View Full Version : Power Rankings: Patriots a clear No. 1

08-30-2007, 11:36 AM

They got us 13th, seems fair to me.

Maybe it's the acquisition of Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas and others in a surprisingly active offseason. Maybe it's the proven leadership of Tom Brady. Or maybe it's just that the Patriots are due, having failed to reach the Super Bowl the past two seasons, an eternity in the Bill Belichick era.

No matter the reason, the Patriots will enter 2007 wearing the label as the NFL's best team. In the balloting for our preseason power rankings, each of the voters put the Pats atop his respective list, a clear indication that mercurial Moss is expected to toe the line (or at least minimize his distractions) under Belichick.

If Moss does, the Patriots could be celebrating their fourth Super Bowl title this decade. If he doesn't? Well, there are plenty of other championship-caliber teams waiting in the wings, including the defending champion Colts and a Chargers team (and new coach) with plenty to prove.

On the other side of the spectrum, Michael Vick's troubles obviously put the Falcons in a free fall, as our experts moved Atlanta from No. 19 in the offseason to No. 31, just ahead of the Browns.

So how would you rank the teams going into this season? SportsNation gives you the chance.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking in the offseason rankings from the spring.)

2007 Power Rankings: Week 1
1 (1) Patriots 12-4-0 Now that last year's NFL interception co-leader Asante Samuel has signed, the Patriots really have no excuses not to fulfill the expectations of the multitudes who already have handed them the Lombardi trophy. Right?

2 (2) Colts 12-4-0 Presumably, Peyton Manning & Co. will be more relaxed this year now that the can't-win-the-big-one albatross has finally disappeared. In fact, Manning has looked very comfortable in the 483 commercials he's appearing in right now.

3 (3) Chargers 14-2-0 Memo to new coach Norv Turner: Don't screw it up. You have Super Bowl-caliber talent, so if you don't win, only one person gets the blame. Just like your predecessor.

4 (5) Bears 13-3-0 In the past few years, Super Bowl losers generally haven't fared well the next season. But if Rex Grossman can find consistency in 2007, the Bears could have an easy time in the NFC.

5 (4) Ravens 13-3-0 Besides having younger legs at RB (Willis McGahee), the Ravens have loads of experience. But the flip side of being a veteran team is being an injury-prone one. Which way that pendulum swings might determine their fate.

6 (6) Saints 10-6-0 The feel-good story of 2006 hopes to take the next step this season. New Orleans has never been to the Super Bowl, but Saints fans can taste it like the jambalaya waiting for them at home.

7 (8) Eagles 10-6-0 It's easy to say that as Donovan McNabb goes, so go the Eagles. But their fortunes might rest more on whether Brian Westbrook can continue to run like one of the NFL's elite backs.

8 (9) Cowboys 9-7-0 Expect new coach Wade Phillips to turn up the tempo on defense, but his legacy in Dallas ultimately will be tied to Tony Romo. And Romo hopes his legacy won't forever be tied to that botched field goal snap last year.

9 (7) Broncos 9-7-0 Gotta love those lockdown cornerbacks, Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly. New D-coordinator Jim Bates certainly does, as their presence will allow the Broncos to play an aggressive 4-3.

10 (11) Seahawks 9-7-0 It wasn't always pretty last season, but the Seahawks did make the playoffs. But whether they can recapture the magic of two years ago ... well, that might be asking too much.

11 (10) Bengals 8-8-0 Remember when the Bengals used to be the league's biggest off-field embarrassment? Thanks to Michael Vick and Pacman Jones, the Bengals now seem like choirboys (yes, it's difficult to say that with a straight face).

12 (14) Jaguars 8-8-0 Jack Del Rio has never hesitated to make changes to his coaching staff. But if the Jags don't improve on an eight-win 2006 season, the change in Jacksonville could be Del Rio's employment status.

13 (13) Steelers 8-8-0 Just like when predecessors Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher were hired, new coach Mike Tomlin is young and eager to prove his worth. In Pittsburgh, that requires just one thing: a Super Bowl win.

14 (12) Jets 10-6-0 Last year, QB Chad Pennington started every game in a season for the first time in his career. Does that mean he's due for an injury, or has that pesky black cloud finally disappeared?

15 (16) Panthers 8-8-0 If the club's yo-yo record in recent years continues, you should count on double-digit wins in 2007. Don't be surprised if DeAngelo Williams emerges as the feature back.

16 (15) 49ers 7-9-0 Here's your sexy pick to be the breakthrough team of this season. And yes, Alex Smith and Frank Gore make a nice combo. But do the Niners need another year of seasoning?

17 (18) Rams 8-8-0 Stephen Jackson touched the ball 436 times last season and produced a career year. Now the goal is to get the same productivity in fewer touches.

18 (17) Giants 8-8-0 Tiki Barber is gone. Michael Strahan might join him. This is a team that's clearly in transition, which would be a perfect time for Eli Manning to step up and truly become this club's leader.

