NFL Power Rankings 2012: Your Team Is Probably Ranked Too Low

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 25: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers smiles as he leaves the field after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The start of the 2012 NFL season is upon us! SB Nation's power rankings return for a look at all 32 teams as we enter Week 1.

SB Nation's last set of NFL power rankings came days before the start of training camp. Plenty has happened since then, so we're back with an updated look at the NFL landscape before real games officially begin. We've seen the rookies play and we've watched the free agents fit into their new teams. We have a better idea of what this season will look like.

Because this isn't an exact science, we've probably made plenty of horrible errors. Let us know about them in the comments.


Previous Power Rankings: Pre-Training Camp | Post-NFL Draft


1. Green Bay Packers (LW: 1): Through a month of training camp, this is still the most talented team in the NFL led by the best quarterback in the NFL. The major concern is what happens if that quarterback goes down. Something named a Graham Harrell would take over and they would be dropping in these power rankings.

2. New York Giants (LW: 3): The lack of hype surrounding this team is ... strange. Seriously, a team in the biggest media market in the country and it seems like an afterthought to that other team in New York. It can rest easy knowing it is clearly the superior team.

3. New England Patriots (LW: 2): What is this, decade No. 2 for the Patriots being a top three team? So consistent. The floor for this team is the AFC Championship Game.

4. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 6): Ray Rice didn't pull an MJD and actually showed up to training camp. Joe Flacco continues to come into his own. The defense is as great as the defense always is. This is is a tempting Super Bowl pick.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 7): I'm higher on the Steelers this year than others. I just see the last five years of wins: 12, 12, 9, 12 and 10. Pittsburgh will be an 11-game winner with a top five defense.

6. Houston Texans (LW: 5): Arian Foster looks sharp, Matt Schaub is healthy and Andre Johnson is Andre Johnson. If the defense is near the top of the league again, this will be another popular Super Bowl pick.

7. New Orleans Saints (LW: 8): How much will the bounty case distract the players? Will they band together and use this as a rallying cry? Or will it affect their focus? Lots of question marks for such an established team here.

8. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 4): Too many things went well for the 49ers last year. This is a very good team but it will come back to Earth this year.

9. Detroit Lions (LW: 11): Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Repeat.

10. Chicago Bears (LW: 12): Nice set of triplets in Chicago: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall. The potential is there, no doubt.


AFC Divisional Previews: East | North | South | West


11. Denver Broncos (LW: 9): The big Peyton Manning question. If he's healthy, this is is a top five team. If he's not, it can be in the bottom third of the league. If he plays like a former elite quarterback who hasn't played in over a year, then it will be the 11th best team in the league.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 10): Can Michael Vick stay healthy? Really, that's what this season comes down to. Nick Foles had a terrific preseason but the Eagles only hit their potential if Vick stays healthy and blows up.

13. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 13): Some people seem to be forgetting Atlanta. It is in what could be the last productive year for Michael Turner. Tony Gonzalez is likely gone. There's still plenty of talent but 2012 makes sense as its year.

14. Carolina Panthers (LW: 18): The fantasy football world expects Cam Newton to become an elite quarterback this year. It will take a little longer until he can truly make a claim like that but he's on the right trajectory.

15. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 15): It'd take a career year from Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray to take a big step and Dez Bryant to stay on the field every week, but it's not crazy to think this team can make a playoff run.

16. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 16): Overachieved is a good word for 2011. Not a bad team by any means but it might have been a year too early. A similar nine-win season makes sense in that division.

17. Buffalo Bills (LW: 17): Second place in the AFC East looks possible. They will end up with a better record than the team right below them.

18. New York Jets (LW: 19): I can see two scenarios: 1.) A shutdown defense leading them to an 11-win season or 2.) a complete meltdown, five-win season. So we'll put them in the middle of the pack.

19. Washington Redskins (LW: 23): RGIII is better than I thought. At least right away. The games will count next week and he will raise his game along with a productive running game led by ... someone. Although Mike Shanahan won't tell us who because he hates fantasy football players.

20. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 31): RGIII and Andrew Luck, connected again. The Redskins have a more complete roster, which is why they're ranked higher. The Colts have a better playoffs shot due to that division, though.


NFC Divisional Previews: East | North | South | West


21. Tennessee Titans (LW: 20): If Chris Johnson isn't the old Chris Johnson this year it could be a long year in Tennessee.

22. San Diego Chargers (LW: 14): Ryan Mathews is hurt. Vincent Brown is out. A very talented team is hurting.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 21): This has the look of a team who lead the league in rushing.

24. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 22): Russell Wilson is dynamic. I did not expect that. Seattle will challenge San Francisco for the NFC West title.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 25): Too low? I can't get a read on this team. Let us know in the comments where they should be ranked.

26. Oakland Raiders (LW: 24): It's just preseason, yes, but Oakland struggled. A healthy Darren McFadden keeps them relevant but staying healthy is not a strength of his.

27. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 30): Adrian Peterson is a freak but his knee worries me. That's a lot of damage and a quick recovery time. Once he shows me he's healthy, they'll move up in these rankings.

28. St. Louis Rams (LW: 28): I think this will be a better team but had trouble finding any way to get it higher on the list. Cornerback was a major weakness but now a strength. Sam Bradford should be better. Steven Jackson has some help. It can be better.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29): Blaine Gabbert is young enough where the improvement could come quickly. Or he could be really bad. The jury is still out.

30. Miami Dolphins (LW: 27): I don't know where the points will come from. Reggie Bush is your best offensive weapon? This could be a long year in South Florida.

31. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 26): That quarterback battle made me feel a lot better about ranking them 31st.

32. Cleveland Browns (LW: 32): The pieces are in place to be competitive down the line but they will have a rough go of it in 2012.

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