It’s been 26 long years since the Chicago Bears have ended a season #1. I’m as big a Bears fan as everyone else so don’t get all worked up if you don’t see the Bears #1 in every power ranking that we do, or if the Packers are ahead of the Bears in the ranking. I’m a homer and pick the Bears to win every week in my pick em leagues, but if we are to do a serious power ranking the Bears are going to be who we thought they were and the rankings will not let them off the hook!! If not the rankings would just be the Bears in every spot 1-32. If they start the season 5-0 then you will probably see them in the #1 spot.
The Super Bowl combatants get the top two spots and the rest is one mans opinion and yours to debate, so here we go!
1. New York Giants- (9-7-Super Bowl Champs) Do I see them finishing here? NO, this was a 9-7 team who caught fire at the end of the season. Every five years or so, like an NFL locust, when Manning and Coach Coughlin seem to be at the bottom, they find resolve to make a Super Bowl run. Don’t be surprised if they don’t even make the playoffs this season.
2. New England Patriots- (13-3 Lost in the Super Bowl) As long as Tom Brady is healthy this team will be in the playoffs. How far they can and will go will depend on the improvement Belichick can make with his defense that was carried all season long by their high octane offense!
3, Houston Texans (10-6 Lost in the Divisional Round) They have arguably the best running back in the NFL in Arian Foster. They need Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson to stay healthy! They could have made a Super Bowl run without their injuries. Their young defense should continue to improve which was the backbone of the squad last season
4. Green Bay Packers (15-1 Lost in Divisional Round) They played their worst game at the wrong time against the Giants in the playoffs last season. Like the Patriots their offense carried them to a lot of their victories. They have the 4th easiest schedule going into the season with their toughest opponents basically being their divisional rivals. The defense with all the draft picks will determine their final fate.
5. San Fransico 49ers (13-3 Lost in NFC Championship Game) Was 2011 a mirage or did Harbaugh begin building a team that will dominate the NFC West for years to come? Their defense was simply awesome which led to a lot of victories by the leg of David Akers and not the arm of Alex Smith or legs of Frank Gore. The offense needs to catch up in the 2nd year of Harbaugh at the helm.
6. Baltimore Ravens (12-4 Lost in the AFC Championship Game) A chip shot field goal away from the Super Bowl now an aging defense must try to make one more run at a championship while Flacco needs to continue progressing to become a complete quarterback and not have Rex Grossman like bad games. It’s comforting to have all anything Ray Rice in the backfield.
7. Chicago Bears (8-8) Jay Cutler and company were hot and steamrolling to a playoff spot when Cutler got injured! Now new GM Phil Emery has retooled the wide receiver position and expectations are sky high. Will the turnover machine defense still be able to get things done with their increasing ages?
8. Detroit Lions (10-6 Lost in NFC Wild Card) This is a young, up and coming team with lots of talent on both sides of the ball. They have gone through a lot of off the field problems and there seems to be a serious discipline problem with this team. Calvin Johsnon is now signed long term (that’s what you do for your stars!) Should be playoff team unless undiscipline wins out.
9. Atlanta Falcons (10-6 Lost in NFC Wild Card) This is a boring team that needs more explosive plays from Julio Jones. Every game they play seems close due to their grind it out style. Michael Turner’s burner is getting older. Good team but not great!
10. Denver Broncos (8-8 Lost in AFC Divisional Round) Goodbye Tebowmania hello Mr. Manning. This team could make a huge jump if Peyton is healthy. They had a very good defense that kept them in games until the Tebow magic turned on. Now they have one of the most consistent QB’s of all time so offense scoring shouldn’t come at a premium anymore.
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) Somebody can dominate the week NFC West and the Seahawks have one of the best running backs out there if he can stay focused after signing his big extension in Lynch. Last season they didn’t have a quarterback, now they have the one game legend in Matt Flynn. If he’s close to as advertised the Seahawks could fly deep into the playoffs.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4 Lost to Tebow in AFC Wild Card) Steelers are another team that will be in the playoffs, but they are extremely boring for me to watch. Mendenhall is out so Issac Redmond is in (Fantasy Sleeper alert) Big Ben keeps plays and third downs alive as well as their hopes for another Super Bowl title
13. New York Jets (8-8) This is a team that is as over hyped as its blow hard coach. Revis Island is a myth because all he does is mug the receiver off the line all game long without penalty. Tebowmania is in the Big Apple so it will be extremely interesting how soon the media clamors for Tebow when Mark Sanchez struggles and yes Sanchez will struggle because he’s horrible! Wild card team only because the Mania will not be on the sidelines all year long.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) One season Tony Romo and the boys will get it all together and make a title run a la the Giants. This team always seems to be missing something, but like the Jets, America’s team, is usually all hype and no bite! The talent is there will Garrett be able to coach them up or will he be moving out?
15. Dream Team errr Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) They were suppose to play the Packers in the NFC championship game, but there poor start and poor endings in the 4th quarter prevented that from happening. How this team ends up hinges totally on the wings of Mike Vick. A happy extension signing DeSean Jackson should also help on and off the field.
