Football is in the air again as training camps have finally begun. The longest part of the offseason is finally over and the beginning of the 2013 season is finally within reach. Before any football games are actually played, everybody is wondering which team is the best going into training camp and the preseason. Here are our power rankings here at Ramblin’ Fan headed into training camp all the way from the best at number one to the worst at number thirty two.
1. Denver Broncos
When will Peyton Manning stop, if a neck surgery can’t slow him down, there isnt much else that can. Manning has a new buddy in Wes Welker to add to an already good passing game. If Manning can fix his playoff struggles, I dont see anybody in the AFC that can keep this team out of the Super Bowl.
2. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks did nothing but get betterthis offseason, and if they were in any other division, they would be a lock to win it, however they are in a tough NFC West and nothing is a lock. Either way the Seahawks are one of the best teams in the NFL and will be for many years to come.
3. Atlanta Falcons
All the Falcons were missing was a running game that could put games away. Luckily for the Falcons they nabbed Steven Jackson. The Falcons also convinced Tony Gonzalez to stay for one more season. The Falcon are one of the best teams in the NFL and are going Super Bowl or bust this season. IF Matt Ryan can continue his playoff success from last season, nothing is going to stop them.
4. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are an elite team in the league right now. Unfortunately for them though, their number one receiver tore his Achilles tendon. If the 49ers can overcome that loss, they could make a deep run in the playoffs once again. With Colin Kaepernick having a full year under his belt as well along with an elite defense, this team may just get by just fine.
5. Green Bay Packers
When you have a quarterback like Aaron Rogers you are guarunteed to do well almost every season. Rogers is the best quarterback in the game right now and because of that the Packers will make the playoffs, however the reason this team will not make the Super Bowl and are not among the elite teams is because of their defense who did not play well last season to say the least.
6. Houston Texans
After struggling ever since they joined the league, the Texans finally got over the hump making the playoffs the last two seasons losing in the divisional round both times. This team has a good running game as well as a good defense, a recipe for success. If the Texans can play well at the end of the season, which is something they have struggle with, this team could make a Super Bowl run.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
This is one of those teams that are just waiting to get over the hump. They have improved on both sides of the ball and I really think they are going to be dangerous this season. The Bengals are definitely capable of making a strong run in the playoffs.
8. New England Patriots
They lost Welker, Hernandez…well we all know what happened with him, Gronkowski is hurt, and who are their receivers. The only reason the Patriots will have a shot at making the playoffs this season will be because they have a guy named Tom Brady playing quarterback.
9. New Orleans Saints
Like the Packers, there is no doubt that the Saints’ offense will be good, but whether or not their defense can play better. Sean Peyton will be back which will make a difference, but until their defense can start playing better football, this team won’t make it far in the playoffs if they make the playoffs at all.
10. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings success will all depends of if Christian Ponder can compliments Adrian Peterson’s running game. This team has a good defense, if Ponder and the offense can produce, they could surprise again in 2013, if not, the Vikings could be in for a long season.
11. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins improved a lot though free agency, however the teams that improve the most through free agency rarely play as well as their talent shows the next season. Example one being the “dream team” in Philadelphia. The Dolphins could be another victim of free agent frenzy, however with a young promising quarterback like Ryan Tannehill, I doubt that will be the case. With the Patriots being vulnerable this season, the Dolphins could win the AFC East.
12. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens will start the season at number 12, but I dont think they will be there for long. The Ravens lost a lot of key players in the offseason, and it may be hard for them to overcome those losses. The Ravens have been a defense oriented team for the last decade, now it’s time for Flacco and the offense to step up and carry the team like they did in the playoffs last season.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck could very well fall victim to the sophomore slump. The Colts had a storybook season last year, and it will be hard for them to match that again. The Colts have a nice foundation, a few more pieces and they will be a legitimate threat.
14. Saint Louis Rams
The Rams improved a lot in the offseason finally getting some weapons for Sam Bradford. Bradford must play well for this team to succeed and will carry the team on his shoulders now that Steven Jackson is gone. The Rams have a good defense, with a little offensive support they could sneak there way into the playoffs.
