NFL Nation: power rankings preseason 09

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Our pre-training camp power rankings have been released.

We have streamlined the voting process. I no longer have a vote. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky is the AFC representative.

I still have an opinion though, so here goes:

San Diego

  • Power ranking: 6th
  • My ranking range: 6-8
  • Why: This is a good team. The Chargers are not far from being one of the elite teams in the NFL.

Denver

  • Power ranking: 27th
  • My ranking range: 24-26
  • Why: I think Denver was slightly under ranked, but I understand why. There are a lot of questions about this team after a controversial offseason.

Kansas City

  • Power ranking: Tied for 28th
  • My ranking range: 28-30
  • Why: I think the Chiefs are right where they should be. This team still has a long way to go.

Oakland

  • Power ranking: 30th
  • My ranking range: 25-28
  • Why: I think the Raiders are being underrated. This team is not the third-worst team in the league. It is arguably the second-best team in the AFC West heading into camp.

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Since it's been two months since our last power rankings release party, ESPN.com decided to release a fresh edition today. You may notice that the Beast no longer has a seat at the voting table, which will allow me to be even more critical of the remaining panelists -- Mike Sando, Paul Kuharsky, John Clayton and Jeff Chadiha. First off, here's how NFC East teams finished in the rankings:

3. Giants: This is where the Giants were back in May, and it's probably about right. I would've ranked them second, though.

4. Eagles: Same place they were in May. We'll keep a close eye on this Brian Westbrook injury situation. I wouldn't expect to see much (if any) of him in the preseason.

14. Cowboys: The Cowboys actually fell a spot since May. Perhaps one of the voters didn't like what he saw in organied training activities or is worried about The Breakup.

20. Redskins: Washington also fell a spot from its No. 19 ranking in May. I think that's a little low, but you'd have a hard time moving them into the top 15. I'm anxious to see if Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly shows some big-time improvement in training camp.

Chadiha and Clayton gave the Giants their lowest rankings at No. 4. Sando hurt the Eagles by ranking them sixth. He's easy to find on Facebook, Eagles fans. He absolutely loves the interaction.

Kuharsky, who has put the AFC South blog on the map, gave the Cowboys their lowest ranking at No. 15. Clayton had them at their original No. 14. Sando continued his assault on Beast teams by ranking the Skins No. 22. I have two calls into him for an explanation, but he's ducking me right now. I think the Vikings are the most overrated team in the rankings at this point. They checked in at No. 9. Kuharsky and Sando had them about right at No. 12, but Chadiha's fallen in love with them for some reason. The Vikings went from No. 14 to No. 9 in two months. Maybe Clayton and Chadiha were voting under the belief that Brett Favre would decide to play.

Much more to come.

Thanks for your continued interest in the NFC East blog.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Our first edition of power rankings for the season is out and I'm kind of underwhelmed by where NFC South teams fell.

Let me clarify, I'm not a voter this year. They simplified the process, going with four voters instead of 13. But that means I get to be critical of the voters, so here goes:

Atlanta is No. 8 overall and first in the division? Nice season last year, but has anybody looked at the Falcons' schedule? Can't see how the voters put the Falcons ahead of the Panthers, who came in at No. 11. In my book, Carolina's still the class of the NFC South. Forget the playoff loss, they were 12-4 last season and have virtually their entire team back.

Now, let's get to the "No respect cards'' for New Orleans and Tampa Bay. After a slew of defensive moves, the Saints are No. 19. That's right about where they spent all of last season. Looks like the voters aren't as sold on the defensive moves as coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis.

Finally, the Bucs come in at No. 26 and I let out a brief sigh because I thought the Bucs might end up 31 or 32. The still have a shot. This team's got some obvious problems, but I think there's enough talent in Tampa Bay to keep the Bucs a few notches ahead of the dregs of the NFL.

AFC North power rankings

July, 27, 2009
7/27/09
12:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Here are ESPN.com's latest power rankings as we begin NFL training camps.

The Pittsburgh Steelers retained the top spot this summer. The Baltimore Ravens are No. 10, followed by the two Ohio teams in the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24) and Cleveland Browns (No. 28).

ESPN.com is streamlining the process this year to four voters -- AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and senior writers John Clayton and Jeffri Chadiha.

