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2008 NFL Power Rankings: Final Preseason


This is the final version of my Preseason 2008 NFL Power Rankings. I'll be using these rankings as my order for the next update of my 2009 NFL Mock Draft.

I've included a projected win total for each squad, while Matt McGuire sent me his own take.

I've gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don't see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don't worry; the Chiefs, Rams and Falcons aren't my top teams.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - Previously #29
    Poor Larry Johnson. He actually looks healthy after Herm Edwards tried to sabotage his career by giving him 416 carries in 2006. Johnson struggled to gain 3.3 yards per carry in a preseason game against the Dolphins because the offensive line just couldn't open up any running lanes. Seriously, it was the best 3.3 YPC performance I've ever seen.

    It really doesn't help that Brodie Croyle plays stoned and the defense sucks. One reporter asked Derrick Johnson what it was like playing with two new linebackers. Johnson responded that it can be confusing because they're sometimes out of place. However, he looked like he was thinking, "Son of a b... why did Carl Peterson pair me up with these losers!?"

    Throw in the fact that the kicking situation is a joke and Edwards is bound to ruin some games with his terrible Xs-and-Os coaching, and we could have the worst team in the NFL.

    Projected WIN Total: 2-4

    Matt McGuire's Take (4-12): This is the worst offensive line in the NFL and it didn't get better when Branden Albert went down with an injury. Larry Johnson will get hurt, Brodie Croyle will suck, and the Chiefs defense won't stop the pass. This is a team that had a great draft, but needs another high pick to continue to acquire more talent.

  2. Chicago Bears (7-9) - Previously #24
    In my 2008 Chicago Bears Season Preview, I compared the team's offense to the 1992 Seahawks'. That Seattle squad averaged 8.8 points per game and finished 2-14. Quarterbacks Stan Gelbaugh and Kelly Stouffer combined for nine touchdowns and 20 picks. They were sacked a total of 60 times, and they each failed to complete 50 percent of their passes.

    Sound familiar? Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman are the only quarterbacking tandem in the NFL capable of putting up such ghastly numbers. Chicago's offensive line, which will be without Chris Williams for a while, can't block at all. And to top it off, Orton is one of the ugliest players in the NFL.

    I pegged the Bears to finish 4-12, citing that their defense and special teams would carry them. Well, the stop unit has been horrendous this preseason, while Devin Hester will be expending a lot of energy on offense. Uh oh...

    Projected WIN Total: 2-4

    Matt McGuire's Take (4-12): There will be no offense after losing the best player on the Bears' offense in rookie LT Chris Williams. The defense has looked bad in preseason, which isn't a good sign.

  3. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Previously #30
    So, Mike Nolan, J.T. O'Sullivan is your quarterback, huh? How did that happen? Oh, because he knows crazy Mike Martz's offense? Any other reason? Oh, because you ruined Alex Smith's career by teaching him four new offenses every year? And because the sissy-armed Shaun Hill can't fling the ball longer than 10 yards through the air?

    I'd say this offense is a disaster waiting to happen, but Matt already beat me to the punch. Oh, and the defense sucks too.

    Projected WIN Total: 3-5

    Matt McGuire's Take (3-13): This offense is a disaster waiting to happen. J.T. O'Sullivan has no arm strength, the offensive line is questionable, and the offensive coordinator is Mike Martz.

  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) - Previously #32
    The one thing I like about Matt Ryan is that he'll limit his turnovers. In all of his preseason action, Ryan has thrown really short stuff and seldom has gone downfield. That's fine if you have a cheap quarterback for hire, but Ryan was a No. 3 overall pick. The Falcons didn't draft him so he could be the next Chad Pennington or Jeff Garcia.

    The good news for Atlanta is that its offensive line held up this preseason and its cornerbacks look surprisingly good. The bad news is that Ryan is inexperienced and the defense isn't good enough to win games on its own.

    Projected WIN Total: 4-6

    Matt McGuire's Take (5-11): Curtis Lofton has looked great in the preseason, but the defensive line is still suspect. It will be baptism by fire for Matt Ryan. He's not going to get much help from the running game or offensive line. Does this sound familiar (Carr, Harrington, Couch, etc?)

