NFL Picks: Week 1 NFL Power Rankings

Swinging Johnson

Monday, September 2, 2013 5:35 PM GMT

The teams are all even as the NFL regular season looms but let's analyze who we view as contenders and pretenders in our NFL picks before the games kick.

NFL Power Rankings

1. San Francisco 49'ers - While the soon-to-be 33-year-old Anquan Boldin won't replace the ailing Michael Crabtree he doesn't have to because Colin Kaepernick is that good and will adjust. The Niners are stacked defensively and scoring points won't be a problem.

2. Green Bay Packers - If their first-round pick Eddie Lacey can spark a lackluster running attack then Aaron Rodgers will be even more dangerous. But this defense still needs to track and smack the young, mobile passers that have given them fits in the past.

3. New England Patriots - Reports out of Foxboro are that Danny Amendola is already developing a Welkeresque chemistry with Tom Terrific. If that's the case then the Pats just got five years younger at the slot while all-world tight end Gronkowski is back in pads. 

4. Atlanta Falcons - The Dirty Birds have been bridesmaids for several years but now that they have Steven Jackson in the fold, Matty Ice and the dynamic duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White might just be ready for a trip down the aisle sometime in early February.

5. Denver Broncos - So Peyton has a new toy in Wes Welker but is this the same guy who became Tom Brady's most coveted target? Age and injuries have a way of creeping up but Manning appears to be defying that logic. Von Miller's suspension is a big early season loss.

6. Seattle Seahawks - There's no quarterback controversy this year as Russell Wilson has the keys to the car and may very well drive that bad boy all the way to Jersey.

7. Cincinnati Bengals - Perhaps I've taken too many Hard Knocks but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Andy Dalton and company won the AFC North and contended for a Super Bowl title.

8. Baltimore Ravens - The moon and the stars had to align in perfect harmony for the Ravens to win the big one last year but just remember, Flacco is merely a good quarterback who had an amazing run at just the right time. What's that old mathematical theory, regression to the mean?

9. New York Giants - Big Blue adopted a bend-but-don't-break defense after surrendering a whopping 383 yards per game but allowing only a click over 21 points per game which put them in the upper half of the NFL. If this defense tightens up, don't count Eli out.

10. New Orleans Saints - Sean "The Bounty Hunter" Payton will be back roaming the sidelines and Drew Brees is pulling the trigger. Can the defense rise to the occasion?

11. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford makes the leap into the rarified air of the very best signal callers on the planet and Megatron blows up again this year. Reggie Bush in the backfield is going to make this a multidimensional, multifaceted laser show but can the defense hold up their end of the deal?

12. Houston Texans - I'm worried about Arian Foster. The Texans All-Pro running back has seen more miles than Goodyear and his average per carry has declined in three consecutive seasons. Defense is tough no doubt but I'm not sure QB Matt Schaub is a sturdy anchor for this ship.

13. Dallas Cowboys - Dez Bryant will finally fulfill his vast potential and Tony Romo will reduce his ill-timed interceptions. It's not a dream Cowboys fans, I've seen the future and the Boyz are back...but maybe not all the way.

14. Washington Redskins - RGIII will not make it through the season. His knees are too brittle and he's not going to suddenly morph into a pocket passer. But fear not because Kirk Cousins is the best backup in football - okay you can fear a little.

15. Chicago Bears - Quarterback sponsored by Snap-On. Yes, Jay Cutler may be the biggest tool in the woodshed but he's surrounded by talent. Bears fans are hoping new coach Marc Trestman puts blinders on Cutler and keeps him focused. Don't worry about the defense, the aging 2012 version of Brian Urlacher won't be missed.

16. San Diego Chargers - Norv is gone and the Chargers may now finally, mercifully end the pain in Southern California. Phillip Rivers will get back to being Phillip Rivers and this injury plagued crew will surprise, just wait.

Stay on top of the NFL odds for Week 1 at our comprehensive odds page~

17. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton is much more the guy we saw in his rookie campaign than the one who slumped during his sophomore season. Tight defense and a more confident Cam equals a very decent Panthers squad.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers let their offense walk out the door and will be starting Felix Jones at tailback. Really? Is this guy still in the league? Big Ben will get wrecked early on and so will Pittsburgh's chances.

19. Kansas City Chiefs - Jamaal Charles is the best tailback in the game and if he stays healthy then new quarterback Alex Smith will have plenty of time to hit those short and midrange targets that he loves to isolate.

20. Philadelphia Eagles - I'm a believer Chip Kelly, now make it happen in the City of Brotherly Love. Vick is perfectly suited to Kelly's high octane approach and this team will score more than they surrender...at least half the time.

21. Indianapolis Colts - I know I won't be welcome in the Hoosier state anytime soon but I see Andrew's luck running out in a big way after his team won more nail biters than any team in the league last year. Sophomore slump coming, trust me.

22. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill now has a bone fide speed merchant streaking down the sidelines in Mike Wallace but can he drive this high performance machine?

23. Cleveland Browns - Maybe this team would be a bit higher on my list if they weren't, well you know, from Cleveland. Trent Richardson looks like he's a keeper and Brandon Weeden may benefit with a new, more aggressive coaching staff in place.

24. St. Louis Rams - Okay, this is where it officially gets funky. From 24th on down I think you can throw these teams in a hat and pretty much make a case for any of them at any position. I'll rank Sam Bradford and company the best of the worst.

25. Arizona Cardinals - The Cards now have a tested veteran in the pocket as Carson Palmer will ply his trade in the desert. But does his aging arm have enough left to make a difference?

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs have gone out of their way to bolster their secondary with the most notable addition being Darelle Revis. If Josh Freeman can complement the suddenly explosive Doug Martin then this team may surprise.

27. Minnesota Vikings - How long will the Vikings brass ponder their fate at quarterback before they make a move? Thank God for AP!

28. Tennessee Titans - Fantasy football alert - CJ will be the comeback player of the year so don't let him fall too far. A revamped offensive line in Tennessee will lead to plenty of yards for Johnson but not necessarily translate into wins for the Titans.

29. New York Jets - Yes, they're a mess but I like Rex and so do his players which may lead to a few more wins than those at the very bottom of the barrel. We'll see how this shakes out but Ryan's a dead man walking.

30. Buffalo Bills - No quarterback...no chance. Sorry Bills fans.

31. Oakland Raiders - Another team with a questionable quarterback situation. And will Darren McFadden stay on the field? If not, put your Halloween costumes back in storage Silver & Black fans because you ain't gotta shot.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sometimes first round picks don't pan out. Chant that outside of the Jaguars executive offices and maybe, just maybe, they'll move on from Blaine Gabbert. You should also move on with your NFL Picks, that is, unless your betting against them.