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2012 NFL Power Rankings

Updated on August 31, 2012
Football season is almost here.  Every team is gearing up to go on that quest for the Lombardi Trophy.  Let's see how the teams stack up in these first meaningless power rankings
Football season is almost here. Every team is gearing up to go on that quest for the Lombardi Trophy. Let's see how the teams stack up in these first meaningless power rankings | Source

That's right, another meaningless power rankings. Be honest, you've had enough of these, huh? If you are a hardcore fan, you probably love it, if you are not, well then, sorry. The season is less than a month away, and as the preseason games kickoff, we are getting into that groove. It's about that time, my people. Football season is upon us. And as usual with football season, we always have these meaningless rankings that spark hate-filled discussions among fanbases all over the world. They won't be like your typical rankings like basing the rankings off of what transpired last season. Teams change too much year-to-year, and I'm going out on a limb with some of these rankings. It's hard to believe once again that the New York Giants are the defending champions after having yet another average NFL season. They seem to have a knack for getting hot at the right time. You have to give it to him. But where do they rank on this list? Let's find out.

The Green Bay Packers are #1 on this list.  They look to improve defensively and build off an impressive 15-1 season that ended in disappointment after failing to defend their SB championship.
The Green Bay Packers are #1 on this list. They look to improve defensively and build off an impressive 15-1 season that ended in disappointment after failing to defend their SB championship.

1. Green Bay Packers

Surprised not to see the SB Champs here? You shouldn't be. The Packers are #1 on this list for a variety of reasons. For one, they have Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best QB in football, and he has at his disposal arguably the best weapons in the game. They have a defense, that was absolutely atrocious last year. So atrocious in fact, that they spent six of their eight draft picks on defense. Just based on the law of averages alone, the Packers' defense should improve. Let's keep in mind that they are a year removed from having a top-5 defense. They were also #2 in defensive efficiency rating according to Football Outsiders. Odds are the Packers won't come close to finishing dead last in defense this year. That's scary to think about considering they went 15-1 with the worst statistical defense in the NFL.


I could just say because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick that the Pats are high on this list, and that would be a good enough argument.
I could just say because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick that the Pats are high on this list, and that would be a good enough argument.

2. New England Patriots

Never bet against Belichick and Brady. The best 1-2 coach-quarterback combo in the L. Like the Packers, the Pats went into this offseason focused completely on defense. Using six of their seven draft picks on defense. Unlike the Packers, the Pats have sported a below-average defense for quite a while, but they manage to always overcome it because of their high-octane offense. You could pretty much take it to the bank that they win the AFC East. Death, taxes, Pats winning the AFC East. They have one of the easiest schedules in football this year, and the path to another Super Bowl berth is well within reach. Maybe this time, they will finish, and get that elusive fourth championship.

The New Orleans Saints look to get past Bountygate and challenge the Packers and Giants for the NFC crown.
The New Orleans Saints look to get past Bountygate and challenge the Packers and Giants for the NFC crown.

3. New Orleans Saints

Bountygate this, Bountygate that. That's all you've heard from coming out of New Orleans this offseason. Been quite a tumultuous offseason for Who Dat Nation. After not having a pick in the first two rounds because of a trade with the Pats last season to acquire Mark Ingram that required them to give up a future first-round pick, and losing their second-round pick on account of the Bountygate scandal, the Saints look to move forward and continue their stretch of dominance in the NFC South. After finally inking Drew Brees in what could have been another disaster for the franchise, the Saints are marching on with their proverbial leader. They will still sport one of, if not the best, offense in the NFL once again. That offense should still go through defenses like milk goes through the lactose intolerant. They should play sound(and legal) defense. Don't sleep on this team just because of an offseason full of scandal and bad press. Who Dat Nation will be back in full force once again, and the Saints will be a team in the NFC to be reckoned with.

