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NFC Power Rankings: 16 to 11

Awhile back, I had a reader request that I take a shot at giving my NFC Power Rankings.  As usual, I fully expect to eat my fair share of crow over things like this… but if I start collecting five star crow recipes now, I think I’ll be able to make it through just fine.

I’ve decided to break this down into three parts so keep checking back, and don’t lose any sleep over the suspense of it all.

#16  St. Louis Rams

The arrival of rookies Sam Bradford, Rodger Saffold, and Jerome Murphy is a start towards getting this team on track.  If their offensive line can gel (Saffold missed OTAs with a sprain) and Bradford can avoid rookie mistakes, then a Steven Jackson led offense might be able to put up some points.  Even if the stars align on offense, however, the additions of Na’il Diggs and Bobby Carpenter will not be enough to keep the Rams defense out of the bottom ten in the NFL.  Some sort of miracle is the only thing that could save this team from another frustrating scenario.  The fact that they drafted a quarterback that has been hurt the last two times he was hit means the Rams need to be careful not to push things too hard in an absurd effort to prove they don’t stink.

#15  Seattle Seahawks

“Out with the old and in with the new” has been the motto for the Seahawks this offseason.  Head Coach Pete Carroll has replaced Jim Mora.  Top picks Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, and Golden Tate represent one of the highest rated draft classes of the year.  Leon Washington, Charlie Whitehurst, and Ben Hamilton are mildly interesting veteran additions at best.  Adding rookie Anthony McCoy and veteran Chris Baker to a tight end group that already includes John Carlson could very well give the Seahawks the best tight end depth in the league, but that is about the best thing we can say about this team this year.  It’ll take some time to turn this bus around.

#14  Arizona Cardinals

Considering that this team gave up 90 points in their two playoff games, it was obvious that they needed to get better in order to remain on top of their division (of which three teams make up the bottom of my power rankings).  The only problem?  They got worse.  Much worse.  Their roster imploded when they lost Kurt Warner and Bertrand Berry to retirement.  Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, Neil Rackers, and Antrell Rolle are four more starters that will play for a new team in 2010.  The additions of Alan Faneca, Derek Anderson, Jay Feely, Joey Porter, and Kerry Rhodes do not make up the ground that was lost via retirements, trades, and free agency.  No Cardinal rookie, including Dan Williams and Daryl Washington, are locks to contribute in a big way in their debut season.

#13  Detroit Lions

Perhaps no team in the NFL improved as much as the Lions in the 2010 offseason.  I really like what they did by revamping their defensive line with the additions of Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, and Kyle Vanden Bosch.  The suddenly solid (on paper) front four will not completely negate the fact that the back seven are highly suspect, meaning the defense probably has another year to go before they can be a true force.  The offense has many of the pieces in place after adding a competent backup quarterback in Shaun Hill, a home run threat in Jahvid Best, a possession receiver in Nate Burleson, and pass catching threat in Tony Scheffler.  While the offensive line could use some improvement, the pressure will be placed squarely on the shoulders of second year quarterback Matt Stafford.

#12  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs don’t have a whole lot to be optimistic about after how things have gone down recently.  I think they could very well surprise a few more teams than they did last year, however.  By putting an emphasis on both lines (and switching back to the man blocking scheme) the Bucs are going about their re-build in the right way.  Their top two picks, defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, will go a long ways towards helping out their wayward defense.  Second round pick Arrelious Benn will give Josh Freeman the target that he needs to continue his forward progress.  This is a young team with an impressive amount of potential that just needs time before the talent is realized.

#11  Chicago Bears

On one hand, Mike Martz will inject this offense in a way that will automatically win them 2 or 3 extra games all by itself.  The downside is that might be all they win.  The additions of Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor were impressive given the relatively absent nature of this year’s free agent class.  However, this doesn’t entirely make up for the fact that the Bears had no draft picks in the first two rounds and were unable to address issues such as the offensive line, backup quarterback, or the multiple gaping holes on defense.  I left the wide outs out of that list, and refrained from making any Jay Cutler jokes, because I think the Bears passing game could surprise a few defenses that come into Sunday expecting to walk away with it.

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4 Responses to “NFC Power Rankings: 16 to 11”

  1. bigjohnny84 says:

    Damn it Adam, cant serve you any crow yet but I think the Cardinals could end up the Lions of last year.

  2. Coolio says:

    I made my own power rankings for my blog yesterday. Adam I like these rankings but I think your a bit low (1 or 2 places) on the Seahawks and a bit high (1 or 2) on Tampa.

  3. […] This is the second installment of my NFC Power Rankings.  For the first part, click here. […]

  4. […] eleven teams in my preseason power rankings in two segments this week.  The two posts can be read here and here.  Now, onto my top five teams in the […]

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