ZEPFAN17 Posted February 6, 2013 Share Posted February 6, 2013 By Elliot Harrison Published: Feb. 5, 2013 at 01:15 p.m. Updated: Feb. 5, 2013 at 04:34 p.m. What a Super Bowl, right? It was the second-greatest of the past few years, behind only Super Bowl XLII, when the New England Patriots' undefeated season went down in flames -- although Steelers-Cards (XLIII) certainly merits consideration. Baltimore's win leaves many to wonder if the Ravens are in fact the best team in pro football. The Powers That Be at NFL.com saw this potential outcome and immediately thought: "Power rankings? Yeeessssss!" Let me show you how you find out you're getting an assignment at my place of work: @datbowtie Good news. All 32 rankings coming from @harrison_nfl Tuesday after Super Bowl.â€” Henry Hodgson (@nflukhank) January 26, 2013 Twitter, of course. (There went my Super Bowl after-party -- and the better part of Monday.) It's worth mentioning that I had written some pretty good rot before the power went out in my apartment. Yes, I was dominating Microsoft Word for Mac. To compare it to a football game, I'd say the score was 28-6. But the long delay allowed writer's block back into the fold, so this intro is being cut short. How do the 32 NFL teams stand today, going forward into free agency and beyond? The answer key lies below. Feel free to pass along any thoughts on these rankings to the usual addy: @Harrison_NFL. Let the dissension commence on this, the first official Power Rankings of the 2013 season Here is a list of all 32 teams in the NFL and their ranking going in to next season. Its pretty accurate if you guy by the teams left standing going in to the playoffs, RANK 1 RAVENS Joy for Baltimore Ravens fans ... agony for NFL.com's Power Ranker. Is Baltimore truly the top team in football heading into the 2013 offseason? I deliberated at my computer. I deliberated with NFL.com colleagues. I deliberated on the calf-extension machine ... at Q's Billiards ... at the tire place. Here's the deal: Baltimore is No. 1, and not just because the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. This becomes clear through the process of elimination. Consider: a) The Ravens have beaten New England in two straight meetings. You can make a solid case they should've won the AFC Championship Game in Foxborough last season, too. San Francisco is an outstanding football team, but the 49ers also had to squeeze past Atlanta, were blown out late in the regular season at Seattle and went 0-1-1 versus the Rams. The Ravens won the Super Bowl fair and square, irrespective of what you might think about the officiating. Yes, there was a power outage, and some folks believe it had a glowing effect on the game. I don't. And anyway, if any team was helped by it, it was the 49ers. c) It can't be Denver. The Ravens beat the Broncos in their stadium. Denver finally faced a team playing quality football (after hardly doing so for two months) and was beat, making us all wonder about the merit of the club's 11-game winning streak. d) The Packers have lost two straight divisional-round bouts. No, they've been whupped in two straight divisional-round bouts. e) Atlanta hasn't been able to close the door. Given the Falcons' mediocre running game, that's not likely to change. f) We need to see a thicker catalogue from Seattle. Too soon. g) Houston? Next. Obviously, the contract situations of Joe Flacco and Ed Reed hover slightly above "relevant" in terms of importance. The Ray Lewis departure is a huge loss in the locker room but a gain on the field. I'll tell you what, though: Having a healthy Lardarius Webb in the secondary will make the defense better in 2013. RANK 2 49ERS What a tough loss to take, 49ers faithful. The most mind-boggling aspect? The questionable play calling by offensive coordinator Greg Roman in the most important goal-to-go sequence of the season. He had been rock solid pretty much all year. But don't worry. San Francisco is exploding with young talent: Mike Iupati, Michael Crabtree, NaVorro Bowman, Chris Culliver, Aldon Smith, Joe Staley and obviously Colin Kaepernick. Like the Pats, the Niners boast an excellent blend of young and old. So what will they get for Alex Smith? RANK 3 PATRIOTS The New England Patriots are still one of the top two teams in the AFC. That's becoming old hat. Still, it's been eight seasons since this team won the Super Bowl. The key for the Pats, as mentioned above, is their mix of veterans and young talent. Stevan Ridley, for example, just broke out in his second NFL season. The linebacking corps is turning into a