Scrooge's Rant

 Here are my top 16 teams as of now.  I have explanations for the top 10.  I will do my power rankings every week until the Super Bowl is finished.  I will also have my picks every week on a Tuesday or a Wednesday until the end of football season.

1. New England Patriots--This team is stacked and is the most complete team and the second most talented team in the NFL.  As always, the Patriots defense will be a top 3 defense and now that Tom Brady has weapons to work with, I expect a top 5 offense now that teams can't stack eight or nine in the box to stop the Patriots running game.  Don't forget that Bill Belichick is the head coach and Belichick masks weaknesses in his teams better than anyone else in the NFL.  This team's main weakness last year was the lack of ability to cover slot receivers and tight ends, that's why the Patriots got the best cover safety in the draft in Brandon Meriweather and got Adalius Thomas.  Does this team have any weaknesses?

2. Baltimore Ravens--This comes as a surprise to most people that I have the Ravens ahead of the Colts and Chargers.  After Brian Billick took over the playcalling, the Ravens were 9-1 in the regular season and Steve McNair played pretty well during those last 10 games.  He just had an uncharacteristically bad game against the Colts.  I expect this team to go back to the way it was playing during the last 10 games of the regular season.  When the Ravens were at their best last season, there was no team more dominant.  They also added Willis McGahee and even though McGahee isn't a great back, he's a decent back who'll be better than Jamal Lewis.  The Ravens did lose Adalius Thomas, but he was the 6th best player on that defense and his loss is something that Rex Ryan can scheme around.

3. Indianapolis Colts--This team has the best offense in the NFL.  The Colts have the best quarterback in the NFL(tied with Tom Brady) in Peyton Manning, they have two top 5 receivers in Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, they have a really underrated tight end in Dallas Clark, and they have an excellent #3 receiver in Anthony Gonzalez(I left Addai off this list because I don't think he's very good).  However the defense worries me.  I thought the defense was decent in the playoffs and a huge part of that improvement from the regular season to the playoffs was the improvement in the play of Anthony McFarland, but now he's gone for the rest of the season.  Not to mention that the Colts did nothing to help their defense.  The loss of Tarik Glenn is huge as well because the Patriots, Ravens and Chargers all have people that can really get after the quarterback and Manning could be on the ground a lot more than he's used to.

4. San Diego Chargers--They are the most talented team in the NFL and they're stacked at every position, but it's the coaching changes that worry me about the Chargers.  IT IS NOT JUST NORV TURNER!  The Chargers also lost both coordinators and 3 more position coaches.  They have a brand new coaching staff.  I know they're playing the same system, but the coaches and players don't have the chemistry that is critical to go to the Super Bowl and win it.  It'll take a year or two to fully build the chemistry between the players and the coaches.

5. Dallas Cowboys--Yes, the Dallas Cowboys are my #5 team.  I thought that the offense played pretty well as did Tony Romo, the problem was the defense.  That defense wasn't able to rush the passer down the stretch, but with Wade Phillips as the head coach, that won't be much of a problem.  Teams were double and triple teaming DeMarcus Ware and no one else on that defense was able to create any pressure.  Wade Phillips will bring the element of disguise to the Cowboys defensive front.  In any 3-4 defense, if you don't have any disguise, you won't be able to create pressure.

6. Chicago Bears--The Bears main weakness is Rex Grossman, but I wouldn't worry about him because he'll be benched by midseason.  Another thing that worries me about this team is the health of Tommie Harris.  When he wasn't there last year, the Bears run defense sufferred a lot.  Tank Johnson was also a pretty good player and his loss worries me a little bit as well, but it's something that the Bears should be able to get over.  Another worry about this Bears team is Cedric Benson, I don't think Benson is very good.  They could have trouble running the football without Thomas Jones.

7. Philadelphia Eagles--This team's main weakness last year was it's rush defense.  However, I believe that the Eagles won't have much of a problem with that run defense because of the development of Broderick Bunkley and the addition of Takeo Spikes.  The reason the Eagles aren't higher on this list is because of the durability of Donovan McNabb, but if McNabb can stay healthy, the Eagles will be one of the best teams in the league.

8. Denver Broncos--The Broncos had a weak defensive line last year and that really ended up hurting them.  That still remains a worry even though they added a lot of defensive lineman via the draft and waivers.  However, I think that Jay Cutler will have a terrific year.  He played pretty well in the 5 games he did play last year and I expect him to be even better in the next 16 games.  Don't forget that the Broncos have added a real runningback in Travis Henry and with that offensive line, I expect a huge season from him.

9. New York Jets--I don't know how the Jets went 10-6 with the talent they had last year, but they did and with the additions of Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Thomas Jones, I expect this team to be pretty good.  I think that their run defense will be improved with the addition of David Harris and Eric Mangini disguises his pass rush as well as anyone in the league to make up for the fact that they don't have an elite pass rusher.  This team did have an easy schedule last year, but they've done enough to become a true 10-6/11-5 team with a decent schedule.

10. New Orleans Saints--The Saints were a great story last year, but people, they aren't anywhere close to being a top 5 team.  Yes, they do have a great offense, but that defense is trash.  The Saints had a really easy schedule last year and that was a huge part of them going 10-6.  The Saints defense may have been ranked 13th in yards allowed, but they were in the bottom of the league when it came to rush defense and creating turnovers.  The Saints won't be better than 10-6 if that defense doesn't improve.

11. Pittsburg Steelers

12. San Francisco 49ers

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

14. Carolina Panthers

15. Seattle Seahawks

16. Green Bay Packers


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