15. Washington Redskins
The Redskins surprised a lot of people winning the NFC East last season, and had RGIII not been hurt, they might have won the wild card playoff game against the Seahawks. The Redskins could go up from number 15 if Griffin comes back strong week one, but being only in his second season, with limited practice, the Redskins could get off to a slow start and not be able to catch up.
16. New York Giants
The Giants had a typical New York Giants second half collapse last year. The Giants did sign Victor Cruz which is huge, but in order to win, Eli Manning has to play like the Elite quarterback everybody knows and expects him to be.
17. Detroit Lions
The Lions had a disappointing 2012 campaign to say the least. The Lions need to play smarter and more consistent to get back to playing well. In my opinion Jim Schwartz will be on the hot seat to begin the season, the Lions may have to have a winning record or show a lot of promise in order for Schwartz to keep his job.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, I have the Chiefs at number 18, and really I could see them going up. The Chiefs were a good 2-14 team that like the Rams in 2011 were plagued by injuries and bad luck. Andy Reid will make a difference along with Alex Smith at quarterback. Keep an eye on the Chiefs this season.
19. Chicago Bears
I think getting rid of Lovie Smith was a bad decision for the Bears. Trestman could have a hard time making the adjustment to the NFL and Cutler could be distracted by his contract situation as well as his offensive line situation. The Bears seemed to be a piece of two from the Super Bowl, and now it looks as if they have taken a step back. Brian Urlacher should have nothing to worry about.
20. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are inconsistent and right now I dont know what to think of them. One second they look like a playoff team the next minute they look like they are going to be picking in the top 10. If Romo can play more consistent and the defense plays ok, the Cowboys could make a run at the NFC East once again.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers
Their spectacular defense is old and they just dont look like the same Steelers. This team will contend every week, but they may come up on the wrong end more times than they did in years past. This team will struggle to make the playoffs.
22. Tampa Bay Bucanneers
The Bucs are a lot like the Rams in the sense that their success all depends on how well their quarterback plays. Freeman started hot last season before falling off the map. The defense also got better with the addition of Darrell Revis. The Bucanneers have potential to get better, but as of now they will start the season at number 22.
23. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers also depend on Cam Newton to succeed. Newton just needs to be a little more mentally tough in close games. The Panthers are young and have a lot of room for improvement. This team has a bright future and are only a piece or two away from playoff contention.
24. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had a frustrating season last year going 4-0 before losing 11 of their next 12 games. The Cardinals went out and got Carson Palmer in the offseason which will be a huge upgrade at quarterback. The Cardinals will start the season at number 24, but I think they will be much higher by the end of the season.
25. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were one of those teams who were this close to possibly winning a Super Bowl. However, Phillip Rivers has looked lost the last two seasons and therefore the Chargers have been a major disappointment. If Rivers can start playing at the elite level that he showed he can play at, the Chargers could contend for a wild card spot.
26. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are one of those young teams that could surprise in 2013. Weeden and Richardson showed promise, now they just have to go out and win games. The Browns are slowly but surely improving. Another couple years and they could be in the playoffs.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have been disappointing to say the least the last two years. The quarterback position, and whether or not Chip Kelly will do well at the pro level are just a few questions in Eagles camp this summer. The Eagles have some talent they just have to figure out how to use it.
28. Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker has a lot to prove in his third season. The Titans have given him an offensive line as well as few weapons. If Locker doesnt show some promise this season, there is no doubt the Titans could pull him in favor of Fitzpatrick or even draft somebody next season to challenge him.
29. New York Jets
The Jets are pathetic, a circus act, a joke, need I say more? The Jets were close to making the big game twice, but since then they have gone the complete opposite direction. Rex Ryan is definitely on the hot seat this season, and honestly he will be lucky to finish the season.
30. Buffalo Bills
The Bills looked like they were so close to maybe having a shot at the playoffs a few years ago, but until they get the defense and quarterback figured out this team has a long way to go.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
This team all comes down to whether or not Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert can play good football. The Jags have a long way to go, but if they can show some promise this season, it would be considered a success.
32. Oakland Raiders
Nobody knows who is going to play quarterback, their defense isnt all that good, and they dont have any elite weapons. The Raiders were close to the playoffs a few years ago like the Bills, but have gone south since then. The Raiders very well could be picking number one overall in 2014.
Those are my Preseason Power Rankings. Make sure to comment and let us know whether or not you agree with the assessments that I’ve made.