The NFL is unlike any other sport in that during the preseason, every team’s fan base can be truly hopeful their team can make the playoffs. That being said, some teams have better odds entering the season than others. For instance, it's easy to see the Dallas Cowboys are more likely to make the playoffs than the Cleveland Browns, but that doesn’t mean that the opposite couldn’t happen. Perhaps the NFL does truly stand for “Not For Long.”
The following is a preseason NFL power ranking of all 32 teams. It is not solely based upon last year, but on predicted success for next season, overall talent level, organizational stability, and team health. However, this is just a preseason ranking, and I still remember when no one thought a former grocery bag boy named Kurt Warner could win a Super Bowl.
1. Dallas Cowboys
Last season, Tony Romo, Mike Jenkins, and Anthony Spencer all took gigantic steps in their development.
2. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is a monster and B.J. Raji has the potential to be an elite 3-4 nose, further strengthening an already fantastic defense.
3. New Orleans Saints
The Saints' organization is currently in the midst of perhaps the most intense Super Bowl hangover ever. But hey, it was fun while it lasted.
4. Indianapolis Colts
I have heard rumors this offseason that the Colts are going to diversify their boring and predictable running game. They better.
5. Baltimore Ravens
I am high enough on Joe Flacco and Ray Rice that I am willing to overlook their woeful secondary, for now.
6. New York Jets
Their success depends on whether or not Sanchez can take the next step and the organization stops lying to players about contract extensions.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
If Caron Palmer plays like he did last year, the Bengals are pretenders, however, if Palmer can regain his old form this team is a contender.
8. New England Patriots
Tom Brady is another year removed from his injury and the secondary has terrifying potential.
9. New York Giants
Eli Manning has officially become an elite quarterback and new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is not woefully inept and distant like Bill Sheridan.
10. San Diego Chargers
Would be much higher on this list if general manager A.J. Smith would figure out it's about winning and not his enormously unjustified ego.
11. Minnesota Vikings
This is assuming Favre returns. Their offensive line and secondary is much weaker than people think.
12. Atlanta Falcons
Without a consistent pass rusher, this team will not make the playoffs. No pressure John Abraham.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Team youth and inexperience is a problem, but they can score points and kill an opposing quarterback.
14. Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan and Donavon McNabb together is all I need to put them this high.
15. San Francisco 49ers
Alex Smith is on the edge. If he blows it, the team will tank and he might not ever become a starter in the NFL again. If he nails it, his team will make the playoffs and he will get a huge new contract.
16. Oakland Raiders
Great special teams, above average defense, and a stable offense; is this really the Raiders? Maybe Al Davis is starting to remember what made him so great back in the day.
17. Houston Texans
Watching the Texans trying to build their defensive line around Mario Williams reminds me of the Cavs trying to build around LeBron, a massive organizational failure.
18. Detroit Lions
I really do believe in my gut that when all is said and done the Lions will make the playoffs, but logically I can’t justify that.
19. Tennessee Titans
It was a bad offseason for the entire Titans organization. From a coach being stolen, an out of shape Kenny Britt, Vince Young beating a guy, and Chris Johnson’s contract.
20. Miami Dolphins
I love Chad Henne’s arm strength and moxie, but not his inability to manipulate his throwing motion and release point. He will be a player I follow closely this season.
21. Chicago Bears
I expect the Julius Peppers signing and Mike Martz hiring to actually work out. But the lack of overall talent and Lovie Smith being mired in a bad coaching slump is too concerning to overlook.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have had an offseason of horrors. Their best pass catcher was traded for a bag of peanuts and their quarterback was suspended for being sleazy. Also serious injury concerns exist for several key players and their pass protection is still abysmal.
23. Seattle Seahawks
I like the changes that Pete Carroll has made to the Seahawks' roster and organization, but Tim Ruskell left them in ruins. I mean LeRoy Hill, seriously?
24. Arizona Cardinals
One of Antrel Rolle, Kurt Warner, or Karlos Dansby leaving would have been bad; all three being gone is a catastrophe.
25. Kansas City Chiefs
Their season hinges on whether Glenn Dorsey and Lawrence Jackson can step up to the plate and produce. Obviously I have my concerns.
26. Cleveland Browns
I might be one of the few who believe that Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren can form a successful long-term partnership. But in the short-term, Jake Delhomme is their staring quarterback.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A talented team, but the Bucs are raw and inexperienced. However Josh Freeman does look like the real deal.
28. Carolina Panthers
Jon Beason moving to the weak side to replace an injured Thomas Davis is the kind of shortsighted, desperate decision-making I expect of an organization on the hot seat.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Power struggles behind closed doors, rumors about relocation, a coach on the hot seat, an average quarterback, and a bad defense. Not a formula for NFL success.
30. St. Louis Rams
I go to bed at night feeling bad for Steven Jackson, and the dude makes $50 million more than I do.
31. Buffalo Bills
Worst quarterback situation in the NFL and they cut their best defensive player because they wanted to be nice to him. Yeah this will go well.
32. Denver Broncos
Being eaten alive by the injury bug.