (7-9)

North
1.  Green Bay Packers (12-4)
2.  Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
3.  Chicago Bears (7-9)
4.  Detroit Lions (6-10)

South
1.  New Orleans Saints (11-5)
2.  Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
3.  Carolina Panthers (5-11)
4.  Tampa Bay Bucs (3-13)

West
1.  San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
2.  Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
3.  Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
4.  St. Louis Rams (2-14)

AFC
East

1. New York Jets (11-5)
2. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
3. New England Patriots (9-7)
4. Buffalo Bills (1-15)

North
1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12)

South
1. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
2. Houston Texans (9-7)
3. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

West
1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)
2. Oakland Raiders (10-6)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)
4. Denver Broncos (7-9)

NFC Playoffs
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New Orleans Saints
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Minnesota Vikings
6. New York Giants

New Orleans over New York
Minnesota over San Francisco

Green Bay over Minnesota
Dallas over New Orleans

Green Bay over Dallas

AFC Playoffs
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Diego Chargers
4. New York Jets
5. Miami Dolphins
6. Oakland Raiders

San Diego over Oakland
Miami over New York

Indianapolis over Miami
Baltimore over San Diego

Baltimore over Indianapolis

Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay 27, Baltimore 21

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Coach of the Year:  Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs

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13 Responses to 2010 NFL Week One Power Rankings, Final Season Predictions

  1. john coleman says:

    I agree with the top seven, but not the order. I would still have basically the same order of finish as seasons end. We certainly have not looked like the 2nd best team in the league. Same for GB at 3rd. We have offensive questions based on our last real game and preseason. GB has defensive questions following the same criteria. In order as of now; NO, Indy, Minn, NYJ, SD, Dallas,GB, and Baltimore. I do agree with dropping Arizona, because of the QB. I don’t expect this to stay this way, but they have to do it on the field. I expect us to move up . I expect the Saints to stumble. In fact, I’ll take Minnesota Thursday night. However, Minnesota won’t be quite as good as last year. Minnesota’s front four will give NO fits. I think Indy will fall slowly as they have a tougher schedule. If Manning goes down they aren’t 8-8. Their QB backup situation makes me think something ain’t like it seems. Peyton must be a real p…k. I think the hype has surpassed talent with the Jets. I don’t think they win the division. I’m not sold on Sanchez and Braylon Edwards is a joke. Baltimore has to prove it. I’m not quite ready to put Flacco in the top tier yet. Their defense will remain solid. Ah GB! If their defense shows up the are a serious threat and a steady riser. Their secondary is riddled. Right now Rodgers is at the top of his game. He used his time well studying Mr. Favre. One final team to mention is Cincinnati. I feel they were stunned at seasons end by the tragedy and they have more weapons. If they stay healthy they win the division.

  2. eric says:

    I agree on everything ur saying but I don’t think green bay will be in the superbowl I’m thinking dallas with the ravens!! Just my opinion!

  3. Well, I did put SOME forecasting into these rankings. No, Dallas doesn’t deserve the No. 2 spot based on recent play, but I still think they are fine.

    Same idea with Houston. . .they are not the eighth best team right now, but I do like them to start well. So while I didn’t want this to be TOO predictive, it isn’t TOTALLY a list of the best teams as they stand right now.

    I have come around a bit on Cincy…because of their defense. I also think T.O. can be a legit deep threat for them that they didn’t really have with only Ochocinco (he’ll get more single coverage, of course).

    In the end, it is a quarterback-driven league and, with the exception of perhaps Alex Smith, the rest are up-and-coming QBs (Flacco, Sanchez, Henne, and MAYBE Campbell), or top guys already.

  4. Hey I sure hope so. I just think GB has a better chance at home field…but if Dallas can get that, look out.

  5. john coleman says:

    I love the fact that we can disagree without it being a big deal. Sometimes you get your eyes clawed out elsewhere. Also I would like to say thanks for making the offseason more bearable. I look forward to the season.

  6. Thanks a lot John..it should be an awesome year and I’ll make sure I put out as much unique content as possible. As one of the regular readers, if there is anything you’d like to see more/less or something new you want to see, definitely let me know anytime in a comment or email.

  7. Omar says:

    A few question comments:

    The lists of awards Tom Cable will win:

    Biggest Asshole on the Planet

    Fattest Face in the NFL

    Worst Al Davis Hire

    “Coach of the Year” is missing from this list.