Here is the breakdown of how they voted.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

ESPN.com has streamlined its NFL power rankings, trimming a complicated process that included 12 ballots down to four.

I accepted an invitation to represent the AFC bloggers in the polling, and expect as a result I'll hear from plenty of you outside the division who don't love how I position your team. I'll be commenting on the teams from the AFC West in addition to the teams of the AFC South each time.

I pledge to read and consider all reasonable complaints, and to answer as much of my mailbag as possible.

Our first edition under the new balloting procedures is out Monday, and can be found here. And here's NFC West maven Mike Sando's roundup of the four ballots, where mine is available for dissection.

Here's how the AFC South fare, with how each ranked in the May poll as the number in parentheses:

5) Colts (5)
7) Titans (8)
16) Texans (18)
25) Jaguars (24)

Let 'er rip.

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Minnesota was the big winner in the first installment of ESPN.com's preseason power rankings. Do the voters know something the rest of us don't?

When we last left the power rankings, Chicago was the NFC North's top-ranked team at No. 12. The Vikings ranked second at No. 14 overall, but the pending arrival of quarterback Brett Favre shot the Vikings up to No. 9 overall. The Bears are now No. 13.

I imagine that order will change if Favre remains retired, bringing us to an important note about the power rankings. This year, I am not directly involved in the process. We've reduced the number of voters for better efficiency and consistency. This might enrapture some of you and mortify others, but that's the way it will be this year.

The 2009 electorate includes one NFC blogger and one from the AFC -- Mike Sando and Paul Kuharsky, respectively -- along with ESPN analysts John Clayton and Jeffri Chadiha.

Here is a capsule view of the NFC North's performance in Monday's installment, with previous rankings in parenthesis:

No. 9: Minnesota (14)
No. 13: Chicago (12)
No. 17: Green Bay (17)
No. 32: Detroit (32)

Having two teams in the bottom half of the chart left the NFC North's composite ranking at 17.3, third-worst in the NFL.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The training camp edition of ESPN's power rankings is out.

To my eyes, there's only one surprise among AFC East clubs. It's a mild one.

The reconstituted panel, which now consists only of four voters as opposed to the unwieldy horde of ESPN pundits that previously contributed, ranked the New York Jets below the Buffalo Bills.

Although in late July I don't agree with that, it's entirely understandable, given all of the X-factors for both teams. The Jets have a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. The Bills added Terrell Owens to what looks like a dangerous offense, but the line is suspect.

Here is how the AFC East falls in the latest rankings, drawn up by ESPN senior writers John Clayton and Jeffri Chadiha, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

No. 2 New England Patriots

  • Best rating: No. 2
  • Worst rating: No. 2
  • Note: Across the board, they were slotted behind the defending champions. Rightfully so.

No. 15 Miami Dolphins

  • Best rating: No. 11 (Chadiha)
  • Worst rating: No. 19 (Clayton)
  • Note: The eight-spot disparity between the best and worst ratings was the second-widest behind the Arizona Cardinals, who were rated seventh by Sando and 16th by Clayton.

No. 21 Buffalo Bills

  • Best rating: No. 18 (Clayton)
  • Worst rating: No. 23 (Kuharsky, Sando)
  • Note: Clayton has been the most vocal supporter of Buffalo's offseason, but 18th still finishes way out of the playoffs. He also dropped them four spots since May's power rankings.

No. 23 New York Jets

  • Best rating: No. 21 (Kuharsky, Sando)
  • Worst rating: No. 26 (Clayton)
  • Note: No truth to the rumor Channing Crowder was consulted for the balloting.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rank Team Mike Sando John Clayton Paul Kuharsky Jeffri Chadiha
1 Steelers
1 1 1 1
2
Patriots 2 2 2 2
3
Giants 3 4 3 4
4
Eagles 6 3 4 3
5
Colts 4 5 6 10
6
Chargers 5 6 8 9
7
Titans 10 10 5 5
8
Falcons 8 11 7 8
9
Vikings 12 7 12 6
10 Ravens 9 9 9 12
11 Panthers 11 12 14 7
12 Cardinals 7 16 10 13
13 Bears 13 8 11 15
14 Cowboys 14 13 15 14
15 Dolphins 16 19 13 11
16 Texans 15 15 16 16
17 Packers 17 14 19 18
18 Seahawks 18 17 18 17
19 Saints 19 21 17 19
20
Redskins 22
20
20 20
21 Bills 23 18 23 21
22 49ers 20 23 25 22
23 Jets 21 26 21 25
24 Bengals 25 22 22 28
25 Jaguars 26 25 24 23
26 Bucs 27 24 27 26
27 Broncos 24 29 28 24
28 Browns 28 27 32 29
28 Chiefs 31 28 26 31
30 Raiders 30 30 31 27
31 Rams 29 31 30 30
32 Lions 32 32 29 32

