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NFL Rankings... For Next Season!

Updated on December 7, 2012

It's too early unless it's too late.

I know, I know, we're still in the thick of the 2012-2013 season, and some of your teams are still very much alive!... but for some of us, next year is all we've got. And for some of some of us? I don't think next year will be much better. So... these are my pre-playoffs, pre-free agency, pre-draft, pre-time when it's appropriate to make pre-season power rankings... power rankings.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags need a lot of help. I'm not sure they can get it in one off-season. I honestly don't like the coaching there, and it looks as if they'll be parting with star runningback Maurice Jones-Drew. I don't like Blaine Gabbert or the acquisition of 32 year old Jason Babin. This team doesn't necessarily draft well and they've got some overpaid overrated players hogging cap space.

31. Oakland Raiders.
When you take a QB with the first overall pick, and that QB is a bust... like... say... Jamarcus Russell, it sets your franchise back a few years. Well, instead of suffering and rebuilding, Al Davis, and later Hue Jackson desperately traded and overpaid to get "stars" to play for Oakland. All that did was grant temporary relief, and by that, I mean back to back 8-8 seasons. So when Reggie McKenzie took over last off-season and hired Dennis Allen, they just blew the team up. I mean that in a good way. Its a process, but a lengthy one, the Raiders will still be bad next year, but with less of the filth that has kept the Raiders down for the last decade.

30. New York Jets.
The Jets.. Well... they have problems. Unless Bill Belichick trades Brady to New Jersey, this team will still struggle next year. They are in cap danger and need to make some serious changes. What kind of changes? Well...

29. Arizona Cardinals.
This team is the best of the very worst. They still have a superstar wideout in Larry Fitzgerald, and a good, young secondary, with some good interior pressure. They just need a good QB and a run game... Those two things are hard to find. This isn't a particularly strong QB class coming out of college, and the best free agents they can hope for are Matt Flynn or a longshot release in Joe Flacco, should the Ravens choose to move on without him.

28. Carolina Panthers.
This team has massive defensive issues, I don't like Ron Rivera as a head coach or Cam Newton as a starting QB, but this team does have talent and should win a few games.

27. Tennessee Titans.
The Titans have all the pieces to be a good team. They have a young QB, fast running back, and a good base for a defense moving forward. This is the kind of team that flirts with 8 wins.

26. Buffalo Bills.
This team has so much talent but never seems to use it properly. Blame it on Chan Gailey, blame it on injuries, blame it on Ryan Fitzpatrick, this team never seems to live up to the hype or make a run in the AFC East. I can't even take them seriously through the mystical scope of "Maybe next year".

25. Philadelphia Eagles.
This team is a mess. They'll be looking at a new head coach, new quarterback, new... everything. This team is a chaotic mess with spattered talent. We'll see if they can build quickly. what about,,,

24. San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers still have Ryan Matthews and Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates alllll of those players who light up the fantasy scoreboards, but next year, things will be different. No more A.J. Smith as GM or Norv Turner as a Head coach. Teams always suffer from coaching changes. Some players always struggle to learn, and this team will likely struggle against all the #2s in the other divisions, as well as the NFC East.

23. Cleveland Browns.
I don't like Brandon Weeden. That's it. Seriously. This team has a good offensive line, a great defense, and a powerful young back, the AFC's version of the Vikings. This team needs a new QB, some weapons FOR that new QB, and they could make a push in the suddenly fragile AFC North.

22. St. Louis Rams.
I love what Jeff Fischer is doing for this franchise. They managed to... kinda sweep the 9ers this year, and he's got lots of picks to play with over the next few years thanks to the Redskins. Maybe not next year, but coming up pretty soon, this will be a fun team to watch.

21. Miami Dolphins.
This is a solid young team with a lot of room to improve. Ryan Tannehill will continue to develop, this defense will continue to grow better, and Reggie Bush will do his best not to date a Kardashi-... I mean not to fumble. This team plays in a weird division, and shouldn't move too fast, but might dwell in that second spot for a while.

20. Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings have a good base. Decent secondary, great pass rush, and of course... Adrian Peterson. My only problems with this team, are Christian Ponder, and the fact that they play in the toughest division in football. I don't trust Ponder, he's a turnover machine, and I've never seen him make a big play. He doesn't compare to even the rookies of 2012.

19. Cincinnati Bengals.
I think the Bengals will live in the 14-20 power ranking zone for a couple of years. Andy Dalton is a good quarterback, and A.J. Green is a fantastic young target. They have an adequate run game, and a good defense, they could chase Baltimore and Pittsburgh for a while, but I don't seem them every reaching the "elite" stage that only the New Englands and Green Bays are familiar with.

18. Dallas Cowboys.
Every year it's the same old bit. Dallas is so talented. They have to be one of the favorites in the NFC. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Demarcus Ware, Jason Witten, these guys are jersey and fantasy football favorites, and yet every season, they flop. They blow huge leads, they lose the games they're supposed to win, they just come out flat and expect to win just because they're the Cowboys. This simply isn't true anymore, and I can't take them seriously.

17. Indianapolis Colts.
I like this team, I could see them making a wild card push, easily grasping a winning record, Andrew Luck will continue to evolve, but this team just isn't multi-dimensional enough to beat the elites. They're still a couple years away from that, but they are on their way.

16. Kansas City Chiefs.
This is my surprise team. The Chiefs are a very talented ball club, but they have one huge problem. The QB position has blown many games for the Chiefs. Cassel was a turnover machine, and Quinn isn't the answer long-term. They have a great defense, play in a crap division, and have all the tools for a good QB should one come along.

15. New York Giants.
This team is too inconsistent. One week, they're unstoppable, the next? They lose to the Redskins. I can't trust them anymore. They never stick to their guns as a team. One week all they do is pass, the next, they run. One week, they get a great pass rush, the next week, they can't pressure anybody. I can't count on them.

14. Houston Texans.
Matt Schaub is why I dropped this team so far. Arian Foster is great, Andre Johnson is really good, but the defense is the bedrock of this team, and they have struggled greatly without Jonathan Joseph. It is dangerous to rely on one player that much. This team has struggled against the weaklings of the league, such as Jacksonville and Tennessee. They'll win the division, simply because it's weak, and I don't think they'll go that far.

13. Detroit Lions.
This team inexplicably dropped off this year. Fans had high hopes for this ball club, but defense and the lack of a run game shattered their playoff dreams. They'll be back in the 2013-14 season, probably fueled by Calvin Johnson and their incredible air offense.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers
This team will never be awful as long as Mike Tomlin is their head coach. The defense is still thriving, and the offense is great, when healthy, which has been a problem. They need to get younger everywhere, but this team is still a threat in the NFL.

11. Washington Redskins.
This team benefits from having a great young QB, great young RB, and a decent receiving corps. There is some potential on the defensive side, but a full cap and a lack of draft picks will hurt this team when it comes to improving. If they can be remotely consistent, they can beat out a shaky division.

10. San Francisco 49ers.
This team has a great, gritty, physical defense. They can beat a lot of teams on that alone. However... The offense is lacking. Frank Gore isn't punching through defenses like he used to, and Harbaugh stupidly caused a QB controversy. Whenever you split the lockeroom, you have a problem, and it may have already cost them, as they lost to the Rams in overtime last week.

9. Seattle Seahawks.
I love Russell Wilson. I think he doesn't get anywhere near enough credit. He has more TDs than RG3, more TDs than Andrew Luck, and has a better shot at getting into the NFC playoffs than his Redskin rookie counterpart. This team will not lose at home, and have proven they are good enough to win on the road. A rookie QB from Seattle marched into Soldier Field and came away with a win after a 97 yard touchdown drive? That's just impressive. Much better than Alex Smith or Colin Kapernick.

8. Baltimore Ravens.
This team is very good, but that's about it. Joe Flacco is above average. Ray Rice is pretty good. Torrey Smith has a lot of potential but isn't properly utilized for full effect. The defense is aging, it isn't winning games for the Ravens anymore. Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs aren't getting any younger and can't stay healthy, and I'm not sure how much longer Ed Reed can play. This team is benefiting from easy scheduling, and a solid roster, but the younger Bengals and Browns are starting to catch up, and the Steelers aren't far behind.

