NFL Power Rankings: Peyton Manning, Broncos Are Biggest Unknown

March 20 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos Peyton Manning (18) following his press conference at Broncos headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Free agents have been signed. The NFL Draft is over. Undrafted free agent signings are coming in. Now it's time to rank all the teams based on what they've done this offseason.

The big free agents have been signed. The 2012 NFL Draft is now done. Undrafted free agent signings are coming in. It's time to judge how everyone has done this offseason.

SB Nation's first set of post-draft NFL power rankings takes a look at the landscape of the NFL. We left off last time after the Super Bowl and the Giants were the champs, ranked No. 1.

This time I've switched things up based on what teams have done in free agency and the draft. Who got better? Who lost too many free agents or flubbed the draft? How quickly will the quarterbacks get acclimated in Indianapolis and Washington D.C.?

Lots of questions and disagreements to come. State the case for your team in the comments section if I ranked them too low.


Related: NFL Draft Grades | Every Draft Pick, 1-253


1. Green Bay Packers (15-1, LW: 3): They lost in the playoffs but I can't ignore what they did in the regular season last year. Now Aaron Rodgers has a full offseason to prepare, and the Packers had a really good draft. Is it possible the Packers just got better?

2. New England Patriots (13-3, LW: 2): Super Bowl losers, I know. But this is a team that's been ranked in the preseason top five for, what, the last 10 years? They added two pass rushers in the 1st round of the draft -- Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones. If Bill Belichick is trading up for you, that's a good sign.

3. New York Giants (9-7, LW: 1): Super Bowl champs. We know they have the nucleus in place to make a Super Bowl run. The thing is, they only won nine regular season games last year. That won't get you in the playoffs some years. The NFC East's goal is to not even give them a shot at another playoff run.

4. Baltimore Ravens (12-4, LW: 4): They'll win 11-13 games and be a force in the AFC. Rinse and repeat.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, LW: 7): Same as above. The Steelers had a great draft class. Like the Ravens, they'll be there in January.

6. San Francisco 49ers (13-3, LW: 6): The 49ers biggest issue was the vertical passing game and they added Randy Moss and A.J. Jenkins in the offseason. Barring any injuries, this team will be very good again.

7. New Orleans Saints (13-3, LW: 5): The bounty scandal is the big question. Will it ruin their focus? Or will they be like the Patriots post-Spygate and come out of the gate firing on all cylinders?

8. Detroit Lions (10-6, LW: 10): Step one was making the playoffs last year. Step two is winning a playoff game. They have the offense to do that this year. But can the defense hold up?

9. Dallas Cowboys (8-8, LW: 13): The Cowboys felt they were one player away from making a serious run. Morris Claiborne is that player.

10. Houston Texans (10-6, LW: 8): If they can win a playoff game without Matt Schaub, how many can they win with him?


Related: NFL Draft, Best And Worst | Mock Draft Vs. The Real Draft


11. Atlanta Falcons (10-6, LW: 9): History says Michael Turner will soon start breaking down. They need one more productive season out of him because this team can be special.

12. Denver Broncos (8-8, LW: 20): So this is where Peyton Manning and the Broncos land. If Manning is the same old Manning, then this team should quickly move into the top five. If he's not, it could be a long season with high expectations.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8, LW: 15): The same old question: Can Michael Vick stay healthy? If he can, I like the Eagles to be competing for the NFC East title.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7, LW: 11): Were they for real last year? I think so. Nine wins may not be enough to get them into the playoffs again, though.

15. Carolina Panthers (6-10, LW: 17): Dark horse alert! The Panthers are in a tough division but Cam Newton can push them to be competitive. Can the Panthers win nine games this year?

16. Tennessee Titans (9-7, LW: 12): Chris Johnson needs to be Chris Johnson. If he is, the Titans are legit contenders in the AFC South.

17. New York Jets (8-8, LW: 14): Right in the middle of the pack. I'm not totally sure what to make of the Jets in the 2012 season. A lights out defense will be necessary.

18. Chicago Bears (8-8, LW: 16): I'll have to wait to see how the Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall tanden works before they move up. Like the Jets, I'm not really sure what to make of Chicago right now.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9, LW: 22): Liked their offseason. Adding Stanford Routt, Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston to the list of injured guys coming back and they're instantly a better team.

20. San Diego Chargers (8-8, LW: 19): They lost several key players, like Vincent Jackson. Spots were filled in free agency but that's a lot of talent to lose. They'll be right there with the Chiefs and Broncos in the AFC West.


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21. Arizona Cardinals (8-8, LW: 18): Love the addition of Michael Floyd. But who's going to be completing those passes? Receivers only take you so far.

22. Miami Dolphins (6-10, LW: 23): This roster is better than folks realize. Unfortunately, the quarterback is still a very large unknown.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, LW: 24): With the 49ers, the NFC West isn't so easy anymore. Matt Flynn needs to play like he did in his only two career starts, but do it for 16 games.

24. Buffalo Bills (6-10, LW: 25): So are the Bills on the verge of breaking out? Or breaking down? I'm not really sure. Chan Gailey's offense is fun to watch, though.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12, LW: 28): Old school football coming back to Tampa Bay. They also need to get the ball into Vincent Jackson's hands.

26. Oakland Raiders (8-8, LW: 21): Disclosure: I'm a Chiefs fan, so bias and all that the silver and black. But Oakland lost Stanford Routt, Kevin Boss, Michael Bush and didn't have their first pick in the draft until No. 95. I don't think they got better this offseason. Still, the AFC West is wide open right now.

27. Washington Redskins (5-11, LW: 29): Robert Griffin III has a great chance to be a star in Washington D.C. (if he isn't already). Year one will be rough but the Redskins are in it for the long haul.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-14, LW: 32): Andrew Luck is the most pro-ready quarterback in a while. But that doesn't mean he'll play like a Pro Bowler right away. Like RGIII, year one will be difficult.

29. Minnesota Vikings (3-13, LW: 27): A lot depends on Adrian Peterson's health. Can he really be as effective as he was after such a significant knee injury?

30. St. Louis Rams (2-14, LW: 31): Tough to rank them so low because I loved their draft, and the fact that they have two 1st round picks in each of the next two years. But I'm not sure if this team will immediately be that much better than last year. It could take some time.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11, LW: 26): Some receivers struggle early on in their NFL career so I'm not sure if Justin Blackmon will be tearing it up right away. Blaine Gabbert is a question mark. Maurice Jones-Drew has 299 or more carries in each of the last three seasons. I wonder if this could be a really bad year for the Jaguars.

32. Cleveland Browns (4-12, LW: 30): Sorry, Cleveland. I think you're on the right track. But Brandon Weeden as a rookie may not be better than Colt McCoy, and Trent Richardson will play 25 percent of his games against arguably the two best run defenses in the NFL in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. 2013 is the year to look forward to.

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