|Rank||NFL POWER RANKINGS 2013
Choosing Baltimore as the best team in the NFL power rankings 2013 was easy. Winning the Super Bowl is hardly the sole reason for leading the pack. There was no more dominating team in the NFL than the Ravens.
The loss of Ray Lewis is less concerning than the potential loss of Ed Reed, but Flacco has taken control in Baltimore, and defense isn't leading the way now. With plenty of young talent, and an explosive offense, Baltimore should ride their new found confidence into 2013.
The Ravens beat the red hot Colts, Peyton Manning in Denver, Brady in Foxboro, and then won the Super Bowl. Nuff said. Until someone proves to be better, Baltimore leads the way.
|2.||SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The poor play that closed out the Super Bowl won't stop San Francisco from being a powerhouse next season.
Colin Kaepernick is just one of the young NFL stars returning to the 49ers. With players like Joe Staley, Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree, and Mike Iupati, look for San Francisco to come back even better.
They do have to address Alex Smith, and could possibly get a good trade using him. Teams still haven't figured out how to completely shut down the pistol offense and Kaepernick. Even with the rise of Seattle, the Niners are odds on favorites in the NFC.
Yes, Denver lost to Baltimore, and they had an easy schedule. (if there is one in the NFL) That doesn't change the fact they won 11 straight games in the NFL. No matter how "easy" the schedule, that's not an easy task.
Manning will need to get to the Super Bowl next season, as he's not getting any younger. Thankfully for Denver fans, the young dynamic players around him will have another year of experience, and another year of learning from Peyton Manning.
The Broncos weak schedule actually hurt the team, if they played more competitive teams, they would have been far sharper. Look for Denver to come out hot in 2013. If Manning's post season record were better, the Broncos would be atop the NFL power rankings 2013 list.
|4.||NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl in 8 years, but they are always in the hunt. Next season won't be any different for Brady and Belichick. If they re-sign Wes Welker, which they should, Brady will have Welker, Gronk, and Ridley at his disposal.
The Ed Reed talks would be icing on the cake for Patriots fans who have watched the defense struggle. New England won't return to their Dynasty prowess, but they will be a better rounded NFL team in 2013.
Atlanta got over the hump last season, finally winning a playoff game. They lack a consistent running game, but there is no doubt they have an explosive offense.
If the rumors are true, Tony Gonzales will return for one final run at a Super Bowl. I have a feeling that Matt Ryan will have a career season in Atlanta.
|6.||GREEN BAY PACKERS
Another season in Green Bay and the same set of issues to address. After releasing Woodson, the Packers need to shore up the defense and MUST re-sign Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, and probably Aaron Rodgers.
After they do that, the lack of running game will have to be fixed if Green Bay has any hope of a Super Bowl run. Finally, protection of Rodgers is no longer optional. Rodgers is great at extending plays, but it happens too often and one bad hit is all it takes.
One of the NFL's Cinderella stories of 2012, the Seahawks are more than just a one season fluke. Quarterback Russell Wilson exploded out of the third round to earn the starting spot, and hasn't looked back.
Seattle has lost Gus Bradley to Jacksonville, but I don't think this will have the negative impact most expect. Dan Quinn is capable and will fill the shoes of Bradley just fine. This is a Seahawks team that has a solid defense, great quarterback, and better than average running game. Watch out 49ers, the West won't be given away.
I'm going to be careful here. The Texans are like the Falcons, they have trouble winning big games. The difference is I see Atlanta getting past that, but I don't see it in Houston.
I want to see if the Texans add another deep threat to compliment Andre Johnson and the running game of Arian Foster. if the Texan can't do that, I don't see the results changing in 2013.
|9.||NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
This one is easy. Sean Payton is back, Sean Payton is bitter, Brees is still there, the Saints are good again.
|10.||NEW YORK GIANTS
The New York Giants are the polar opposite of teams like the Patriots and Broncos. They perform average in the regular season and then become an elite NFL team come January. Eli Manning may be the most clutch post season quarterback playing today. Unlike his brother who wins consistently in the regular season, followed by playoff failure, Eli works in the exact opposite way.
With constant health issues, the Giants will need to remain healthy to compete in the NFC East. If they do though, watch out. Hakeem Nicks has got to find a way to play all 16 games, especially with the team cutting ties with Ahmad Bradshaw.
Eli can't carry the team alone, and this offseason will need bear fruit for the Giants to return to the playoffs. Once you get there, then Eli will carry you through.
With $51 million in cap space the Bengals can add pieces to get past the first round of the playoffs in 2013. The continued growth of A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Andy Dalton are going to be enough to get the post season again.
Will they win their way to the second round? That's where the cap space could come into play.
Most don't feel the Colts will repeat he 11-5 success in 2013. I disagree, and I think Luck separates himself from all the other young NFL quarterbacks.
