2011 NFL Power Rankings: Preseason
Rankings that mean absolutely nothing but for some reason I have to look:
The lockout ended, mercifully. Players changed teams in droves. Training camps opened almost all at once.
Yes, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. As the dust begins to settle, where does your team stand?
With the 2011 regular season in sight, our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC North blogger James Walker) have taken the first stab at separating the contenders from the pretenders. Predictably, the defending Super Bowl champs were held in high regard, but, as you'll see, not every playoff team from 2010 was afforded the same kind of respect.
So without further ado, here is the preseason edition of ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings.
Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 18 edition of the 2010 Power Rankings.
2011 Power Rankings: Offseason RK (LW)TEAMRECCOMMENT
1 (9)Packers10-6While other teams stockpiled free agents, the Packers stood pat. Are the defending champs still preseason favorites? (Walker)
2 (1)Patriots14-2Too bad "Hard Knocks" couldn't film the daily Albert Haynesworth-Chad Ochocinco show. (Clayton)
3 (7)Eagles10-6Only one thing will make this season a success -- winning the franchise's first Vince Lombardi Trophy. (Fox)
4 (5)Saints11-5Saints will find out whether Reggie Bush was an underrated contributor after all. (Sando)
5 (3)Steelers12-4With off-field distractions behind them, the reigning AFC champs are focused on getting back to the Super Bowl. (Walker)
6 (2)Falcons13-3Adding Ray Edwards quiets draft-day criticisms about ignoring pass rush. (Sando)
7 (8)Jets11-5So far, they have replaced Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith with only Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason. (Clayton)
8 (10)Colts10-6Provided Peyton Manning is healthy, don't write off the Colts. They have healed up and even added outsiders. (Kuharsky)
9 (4)Ravens12-4The Ravens can go as far as fourth-year QB Joe Flacco is willing to take them. (Walker)
10 (14)Chargers9-7Every year looks promising, then they wind up short of expectations. It's time for Philip Rivers to be grouped with the elite. (Kuharsky)
11 (12)Giants10-6Missing the playoffs for a second consecutive year is not an option for Tom Coughlin. (Fox)
12 (13)Buccaneers10-6It starts with the quarterback, and Tampa Bay has a good one in Josh Freeman. (Sando)
13 (6)Bears11-5The loss of longtime center Olin Kreutz will hurt Chicago's running game. (Walker)
14 (11)Chiefs10-6Big breakthroughs are often followed by a step back. Can the Chiefs buck that trend? (Kuharsky)
15 (17)Rams7-9Sam Bradford, Josh McDaniels a compelling combination for the Rams. (Sando)
16 (18)Cowboys6-10It will be interesting to see Rob Ryan's effect on the Cowboys' defense. (Fox)
17 (21)Texans6-10Always a darling preseason pick. Could it be the year? Sure. Could it be another failure with people getting fired? Sure. (Kuharsky)
18 (24)Lions6-10The Lions have "sleeper" written all over them, but only if quarterback Matthew Stafford stays healthy. (Walker)
19 (19)Seahawks7-9Sidney Rice, Zach Miller give Seattle needed weapons in passing game. (Sando)
20 (20)Titans6-10Don't buy that they will be contenders for Andrew Luck. Mike Munchak will squeeze something out of the Titans. (Kuharsky)
21 (28)Cardinals5-11Kevin Kolb's arrival restores hope at quarterback, but time will tell whether Kolb's the answer. (Sando)
22 (16)Jaguars8-8Defense will be better for sure. The question is whether David Garrard can play with consistency. (Kuharsky)
23 (15)Raiders8-8The Raiders are on the rise if Jason Campbell can play consistently. You have to like Hue Jackson's energy. (Kuharsky)
24 (22)Dolphins7-9If the Dolphins can't get Brett Favre to challenge Chad Henne, maybe they can ask Dan Marino. (Clayton)
25 (23)Vikings6-10Minnesota actually got younger at quarterback by acquiring 34-year-old Donovan McNabb. (Walker)
26 (25)49ers6-10Widespread changes on defense raise questions about 49ers' short-term prospects. (Sando)
27 (29)Broncos4-12I fear the first year of the John Fox regime will be a long, ugly one filled with Tim Tebow-related controversy. (Kuharsky)
28 (27)Browns5-11If QB Colt McCoy isn't the answer, it will be another long season in Cleveland. (Walker)
29 (26)Redskins6-10In a few more weeks, Mike Shanahan might wish he had kept Donovan McNabb. (Fox)
30 (32)Panthers2-14Carolina came out swinging in free agency, but future hinges on Cam Newton. (Sando)
31 (30)Bills4-12The Bills' offensive line can't afford an injury, but it would look better had it added Tyson Clabo. (Clayton)
32 (31)Bengals4-12The Bengals are moving on from the Carson Palmer-Chad Ochocinco era, but expect plenty of growing pains with young players. (Walker)
NFL Power Rankings Preseason - National Football League - ESPN