1. Green Bay Packers
Very young, very talented, very accomplished.
2. New England Patriots
Some may argue that they're ranked too high, especially over the Jets, who eliminated them. With Brady, as the league's best quarterback, and Billy B., as the league's best coach, only the Packers rank above the Patriots, in 2011.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Had Big Ben held back on a couple of throws, the Super Bowl would have ended differently. But it didn't. This is still an elite NFL team, and I expect much of the same in 2011.
4. New York Jets
Back-to-back trips to the AFC title game is impressive, and this team will only get better as Mark Sanchez evolves. I'd really like to see LaDanian Tomlinson return.
5. Baltimore Ravens
An ugly end to last season, but the Ravens are loaded with talent. Under Joe Flacco, this offense will continue to improve.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
There's already some negative predictions about the Chiefs in 2011, but I'm not buying it. Scott Pioli is building a solid team, and at this point, they're still the best in the AFC West.
7. Indianapolis Colts
This is the lowest I've ranked Indinapolis in a pre-season ranking, and that says alot about this team. They are consistently good. This is the first season I don't view Peyton Manning as the league's best passer, but knowing how he plays, he's probably going to shut me up fairly quick.
8. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were clearly the best team in the NFC going into the playoffs, but Green Bay exploded in the post-season and ruined their Superbowl aspirations. I think the Falcons are equipped to re-establish NFC dominance, but that means going through Green Bay.
9. New Orleans Saints
The Saints were shocked by the Seahawks in the wildcard, and I think that's put the perception of this team out of proportion. Alot of the things that made this team special in 2009 are still there.
10. Chicago Bears
People forget that Chicago had numerous chances of winning the NFC crown, even with Caleb Hanie at QB. Cutler is under a lot of scrutiny, but I think he's still the quarterback Chicago needs. The Bears will be a contender next season.