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20 July 2008

Season Preview

2008 Training Camp Power Rankings

2008 Power Rankings: Offseason

1 (1) Patriots 16-0-0 The Patriots may have major question marks at CB. But with the NFL's easiest schedule, that shouldn't matter. The key is staying healthy. (JC)

2 (2) Colts 13-3-0 The Colts head to camp with health concerns about Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney, but won a lot of games without them in 2007. (PK)

3 (3) Chargers 11-5-0 The Chargers have to make sure the injuries don't mount because this team enters training camp smelling its first Super Bowl visit in 14 seasons. (BW)

4 (4) Cowboys 13-3-0 QB Tony Romo knows the only way he can validate his immense talent is to win a playoff game. With this team, he'll finally break through. (MM)

5 (5) Jaguars 11-5-0 The Jags' draft concentrated on pass-rushers who can give Peyton Manning and Tom Brady a harder time. (PK)

6 (6) Giants 10-6-0 New York didn't have to wait until training camp for the Super Bowl hangover to start. Losing four key players on defense won't help, and Jeremy Shockey's not the type of person to put his ego aside to help the team. (MM)

7 (7) Steelers 10-6-0 Ben Roethlisberger looked awfully good this spring. He might be primed to join the elite QB class of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. (JW)

8 (10) Packers 13-3-0 Yes, they've had some unexpected drama this summer. With or without Brett Favre, however, the Packers have assembled a deep and talented roster that is built for the long haul. (KS)

9 (8) Seahawks 10-6-0 Coach Mike Holmgren is looking for the defense to toughen up on the road, which could be key as the offense works its way through personnel changes. (MS)

10 (9) Browns 10-6-0 Recent injury setbacks for WR Joe Jurevicius (knee), OG Ryan Tucker (hip) and CB Daven Holly (knee) have hit this team hard. But the Browns are deep. (JW)

11 (12) Vikings 8-8-0 The Vikings hit a couple of offseason home runs, signing WR Bernard Berrian and trading for DE Jared Allen. Their arrivals, plus the development of QB Tarvaris Jackson, should be enough to get to the playoffs. (KS)

12 (11) Saints 7-9-0 LB Jon Vilma and rookie DT Sedrick Ellis should make the defense significantly better. The offense already had plenty of talent. (PY)

13 (13) Eagles 8-8-0 This is the wild-card factor. With a healthy Donovan McNabb and and an improved defense, the Eagles could get back to winning NFC East titles. Keep your eyes on speedy rookie DeSean Jackson. (MM)

14 (16) Titans 10-6-0 The Titans will rely on offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger to jump-start the pass offense, while the run game and defense remain the backbone. (PK)

15 (15) Buccaneers 9-7-0 The defense always will keep the Bucs close. If Warrick Dunn, Earnest Graham or a healthy Cadillac Williams can provide a consistent ground threat, this team is in the playoffs. (PY)

16 (14) Redskins 9-7-0 We're about to find out whether Jason Campbell is the answer at QB. Head coach Jim Zorn was hired to help Campbell, and so far, the two are getting rave reviews. (MM)

17 (17) Cardinals 8-8-0 Edgerrin James turns 30 next month, but he's confident superior conditioning will help him avoid injuries that strike older running backs. (MS)

18 (19) Bills 7-9-0 Dick Jauron has the Bills poised to be a surprise playoff challenger. Trent Edwards had a great offseason working with the offensive changes implemented by new coordinator Turk Schonert. (JC)

19 (20) Texans 8-8-0 Houston could improve and not have its record show it because of competition in the AFC South. (PK)

20 (18) Panthers 7-9-0 Coach John Fox is betting his future that QB Jake Delhomme can make a full recovery from Tommy John surgery. Rookie RB Jonathan Stewart will have to make an immediate impact. (PY)

21 (22) Ravens 5-11-0 Choosing the right QB this summer could be the difference between a winning and losing season. (JW)

22 (23) Broncos 7-9-0 If Jay Cutler can stay healthy and Brandon Marshall can stay out of trouble, this offense will be fun to watch. (BW)

23 (21) Jets 4-12-0 Eric Mangini plans to go heavy on the run this year, but will there be enough offense to make a playoff run? The big question is at QB. (JC)

24 (25) Bengals 7-9-0 If new coordinator Mike Zimmer can rally the defense quickly, the Bengals could surprise. (JW)

25 (24) Bears 7-9-0 The Bears are hoping Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman will emerge as a viable quarterback, but their histories suggest otherwise. It's a big risk to take. As with the Lions, the defense will have to take control. (KS)

26 (28) Rams 3-13-0 Getting LT Orlando Pace healthy -- and keeping him that way -- must rank as the Rams' top priority heading into training camp and the season. (MS)

27 (26) Raiders 4-12-0 Optimism is sky high in Oakland. It might not be warranted, but the Raiders will be more fun to watch than in recent years. (BW)

28 (27) 49ers 5-11-0 The 49ers have not yet committed to a starting QB, but the season could hinge on whether Alex Smith recovers from a brutal 2007 season. (MS)

29 (29) Lions 7-9-0 Converting from a pass-happy offense to a more balanced attack is a good move for the long haul, but will take some time. This team needs to rely on its defense, which is under development. (KS)

30 (30) Chiefs 4-12-0 This is one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Let the rebuilding phase begin. (BW)

31 (31) Dolphins 1-15-0 Bill Parcells has improved the roster with his type of tough, physical players, but the success of the season will depend on what happens at QB. It's anybody's guess who will start -- John Beck, Chad Henne or Josh McCown. (JC)

32 (32) Falcons 4-12-0 The roster was gutted -- not a bad thing. But it's going to take time to add enough talent to make this team a serious contender. (PY)

We are ranked #7. I think we will definitely surprise some people this season. We have a top 10 offense, possible top 5 and a top 5 defense. I think our weak spot is on special teams. I think we have a chance this season to turn it around. I think it is vital for our qualifications into the playoffs. In other words, the better we return, the more often we win. I don't see our offensive line holding up for 80 yard drives all the time. The only thing that might hold us back it the strength of our schedule. Like I mentioned in a previous post (Steelers Schedule), we have the leagues hardest schedule this season. I am looking forward to how we stand up.

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