The dust from free agency has settled. The biggest FA left, BraylonEdwards is very close to signing a one year deal with the 49ers. It's time to speculate on who are the upper echelon of the league and who will join the Redskins in the basement of the NFL this year.
Oh and this is a power rankings piece so please unleash hell in the comment selection. I am going to over and under rate several teams so please don't hold back. I am including a brief explanation and a prediction for each team as well. Rankings after the jump.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Still the best defense in the league with a pretty good offense to boot. Ike Taylor and Willie Colon were resigned which was huge. Prediction- Pretty boring one, the Steelers will have a great regular season. Oh and James Harrison will have at least one dirty hit and one offensive comment towards Roger Goodell.
2. Philadelphia Eagles- Still have some things to get figured out, but has nothing to do with linebackers. Pretty set withCasey Matthews and Jamar Chaney as the two main linebackers with MoFo playing WLB in 4-3 and Keenan Clayton in nickel packages as well. We need to get DeSean resigned while also making sure Maclin will be healthy by Week 1. Clear cut favorite to win NFC. Prediction- Asante will not be a part of the 2011 team's success, unfortunately.
3. New England Patriots- Still not 100% clear whether the Pats will play the 3-4 or the 4-3 now that fat Albert is in town, although they will more than likely stick with the 3-4. Ochocinco is also now a Patriot, offense has a lot of weapons(dont forget about their athletic tight ends). Prediction- Pats finally win a playoff game, enough to return to Superbowl, oh and Haynesworth records 10 sacks against the Redskins in Week 14.
4. New York Jets- The real All-Hype team, still a great defense and a decent offense. Losing Braylon Edwards and now Jerico Cothery will hurt. Prediction- Still can't win AFC East, offense not as good as 2010 and will again miss the Superbowl. Rex Ryan will come out with a new book "Fourth Time's the Charm".
5. Green Bay Packers- Overcame a lot of injuries in 2010, but probably won't survive another year like that. Big target on their back in an improved division. Prediction- Division title in 2011, but defense won't be as good. Early exit in playoffs.
6. New Orlenas Saints- Saints have had a good offseason drafting Mark Ingram and Cameron Jordan. Ingram is a good inside runner who could force a safety to play close to to line, very scary thought unless you have 3 or four good corners. Jordan is a good DE/DT, could play all over the line. They picked up quality players, resigned underrated ones and let overrated ones walk. Prediction- NFC South Title and first round bye.
7. Baltimore Ravens- Still just a really good team in the AFC surrounded by several great teams. Defense is getting a bit older while they still need a speedy wide out to compliment Boldin on offense. Prediction- 10-12 wins in regular season, 0-1 wins in playoffs.
8. San Diego Chargers- Special teams can't screw over top offense and defense again can they? Most unclutch team in 2010 should see better results in 2011. Plus Eric Weddle is going to prove he deserved his HUGE contract right? Prediction- Scoring margin of about 300 points in divisional games, easily gets back to playoffs. No insane December needed, but will probably happen anyways.
9. Atlanta Falcons- Cbssports.com kissed this team's ass the entire 2010 season, never rankings them out of the top 3. In return the Falcons as Packer's radio announcer put it "Atlanta gotten beat this bad since the Civil War." Still not a good defense, Julio Jones will help the offense, but that was rarely the problem in 2010. Prediction- Falcons will be borderline playoff team in 2010, they barely squeeze in and get upset by an NFC West team.
10. Indianapolis Colts- Questionable line and defense along with Peyton Manning's injury will lead to a slow start. Prediciton- Won't overcome slow start and miss playoffs in a very competitive division. They are the better team than the Texans, I just think they lose out in the division.
11. Houston Texans- Offense will be great once again with two of the best at their positions- Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. The biggest factor will be how Mario Williams plays as the 3-4 edge rusher instead of a 4-3 DE. He has the size and athleticism to make DeMarcus Ware look like Jermoe McDougle. Prediction- Mario Williams gets Defensive Players of the Year, and the Texans finally make the playoffs as South Champs.
12. Chicago Bears- Beware Philly, Marion Barber and Roy Williams are in town now. For the what, 20th straight year the Eagles play the Bears. Prediction- Solider Field will be totally shitty by Week 5. Here's an idea Chicago, own and operate your own stadium. Why does a State own and take care of a stadium when it is beyond broke.
13. New York Giants- Hard to imagine the Giants being a better football team than last year, but they will have better results. They cut half of their O-line and Osi is, well being an Osi. No Cofield either. Prediction- 10 wins, and a wildcard spot in the playoffs. They win the tiebreaker over the Bears somehow, they don't actually play each other.
14. Tampa Bay Bucs- Won't be as under the radar as they were last year. I had them as the 31st best team going into the 2010 season. Didn't improve enough in the offseason to be a playoff lock in a very loaded NFC. Still will compete for a wildcard spot again. Prediction- 0-4 against the Falcons and Saints will be the thing that keeps them out of the playoffs.
