The 2012 NFL season is upon us, and Doug Franz ranks all 32 teams heading into Week 1.
1) New England Patriots: No matter how much they work, young QBs like Locker and Skelton won’t stop the Pats from being 2-0 before a showdown at Baltimore.
2) Green Bay Packers: 15-1 just doesn’t go away; brutal beginning schedule will shake my confidence early but the Packers will be back on top by the end.
3) Baltimore Ravens: Flacco ran no-huddle in college and now has Peyton’s former coach to help him run it.
4) New York Giants: I have no idea what to do with this team.
5)San Francisco 49ers: I think Harbaugh is a jerk; I think Harbaugh is a great coach.
6) Denver Broncos: First easy game is against Tampa Bay, the problem is that’s in December.
7) Pittsburgh Steelers: O-line is a bigger issue than Haley or Wallace.
8) Houston Texans: Excellent chance to start 4-1; still think releasing Eric Winston was a terrible mistake.
9) Cincinnati Bengals: Good news: all the tough opponents are at home. Bad news: December.
10) Chicago Bears: The opener against Indy isn’t a must-win but it could get ugly quick if they don’t take care of business in Week 1.
11) San Diego Chargers: Underestimate this team and they’ll be 5-1 before the bye.
12) New Orleans Saints: Who knows? Are they a 12-4 team or a rudderless ship?
13) Philadelphia Eagles: Middle of the pack because I don’t believe in Vick’s ability to stay healthy…big schedule break with tougher games at home.
14) Atlanta Falcons: Missed their championship window by never addressing the defense.
15) Detroit Lions: Only two home games from September 10 through November 17.
16) Kansas City Chiefs: Tell me their record after five weeks & I’ll tell you if they’re a contender or pretender because the start is all against good teams with question marks…vs Atlanta, at Buffalo, at New Orleans, vs. San Diego, vs. Baltimore
17) Buffalo Bills: Wonderful personnel decisions in the offseason, manageable beginning schedule and done w/ New England for the year by Week 10 could mean playoffs.
18) Dallas Cowboys: Only one road game from Nov 12th to Dec 29th…Question is will they still be relevant by then to take advantage. I say no.
19) Tennessee Titans: Not a bad team but vs. New England, @ San Diego, vs. Detroit & at Houston is too tough for young team.
20) Oakland Raiders: I still can’t believe how dumb the Carson Palmer trade was.
21) Carolina Panthers: I’d really like to know how healthy their running game will be before I make predictions…out of the last 6 weeks, only 2 division games and neither are against Tampa Bay, so a fast start is a must.
22) Arizona Cardinals: Must be top seven in rushing attempts, 3.9 yards/carry, and at least +5 in turnovers or this is a six-win team.
23) New York Jets: Can’t wait to hear all of Rex Ryan’s excuses throughout the season.
24) Seattle Seahawks: I don’t believe in Pete Carroll…schedule sets up to start 2-5 or 1-6 in their first seven games.
25) Washington Redskins: Three of first four games and two of last three are on the road…asking a lot of RG3 to handle his emotions in emotional New Orleans to start the season.
26) St. Louis Rams: If Janoris Jenkins has more interceptions than kids during the season, this could be a playoff team.
27) Indianapolis Colts: Great schedule for a young team with two tough games out of the first seven plus a bye week mixed in…This is not a playoff team but they will be much better than “experts” think.
28) Minnesota Vikings: Still love the way they manipulated the draft but Matt Kalil can only protect Ponder, he can’t make him good.
29) Miami Dolphins: Will dominate the ACC and easily win the Orange Bowl (wait, this is an NFL team?)
30) Jacksonville Jaguars: Handled the MJD hold-out beautifully but won’t be able to do the same to the season.
31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The state of the NFL in Florida is not very impressive.
32) Cleveland Browns: Assuming this is the last year of Mike Holmgren, so it will also be the last year Cleveland sees a “3” followed by a “2” in the power poll.