With NFL training camps just a week away, we're releasing our first power ranking of the year. Undoubtedly injuries, surprises and disappointments will have this list looking a lot different at the end of the season, but it should be interesting to revisit to see how teams have performed relative to their preseason expectations.
Giants - A quick scan of national major media outlets preseason NFL power rankings reveals that virtually none have the Giants on top of their preseason power rankings. In some ways, I get it. The Giants are not the most talented team in the league. But haven't we learned to underestimate them at our own risk?
Patriots - That the Pats made the Super Bowl with a defense as bad as it was, giving up a second worst 411 yards per game, is a minor miracle. They won't be as bad this season and the team added 6 new defensive players with their first 6 picks.
Packers - The only defense in the league that gave up more yards than the Pats was the Pack. You have to think they'll improve on that side of the ball, but they'll be facing major threats in their division from the Bears and Lions.
Ravens - Losing Terrell Suggs is big, but this is still a team not short on both offensive and defensive playmakers.
Texans - Before Matt Schaub went down, this team looked like a serious contender. With him back healthy, they should be again. Plus, the loss of Mario Williams won't be as dramatic as some think.
Eagles - This will amazingly be Michael Vick's first full offseason as a starting QB since he left Atlanta. Plus, expect the defensive signings of last season to really pay off this time around.
49ers - The Niners defense should continue to be legit, but questions still remain about their offense and Randy Moss isn't going to answer them.
Broncos - There's no team in the NFL that made a bigger upgrade than Denver in replacing Tim Tebow with Peyton Manning.
Steelers - Pittsburgh has made a serious investment in their offensive line over the last two seasons and could have one of the younger and more talented units in the league to show for it.
Falcons - Atlanta may be the least scary good team in the league. Did you know that of the 10 worst tacklers in the NFL over the last 3 seasons (at their respective positions), Atlanta employs 3 of them? (Asante Samuel, Sean Witherspoon & Lofa Tatupu).
Saints - Its so hard to know what to think of the Saints. Talent-wise, they'll still be good even with the suspensions. But what kind of effect will their offseason drama have on the organization in general?
Bears - Chicago's defense should still be solid and Brandon Marshall will improve their offense, but they're playing in a very tough division.
Lions - Detroit will return one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL, but their defense is equally dangerous... to them. They're undisciplined and overall not as good as they think they are. Ndamukong Suh needs to have a bounce-back year and lead that group.
Bengals - Cincy surprised everyone last year, this time around we'll see how they respond with some expectations.
Chargers - The loss of Vincent Jackson will hurt, but AFC West isn't killer. With a good start, this team should be contending for a wild card.
Cowboys - Getting DeMarco Murray back healthy and they've mortgaged a part of their future to get Morris Claiborne to help solidify their secondary.
Jets - Lost in all the Tebow nonsense is that the Jets have been a pretty good team over the last 3 years. Last year was down for sure, but this still should be a pretty talented group.
Titans - The QB battle in camp between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker should be interesting. Locker winning it could mean good stuff for the Titans this year.
Bills - They've built a pretty impressive defensive line and have some good skill players on offense, but questions remains about their offensive line and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Raiders - With a full offseason, it will be interesting to see if Carson Palmer can get back close to the QB he once as. If so, they could be pretty good.
Seahawks - Seattle has the makings of a decent team, but the dominant storyline in camp will be their QB battle.
Cardinals - Speaking of QB battles, its Kevin Kolb vs John Skelton down in the desert. It would be nice to see Kolb justify the trade last season.
Chiefs - Romeo Crennel guided the Chiefs to a decent finish last season. With a few key starters returning healthy, he's in a good position for a decent season.
Panthers - Cam Newton's great rookie year masked that the Panthers still likely have a long way to go.
Buccaneers - Spent big money on free agents this offseason, although mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Defense is still a big question mark.
Redskins - This year is all about teaching RG3 the NFL game. Given the pass rushes in the NFC East, there will likely be some rough lessons.
Dolphins - The same should probably be the case in Miami, but they may actually start David Garrard or Matt Moore.
Rams - The RG3 trade was a coup for the Rams, that is assuming Sam Bradford isn't actually as bad as he looked last year.
Browns - Cleveland doesn't seem to have much going for it, but then again, I thought the same thing about Cincy last year. Can rookie QB Brandon Weeden duplicate Andy Dalton's success?
Vikings - Adrian Peterson being healthy for the start of the season could mean good news for fantasy teams, but I don't know that it will affect the outcome of the Vikings season all that much.
Jaguars - Jacksonville picked Justin Blackmon to help out Blaine Gabbert, whose rookie season was... disappointing, to put it mildly.
Colts - Indy is transitioning a new a defense, don't have much in the secondary and a suspect offensive line. But they've got Andre Luck, so that's a start.