  5. St. Louis Rams (3-13) - Previously #28
    In the second week of the preseason, the Rams looked like the worst team in the NFL. They obviously played better with Torry Holt in the lineup, while Steven Jackson's return should give them another boost.

    That said, you don't have to go mini-golfing with St. Louis management to figure out that their team is seriously flawed. Marc Bulger's always hurt; Orlando Pace will miss some time (he's already banged up); the rest of the line blows; and the defense could be even worse.

    There's room for improvement if everyone stays healthy, but realistic Rams fans know that's not a possibility.

    Projected WIN Total: 4-6

    Matt McGuire's Take (6-10): The move to the 3-4 defense is eminent, and so is Orlando Pace's season-ending injury.

  6. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Previously #25
    I still find it hilarious that Steve McNair announced his retirement just two weeks after the Ravens stated that they were confident with McNair and Kyle Boller going into the 2008 season. That can't be good news for the team's 2008 success. McNair's gone, Boller could be out for the year and Troy Smith is banged up. That means Joe Flacco could be the starter this entire season.

    Unlike Matt Ryan (read the Falcons entry), Flacco has shown me that he can develop into a solid starter in this league. However, he's a rookie and he's going to make tons of mistakes. I'm also not sure what's going on with the left tackle position. Is Ed Reed OK? When will he be back in the lineup? And will Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle ever be completely healthy again?

    Projected WIN Total: 4-6

    Matt McGuire's Take (5-11): It should be more of the same in Baltimore, and I didn't see good things in their horizon when they made Joe Flacco the No. 18 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

  7. Miami Dolphins (1-15) - Previously #31
    I projected the Dolphins to go 2-14 before the acquisition of Chad Pennington and the reemergence of Ricky Williams. There's no question Miami is better with those two in the backfield, but I have to wonder if they're stunting the team's growth in the long run.

    What's the maximum number of victories the Dolphins can achieve this year? Six? Seven? By going 7-9, they'll miss out on a top-notch defensive player in the 2009 NFL Draft (excluding Channing Crowder, they're really lacking here.) Sure, they'll have some stability this year, and going 0-16 is now out of the question, but Miami has to ask itself whether it wants to be a Super Bowl contender in 2011, or just another run-in-the-mill team.

    Projected WIN Total: 5-7

    Matt McGuire's Take (3-13): If you want a power running game, you probably shouldn't have a starting quarterback that commands eight in the box (Pennington). This is the worst defense in the NFL, and their record will reflect it, like last year.

  8. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Previously #27
    I love it how all of Matt Millen's high draft picks are already failing. Gosder Cherilus (chosen No. 17 overall) can't even beat out the beleaguered George Foster at right tackle. Feather weight middle linebacker Jordan Dizon is sitting behind Paris Lenon. Kevin Smith will wear down (he carried the ball 460 times in 14 games last year). Third-rounders Andre Fluellen and Cliff Avril are buried on the depth chart.

    One selection Millen didn't screw up on was the No. 2 overall pick he spent on Calvin Johnson last year. But I guess a blind, drunk, one-legged squirrel can find a nut once in a while. Johnson's transformation to one of the elite NFL receivers is eminent, and should be exciting to watch.

    Projected WIN Total: 5-7

    Matt McGuire's Take (6-10): I still don't see a pass rush or much talent in the linebacking corps other than Ernie Sims. It won't help when Roy Williams bolts as a free agent in the offseason, but Calvin Johnson will deliver in 2008.




  9. Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Previously #26
    Given the following conversation I made up between Al Davis and his assistant back in April, I found it amusing that Javon Walker nearly retired this summer and had trouble getting open against practice-squad cornerbacks:

    Al Davis: Yawn... it's morning already? How long was I out for?

    Assistant: Two years, sir. Do you want to look at the free agent list?

    Al Davis: Sure. Whoa! Javon Walker's available!? Let's sign him!

    Assistant: Umm... sir, I don't think that's a good idea... See, he's coming off an...