The Steelers and Patriots were unanimous choices -- in that order -- atop ESPN.com's 2009 preseason power rankings.

The top five teams remained unchanged from our May rankings even though ESPN.com simplified the voting process by reducing from 12 to four panelists.

Senior writers John Clayton and Jeffri Chadiha will join AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and me as power rankings voters for the 2009 season. I'll continue to shine light on how the voters voted.

Rising: The Vikings jumped five spots from 14th to ninth, the largest gain from our May rankings. The 49ers (26th to 22nd) and Seahawks (22nd to 18th) gained four places. The Falcons jumped from 11th to eighth. The Texans jumped two spots. Four other teams moved up one place.

Falling: The Ravens dropped four spots to 10th, the largest dip from May. The Cardinals were among three teams dropping three places. Kuharsky and I were the only panelists to rank Arizona among the top 10. 

Unchanged: Twelve teams' rankings remained unchanged from May, including the top five. Also staying put: the Dolphins (15), Packers (17), Bills (21), Browns (28), Raiders (30), Rams (31) and Lions (32).

Deadlocked: Voting produced one tie, with the Browns at Chiefs at No. 28. The Chiefs drew the highest ranking of the two, a No. 26 vote from Kuharsky.

Agree to disagree: The Cardinals generated the widest gap between highest and lowest votes. I ranked them seventh. Clayton ranked them 16th. Six other teams also generated high-low gaps wider than five spots:

  • Cardinals (9): I ranked them seventh, higher than any voter ranked them. Clayton ranked them 16th, lower than any voter ranked them.
  • Dolphins (8): Chadiha 11th, Clayton 19th.
  • Panthers (7): Chadiha seventh, Kuharsky 14th.
  • Bears (7): Clayton eighth, Chadiha 15th.
  • Vikings (6): Chadiha sixth, Sando and Kuharsky 12th.
  • Bengals (6): Clayton and Kuharsky 22nd, Chadiha 28th.
  • Colts (6): Sando fourth, Chadiha 10th.
Ranking the divisions: NFC East teams ranked 10.5 on average, best for any division. AFC West teams ranked 22.9 on average, worst for any division. The chart below shows how each voter ranked teams from each division on average. Black shading identifies the highest rankings for a division on average. Red shading identifies the lowest for a division on average.
  • Example: I ranked AFC West teams 22.5 on average, higher than any other voter ranked them. Chadiha ranked AFC North teams 17.5 on average, lower than any other voter ranked teams from the division.
Breakdown By Division
Voter AFC
East
AFC
North
AFC
South
AFC
West
NFC
East
NFC
North
NFC
South
NFC
West
Mike Sando 15.50 15.75 13.75 22.50 11.25 18.50 16.25 18.50
John Clayton
16.25 14.75 13.75 23.25 10.00 15.25 17.00 21.75
Paul Kuharsky
14.75 16.00 12.75 23.25 10.50 17.75 16.25 20.75
Jeffri Chadiha 14.75 17.50 13.5 22.75 10.25 17.75 15.00 20.50
AVERAGE 15.3 16.0 13.4 22.9 10.5 17.3 16.1 20.4
RANK 3 4 2 8 1 6 5 7

Stock watch by voter

A look at changes of at least three spots since the May rankings.

Sando: Texans (+3), Ravens (-3), Saints (-4)

Clayton:  Packers (+6), Bucs (+6), 49ers (+3), Chiefs (-3), Jets (-3), Bills (-4)

Kuharsky: Seahawks (+3)

Chadiha: Vikings (+7), Titans (+7), 49ers (+5), Patriots (+4), Bucs (+3), Raiders (+3), Jaguars (-3), Cardinals (-8), Ravens (-8)

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