Blue Nation Blog NFL Power Rankings



One day after the New York Giants completed their unlikely run to a Super Bowl championship, all 32 NFL teams have already turned the page and begun looking forward to next season. The NFL is now a 365 day-a-year business, and even championship teams cannot take a day off.

Lucky for you, neither does the Blue Nation Blog. During the next few months of the NFL offseason, we at the BNB will take a look into free agency, the draft in April and begin projecting how we expect the 2012 season to unfold.

So without further adieu, here are Ethan Levine’s power rankings on day one of the offseason. The following are my short list of team’s that I think have the best chance hoisting the  Lombardi Trophy next year.

  1. Green Bay Packers– Despite the playoff flop at home against the Giants, I still believe the Packers are the most talented team in football. Aaron Rodgers has proven to be the premiere quarterback of the league, perhaps only equaled by Drew Brees and Tom Brady. And a great quarterback goes a long way in this league. If the Packers can strengthen their defense and Aaron Rodgers continues to improve in this offseason, the Pack have the weapons to be the favorites once again in 2012.
  2. San Francisco 49ers I am a major buyer in what head coach John Harbaugh and his 49ers are selling. This team completely shuts down the run (went 12 consecutive games in 2011 without allowing a rushing touchdown) and forces a lot of turnovers. Likewise, former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith (side note: Smith was drafted first in 2005, the same year Green Bay selected Aaron Rodgers at No. 24 overall) lets his running game do the work and manages the game without giving away the ball. All the forced turnovers without giving them back makes for a lot of wins, and with playmakers like running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers may be one play-making receiver away from winning a title.
  3. New York Giants The Giants 2011 championship was eerily similar to their 2007 title. Having to defeats the Dallas Cowboys on the last day of the season to even make the playoffs at 9-7, the Giants once again hit their stride late and took the NFC by storm. The Giants became the first ever team to win a Super Bowl with seven losses Sunday night, and showed exactly why they can be contenders for years to come. For one, they get great pressure on the quarterback from their front four, including sack masters Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. And, lest we forget, with two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at the helm, how deadly this offense can truly be. Manning showed Sunday night that he truly is an elite quarterback, and I think the Giants may dominate the NFC East for the next 1-2 years while the rest of the division rebuilds.
  4. New England Patriots The Patriots played a gritty game Sunday night, despite being outdone by Eli Manning’s clutch gene. This team is talented, with a three-headed monster in the backfield, two incredible tight ends, and the NFL’s leader in receptions this season at wide receiver in Wes Welker. Tom Brady is still a star in the league, and this offense will be tough to stop next season. New England’s problems lie on the defensive end of the ball. The defense was the worst in the NFL in 2011, and if the Patriots cannot revamp their defense in 2012 I am unsure of New England’s title chances at best. But, with Brady and Belichick in charge you can never count the Pats out, so I put them No. 4 on my list.
  5. New Orleans Saints Yes, that’s right. I have four NFC teams in my top five to begin the offseason, but I believe the NFC is a top-heavy conference. I struggled to decide between the Saints and the Baltimore Ravens in this spot, but I chose to give the nod to the Saints because of their record-setting quarterback, Drew Brees. Brees is an elite quarterback in this league and has complete command of the Saints offense. Like the Patriots, it’s the Saints defense that will have to improve back to the level they played at in their 2009 championship season, if the Saints are to stand a chance. Baltimore does play great defense, but cannot consistently receive support from the Ravens’ offense. Although Joe Flacco played well against New England in the AFC championship game, against heavy criticism, I’d rather give this spot to Brees, a rare and special signal caller, than to a game manager in Flacco.

Follow Ethan and “Diesel and Ethan” on twitter.