    Al Davis: I'm calling up his agent right now! Let's make him such a huge deal that he won't even leave this city without signing! How's a $55 million contract sound?

    Assistant: Not too good sir...

    Al Davis: You're right! Let's make it $66 million!

    Assistant: No sir! Don't do it!!! Noooo!!!!

    At any rate, I like Oakland's defense a lot, but the offense will be mired by JaMarcus Russell's inconsistency and the offensive line's inability to pass protect. Russell is much better than Andrew Walter, Josh McCown, Cade McNown and whomever the Raiders had at quarterback last year, but he won't be able to lead the team into the playoffs just yet.

    Projected WIN Total: 5-7

    Matt McGuire's Take (6-10): The Raiders' season truly comes down to how JaMarcus Russell plays. He was incredible against the Titans in the preseason. If he can put out that kind of leadership and poise into the regular season, the Raiders could win 10 games. As of now, I'm not sold on the toughness of the defense or Russell elevating his play because he is so young.

  10. Washington Redskins (9-7) - Previously #18
    Leave it to Daniel Snyder to sign a band-aid like Jason Taylor. Taylor will help a bit this year, but the Redskins will still need someone to play across from Andre Carter in a year or two. Taylor's talents, meanwhile, will go to waste, as Jason Campbell, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly and Fred Davis are all learning the West Coast offense right now. I don't like the fact that Campbell regressed every single week this preseason. Seriously, 1-of-4 for 3 yards and an interception against the Jaguars? What is that?

    Projected WIN Total: 5-7

    Matt McGuire's Take (4-12): Welcome to the most overrated team in the NFL. The defense will be non-existent this season. The receiving corps is still depleted, and the offensive line isn't getting better. New offensive system and a new head coach will take time for this team to adapt.

  11. Carolina Panthers (7-9) - Previously #19
    Jake Delhomme actually looks healthy coming off the Tommy John surgery, which was a big concern of mine. As long as Delhomme's arm is OK and Steve Smith refrains from making his teammates look like Glass Joe, the Panthers should be in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season or so. Julius Peppers has a shot to lead the league in sacks.

    Projected WIN Total: 6-8

    Matt McGuire's Take (4-12): I'm still waiting for this great Panthers' defense everyone is talking about.

  12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) - Previously #21
    I can't stand it when I hear people ask, "Why hasn't Marvin Lewis been fired yet?" Umm... remember what the Bengals were like before Lewis arrived in Cincinnati? The franchise should actually build a statue of Lewis outside of Paul Brown Stadium.

    Actually, make that a golden statue. Lewis deserves one after dealing with Chad Johnson, Chris Henry and the dozens of other Bengals who have been arrested over the years.

    Hey, it's not like Lewis wants these guys. He told owner Mike Brown he didn't want Henry on the roster. Yet, in his best effort to once again sabotage the team, Brown signed Henry the day after Chad Johnson suffered a shoulder injury, despite Lewis' plea to keep the malcontent wideout off the roster.

    Projected WIN Total: 6-8

    Matt McGuire's Take (7-9): The Bengals are a better team than people are giving them credit for. They need to find a running back in the 2009 NFL Draft, and they need to get better defensive linemen and linebackers. I like the Bengals, but not enough to say they can win the AFC North.

  13. Tennessee Titans (10-6) - Previously #17
    I wrote the following in my first installment of my offseason NFL Power Rankings:

    Vince Young might as well hold up a sign that says, "Will work for a competent front office." The Titans haven't done anything this offseason to improve themselves. Alge Crumpler may help if he's motivated, but he spent the final years in Atlanta dropping balls and gaining weight. Jevon Kearse is done. Justin McCareins can't catch a cold. Jake Scott, like many other Colts offensive linemen, may not work in another scheme.

    I feel really sorry for Young. I've always stated that if Young were surrounded with solid receivers, he would prove all of his doubters wrong. Unfortunately, Tennessee's front office has absolutely no clue how to produce a winner. Or maybe they just aren't dedicated to winning. Nothing would surprise me at this point.