16. Carolina Panthers (6-10) Cam Newton burst onto the scene last season and tried to single handily win every game. They were very close in most of their losses last season. Newton will have to improve his pass efficiency if he’s to get to the next level of an NFL QB. He’s a freek of nature at the QB position that could help push the Panthers to a Wild Card bid
17. St Louis Rams- (2-14) This is the year that Sam Bradford and the Rams take over the NFC west right? After missing out on the playoffs on the last game of the season in 2010, the Rams took a huge step backwards in 2011. Stephen Jackson has at least one more good season in the tank, but will Bradford improve or regress?
18. Tennessee Titans (9-7) Chris Johnson was terrible for the first 10 weeks last season due to a contract holdout, hopefully Matt Forte doesn’t have the same fate! Matt Hasselback found the fountain of youth last season, but it drys up pretty quickly in Nashville just ask Kerry Collins.
19. Tampa Bay Buccanneers (4-12) Tampa is another young team that took a giant step back last season. Vincent Jackson joins the receiving unit which should help in the development of Josh Freeman. This looked to be a hot team going into 2011 so what happens this season could be boom or bust!
20. Oakland Raiders (8-8) The Raiders made a huge move mid season to get Carson Palmer, but it wasn’t enough to escape the log jam at 8-8 in the AFC West and sneak into the playoffs. Raider Nation mourned the passing of Al Davis, and now they are ready to JUST WIN football games. Losing Michael Bush may be the biggest loss in the off season for the Raiders. AFC West could be theres, but it will probably go Denvers way in the end.
21. New Orleans Saints-(13-3 Lost in NFC Divisional Round) This is a very good team that is having the worst possible off season imaginable. From Bounty-Gate, suspensions, losing coach for the season, to Drew Brees contract dispute, the Saints are the capital of dysfunction entering the season. It seems like there are too many obstacles for this team to succeed in 2012. America likes an underdog that faces adversity, this could become their team if Brees comes in and the offense continues to put up ridiculous amount of yards and points. Unfortunately, all that probably will be scene is more losses that wins.
22. KC Chiefs- (7-9) This organization played every week hard and were in a lot of games, but they always seemed to end up just a little short. Their defense is superb and it will be up to the returning Matt Cassell to show some stability on the offense side of the football.
23. Cincinnati Bengals-(9-7) I’m going to go out on a limb and say last year was an aberration! That’s the best you could ask of Andy Dalton and AJ Green as rookies, and that there will be a sophomore slump from at least the QB. This organization doesn’t run off consecutive winning seasons so a 4-12 season isn’t inconceivable!
24. Washington Redskins-(5-11) Welcome Cam Newton Light to the NFL! RGIII has the keys to the castle and now what will happen? First it gives Shanahan a reprieve for his job for at least a couple more seasons, and it gives the Hog fan base hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. They have to be better than 2-6 in the Nation’s Capital if they plan to have any success this season.
25. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) Who’s the qb? Skelton or Kolb? Michael Floyd couldn’t asked to be drafted into a better situation than to have the most talented WR in the league in Larry Fitzgerald on the other side. This could be an exciting offense to watch or they could just be the Cardinals we have come to know and love. Probably the latter since Warner is in the studio!!
26. Buffalo Bills (6-10) After a incredibly hot start the Bills cooled off like the Buffalo weather. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not an elite QB and it showed as the season wore on. Getting Mario Williams to sign was a nice coup for a defense that needs to get some pressure on the opposing QB’s.
27. Miami Dolphins-(6-10) New Regime in Miami, New coach but the offense will struggle. The wildcat is no longer their secret weapon, but Reggie Bush had a nice year can he repeat it?
28. San Diego Chargers (8-8) This has to be one of the most frustrating teams to figure out. It has an elite QB in Phillip Rivers and one of the best TE of all times in Antonio Gates. It’s defense is solid, but last year had problems getting off the field on third downs, and the team lost its best receiver in Vincent Jackson. They will not make the playoffs this year! Disappointment personified.
29. Minnesota Vikings (3-13) Welcome to the land of rebuilding. Christian Ponder took strides in his first season, but the off season has been a mess in Minneapolis. Percy Harvin wants a trade and Adrian Peterson coming off knee surgery was arrested this weekend. This will be a very bad team this season even with Jared Allen getting a lot of sacks.
30. Indianapolis Colts-(2-14) The Colts were lucky to land Andrew and now he gets to learn under fire. At least Reggie Wayne re-signed even though the exodus of the names everyone became use to is pretty long from Manning, Addai, Clark, and Garcon to name a few. This will be a tough year for the Colts, but at least it will be interesting to read what owner Jim Irsay is tweeting about.
31. Cleveland Browns (4-12) Colt McCoy was ok last season, but it wasn’t good enough for the Browns to draft Brandon Weeden to battle over the QB posititon. Peyton Hillis was a major dissapointment after his breakout year in 2010 and now he’s gone. The Browns are in constant rebuild mode so this season will be no different. Mistake by the lake equals misery again!
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) If it wasn’t for Maurice Jones-Drew this would be the worst team in the NFL for a long time to come. Drew is a solid running back that helps keep the Jags in games. Blaine Gabbert was terrible last season, and will be back again this season, which could be his last unless large strides are made.
There you have it! Let the debates begin, all that matters is come February the Bears are ranked #1 in ALL ranking for the 2012 season!!