2010 NFL Power Rankings: Final Regular Season Edition
The regular season is over, so we’re going to compare the final edition of our regular season power rankings with the week one version.
What’s changed from then to now?
Plenty. Believe me.
Here we go.
1. New England Patriots (14-2, 1st Place, AFC East)
Preseason Rank: 8
These Patriots have won eight straight games headed into the playoffs, where they’re the odds-on favorites to take home their fourth Super Bowl crown.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis was their leading rusher, and Rob Gronkowski scored the most receiving TDs with 10.
2. Atlanta Falcons (13-3, 1st Place, NFC South)
Preseason Rank: 13
The defending Super Bowl champion Saints came into the year as the heavy favorites to take the NFC South, but the Falcons were by far the most consistent team in the conference this season.
A revamped defense and a revitalized Michael Turner (1,371 yards, 13 TDs) certainly helped the cause.
Oh, and Matt Ryan and Roddy White. Those guys aren’t too shabby, either.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 1st Place, AFC North)
Preseason Rank: 11
The Steelers were coming off of a very disappointing 2009 season, and I didn’t think they’d be able to weather the storm during the first four games of this season without Ben Roethlisberger.
However, they went 3-1 in that stretch, and took control of the division with their huge 13-10 win over Baltimore in week 13.
4. Baltimore Ravens (12-4, 2nd Place, AFC North)
Preseason Rank: 3
Joe Flacco will be just the fifth quarterback in league history to start a playoff game in each of his first three seasons when he takes the field in Kansas City this weekend.
Baltimore has lived up to lofty expectations this season.
5. Chicago Bears (11-5, First Place, NFC North)
Preseason Rank: 19
I obviously didn’t think much of Chicago’s chances in the tough NFC North to start the season, but they proved me wrong.
Jay Cutler still threw interceptions (16, to be exact), but Mike Martz has clearly been a positive influence on him and the rest of the Bears offense.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, First Place, NFC East)
Preseason Rank: 16
I didn’t envision the Eagles posing much of a threat to the NFC East with a first-time starting QB at the helm, but then Michael Vick happened.
The resurgent Vick completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards to go along with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions; by far the best passing numbers of his career.
7. New York Jets (11-5, 2nd Place, AFC East)
Preseason Rank: 7
Mark Sanchez got off to a hot start this season, but as the year went on, looked more and more like the rookie we saw last season.
As the No. 6 seed once again, can the Jets win three straight road games in the playoffs?
8. New Orleans Saints (11-5, 2nd Place, NFC South)
Preseason Rank: 1
New Orleans dropped their final game of the season to Tampa Bay, but it set them up with a favorable date with the 7-9 Seahawks this weekend.
The Saints are the first-ever double-digit road playoff favorite.
9. Green Bay Packers (10-6, 2nd Place, NFC North)
Preseason Rank: 6
Green Bay was able to fight through a seemingly endless slew of injuries to key players this season and earned a Wild Card berth on the final Sunday.
This weekend’s matchup with the Eagles will be a rematch of week one.
10. Indianapolis Colts (10-6, 1st Place, AFC South)
Preseason Rank: 2
Indy, like Green Bay, suffered through several key injuries this season, but was able to eke past Jacksonville to claim another AFC South title.
Peyton Manning getting this team to the Super Bowl would likely be his greatest accomplishment to date.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6, 1st Place, AFC West)
Preseason Rank: 27
KC made quite the leap from the preseason up until now, and I actually picked them to take down the Ravens at Arrowhead this weekend.
With USC QBs like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez having entered the NFL in the last decade, might the unheralded Matt Cassel turn out to be the best of them all?
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6, 3rd Place, NFC South)
Preseason Rank: 31
Tampa came out of nowhere to make a strong push towards the playoffs, and has the makings of a quality team for years to come.
Young stars like Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams give this team tons of hope for the future.
Oh, and that defense is pretty solid, too.
13. New York Giants (10-6, 2nd Place, NFC East)
Preseason Rank: 15
I don’t know how they do it, but the Giants keep fooling us into thinking they’re good, only to fall flat on their faces late in the season and miss the playoffs entirely.
Do quarterbacks making $100M throw 25 interceptions?
14. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, 1st Place, NFC West)
Preseason Rank: 25
The NFC West sucked, and the Seahawks suck, too.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8, 2nd Place, AFC South)
Preseason Rank: 21
The Jags were a major surprise this season, and may have won the division if not for untimely injuries to Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard late in the year.
Kudos to Jack Del Rio for winning eight games with one of the most underwhelming rosters (on paper) in the league.
16. San Diego Chargers (9-7, 2nd Place, AFC West)
Preseason Rank: 10
The Chargers rebounded from yet another awful start, but, this time, weren’t able to come all the way back and win the AFC West.
Norv Turner is a lot like Wade Phillips. Nice coordinator, but not a head coach.
17. Miami Dolphins (7-9, 3rd Place, AFC East)
Preseason Rank: 12
We kept waiting for the Dolphins to get their act together this season, but it never happened.
They went 6-2 on the road, and 1-7 at home. How does this happen?
18. Oakland Raiders (8-8, 3rd Place, AFC West)
Preseason Rank: 26
The Raiders were a pesky team this season, and I think Tom Cable deserved at least another year as the head coach.
Oh, Al Davis. You so crazy.
19. St. Louis Rams (7-9, 2nd Place, NFC West)
Preseason Rank: 32
The Rams took a huge step forward this season, winning seven games and coming close to a playoff berth out of the woeful NFC West.
I think this Sam Bradford guy is going to work out.
20. Detroit Lions (6-10, 3rd Place, NFC North)
Preseason Rank: 28
Like the Rams and Bucs, the Lions made strides this season, and can be a dark horse playoff contender in 2011.
Matthew Stafford staying healthy sure would help, though.
21. Dallas Cowboys (6-10, 3rd Place, NFC East)
Preseason Rank: 4
Rebounding from an abysmal 1-7 start was very impressive, and it’s looking as though Jason Garrett has earned the right to shed the “interim” tag.
If they’re able to help fill some huge holes in the secondary and on the offensive line, this team will contend for the division again next year.
22. Houston Texans (6-10, 3rd Place, AFC South)
Preseason Rank: 14
Another year, another major disappointment for the Houston Texans.
Hiring a qualified defensive coordinator would go a long way towards getting this franchise to the playoffs for the first time.
23. Minnesota Vikings (6-10, 4th Place, NFC North)
Preseason Rank: 5
Like Dallas, Minnesota endured a nightmare of a season that began with major Super Bowl aspirations.
With Brett Favre seemingly done (for real this time…we think), who will quarterback this team next season?
24. Tennessee Titans (6-10, 4th Place, AFC South)
Preseason Rank: 20
The Titans have a quarterback mess of their own, and may need to use a high draft pick in order to help right the ship.
If I’m running the team, Jeff Fisher and Vince Young are both on their way out.
25. Cleveland Browns (5-11, 3rd Place, AFC North)
Preseason Rank: 29
Cleveland enjoyed a nice string of Cinderella wins in the middle of the season, but faded down the stretch, and they’re now looking for a new head coach.
How ’bout that Peyton Hillis?
26. Washington Redskins (6-10, 4th Place, NFC East)
Preseason Rank: 22
This team is a circus in need of a tent.
27. San Francisco 49ers (6-10, 3rd Place, NFC West)
Preseason Rank: 17
Weren’t the 49ers supposed to be good?
28. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12, 4th Place, AFC North)
Preseason Rank: 9
Wow. 9th to start the season.
29. Buffalo Bills (4-12, 4th Place, AFC East)
Preseason Rank: 30
The Bills fought hard all season long, which is more than can be said about most of the teams this low on the list.
30. Arizona Cardinals (5-11, 4th Place, NFC West)
Preseason Rank: 24
If the Cardinals can get a solid quarterback with the No. 5 pick (Ryan Mallett, anyone?), they could easily be a playoff team once again next year.
No more Derek Anderson, Max Hall or John Skelton shenanigans.
31. Denver Broncos (4-12, 4th Place, AFC West)
Preseason Rank: 23
The Broncos were lighting up the scoreboard early in the season with insane passing numbers, but really took a nosedive as the season went on.
Is Tim Tebow the guy next year?
32. Carolina Panthers (2-14, 4th Place, NFC South)
Preseason Rank: 18
It didn’t help that they played in the league’s toughest division this season, but the Panthers were bad enough to finish last in every division.
Is the Jimmy Clausen era already over with?