7. Atlanta Falcons.
I don't like this team now. I don't think Mike Smith is all that great, I've never been blown away by Matt Ryan, especially not in the post season. But, as it is, they have won a lot of games this year, and they have some great players. I don't see this 53 winning the big one anytime soon, but they will have a winning record, but they'll fall short in a competitive division and conference.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This is a team that I really, really like moving forward. Their offense is explosive, and really fun to watch. Freeman is quietly coming into his own, and the 1/2 punch of Martin and Blount keeps the defense honest. If they can get any kind of talent in the secondary, this team will be a fierce contender in the NFC South.

5. Denver Broncos.
This team will take a step back next year as teams start to get used to playing Peyton again, and I can't think of any way this team will improve. They'll still be great, and make a regular season run, but they aren't an elite squad, and I can't seem them getting past Brady and the boys.

4. Green Bay Packers.
Despite the defensive struggles of the Packers, and the lack of a run game or healthy players, I can not pick against an elite arm like Aaron Rodgers. The kid is amazing, and has effortlessly held his own when being compared to the best arms in the league.

3. New Orleans Saints.
Lets be honest, if it hadn't been for the 0-4 start, this would probably be the team everyone was picking to win the NFC this year. Brees has still been flawless... Mostly (that 5 interception game... eesh) and I don't see that changing next year, in fact, their losing schedule this year will give them even weaker opponents next year.

2. Chicago Bears.
The Bears, when healthy, are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. All stars like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman, the list goes on. This team does need to get healthy, get Cutler another wideout to throw to, and help the line, but that's it. I think this team will be scary next season.

1. New England Patriots.
The Patriots are my pick to win it all this year, and they'll be the best team next year. Simply because their players aren't human. Coach Belichick has a scheme, and he finds the players that work it. This year, he developed a run game to go with the perfection that is the play of Tom Brady, and this young defense is finally starting to play well enough to win by themselves.


1. Baltimore.
2. Pittsburgh.
3. Cincinnati.
4. Cleveland.

1. Houston.
2. Indianapolis.
3. Tennessee.
4. Jacksonville.

1. New England.
2. Miami.
3. Buffalo.
4. New York.

1. Denver.
2. Kansas City.
3. San Diego.
4. Oakland.

1. New England.
2. Denver Broncos.
3. Baltimore Ravens.
4. Houston Texans.
5. Pittsburgh.
6. Kansas City.
Nope, I don't change my division winners in the AFC, they'll remain the same for the third straight year, and that's without including Pittsburgh, who slips in as a wildcard for the third consecutive season. The only difference is Kansas City, which is my sleeper team for next year, who will have to try and make a run without the comfort of Arrowhead.


1. Chicago.
2. Green Bay.
3. Detroit.
4. Minnesota.

1. New Orleans.
2. Tampa Bay.
3. Atlanta.
4. Carolina.

1. Washington.
2. New York Giants.
3. Dallas.
4. Philadelphia.

1. Seattle.
2. San Francisco.
3. St. Louis.
4. Arizona.

The Playoffs.
1. Chicago.
2. New Orleans.
3. Seattle.
4. Washington.
5. Green Bay.
6. Tampa Bay.
I shake everything up in the NFC however. Green Bay hasn't been convincing this season, and I don't know if they'll be able to get all the pieces together for next year. Chicago needs very little help to become an elite team, and my number one seed. The Saints, welcoming Sean Payton back, will crush the competition, and actually benefit from their losing season. I think the 49ers are overrated, and against the elite NFC teams, will struggle. The NFC East is such a toss up, that even this year, RG3 and the Skins could win the division. The Giants are inconsistent, the Eagles will be rebuilding for a while, and the Cowboys are a joke.

Biggest Rise- The Chiefs will go from doormat to wild card team, shocking everyone but me.
Biggest Drop- Houston dropping 13 spots from the NFL's best, to a team that simply takes advantage of the most pathetic division in the NFL.


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      6 years ago

      More gutsy predictions from the head and heart of Ryan Smith! Way to put it out there. This will be fun to revisit...this time next year :)


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