The Giants look to defend their Super Bowl title after yet another magical postseason run that ended in them defeating the New England Patriots for the championship
The Giants look to defend their Super Bowl title after yet another magical postseason run that ended in them defeating the New England Patriots for the championship

4. New York Giants

Hard to really explain it. The Giants just never go down when you think it's over for them. The Giants always seem to get hot at the right time. They've done this not only once, but twice. It doesn't hurt that Eli was ridiculously clutch once again. Why they are #4 on this list isn't in any way to disrespect them. They had a great run, but let's put things in perspective. They were a 9-7 team a year ago, and had one of the worst defenses in football. That's not such a bad thing when you consider the top 3 on this list had bad defenses statistically as well, but the Giants don't exactly have the ability to put up 30+ points a game on a weekly basis like the Saints, Packers, and Patriots consistently did. Their defense did improve dramatically in the playoffs, but based on a much larger sample size, the defense was pretty mediocre. They did have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL last season, but nine wins is still nine wins. The schedule doesn't get any easier this year having to face the Packers and Saints once again. That doesn't even include their tough division. They should improve this year after a solid draft, and a defense that should continue to build off what it did in the playoff run. The Giants definitely deserve a top 5 spot on this list, but it's hard to make a case for them being #1 other than the fact that they are the defending champs.

The Eagles look to finally become the Dream Team and fly to their first Super Bowl title in their franchise history.
The Eagles look to finally become the Dream Team and fly to their first Super Bowl title in their franchise history.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

Now that they have awaken from their nightmare, the "Dream Team" will aim to look this season as they were supposed to look last season. Assuming Vick stays healthy, and the defense continues to improve as it did in the last month of last season, the Eagles could challenge for the NFC crown. Vick has set the bar even higher with talks of a dynasty. Maybe this season the Eagles will live up to the hype. Andy Reid has added motivation given his recent loss. May his son rest in peace. They will look to win one for the Reid family. Fly, Eagles fly.

NFL Power Rankings

Team
2011 Record
2011 Football Outsiders Team Efficiency Ranking
2011 Offensive Rank*
2011 Defensive Rank*
1. Green Bay Packers
15-1
1
3
32
2. New England Patriots
13-3
3
2
31
3. New Orleans Saints
13-3
2
1
24
4. New York Giants
9-7
12
8
27
5. Philadelphia Eagles
8-8
9
4
8
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
12-4
4
12
1
7. Baltimore Ravens
12-4
7
15
3
8. San Francisco 49ers
13-3
6
26
4
9. Chicago Bears
8-8
15
24
17
10. Dallas Cowboys
8-8
14
11
14
11. Houston Texans
10-6
5
13
2
12. Atlanta Falcons
10-6
8
10
12
13. San Diego Chargers
8-8
16
6
16
14. Denver Broncos
8-8
24
23
20
15. New York Jets
8-8
10
25
5
16. Detroit Lions
10-6
11
5
23
17. Seattle Seahawks
7-9
19
28
9
18. Carolina Panthers
6-10
20
7
28
19. Cincinnati Bengals
9-7
17
20
7
20. Arizona Cardinals
8-8
28
19
18
21. Miami Dolphins
6-10
18
22
15
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4-12
30
21
30
23. Tennessee Titans
9-7
13
17
18
24. Washington Redskins
5-11
21
16
13
25. Oakland Raiders
8-8
22
9
29
26. Buffalo Bills
6-10
23
14
26
27. Kansas City Chiefs
7-9
26
27
11
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
5-11
27
32
6
29. Cleveland Browns
4-12
25
29
10
30. Indianapolis Colts
2-14
31
30
25
31. St. Louis Rams
2-14
32
31
22
32. Minnesota Vikings
3-13
29
18
21
*Offensive and Defensive Rankings are based on total yards a game.

Three teams to watch out for

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A year removed from 10-6, one of the youngest teams in the NFL looks to bounce back after an abysmal season. Although their ranking is pretty low, that still doesn't mean they can't improve and make the NFC South the toughest division in football. Greg Schiano looks to add some magic in a similar way that Jim Harbaugh did in San Francisco after jumping from college to the NFL to be a head coach. Adding All-Pro, Carl Nicks, ex-Charger WR, Vincent Jackson, and rookie, Doug Martin, could go a long way into helping this franchise get back on a winning track and do it the "Buccaneer Way."