The Colts have a great core of young talent. The loss of DE Dwight Freeney will be felt from a leadership point of view, but Luck is a born leader. I see the Colts winning 10 games and getting to second round of the playoffs.
A key to Indianapolis' success will be the development of a run game. If they can average 5 YPC the Colts will be even better in 2013.
I gave Washington a favorable ranking based on the return of Robert Griffin III of 2012. The success of this team comes down to three questions.
1. When does RG3 return?
2. What is the condition of the knee?
3. What changes will be made to the offense to protect him?
This is my bold prediction for 2013. I think the Cowboys not only win the NFC East, I think Dallas is Super Bowl bound.
With the addition of Monte Kiffin and the 4-3 defense, Dallas will be a much improved defense. This will give Romo the chance to control games and set the pace. Watch out NFL, the Cowboys are the sleeper of the year.
I need to see what happens with Percey Harvin this offseason, but no matter what you only need to say one name...Adrian Peterson. Not likely to repeat the insane performance of 2012, it's hard to bet against him. If the Vikings add another passing option, the sky is the limit. If teams couldn't stop AP when they knew he was getting the ball, what happens when they don't?
This is as generous as I can be in the NFL power rankings 2013. There is really only one word for the Steelers, old. Mike Wallace is leaving, the defense is anchored by Troy Polamalu, who isn't far from the end of his career. If that's not enough, please tell me who is running the ball in 2013?
Next to the Chiefs, putting the Lions at 17 will get the most reaction. Last year's poor performance will serve as a wake-up call to Jim Schwartz and the Lions. Louis Delmas and Chris Houston are free agents, but they don't hold the key to Detroit's success.
Don't forget that Lions fans know Schwartz brought Detroit from 0-16 to the playoffs. Lions fans won't forget. Detroit has plenty of talent, and a quarterback in Stafford that has a cannon for an arm. The pass rush isn't so bad either.
The upside to 2012's embarrassing performance is another top 5 draft pick on a good NFL team. Watch out for Detroit, they WILL be good in 2013.
I'm giving Chicago the benefit of doubt, and ranking them at 18. New head coach Marc Trestman has a solid resume, but now he's dealing with Jay Cutler. The Bears QB could be one of the most animated quarterbacks in the NFL, not to mention outspoken. Trestman will need to lean on defensive coordinator Mel Tucker to handle the defense, giving him time to work with Cutler.
Trestman knows how to handle a personality. After all he did work will Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. If he does get through to Cutler, the Bears could do what they were supposed to last season...win.
HA! Here we are! Will all the hype of Chip Kelly translate to NFL success? In short, yes it will. What has to be determined is how much of the Oregon offense does Kelly think he can bring to the NFL?
He won't be running plays every 20 seconds, or going for two after every touchdown. I also doubt we will see any colored play cards from the sideline. So what does Kelly bring?
He's done well in securing 3 NFL quarterbacks for less than $12 million. He is also a brilliant offensive mind, but unlike Oregon, Kelly is dealing with players making more than he is. There is a control factor that's lost in the transition to the NFL, and he will have to work within the limits of the cap. That's not something he had to deal with in Oregon. The whole country was open to him in the NCAA, the NFL won't let you recruit.
If Kelly comes in with a "gimmick" type offense, he tenure will be short lived. If he works to his coaching strengths, then the NFC East is going to be a good division to watch.
After a terrible start in 2012, Ron Rivera saved his job by going on a tear over the last two months of the season. Finishing 6-3 to close out last season, we saw signs of Cam Newton's rookie debut. The big question for 2013 is how Mike Shula will fill the shoes of Rob Cudzinski.
Carolina will need to improve in the run game (not counting Newton) if they are to have any shot for 2013 success.
That won't be easy as Carolina is over the cap and on the list for release are Jonathan Stewart and Chris Gamble.
I would like to see what Carolina does in the upcoming draft. If the loss of Chudzinski doesn't sink the offense, the Panthers could pick up where they left off in 2012.
|21.||ST. LOUIS RAMS
Hmmm...Sam Bradford. If the rookie quarterback class of 2012 did anything, it was show where Bradford is lacking. The Rams can lose close games like no other team in NFL history. They can look brilliant, then morbid. Jeff Fisher is a great NFL coach, so I'm holding onto hope for the Rams, but it's gotta click in 2013.
St. Louis can fight in games against San Francisco and Seattle, and turn around and lose to Arizona? The potential to be good is there, but consistency plagues the Rams. I dare to say that if Bradford can't perform this season, the Rams should look elsewhere for a leader.
If there is a team that could either be a dumpster fire or beauty queen, it's the Dolphins. If the Packers don't franchise Jennings (which is doubtful) and they could find a way to appreciate what Reggie Bush does for them, Miami could be a sold NFL team.