19 (28) Redskins 5-11-0 Will RBs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts rush for 1,000 yards apiece this season? As coach Joe Gibbs says, who knows? But you can bet they'll get every opportunity.

20 (26) Dolphins 6-10-0 A defense led by Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas should keep the Dolphins in most games, but the offense could be spotty. Even so, the future looks promising with the preseason performance of rookie QB John Beck.

21 (23) Bills 7-9-0 Hey, the Bills are ending their Monday night drought, making their first MNF appearance since 2000 when they play Dallas on Oct. 8. So who's to say they also can't end their playoff futility (no postseason appearances since 1999) this year?

22 (21) Titans 8-8-0 Vince Young will make this team enjoyable to watch. Making it a playoff contender will be much more difficult. But it's never good to underestimate him.

23 (22) Cardinals 5-11-0 One thing is certain: Arizona fans will get an up-close view of the Super Bowl this season. Another thing we're fairly certain about: Those fans won't be cheering on the hometown team. But we are pretty certain the weather will be nice on Feb. 3.

24 (24) Packers 8-8-0 Anytime you write the name Brett Favre, the phrase 'retirement plans' is sure to follow. But if this is it, you can expect Farve to go out slingin'.

25 (30) Lions 3-13-0 Jon Kitna must be pinching himself. Roy Williams? Calvin Johnson? Any quarterback would love to have that combination, especially a few years from now.

26 (20) Chiefs 9-7-0 Larry Johnson has returned from his holdout but is not in football shape. And who knows what shape Priest Holmes is in after sitting out 22 months. But at least the QB situation (Damon Huard over Brodie Croyle) is figured out -- for now.

27 (25) Vikings 6-10-0 Whew! The Kelly Holcomb Sweepstakes are over, and the Vikings are the big winners. And their prize? A journeyman quarterback with 21 starts who'll provide backup for Tarvaris Jackson.

28 (27) Buccaneers 4-12-0 Hey, Jon Gruden, what you have done for us lately? That's what Bucs fans are asking, and Gruden will need to answer this year to avoid the hot seat.

29 (29) Texans 6-10-0 Let the Matt Schaub era begin. Don't be surprised if there are growing pains -- after all, Schaub started just two games in his first three years in the league.

30 (32) Raiders 2-14-0 Does anyone really believe someone other than Daunte Culpepper will be the starting QB in the season opener against Detroit? First-year coach Lane Kiffin may not be proven, but at least he can throw a veteran out there who has skins on the wall.

31 (19) Falcons 7-9-0 New coach Bobby Petrino will get to prove immediately whether his reputation as a passing game guru is justified. Yeah, the Michael Vick saga was a cruel blow, but if Petrino can make Joey Harrington a star, he'll be the toast of Atlanta.

32 (31) Browns 4-12-0 Will rookie Brady Quinn start the season opener against the Steelers? Latest reports indicate he won't. That'd be the smart move. No need to rush the QB of the future for a team unlikely to go anywhere this season.

08-30-2007, 11:57 AM
Finally... someone took note of the the Jets being mediocre and having a cake schedule last year compared to the one they have this year! :bigthumb:

08-30-2007, 12:12 PM
I believe the Steelers will be a top 5 team before the season is over. The Bears at #4? If they were in the AFC they don't even make the play-offs. I think the Ravens season last year may have been a fluke. We will see this year. Only rankings that I agree with are the top 3. Believe we have a better team than almost all the others ranked higher than us. :bigthumb:

08-30-2007, 01:48 PM
Im sorry but why does everyone crown the Pats as God's gift to the NFL every year. I mean sure they have made a lot of moves this offseason but still their defense is suspect and being good on paper doesn't make you a champion. Just ask the Redskins.

Yes the Pats will be good and competitive, they usually are, but damn stop drooling all over them already; we havent even played a game yet.

08-30-2007, 02:10 PM
Im sorry but why does everyone crown the Pats as God's gift to the NFL every year. I mean sure they have made a lot of moves this offseason but still their defense is suspect and being good on paper doesn't make you a champion.

I don't know that anybody is drooling over them but if you had to pre-rank teams they will do well for a multitude of reasons.

They did make it to last years conference championship game

Their offseason moves appear to have made them better this year

Winning 3 championships recently with the same core of players

They have Tom Brady who is as clutch a QB as there is under pressure

The Colts appear to have weakened some by their offseason free agent losses

An argument could be made for San Diego being ranked a little higher. I am a diehard Steeler fan but until we see what this years team can do.....we must temper pre-season hopes with a touch of reality. Those top 3 teams were pretty dominant last year. Are they locks to repeat......no. I'm with you on playing this season out and seeing what happens but those top 3 teams are almost shoe-ins to make the play-offs. The fight will be for the other 3 spots in the AFC. IMHO :popcorn:

K Train
08-31-2007, 02:08 PM
theres a few teams way to high, seattle, jacksonville, denver.....cincy