team strength. If the Pats get Ed Reed, New England will be playing in New Jersey a little less than a year from now. RANK 4 BRONCOS Concern abounded in this space a month ago regarding the possibility that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy could be distracted by potential head-coaching vacancies. Whether or not that played any role in the loss to the Ravens is up for debate. The decision to run the ball three straight times and punt with 2:23 left was John Fox's, not McCoy's. McCoy is now gone, taking over as San Diego's head coach. So here are two other thoughts regarding the Denver Broncos: 1) Can Peyton Manning hold up for 16 games again at age 37? In 1998, a 38-year-old John Elway missed four starts, but Denver went 4-0, thanks to solid backup Bubby Brister. Denver doesn't have that kind of depth at QB right now. 2) How much of the Broncos' season-ending 11-game winning streak was legit? Just two teams beaten during that streak -- Cincinnati and Baltimore -- finished with winning records. And the Ravens, of course, ousted the Broncos from the playoffs. RANK 5 FALCONS This is a tough call. The Atlanta Falcons are capable of putting up 13 wins -- they've managed that feat in two of the past three years. They also have no problem getting out in front of opponents with coordinator Dirk Koetter's explosive offensive. The good news: Koetter signed a contract extension to remain in Atlanta. The not-so-good news: It doesn't seem that this team can change much to get over the hump. Mike Smith's club is already the least penalized, most disciplined team in the league. Getting Brent Grimes back will help. Nonetheless, little will change until this team learns to close the deal in the postseason. Even in the divisional-round win over the Seahawks, many felt Seattle should've pulled it out. I'll go with could've. RANK 6 SEAHAWKS There are multiple question marks entering every offseason for every team, but in Seattle, the biggest has to be how this club will fare without defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who left for the head job in Jacksonville. We can talk free agents, or Russell Wilson's development. Still, much of 2013's success will boil down to how Dan Quinn does in his new role as Bradley's replacement. Luckily for the 12th Man, Quinn was in charge of the defensive line under Pete Carroll in 2010. He knows the personnel, and, more importantly, the drop-off should be nil. Should be. RANK 7 PACKERS The Green Bay Packers are easily the favorites to win the NFC North. The bottom line for this group is threefold (yes, I'm in a listy mood): 1) Dom Capers' job might be safe, but the defense must improve to get to the next step. The Packers' D is decent now, but not stout enough to overcome ... 2) ... the running game. Averaging 3.9 yards per carry, Alex Green and the committee exhibited promise, but not enough to truly diminish the immense load on Aaron Rodgers. 3) Randall Cobb has developed? Doesn't mean Greg Jennings is expendable. RANK 8 TEXANS Is this a premium team? Houston Texans fans must be concerned with how this past season played out. The club couldn't get past New England in the playoffs and really played poorly for much of December. I could see Houston going 12-4 again or dropping a rung (or two). Brian Cushing's return should help immensely, as will playing in a still-weak AFC South. RANK 9 BENGALS Another postseason berth, another season-ender at Reliant. So what's in store for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013? This club has been in the playoffs three of the past four seasons, yet can't get past the first round. Heading toward next season, the hope is that the kids continue to get better, starting with A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and Jermaine Gresham. Don't sleep on 2012 third-round draft pick Mohamed Sanu, who really came on before getting hurt. Better yet, the Bengals have a crapload of cap space (over $50 million). RANK 10 REDSKINS If Robert Griffin III is back for the beginning of the 2013 season, the Washington Redskins are the frontrunners to win the NFC East. Not because they won it in 2012. No, because they won it in 2012 despite having two of their key contributors (Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker) miss almost the entire season. Having a healthy Orakpo on the defensive side of the ball is like having Kat Dennings return for another season on "2 Broke Girls." That's a big development ... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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