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Wednesday, August 15 2018

NFL Power Poll 2/7/05

SportAll I could think about when they talked about dynasty was that while the Packers, Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and now Patriots get credit for being one it is never mentioned that the Raiders won 3 out of 7 Super Bowls from \'76-\'83.

Just for kicks I also have my early look 2005 power poll and playoff predictions. #1 Philadelphia: This team has four draft picks in the top 95 and eight in the first 159. That will give them plenty of time to grab an inside linebacker and running back to make an impact and several others to fill holes and provide depth. That being that case, they have to be my favorite. Next time they wonít play so tight in key spots and will hopefully be better coached.

#2 Indianapolis: They lost out on the Super Bowl when James fumbled into the end zone on opening night. You canít tell me this team wouldnít have terrorized the Pats had the game been at the RCA dome after watching McNabb throw for 357 on them in the pristine Super Bowl conditions. Whether they retain James or deal him for Surtain and a draft pick they can combine with one of their own for a running back, this team will chug right back to the AFC title game.

#3 New England: It is straight experience that puts them this high because they donít have any extra picks like the Eagles, their linebackers are painfully old and likely injury prone which I said before Bruschiís apparent career ending stroke. Both coordinators are off to take other jobs. Dillon might have one more solid season before tailing off and the offensive line needs to be paid in free agency along with Vinatieri and Law.

#4 NY Jets: This might surprise some people, but I like this team to challenge the Pats for the division title. With several solid receivers being cut or available in free agency, getting a standout would revitalize their passing game. The defense is solid and I expect them to grab another runner in the first two rounds for Martin insurance and as a means to replace Jordan.

#5 Atlanta: I still think the key for them is getting a big play wide receiver and perhaps they will get in the running for Burress. Getting him would guarantee a return to the title game at worst. The defense and ground game are in good shape, but with more poor production from Price and rookie Jenkins at receiver they are sunk in the playoffs.

#6 Seattle: Am I crazy? Not really. As long as they get Hasselbeck and Alexander back into the fold and address their linebacker and offensive line situation early in the draft this team is clearly the best in the NFC West. They could waltz to 6-0 in the division meaning a mere 5-5 in other games would probably put them at a #3 seed at worst.

#7 Pittsburgh: It will hurt them badly to lose Burress, and Bettis probably needs to be replaced in the draft or by someone else on the roster because he wonít have another magical season even if he returns. In that case, a lot of their close wins will turn into close losses. On the road in the playoffs they are unlikely to advance.

#8 New Orleans: This is a great team just waiting for the right mixture of talent. With some good decisions in the draft and free agency the defense could stop giving up 20 every game and start holding teams to 17 once in a while. That would put them at 10-6 or 11-5 overnight.

#9 Denver: The transition to life after Portis was a little bumpy, but they are better off on defense and with a season under their belt to figure out who will rush the damn ball I place them as the AFC West favorites. Lelie is a home run threat at receiver, it is possible they could get a pass catching tight end in the first round of the draft and only a little improvement on defense will put them past 10 wins again. They are one of the safest bets around.

#10 Detroit: A lot of people will have me checked out for picking them as the top team in the NFC North, but have you checked out their offense? Kevin Jones was outstanding late in the year, Roy Williams is a legit #1 receiver and Charles Rogers will be great at #2 if he can stay healthy. With all of those components they can attack defense in free agency and the draft to put them in position to win a weak division.

#11 San Diego: The Chargers figure to improve with two first round draft picks that might be used for a big time receiver and solid offensive lineman. Iíd stick with the line first and linebacker second, but either way I think they are back around 10 wins although it is apparent to me that the Rivers/Brees situation needs to be handled right.

#12 St. Louis: Ironically the age of Marshall Faulk is going to help this team. Thatís because Steven Jackson is a better pure rusher at this point and Faulk is better off as a third down pass receiver and blocker, which I declared before Martz officially announced the switch by the way. The offensive line crumbled on them just before the season started, but with an extra pick at #66 there is no reason they canít address that plus the defensive holes on day one in the draft.

#13 Dallas: Bill Parcells isnít going to go down like this. He must get Bledsoe because heís stuck in a division with the Eagles which limits his playoff prospect to a wild card. With a few good decisions in the draft where they have five picks in the top 139 and three in the top 43 their defense will be right back on track.

#14 Minnesota: Their new owner is a liar, but if heís telling the truth about keeping Randy Moss they should challenge for the playoffs again. They are starting to resemble the NFC version of the Broncos, always close but never in the final mix.

#15 Jacksonville: I could see them making a run for the playoffs, but the truth is that they are firmly stuck behind the Colts in the division and in the four division format that means a #5 or #6 seed in the playoffs. In other words, donít expect an extended playoff stay. I believe they need to find a replacement for Taylor in the draft and probably another receiver in case Reggie Williams stays invisible opposite of old man Jimmy Smith. Either way, this team is on the right track.

#16 Cincinnati: Tagging Rudi Johnson was a good move unless he holds out. They must re-sign Houshmanzadeh and draft to the defense as well. Honestly this team could make enough strides on defense to contend with Pittsburgh for the division title.

