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NFL Power Rankings - Patriots debut at the top of the charts

Posted by Stan Simmons on 4/18/2012 11:23:34 AM
It’s NFL betting time, and we’re kicking it off with our first edition of the Power Rankings. Once the season gets underway, we’ll be comparing ours to other power rankings and see how they match up. It’s no surprise that New England are the Super Bowl favorites, and they edge out the defending champions this week.

1. New England – the Patriots are the sportsbook favorites with Tom Brady back in the saddle, and he looked great in his first preseason game against Philadelphia. A 5,000-yard season isn’t only attainable, it’s almost expected out of Brady.

2. Pittsburgh - the Super Bowl champs want to prove that they can beat the Patriots with a healthy Brady, but last year’s 33-10 mauling of the Pats in New England must still feel good.

3. Philadelphia – as if expectations weren’t already sky-high in Philly, the Eagles took a chance on Michael Vick, who opens up the offense and takes pressure off of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.

4. New York Giants – with Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck on board, the Giants may have the best pair of defensive ends in the league. Eli Manning has a brand-new contract; all he needs now is a receiving target.

5. San Diego – they should have no problems in the AFC West, but two questions remain: how much does LaDainian Tomlinson have left in the tank, and was Vincent Jackson a fluke in 2009?

6. Indianapolis – the first season without Tony Dungy shouldn’t be too hard on the Colts, as Jim Caldwell has been with the team since Dungy came from Tampa Bay. And they still have that Peyton Manning fella who won the MVP last year.

7. Minnesota – I wanted to drop them to last just for participating in the Brett Favre saga. You’d think he’d be great for the Vikings’ Super Bowl odds when you’re betting online, but he shouldn’t be the focus: Adrian Peterson and the defense will take Minny as far as they’ll go.

8. Dallas – no more distractions with Terrell Owens gone, a fancy new stadium and a focused Tony Romo, so no more excuses, right, Cowboy fans?

9. Atlanta – the addition of Tony Gonzalez gives the Falcons a sports betting edge, but the defense took a huge blow by letting Keith Brooking go to Dallas.

10. Baltimore – if they want Joe Flacco to keep improving, the Ravens need better receivers. If Derrick Mason had actually retired, this group would be an F-.

11. Chicago – although he looked terrible in his first game as a Bear, Jay Cutler should help Chicago on both sides of the ball once they get their timing down.

12. Arizona – the Cardinals’ Super Bowl run masked a few bad things about their team, but getting Bryant McFadden from Pittsburgh strengthens their secondary. There may not be a better receiving trio in the league than Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston.

13. Washington – the ‘Skins would have a better chance in any other division than the NFC East. How does Jason Campbell feel after Washington tried to get any quarterback they could in the offseason?

14. Tennessee – how much will losing Albert Haynesworth to Washington hurt the run defense? They gave up 138 yards to Tampa Bay on the ground last week.

15. Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers will be much better in fourth-quarter situations this year, but how the Packers adapt to a new 3-4 scheme on defense will be the key. Also, watch Lambeau Field on November 1st when the Vikings come to town. It’ll be interesting to see the reaction.

16. San Francisco – Michael Crabtree really needs to hurry up and sign, even though the 49ers have Shaun Hill and Alex Smith under center. With an improved defense, San Fran could be one of the sports betting surprises of the year.

17. New Orleans

18. Buffalo

19. Miami

20. Houston

21. Cincinnati

22. Seattle

23. Carolina

24. Jacksonville

25. Denver

26. Kansas City

27. New York Jets

28. Oakland

29. Cleveland

30. St. Louis

31. Detroit

31. Tampa Bay

The Bucs’ reign under Raheem Morris has started with a few injuries, so they unseat Detroit, who should be able to win at least one game. Even though the Jets are ranked 27th, Mark Sanchez has impressed his teammates and coaches, and after Matt Ryan and Flacco’s success last year, it’s possible that they’ll stun some in the AFC. Don’t go betting on their Super Bowl odds, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Follow our weekly Power Rankings with Stan in the Betting Edge at betonline.com.

Stan Simmons first tasted football through the college game, but his football handicapping has strictly focused on the professional sport. Not many people devote as much time to the NFL as Simmons. For six days a week he works, labors and handicaps the sport, and on the seventh he rests as the games play out. Thoughts or questions?


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