2012 NFL Preseason Powre Rankings: Training Camp Kickoff Edition
You know the drill by this point. I’ve done these for nearly a decade. With Training Camps starting in a couple of days, here is the preliminary look at where the teams are at this point. Obviously final cuts, last minute pickups and observations during Camp will alter these rankings more than the actual preseason games.
GIANTS CAMP BEGINS THURSDAY IN ALBANY.
1. New York Football Giants.
The Champs remain at the top by default until they lose a game. However, the Giants actually are the best team in football top to bottom and depth-wise. Health will be the key, from enduring Camp until and through the season.
2. New England Patriots.
The Patriots have reloaded all over their offense this offense. They have about 20 Tight Ends now. Their offense will be tough to stop, and their defense will have caught up by midseason.
3. Baltimore Ravens.
They retain Ray Rice. Joe Flacco will somehow continue to receive even more unwarranted praise, and Ray Lewis is another year older. They had to coax Edward Reed not to retire. They have one more run left in them. Will they avoid the choke?
4. San Francisco 49ers.
They will not be as good as they were last year. I don’t care how many big named free agents they signed.
5. Green Bay Packers.
I’m more or less concerned with their defense. Their offense will be all-world, but can they stop anyone?
6. Pittsburgh Steelers.
A lot of this depends on how well Todd Haley can integrate his offense, and if they can sign Mike Wallace.
7. Detroit Lions.
Half the team drives drunk, but if they can manage to stay out of jail, they should be fine.
8. Carolina Panthers.
They lost 6 games last year solely because they could not stop anyone defensively at the ends of games. Their offense is actually even better than it’s Top 5 machine from last year, and they’re healthy on defense. They will win the NFC South.
9. Chicago Bears.
I underrate them every year, and they somehow win games that they shouldn’t. They merit this — at least on paper — for now.
10. Oakland Raiders.
They finally turn the corner this year. FINALLY.
11. Houston Texans
They took a big step back, IMO.
12. San Diego Chargers.
This is their last chance. They don’t get it done this year and Norv, AJ and Gates are all gone. Rivers will be Carmelo’s Twin as the two guys under the most pressure to win titles now that LeBron James is off the schnide.
13. Washington Redskins.
I like the pieces they’ve added. No superstars (other than “Bob Griffin”, as Osi Umenyiora refers to him), but fine additions. They need to be healthy to have a chance to get back above .500.
14. Dallas Cowboys.
Every year, the same thing. Yawn.
15. Philadelphia Eagles.
“Dynasty” hah. Don’t you have to win a playoff game first?
16. Cincinnati Bengals.
Don’t believe in Marv after they go to the playoffs. I see a 7-9 season coming.
17. Atlanta Falcons.
Matt Ryan will continue to be overrated once again.
18. New Orleans Saints.
They’ll be fortunate to go .500.
19. Arizona Cardinals.
They better decide on a QB early and stick with it. They are wasting a legend (and a couple of soon-to-be Pro Bowlers’) prime years with two below average hacks back there.
20. Seattle Seahawks.
I don’t see much to convince me that they’ll be any better than this, which is where they ended last season in my rankings.
21. Buffalo Bills.
They’ll be the league pacesetters, it appears.
22. Tennessee Titans.
Locker? Hasselbeck? Chris Johnson back?
23. Denver Broncos.
Peyton Manning could come back 100% and I don’t see where they have the offense.
24. Kansas City Chiefs.
Who knows what to expect from them? They still don’t have a QB.
25. New York Jets.
Considering their defense isn’t what it once was, their already-pedestrian offense just took a HUGE step back.
26. St. Louis Rams.
Steven Jackson deserves better than this. At least they’re paying him handsomely for wasting his career on a team that will never even finish above .500, much less win a playoff game and MUCH, MUCH less a Super Bowl.
27. Indianapolis Colts.
Although I am predicting that they win the AFC South — yes, I mean it — they’re starting out here.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars.
New everything, same results.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I love Greg Schiano. We used to go to the same church out in Jersey. I don’t like the constant bad vibes coming out of their camp about Blount.
30. Miami Dolphins.
They’re making strides. Small strides. But strides, nonetheless.
31. Cleveland Browns.
Don’t expect much from them this year.
32. Minnesota Vikings.
If they win more than 3 games next year, I’d be surprised.