15. Kansas City Chiefs- Matt Cassel looked pretty mediorce against good defenses in 2010, adding Steve Breston will help a lot. Prediction- Another so so year for Cassel will keep the Chiefs from getting back to the playoffs. Don't be surprised if they draft a QB in 2012.
16. Detroit Lions- Very scary team, but no where near complete. They are loaded at DT and have Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best, who are very dangerous. However, their defense is soft and they will be overmatched by more physical defenses. Stafford also hasn't played a full season. Prediction- Lions take the next step, one year away from making playoffs.
17. Arizona Cardinals- The NFC West is very deep, not top heavy but deep none the less. Rams, Cards, Hawks and 9ers all could win it. Kevin Kolb was a big pickup, and will completely change the offense. Cards won 5 games in 2010 despite having no offense. Much better offense should lead to at least 9 wins. Prediction- Kolb will have an up and down season, lots of TDs and INTs.
18. Seattle Seahawks- Tavaris Jackson and Sidney Rice will be interest to watch. Rice was the most underrated signed this year while Jackson was the most questionable. Hawks have a good running game lead by Lynch. Prediction- Will come down to final day but wil fall short to Cards in West.
20. San Francisco 49ers- They won't get mooned at halftime anymore by a coach who always wore a stopwatch, but they still need a QB. Prediction- Will come down to final day of season, to finished 3rd of 4th in division. Michigan sounds a little better of a decision now, although they made the right choice.
21. dallas cowboys- How do you fix an offensive line that couldn't protect Tony Romo? Cut two of your startersand draft a rookie who will start with limited time to learn offense and speed of game. Still about 7 mil over the cap. They're not rebuilding, they just repeating. Prediction- Things will look very grim for a team whose past players will all be on the decline going into 2012. Oh, and their 3 bullies will not record one sack against the Eagles.
22. Cleveland Browns- Switching to the 4-3 this, but didn't really get a good 4-3 DE. Also still needs a deep threat. They drafted well, but they won't be able to help them win right away. Prediction- They are still the best team in Ohio, man it sucks to be a sports fan in that state. You always got the Blue Jackets.
23. Minnesota Vikings- Donovan McNabb has nothing to prove like Tiki Barber doesn't need money and like LeBron James doesn't care about what people think about him. Very underrated team, they have some good players but they won't have any pass protection and McNabb will have to have a big year for the Viks to make the playoffs.
24. Tennessee Titans- They have Matthew Hasselback to go with Chris Johnson but their biggest problem was offensive playcalling. Never seemed to give enough touches to CJlast year(bitter fantasy football owner). Prediction- Everyone but Elizabeth Hasselback's wife will criticize Matthew in 2011. Prediction- Locker will make at least 8 starts.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars- Somehow this team always seems to overachieve. Garrard is average at best and will be replaced by Gabbert very soon. Prediction- Jack Del Rio will be a cowboy's assistant by this time next year.
26. Oakland Raiders- In the history of sports, never has a team been this bad while having the highest pay roll in their league. They are still 15 mil over the cap, it's like if the Yankees had their payroll but with the A's players. Prediction- not very bold but the Raiders draft the 3 fastest players in the 2012 draft. Andrew Luck will stay for his senior season if the Raiders have the first pick.
27. Buffalo Bills- If Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to keep his job, he has to get the Bills away from a top 10 pick in the 2012 draft. If not they will draft Luck, Barkley or Landrey Jones depending on their pick. Prediction- Welcome to Buffalo, Barkley.
29. Miami Dolphins- Do the Dolphins get a first down if/when Reggie Bush gets hurt and when Brandon Marshall gets suspended? Prediction- They held out on Orton in order to get Andrew Luck or another 2012 rookie QB.
30. Denver Broncos- Tebow or Orton? Doesn't really matter, I thought the Tebow love affair and criticism was annoying until LeBron started tweeting. Prediction- Tebow will get more starts in 2010, but defense will still be lousy at best.
31. Washington Redskins- Mike Shanahan has lost his mind. Redskins are the polar opposite of Eagles in free agency- free agents take more money in order to play in DC. To all Redskins fans who stick this season out and watch every minute of every game, you have my respect and probably the respect of diehard fans of any team in any sport. Prediction- Lolskins will go from a BGN piece to a full website to the latest ESPN 30 for 30 documentary.
32. Carolina Panthers- They still don't have a proven quarterback or a decent secondary. That's scary when you play in a division with 3 good QBs and a lot of good pass rushers. If Charles Johnson never lives up to his 2010 season, it will cripple the franchise. Prediction- Cam Newton won't have a horrible year, but won't have a good year either. It will be very unclear whether he will be a bust or not.