1. Baltimore Ravens – The Baltimore Ravens came up victorious in the Super Bowl after many trials and tribulations in the regular season. They deserve the top spot in these rankings. That will change once they lose key players in free agency.
2. San Francisco 49ers – It took too long for the 49ers to step up during the Super Bowl, but I’m not too worried about this team. They’re young, and they’ll be back with a vengeance. As long as Colin Kaepernick doesn’t regress, the 49ers will be a very scary team.
3. Denver Broncos – They were one play away from getting to te AFC Championship, and something tells me that they would have gone past the Patriots and make it to the Super Bowl. They need to find some more playmakers on defense to give Peyton Manning and the Denver offense more room to breathe.
4. Atlanta Falcons – The biggest thing the Falcons need to work on is holding a lead. During the first half of their divisional game and conference championship game, the Falcons were scary good. They need to play like that throughout the entire game. Another pass rusher could help that
5. Seattle Seahawks – Say what you will about the Seahawks, they came very close to making the NFC Championship after not even making the playoffs in 2011. They need to give Russell Wilson reliable targets in order to have the consistent offense that is needed to win in the playoffs.
6. New England Patriots – Expected me to put the Patriots higher on this list? Not me. The Patriots are on a serious decline ladies and gentlemen, and it showed in the second half of the AFC Championship game. They weren’t on the Ravens level. Lucky for them, the AFC East is weak and that makes the Patriots a lock for the division title.
7. Green Bay Packers – What happened to the Packers swagger? They just didn’t impress me during their postseason run. Even in the wildcard round against the Minnesota Vikings. They need to get back to protecting Aaron Rodgers and letting him work in the pocket.
8. Houston Texans – When will the Texans take control of the AFC. This was supposed to be the year. I think it all comes down to Matt Schaub. He hasn’t given his team the fire in the playoffs that they desperately need. They can’t get rid of him of course, but it’s something they may need to consider if they fail to make the AFC Championship next year.
9. Washington Redskins – The biggest thing for the Redskins is getting Robert Griffin II healthy. He is their team. They’ll do ok with Kirk Cousins, but RG3 is the difference between being a playoff team and a mediocre team.
10. Indianapolis Colts – This season was much better than expected for the Colts, but don’t be fooled, they still have many holes to fill. They were blessed with an easy schedule this year, but they won’t be blessed with one next year.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton needs to have more urgency in the playoff games. He doesn’t seem to get his team fired up and ready. A QB needs to do that sometimes, and I haven’t seen Dalton do it. Maybe a star WR would help.
12. Chicago Bears – It will be a make or break year for Jay Cutler as far as I am concerned. He hasn’t done much for Chicago since he’s been there and fans are beginning to get impatient. They already went all out to get Brandon Marshall, but a TE would help Cutler too.
13. St. Louis Rams – I really believe that with a good draft and free agency the Rams will be a team to watch out for in 2013. Sam Bradford is continuing to improve, while the defense has a very good group of corners. They should consider bringing in a veteran receiver that Bradford can trust in clutch situations.
14. New York Giants – The Giants repeated their record from the 2011 season, but they weren’t anywhere close to a Super Bowl. Consistency continues to be a problem for the Giants week in week out. Young guys are contributing as often as they should. However, we all know how quickly they can turn things around.
15.Minnesota Vikings – This season will go down as a success for the Vikings, but can they expect a repeat performance in 2013? sooner or later, teams will found out a way to slow down Adrian Peterson. When that day comes, Christian Ponder is going to have to find ways to make plays.
16. New Orleans Saints – Sean Payton is finally back! Too bad that won’t be enough to fix their defense. That will be up to Rob Ryan. He’s bring over his scheme and we’ll see how that goes.
17. Dallas Cowboys – This is it. This will be a make or break for the Dallas Cowboys. After two straight years of missing out on the playoffs by one game, Jerry Jones knows that if the Cowboys don’t make it this year, they need to fire Jason Garrett and maybe even get rid of QB Tony Romo. We’ll see what happens.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are really starting to concern me. They have a great coach in Mike Tomlin, a reliable QB in Ben Roethlisberger and a defense that continues to be one of the best in the league. Why have the fallen down from the spot they were on as one of the AFC’s most formidable teams?
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman played well enough in 2012 to warrant another year as their starting quarterback, while RB Doug Martin provided a reliable running back in the backfield. They defense needs some work, especially the secondary.
20. Carolina Panthers – Why are the Panthers not higher than the Bucs on these rankings? Salary cap. The Panthers have some serious salary cap issues heading into the offseason this year, limiting the possibilities of bringing in big players to help Cam Newton.
21. San Diego Chargers – Mike McCoy will take over a team that has a lot of talent on the roster. As long as McCoy and his coaching staff can plug-in players where they need to be, the Chargers could make a playoff run.
22. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill needs more weapons. That should be the biggest need the Dolphins need to fill. Their defense played fairly well in 2012, but the offense didn’t do much for them. Once the offense can put more points on the board, the Dolphins could challenge for a playoff spot.
23. Cleveland Browns – I’m actually starting to come around on the Browns. Rob Chudzkinski made a great hire in Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. Turner will help develop Brandon Weeden and continue that development of RB Trent Richardson.
24. Tennessee Titans – The hire of Gregg Williams could bring the leadership the Titans defense needs. On the offensive side of the ball, Jake Locker needs to stay healthy. Before Locker’s injury, he appeared to be a very good quarterback. With a new offensive coordinator, Locker should shine in an offense more suited to his style.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – Chip Kelly was a great hire for the Eagles. College coaches don’t always pan out in the NFL, but Kelly will probably find success in the league. The talent is still there for the Eagles and the coaching staff may now be there too.
26. Detriot Lions – Like the Eagles and Chargers, the Lions have immense talent on their roster. Unlike the Eagles and Chargers, the Lions decided to stick with their head coach. We’ll see whether or not that comes back to bite the Lions.
27. Buffalo Bills – I’m not a big fan of Doug Marrone as the Bills new head coach, especially if the Bills also decide to pull the trigger on Ryan Nassib in the first round. Decisions like these keep you team out of the playoffs.
28. New York Jets – The Jets aren’t being clear on whether or not they want to keep Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback. That’s just ridiculous to me. They need to get a quarterback. Period. Why do they not understand that simple concept?
29. Arizona Cardinals – Don’t get me wrong Bruce Arians did a great job filling in as head coach for the Colts. However, the Colts have something the Cardinals do not have. A quarterback. and unless the Cardinals can trade for Alex Smith, they won’t have a good quarterback for another year.
30. Oakland Raiders – After putting a terrible team on the field week after week, the Raiders have decided to keep Dennis Allen. Why? I understand that he’s great at engaging and leading his players, but he’s just not a great strategist. He fails at preparing his team for the upcoming game. They should also consider getting rid of Carson Palmer after a below average year.
31. Kanasas City Chiefs – The hire of Andy Reid as head coach saves the Kansas City Chiefs from the bottom of these power rankings. Reid is ready to start over with a new team and the Chiefs will be that team. He doesn’t seem interested in starting Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn in 2013, so who will the Chiefs put on the field at QB?
32. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars are last for very good reason. They really have no idea what they’re doing. It’s absolutely ridiculous what this team is doing. I like the hire of Gus Bradley, but that where it stops. 1. This team wants to build their team around Blaine Gabbert? Why? Gabbert has been the worst QB in the league for two years now. 2. The team’s new logo. It looks like the Jaguars logo underwent a sex change. This team is going nowhere.