    Well, now I'm not so sure that Young is even capable of proving his doubters wrong. I will say that I was wrong about Kearse, but I still feel as though everything else is on the money.

    Projected WIN Total: 6-8

    Matt McGuire's Take (5-11): I've considered Vince Young to be a bust since he entered the NFL Draft, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt no matter how poorly (or well) his 2008 season is. His front office gave him no receivers to throw to, and it doesn't seem like his head coach even likes him.

  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Previously #14
    5/4/08: There's a reason Matt McGuire is warning everyone to stay away from all Buccaneers as fantasy players. Jeff Garcia's arm looks dead. Joey Galloway is old and hurt. Michael Clayton is too busy spending time in a smoke-filled van and ordering pizzas during video sessions. Even Earnest Graham isn't an option, as Warrick Dunn actually started this preseason.

    Projected WIN Total: 7-9

    Matt McGuire's Take (8-8): This defense will just keep getting better with the development of Gaines Adams and Aqib Talib, but without Joey Galloway, the offense is limited. Keep an eye on return man Dexter Jackson, as he could have a huge influence on field position and scoring for Tampa.

  15. Cleveland Browns (10-6) - Previously #9
    It's amazing how many people are picking the Browns to win the AFC North despite the fact that they have yet to beat the Steelers. Derek Anderson, who tossed interception after interception down the stretch, looked horrible this preseason. It looks like he'll be ready for Week 1 after suffering a concussion against the Giants, but I'm not all too convinced that's a good thing.

    Cleveland's defense also stands to be mediocre. Putting pressure on the quarterback will be a problem, while the secondary will once again have issues.

    Projected WIN Total: 7-9

    Matt McGuire's Take (7-9): I predicted last year that the Browns would make the playoffs with a 10-6 record, but I'm not feeling them this year. Defensively, they are not there yet to win the division, and Donte' Stallworth has yet to get a 1,000-yard season in his career.

  16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Previously #20
    For all the Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner fantasy owners in this country and around the world, I'd like to say thank you, Ken Whisenhunt. Thank you for choosing Warner over Captain Beer Bong as your starting quarterback. You won't regret it!

    Now, if I may, I would like to preserve something from my previous NFL Power Ranking update:

    Good to see Matt Leinart is working hard this offseason. In all seriousness though, who cares that Leinart had a party? It's his house, and he didn't do anything illegal. It's not like it was a Chris Henry party and there were 10-year-olds everywhere. And this will all blow (blowed... blown... uhh... blowed?) away if the Cardinals make the Doggone Playoff. If not, no one in Arizona will really care.

    Well, apparently they do. In all seriousness, don't be shocked if Arizona wins the NFC West. Warner must stay healthy for this to happen.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (6-10): Matt Leinart is officially a bust. Smart move by naming Kurt Warner the starter, but he needs help from the running game. Tim Hightower and the defense needs to come up big this year for a playoff run.

  17. New York Jets (4-12) - Previously #22
    OMG BRETT FAVRE OMG OMG OMG BRETT FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE BRETT FAVRE OMG BRETT FAVRE!

    In years past, John Madden, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser and the like were guilty of sounding like this whenever Favre was being discussed. Now, you can include all Jets fans into that pantheon.

    I'd like the Jets as an AFC East sleeper if their defense was any good. That said, there's no question this team will be improved with No. 4 under center, despite what Laveranues Coles may think. Plus, New York's schedule is so ridiculously easy.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (6-10): The most overrated free agent acquisition this year was Brett Favre, easily. He will improve the Jets red zone offense, but the trouble is they won't see the red zone that often. This defense is nowhere near playoff caliber.

  18. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Previously #11
    Deion Branch, Bobby Engram and Ben Obomanu are expected to miss lots of time. And with Marcus Pollard gone, the only target Matt Hasselbeck has left from last year's playoff run is Nate Burleson. Oh, and Hasselbeck has barely played this preseason because of back problems.

    The Seahawks have the defense and an easy schedule to stay afloat, but don't be surprised if the Kurt Warner-led Cardinals beat them out for a divisional title this season.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (9-7): You'd have to be nuts to pick anyone else to win this division. The running offense will actually be BETTER without Shaun Alexander, and John Carlson will help out Matt Hasselbeck.