    I don’t think the Ginas are better than the Falcons by any means, nor do I see the them as a playoff team at all. They lost their only line backer that can cover the run, JPP will contend for “worst against the run” amongst starting NFL DEs, Usi is yet another player who can’t cover the run and his pass rushing abilities have dropped significantly so it’s not like he can make up for it, they might miss Kenny Phillips for the whole year, Antrelle Rolle is good but no where deserving of that contract he just signed, and oh yeah…Perry Fewell is a Tampa Two guy and the Giants hardly have the personnel to successfully run a Cover 2 scheme. Granted, I hate the Giants more than any other team in the league, but still…I don’t think they’re as good as you do by any means…they might contend for the 6th WC in the NFC East, but as far as NFC playoff teams I see: Dallas, New Orleans, Green Bay, San Francisco, Minnesota, and Atlanta; you can’t keep on expecting Brett Favre to defy age and be able to take hit after hit…so perhaps Philly or maybe New York can contend for that 6th spot…but I think New York’s a long shot to make the playoffs.

    Speaking of the NFC Playoff picture, I think Green Bay is an excellent team…however, Aaron Rogers does have a few issues, namely he holds onto the ball for way too long. Facing top pass rushes from teams like Dallas, Minnesota, and New Orleans he’ll take a few sacks, maybe one might be a big one. Bryan Bulaga was a pick I liked, but quite a few Hawkeye fans that I know were less than impressed by his play at Iowa, he’s a Junior LT not a Senior so he can’t be expected to be the difference maker at LT, even though Rogers needs to get a quicker release.

    To the AFC:

    The Ravens have a solid offense, but their WRs are guys who specialize in five to eight yard routes and they don’t really have a guy that can stretch the field. Their defense is getting older and living off of reputation mainly. The Colts, well they still have Peyton Manning and that’s still good enough on most days.

    Oakland, yes they’ve made tremendous improvements. Contending for the AFC West will be a bit difficult even though they have four games against the Chiefs and the Broncos. The Playoffs won’t be out of reach, but I doubt they’ll get there. Yes, Jason Campbell is light years ahead of Jamarcus Russell, however you could throw a rock into the stands and the guy you hit would probably be a better quarterback than Jamarcus Russell too.

    The Jets, not only do they have a second year quarterback, they finally succumbed to Darelle Revis’ demands, not only because it was the right thing to do, but also because Calvin Pace is hurt and without the pass rush they need the extra coverage. Also, as to their second year QB he’s a guy who started 16 games in college and had a QB rating of 63 and a TD/INT ratio of 12/20 last season. While I’m not tremendously high on the Patriots, I like them more than I like the Jets.

    San Diego, on the other hand is my AFC favorite. If I had to pick any QB in the NFL to start on my team, I’m taking Phillip Rivers. The guy is a flat out beast in all aspects, and he has our old friend Patrick Crayton to catch balls (and hopefully drop a big one against the Boys in February 😉 ), along with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. I loved the Ryan Mathews pick and in general I tend to be higher on young running backs since the position now a days is basically a death sentence to a long career.

  8. A lot here…I don’t actually like Tom Cable (actually can’t stand him), but I think the Raiders stumbled upon a fairly talented roster. If they go 10-6, how does he not win it? Ironically, my other candidate for the position is Kubiak–another coach I don’t really like at all.

    You might be right about the Falcons over the Giants, but I have issues with Atlanta’s offense. It can be good, but the explosiveness to score quickly isn’t there. Yes, Michael Turner is fast once he gets going, but how often has he really “got going” of late? Teams can also double Roddy White pretty easily. Gonzo isn’t going to beat you deep.

    The Giants have some weapons on offense, but it all comes down to their D. If they give up >24 points a game, they’ll win 10+ games, even in the East.

    I like the Ravens’ offense in numbers. Boldin and Housh can’t get deep often, but I do think Mason has that ability with them underneath. With Rice in the passing game as well, they can throw short all day until defenses adjust, then take some shots to Mason. To me, the key for them is actually on defense–will the safeties play well enough until Ed Reed returns?

    I love Rivers as well. Love his attitude and leadership. He won me over when he played in the playoffs on a torn knee.

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  10. john coleman says:

    Well I’m 0-1. Minnesota is hurting at WR. Their performance capsulized why Roy W. struggles. Like the Minnesota receivers he can’t get where he is supposed to be. It’s hard to believe 1 guy makes that much difference. Minn is going to miss the RB, Chester?, as a second option as well. What I saw last night is why I think Dez is the x-factor for us. He can keep teams from loading up to stop Miles or Witten. I also hope our staff was paying attention to the blocking schemes on Minnesota’s interior D. It looked to me that they sort of zoned them and took them which ever way the D call went. Then the back read what he saw. I think Jones or Choice would be best at pulling that off. Did I see NO sneak a draw or two in? The guy that abused Columbo looked like their best rusher last night. Give Sean Peyton credit for in game adjustments. Both teams adjusted at least two to three times.

  11. NO did sneak a few draws in there in the second half after passing 90 percent or so in the first half. It’s funny that QBs are starting to use the same sort of footwork that Romo uses on those, but the Cowboys have run them so much they should probably dial it down.

    I’m 1-0 straight up and ATS, but I wasn’t even close on my OVER 48.5 call.

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