All signs point to Bush not being in Miami next year, but the Dolphins could still be dangerous.
|22.||TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tampa Bay is another NFL team with questions at quarterback. Josh Freeman shows signs of being the man for the job, but then week 10 happened in 2012. The Bucs fell apart and Freeman wasn't there to lead his team back to contention.
The secondary (CB) has to be head coach, Greg Schiano's, first and only focus in the NFL draft.
I'm not sure what team to expect in 2013, but Tampa Bay has a punchers chance to see the playoffs, but Freeman needs to be the team leader.
|24.||SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
I ranked the chargers at 24 only because of my faith in Mike McCoy. Phillip Rivers has never impressed me, and can anyone say 4th and 29?
After years of dealing away skilled players, then not replacing them, the Chargers are rebuilding in many ways. Besides the receiving core, McCoy's best running back can't finish an NFL season to save his life.
At least McCoy has the advantage of still being in the AFC West. This should help by knowing his opponents, but 2013 won't be the year we see the Chargers return to the playoffs.
Cleveland is in the midst of complete overhaul. The beat up defense, 4 new coaches, and new ownership will take it's toll. That's not to say that Cleveland is dead in the water.
In 2012 the Browns were no longer a "sure win" on any NFL team's schedule. This was a beat up version of what we will see in 2013.
In the long run Cleveland may end up a formidable team to face, but the mass change taking place will hurt them in 2013.
Michael Lombardi and Rob Chudzinski have a lot of work to do, but they aren't starting with nothing.
|26.||KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
This is where I'll get blasted the most. Kansas City has an abundance of talent, and Andy Reid will get the most out of it. The feeling I get from Reid is he wants redemption from the stigma that the Eagles horrid season left on him.
The Chiefs have the glaring issue at quarterback, but I've stuck to the belief that Reid will find a quarterback in free agency and build around the skilled play makers already in place.
Alex Smith could run an Andy Reid Chiefs team, and win. The bar isn't set too high in Kansas City, and people forget that this team had 6 Pro-Bowl players. Don't forget, they also have the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs will surprise the AFC West, and the NFL in whole.
Hard to believe that Arizona started so many quarterbacks, and not one stuck. The loss of Ray Horton won't hurt the Cardinals nearly as much as the lack of a starting quarterback, and an offensive line to protect him.
Bruce Arians did a legendary job with the Colts last season. Stepping into the head coaching job under those circumstances shows real character. That will go a long way in setting the tone for the Cardinals, but it will take time for Bruce to get the team he wants.
Unlike the trend of mobile NFL quarterbacks, Arians is a traditionalist. This couldn't be a worse draft class to need a franchise quarterback. That's especially true when the best available QB is considered a running QB, and you don't want that.
I leave room for Arians to perform another miracle, but it's not going to end with Arizona in the playoffs. If the Cardinals can win 9 games in 2013, that should be considered a success.
I have always been higher on Fitzpatrick than most. When Bills owner Ralph Wilson talked about the almost desperate need for a franchise quarterback, I couldn't help but wonder, who will he throw the ball to?
I actually think Buffalo and the "high speed" offense they want to use could be run well by Fitzpatrick. He's smart, big, and has a good arm. Buffalo is a young team, Doug Marrone needs to inform his boss of the teams real need, a big time WR.
Watch out for Buffalo to out-perform the expectations of most. They could be the sleeper of the NFL power rankings 2013.
|29.||NEW YORK JETS
What can you say about those Jets. I know that last job anyone would want is the one John Idzik took as GM. The Jets have some fundamental issues to face, and the organization will get uglier before it's gets better.
Trading Revis isn't optional, it's mandatory. No matter what the front office is preaching, the Jets cannot afford to keep Revis. The team can't afford what he'll demand for 2014, so if they don't deal him now, they won't get anything for him. Greatest cover corner or not, the Jets are too desperate to keep him.
The other blaring issue is the quarterback situation. Staring down the $140 million against the cap, New York will have to endure Sanchez one more season. The cap restriction also limits what they can obtain to improve next season. Sorry Jets fans, but next season is likely to be as bad, if not worse, than 2012.
With just under $20 million in cap room, Titans fans may see a much needed improvement in the offensive line. Chris Johnson will like this, but he better get it together in a hurry. Right now Johnson looks like a player who got the big pay day, and just stopped trying.
If he does get a new line, which he should, and we see the old C2K, then at least the Titans are heading in the right direction. One thing is certain, the head coach won't survive another 6-10 performance.
New GM David Caldwell has quite the mess on his hands. With a terrible defense and miserable offense, the Jags need Daryl Smith back.
Gus Bradley was a good hire for Jacksonville, and should help correct the discipline issues. Unfortunately there is a lot of work to be done before Jacksonville is near contention.
Well, what can you possibly say about the Raiders. They haven't shown any sign of getting better in years. Oakland has the talent to do SOMETHING, but year over year they just fail.
I won't beat up on the Raiders, the facts are what they are, and Oakland needs a serious jump start.