  19. Houston Texans (8-8) - Previously #16
    5/4/08: If the Texans actually had some defensive talent around Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans, I'd have them as a potential playoff sleeper. They can still make a postseason push, as the offense could be one of the league's best as long as Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson stay healthy. Houston needs a few more pieces before I can confidently predict that it'll still be playing come January.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (9-7): Mario Williams is my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Andre Johnson is going to have a career season, and this team will finally finish above .500.



  20. San Diego Chargers (11-5) - Previously #3
    I didn't like the 2008 Chargers before Shawne Merriman tore his knee in 5,000 different places. Philip Rivers is coming off a torn ACL, and as we've seen recently from Carson Palmer, Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb, it's tough to come off an injury like that and become successful right away. Antonio Gates' toe injury also concerns me, which is why I stayed away from him in all five of my fantasy leagues.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (8-8): It's not a matter of if Shawne Merriman will get injured, only when. I nominate him for Idiot of the Year; he could royally screw his career. Still, LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers are coming off serious knee injuries so I question their durability and productivity, and this defense hasn't impressed me in the preseason.

  21. Denver Broncos (7-9) - Previously #23
    Denver's defense once again figures to be abysmal, but I like the team's offense this year. Brandon Marshall is going to be a force; Mike Shanahan's two-headed running back tandem (Selvin Young and Andre Hall) looks promising; while Jay Cutler finally has his diabetes under control, so he won't be pulling an Oprah and watching his weight rise to 245 and shrink to 202.

    Projected WIN Total: 8-10

    Matt McGuire's Take (10-6): Jay Cutler looks like he will have his breakout season in 2008, and it couldn't come at a better time (which is always NOW). I also like the acquisition of DeWayne Robertson on this defense, and D.J. Williams moving to the weakside.

  22. Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Previously #13
    With New England's struggles - more on that in a bit - the Bills are an excellent sleeper as AFC East champion. Trent Edwards is looking better all the time; Marshawn Lynch, despite his ugly mug, is a beast; and Lee Evans should be able to bounce back now that Edwards is more comfortable in the offense.

    I also love Buffalo's defense. Despite the torrent of injuries the team had in 2007, it nearly qualified for the postseason. As long as everyone stays healthy, and Jason Peters reports back to the team sometime soon, a divisional crown is a possibility.

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (10-6): No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills... but that's with Jason Peters on the roster. I still like this team to be a wild card and get into the playoffs. Remember my No. 1 rookie sleeper WR Steve Johnson, and expect big things from this defense.

  23. Minnesota Vikings (8-8) - Previously #15
    Minnesota's defense has the potential to be really scary this year. How scary? Something rivaling "Rosie O'Donnell is about to sexually molest me" scary. Yep.

    Jared Allen's presence on the line ensures that the Vikings will be in the opposing backfield on almost every play. Despite having Gus Frerotte instead of Tarvaris Jackson (yes, this is a downgrade), Minnesota was able to stay competitive with the Steelers, based solely on what the defensive front was doing.

    Jackson may ultimately cost the Vikings in the Doggone Playoff, but the defense could lead the team to an NFC North crown.

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (10-6): Tarvaris Jackson looked great in the preseason, but it's impossible to determine how he will play on his bum knee. This defense looks for real, but the Vikes could struggle early on without left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

  24. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) - Previously #2
    Back in early July, I picked the Jaguars to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

    I'd like to take that back. David Garrard has looked very mediocre this preseason. Jerry Porter still hasn't shown up. Troy Williamson is still on the roster for some reason. And Derrick Harvey ruined his rookie campaign by holding out too long.

    I still think the Jaguars are a solid team, but I'm not nearly as high on them as I was a month and a half ago.

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (8-8): I'm not sold on this offense, and I don't see David Garrard duplicating his 2007 season. Defensively, the Jaguars won't generate pressure, and special teams is a weakness for no one is talking about.

