1. Green Bay Packers-They are hands down the team to beat. I have no concerns about them. They will have a great chance at winning the Super Bowl again. The only question would be, do they still have the same fire and drive that they had last year?
2. Pittsburgh Steelers-It’s hard to find a weakness with this team. If they stay healthy and Ben Roethlisberger continues playing at the level he’s capable of playing on…the Steelers will fight for another division title.
3. New York Jets-They might have the best team morale in the league. They have a good mix of young guys and veterans and a strong leader in Rex Ryan. They will be a tough team to beat.
4. New Orleans Saints-They have arguably the best offense in the league. If Mark Ingram and Jimmy Graham live up to the hype then the Saints will put up a ton of points every week and be very difficult to stop. The Saints have some question marks on defense though.
5. Atlanta Falcons-They had a surprise season in some regards last year. They come into the season with high expectations. I think they are talented enough on both sides of the ball to have even more success than last year.
6. New England Patriots-Two names matter: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. As long as they are there, the Patriots are a top team.
7. Philadelphia Eagles-They will be the most fun team to watch every week, with the most intriguing story lines. They have a lot to prove though and health is a concern for multiple players.
8. Dallas Cowboys-Defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, is the difference maker this year. They need a tough defense in order to stop the Eagles and Giants and I think they will do a much better job of that this year. I also think Dez Bryant becomes an elite receiver this year.
9. Baltimore Ravens-We can usually count on the Ravens defense to be strong. I think the passing game improves this year with Joe Flacco taking a step forward and Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans and Ed Dickson being dangerous weapons.
10. San Diego Chargers-Top offense and defense from a year ago and they still missed the playoffs. It didn’t make much sense, but they will make up for it this year and get in.
11. St. Louis Rams-I’m on this bandwagon because of Sam Bradford and a solid defense. Also, Steven Jackson still has at least one more big year left in the tank. They will get more production out of the passing game and take some pressure off Jackson too.
12. Houston Texans-It’s now or never for the Texans. They get a big break with the Colts having uncertainty with Peyton Manning. If the Texans can’t make the playoffs this year, they will have to make major changes from top to bottom.
13. Chicago Bears-Can they trust Jay Cutler after his playoff performance last year? They won’t be much better this year and they might be a little worse.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-I think they had a nice season last year, but a lot of things went their way. They will have a much tougher year even though they are still building something strong for the future. I just think they take one step back before taking two steps forward.
15. Detroit Lions-They are everyone’s “darling” this season and with good reason. Ndamukong Suh is dominant on defense and Calvin Johnson is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Matthew Stafford is great when healthy, so the team will be fine as long as he’s out there.
16. New York Giants-Too many injuries and distractions in the offseason puts them as the third best team in their division in my mind, but against teams outside of the division…they will win some games.
17. Indianapolis Colts-Peyton Manning is the engine that makes this team go, so without him I have zero faith in them winning many games at all.
18. Minnesota Vikings-Donovan McNabb will probably have a bounceback year and we can always count on Adrian Peterson, but it’s hard to know yet how the other pieces fit together this year.
19. Denver Broncos-John Fox will help the Broncos be a middle of the pack team, but they made a huge mistake with how they handled the Tim Tebow situation before the season.
20. Miami Dolphins-They will be much better this year, but their division is too tough and Chad Henne is too average at quarterback.
21. Kansas City Chiefs-Too many injuries to start the season for me to have much faith in them right now.
22. Arizona Cardinals-Kevin Kolb will improve the offense and Beanie Wells will have a better season, but overall they are a below average team.
23. Cincinnati Bengals-A great young nucleus they will show glimpses of how special they will be, but it will be hard to be consistent every week with such inexperience.
24. Carolina Panthers-Cam Newton and Ron Rivera bring a new excitement and confidence to the Panthers, but a tough division and big holes in a couple key positions makes it hard to expect too much this season from the worst team a year ago.
25. Cleveland Browns-This is a young team that’s heading in the right direction, but they are still a couple years away from being relevant. (Isn’t that true every year for the Browns?!)
26.Buffalo Bills-Ryan Fitzpatrick will help them stay in games, but they don’t have enough talent on either side of the ball to beat teams like the Patriots and Jets who the Bills have to play twice.
27. Oakland Raiders-They added some young offensive weapons that should help, but they are still far from being a playoff contender.
28. Washington Redskins-The uncertainty at quarterback is too big of an issue. They might be a sleeper team if certain players overachieve, but I don’t see enough talent to win a lot of games this year.
29.Jacksonville Jaguars-They will run the ball well and their defense might surprise people, but it’s hard to get too excited about Luke McCown at quarterback for game one.
30.Tennessee Titans-The Chris Johnson holdout will leave a bigger impact on the team as the season gets going. They needed Johnson in camp to get on the same page with a new head coach and it didn’t work out that way.
31. San Francisco 49ers-What have they done to be a better team this year? I like Jim Harbaugh, but I don’t think it’s enough of a change.
32. Seattle Seahawks-A playoff team a year ago, decides to add 43 new players…it will take a while to develop chemistry.