1. Green Bay Packers – Respect for the defending champs. Aaron Rodgers is the best young quarterback in the game and already has a Super Bowl ring. Jermichael Finley is back and they look poised to repeat.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – Champions of the off-season, now let’s see if it translates when they start playing for real. Can Michael Vick live up to his latest $100 million contract?
3. New England Patriots – Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still the toughest combo in football and you just know that Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco will have big bounce-back seasons as Patriots.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers – This team certainly knows how to win. Maybe football’s best defense and a healthy Troy Polamalu make them the team to beat in the AFC North.
5. New York Jets – Anything short of a Super Bowl is not good enough. There are still major concerns with the running game, the pass rush and no depth on the O-line.
6. Atlanta Falcons – The addition of Julio Jones to go along with Roddy White and “Burner Turner” make for possibilities of a very explosive offense, but bottom line, does “Matty Ice” finally not melt in the playoffs?
7. New Orleans Saints – Maybe NFL’s best offensive football team. Drew Brees is still one of the elite QB’s in the game. In a tough division can they bounce back to Super Bowl form?
8. Baltimore Ravens – You know they’ll play defense. Can Joe Flacco take the next step into the quarterbacking elite? Still not better than the Steelers.
9. San Diego Chargers – You know they’ll score points with Philip Rivers, but there are questions in the running game and their special teams have to be better than last year. Unfortunately for San Diego, Norv Turner is still the coach.
10. Indianapolis Colts – Of course this is all predicated on the health of Peyton Manning. If Peyton’s healthy, you know this team is winning 10-12 games, if he’s not, they’d be lucky to win five