  25. New England Patriots (16-0) - Previously #4
    The last team coming off a loss as a huge favorite in the Super Bowl was the 2002 St. Louis Rams. Let's compare them to the 2008 Patriots, shall we?

    Terrible defense: The 2002 Rams couldn't get off the field, as their defense was ranked 23rd. New England's starting stop unit looks just as anemic. This preseason, they've had trouble containing Kyle Boller, Brian Griese, Luke McCown and David Carr. Ouch.

    But their offense is so good! So was St. Louis'! Kurt Warner was a two-time MVP coming off a year where he threw for 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns. Marshall Faulk was considered the top skill-position player in the NFL. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce were unstoppable. The Rams had the No. 1 offense in the league in 2001. Sound familiar?

    Brady is better than Warner! I'll give you that, but Warner wasn't chopped liver back then. He was actually considered the top quarterback in the league. In a sense, Brady now is what Warner was back then.

    But Warner got hurt in 2002! And Brady's not hurt? He hasn't taken a single snap this preseason.

    Winless preseason: Both the 2008 Patriots and 2002 Rams were winless in the preseason. Back then, we dismissed St. Louis' 0-4 mark.

    Easy Division: How can the Patriots possibly lose to the Bills, Jets and Dolphins, you ask? The Rams' NFC West title was thought to be a lock six years ago as well. The Seahawks and Cardinals sucked, while St. Louis had San Francisco's number.

    Coach: This is the only difference. Mike Martz is a complete idiot who didn't pay attention to his defense and special teams. Bill Belichick, despite what you may think of him, is a genius.

    I don't have the Patriots bombing like the Rams did in 2002, but they're far from the invincible force they were in 2007. I wouldn't be shocked at all if they actually missed the playoffs.

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (11-5): I'm not sure of the health of Tom Brady, which entirely changes everything in this division. Without Brady, the Pats are a four- or five-win team. With him, they're an 11- or 12-win team. Don't expect the same performance as last year because their defensive secondary will be exposed as one of the weakest in the NFL.

  26. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) - Previously #12
    I'd like to give Matt McGuire some props for being the first to predict DeSean Jackson to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Andy Reid seldom plays rookies - as he's probably too busy eating cheese steaks to remember that they're even on the team - but with Kevin Curtis out, Reid has no choice. The most telling sign is that Reid kept Jackson out of the fourth preseason game.

    "I was thinking of that when I decided to sit him," Reid said with a hungry look in his eye. "I can't think of another time [I sat a rookie] right off the top of my head. Maybe there was one."

    With Jackson bringing another element to Philadelphia's offense and special teams (along with Quintin Demps), the Eagles could make the playoffs this season.

    My concerns are: 1. How will ancient tackles William Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan hold up? 2. The safety situation is abysmal. 3. Donovan McNabb always gets hurt. 4. The Giants and Cowboys are both better teams.

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (12-4): The Eagles have the defense and running game to be legit. Brian Westbrook is my pick for NFL MVP, and DeSean Jackson is my choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Adding Asante Samuel doesn't hurt your pass defense. This is all assuming Donovan McNabb can stay healthy...

  27. New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously #8
    Drew Brees is in Pro Bowl form; his receiving corps will be better with Robert Meachem evolving every week; and the defense will benefit from the presence of Jonathan Vilma, Sedrick Ellis and Randall Gay. I'm not sure what Deuce McAllister and Martin Gramatica are still doing around, but whatever.

    The only worry here is whether or not Hurricane Gustav will impact the Saints like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005. I blame the people who name these hurricanes. Seriously, Gustav? Who names anything Gustav?

    Projected WIN Total: 9-11

    Matt McGuire's Take (11-5): The NFL Comeback Player of the Year will be Jonathan Vilma. He was once one of the league's elite inside linebackers in the 4-3 defense, but struggled taking on blockers in the 3-4. Adding Sedrick Ellis only helps out him, Charles Grant and Will Smith. The severity of Hurricane Gustav could have a monumental affect on the Saints' season.