Dallas Cowboys

One of the more polarizing teams in the L, saw its season end on a sour note once again with a loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. In a season plagued by questionable coaching decisions, 4th quarter-collapses, and the most famous punctured lung of all-time, the Cowboys look to improve in the Jason Garrett era. An era that has gotten off to a decent start, but certainly not what Cowboy fans have anticipated. In order to improve, the Cowboys needed to address that secondary that was ultimately its biggest weakness. Signing Brandon Carr to a lucrative deal, and moving up to the sixth spot in the draft to take Morris Claiborne, along with cutting Terence Newman was a step in the right direction. Also cutting aging inside linebackers, Bradie James and Keith Brooking can only help make their defense younger and faster.

They still have Ware, they still have Romo, they still have Witten, and they have an emerging DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee. If Dez Bryant can get past his off-the-field issues, he could possibly be in for a big season. Miles Austin just needs to stay healthy. The addition of Callahan was a great acquisition and he should help a makeshift offensive line play with more physicality and consistency. America's Team looks to be a team that could make some noise, but this is what people say every year, and then they let them down. Maybe this year will be different.

Denver Broncos

It's really hard to tell you to watch out for them. They have pretty much been in your face for over the last few seasons. Ever since they drafted the one and only, Tim Tebow, they have been one of the more popular teams to talk about in the NFL. Now that he's gone, add Peyton Manning to the mix. After a classy exit from Indianapolis, look for Peyton to immediately put a team, that actually just came off of a playoff win, on the map for at least the next two or three seasons. As long as Peyton is behind center, they have a chance to beat anybody. He makes the players around him substantially better, and that will translate immediately in Denver in a weak division. Denver is a team that nobody in the AFC will want to face in the playoffs.

3 teams that could take a step back

San Francisco 49ers

Jim Harbaugh is arguably one of the best coaches in the game already. You have to love his energetic style, intelligence, and the way he has given Alex Smith all of the confidence in the world. Why they could take a step back doesn't have anything to do with JHar. The 49ers just had a lot of things go their way last season. The defense forced 38 turnovers. That is quite impressive, and you could argue, is doable for them again. However, what is not doable is only having 10 total turnovers for the season. That was the least in the NFL. They turned the ball over 10 times, and forced 38 turnovers. That is a staggering 28+ turnover differential. Which was obviously the best in the NFL.

The 49ers did that because Alex Smith wasn't Alex Smith. He was someone else. It's highly unlikely that Alex Smith has a season like that again, especially when you consider he was sacked for a league-high, 44 times. He was sacked 44 times, fumbled seven times, and only lost two of them. That is just not sustainable. Through it all, the 49ers had the 26th best offense. So they had one of the worst offenses in the league, in a league that is more offensive-oriented than in the past, yet still won 13 games? This is not to mention that they gave up three rushing TDs all season. Another feat that is just not sustainable. To put that in perspective, the 2000 Ravens gave up five rushing TDs. The 85 Bears gave up six rushing TDs. Those are both considered two of the best defenses of all-time.

Just ask yourself. Do you think the 49ers defense can duplicate what they did last season? You are probably thinking they can come close, but ask yourself this. Can Alex Smith have seven turnovers for an entire season while taking 40+ sacks again? Can the 49ers' offense as a whole have just 10 total turnovers for the entire season again? Can the 49ers have a turnover differential in the 20+ range again? Case closed.

Houston Texans

It's really quite simple. They are the Houston Texans. They still have Gary Kubiak. They still have Wade Phillips who's defenses tend to not play consistently year-to-year. They still have Matt Schaub who has yet to win a playoff game. Do you really think their defense can duplicate what they did last year without Mario Williams again? Oh, no thank you. Your money should be on Houston being Houston.

Detroit Lions

Like what was said about Houston could be applied to the Detroit Lions. They are still the Detroit Lions. They are too undisciplined, and their secondary play is atrocious. They just may duplicate last season, if they can manage to force 34 turnovers and score seven defensive TDs again; the latter being the most in the NFL. Odds are that won't happen again with such a below-average secondary. Their defensive line is still elite, and they should get a good amount of sacks, and force turnovers, but you can't expect it at the rate they did it last season. You also can't assume that Matt Stafford will stay healthy, and if he does, you can't really expect him to duplicate last season either. Still a great young team, but you can expect them to take a step back playing in a division with the Packers and the Bears.

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    • Schule Covers profile image

      Jesse Schule 4 years ago

      No step back for San Francisco

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 4 years ago from Georgia

      It's interesting to see how things have played out. Looks like you got the Patriots right. Go Falcons!!

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