#17 Washington: I can assure you that when the offensive line gets another piece in the draft and Jansen returns this offense will look completely different. Then again, now that it looks like Coles, Gardner and Thrash will all be gone it definitely will. If they draft a Mike Williams and get a good free agent to play alongside him, given their defense this team is going to compete. Ramsey can make some plays and Portis might run for 1,800 yards behind a better line.

#18 Green Bay: I know Favre doesnít want to go out like this, but the truth is sometimes a painful thing. This defense canít support him and shows no signs of improvement. They would have to be perfect in the draft to find the key players who could make a difference, and thatís just not realistic. The offense still puts them in contention, but the defense will ruin them again.

#19 Buffalo: Another team in transition because Losman is their quarterback from day one. In the draft they need to look for offensive line help, but their first round pick is gone and they will only get a late second or early third for Henry so they wonít get too much talent there.

#20 Oakland: Just getting a stud running back will turn this team around immediately. Unfortunately they are in a rugged division and play a very tough schedule so even a solid year might land them at 7-9. They defense needs a new part or two and for guys like Brayton and Asomugha to step up. A lot hinges on them possibly trading away Buchanon and dealing for Moss or Henry.

#21 Chicago: These guys are going to surprise quite a few teams this year and probably contend for a division title in 2006. Their defense is developing into a unit similar to their glory days and they just need a little more help on offense, notably at wide receiver, to get over the hump. Drafting a Braylon Edwards will revitalize Rex Grossman.

#22 Carolina: Their division will be much stronger next year and unfortunately I donít know that they will be able to improve enough to keep up. Muhammad inking a new deal and Smith coming back from injury give them solid receivers, but can either of their running backs be counted on to stay healthy? I think they missed out on shopping Foster when they had the chance. At this point they are a good, but not great team although that can change so they shouldnít be counted out just yet.

#23 Baltimore: Yet another team whose ranking depends on where Randy Moss lands because as bad as their receivers were in 2004 they lose both of their starters. It also remains to be seen what jail time will do to the production of Jamal Lewis who basically is their entire offense. Kyle Boller is not suited for their system and they are lamenting not getting Leftwich in the draft. The defense can still carry them close to .500 though.

#24 Houston: The problem for them is that their division is simply better than they are. Someone has to be at the bottom and sometimes those teams are pretty good. I think they need a #2 receiver to go with Andre Johnson and another big time defender to complement corner Dunta Robinson. That would put them on track towards a playoff run, but Dominack Davis might not be their answer at running back.

#25 Kansas City: This is another hard luck team in the bottom of the rankings. They just need too much help on defense and with the weapons possessed by their division mates I just canít see them contending. It also wouldnít hurt to have a true #1 wide receiver and at some point Trent Green is going to hit the wall.

#26 Miami: I have a feeling this ranking is going to be much too low for them, but the reality is that their division is pretty darn good. If they can deal for James and get a decent year out of Feeley this offense is going to be twice as good as they were last year. Defensively they arenít the shutdown unit they once were but can still get the job done, especially at home.

#27 Tennessee: The cap hit these guys really hard and now they face an uncertain future with McNair contemplating retirement and being unable to stay on the field. Their defense has really suffered and it looks like they will now have to let their best receiver Mason go. With young improving teams like the Jags and Texans competing with them I just donít see how they can finish out of the cellar.

#28 Tampa Bay: It is tough to put them this low because they have talent, but they are thin at receiver and uncertain at both quarterback and running back with Griese unsigned and Pittman ineffective. If they cut straight to Simms and then draft a guy like Cadillac that might set them up for the future, but it will leave them in trouble in the present.

#29 Arizona: Until they demonstrate that they have a quality quarterback and running back I have to leave them at the bottom of the rankings. If they are able to address both in free agency and the draft they might be surprise playoff contenders. Last year this team would have been 8-8 had they just handled the otherwise winless 49ers.

#30 NY Giants: This team still doesnít have any receivers and Eli Manning is not his brother. He will take another year at least to develop and in the meantime they are locked in a division with three teams that I believe will be clearly better than they are. I could see them going 0-6 in the East in fact.

#31 Cleveland: I donít see any relief in sight for the Browns who have three good teams ahead of them in the division. The defense sags, the offense is without leadership or stars and Romeo Crennel doesnít do anything for me as a head coach entering the fire. Their lone bright spot could be Kellen Winslow and if they land a stud quarterback the future might brighten.

#32 San Francisco: Finally an easy choice. Their starting roster has more holes than a chunk of swiss cheese and their management is a joke. You can expect some stupid moves on draft day and another few years of last place for this once dominant franchise.

Just for fun hereís a playoff preview based on the above. NFC division winners in order of seed will be Eagles, Seahawks, Falcons and Lions with the wild cards. I would take the Falcons over the Vikings and Saints over the Lions in the opening round. Then it would be Eagles over Saints and Seahawks over Falcons before the Eagles beat the Seahawks in the title game. In the AFC the division winners are Colts, Pats, Steelers and Broncos with the Jets and Chargers as wild cards. In the opening round I think the Steelers beat the Chargers and Jets beat the Broncos. Second round action would be the Colts over the Jets and Patriots over the Steelers before the Colts finally get over on the Pats in the title game. The Super Bowl would be Eagles over Colts.


NFL Power Poll 2/7/05 | 42 comments | Create New Account
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