  28. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - Previously #10
    It was refreshing to see an athlete take all the blame for playing poorly. Ben Roethlisberger actually apologized in an interview after struggling versus the Vikings in the team's third preseason game.

    Roethlisberger had a few errant throws, but he wasn't the only one at fault. Pittsburgh's offensive line couldn't keep Minnesota's defensive front out of the backfield. Now, I'm aware that the Vikings' line is stacked with talent, but this is a familiar sight for Steelers fans. I have no idea why they didn't upgrade Roethlisberger's blockers this offseason. And no, Justin Hartwig doesn't count.

    The Steelers are still the top team in the AFC North, but they won't get a sniff of the Super Bowl unless their line starts playing better.

    Projected WIN Total: 10-12

    Matt McGuire's Take (11-5): Ben Roethlisberger now has the weapons to take his game to the next level. The questions in my mind surround this defense.

  29. New York Giants (10-6) - Previously #1
    What's up with dynamic pass-rushers going down? First, Shawne Merriman. Now, Osi Umenyiora.

    Despite the losses of Umenyiora, Gibril Wilson, Michael Strahan and Kawika Mitchell (Jeremy Shockey doesn't count), I still expect the Giants to contend for the NFC East crown. I feel as though they're still an underrated team with tons of talent.

    Jerome McDougle won't replace Umenyiora, but he'll help ease the pain. McDougle, who had an excellent preseason, worked with Steve Spagnuolo in Philadelphia. Spags, one of the brightest defensive minds in all of football, will find a way to get pressure on the quarterback. Having Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka helps.

    I don't expect the Giants to repeat, but I believe they'll make the playoffs.

    Projected WIN Total: 10-12

    Matt McGuire's Take (9-7): The Giants lost a lot when Osi Umenyiora went down. He was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, and a huge part of their defense.

  30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) - Previously #6
    I still stand by what I said in my May 4 NFL Power Rankings update:

    I understand that Brian Brohm was the best player available, but seriously... even if Aaron Rodgers stinks up the joint, Green Bay could have obtained a quarterback in a 2009 class that may feature Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Cullen Harper, Curtis Painter, Hunter Cantwell and Matt Stafford. More depth at corner would have been better, even though they selected Patrick Lee with one of their other second-round picks.

    With Aaron Rodgers playing lights out and Brian Brohm struggling, it appears as though the Packers just wasted a second-round pick. That said, they're my choice to win the NFC North. Green Bay is a slightly superior overall team than the Vikings are, but they have a huge edge at the signal caller position. Rodgers is the real deal.

    Projected WIN Total: 10-12

    Matt McGuire's Take (11-5): Aaron Rodgers is truly going to prove himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Remember, he should have been the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft; not Alex Smith. I love this offense, but the defensive line must stay healthy.

  31. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) - Previously #7
    If you look at my Random NFL Trends page, you'll see that Tony Romo is 13-4 against the spread as a starter before Dec. 1, and he's just 1-8 ATS as a starter after that date.

    Though I can't really blame him, the man needs to stay away from busty blondes if he wants to win a championship.

    I believe he will finally win this year, and I'll explain when my Week 1 NFL Picks are posted.

    Projected WIN Total: 11-13

    Matt McGuire's Take (11-5): Every year, there is a team that underachieves in the regular season. I'm just not sold on the Cowboys. They will make a run in the playoffs and represent the NFC East as a wild card.

  32. Indianapolis Colts (13-3) - Previously #5
    The release of both Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray could mean at least one of three things:

    1. Peyton Manning is perfectly fine. 2. Tony Dungy was sick of watching these guys throw interception after interception. 3. The stock of Indianapolis restaurants has decreased dramatically.

    I'll go with all three. Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history. With a long consecutive starting streak on the line, he's not going to miss any time.

    Projected WIN Total: 11-13

    Matt McGuire's Take (12-4): I'm expecting a huge year out of Peyton Manning, and the Colts defense to improve. Rookie Steve Justice needs to step up big with the recent injury to Jeff Saturday.



2009 NFL Mock Draft

Matt McGuire's 2009 NFL Mock Draft

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2009 NFL Mock Draft Database




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