1. New York Giants – The champs get the top spot. Staying healthy at the skill positions is going to be the key for Big Blue. The pass rush will dictate the game against the Cowboys in the opener on Wednesday night.
2. Green Bay Packers – Cedric Benson will help on those rare occasions when they do run it. Week one is a likely NFC Championship preview with the Niners coming to town.
3. New England Patriots – the offensive line is a concern, but the defense should be better. Brandon Lloyd will provide the deep threat they missed last year. Week one in Music City shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Houston Texans – If Matt Schaub can stay on the field, the Texans could be home for the playoffs. They are 1-0 already with the Fish on their way to Houston for week one.
5. San Francisco 49ers – The Niners are gambling that Randy Moss will care enough to be the deep threat they sorely lack. The Niners should feast on their division and compete for home field advantage. They will start out 0-1 though after the opener in Green Bay.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – The Birds have to have learned something after such a disappointing season last year. Vick’s durability is always a concern, but the talent level is still high on both sides of the ball. They get a soft road opener in Cleveland week one.
7. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons schedule should help them improve on a ten-win season in 2011. With a year under his belt, Julio Jones will continue to open things up for Roddy White and Michael Turner. The Falcons have tricky opener in Kanas City, but should be a contender throughout.
8. Baltimore Ravens – Losing Terrell Suggs is huge, but the Ravens still have bullets left on an aging defense. Changes on the offensive line could hurt the run game. Joe Flacco still needs to take a big step forward for this team to reach the big game.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers – The primary ball carrier is a mystery, but this team has been a pass-first bunch for a couple of years now. They are still strong on defense despite what Tebow did to them in the playoffs. If the offensive line can improve, the Steelers will contend again. They get to avenge last season’s playoff loss with a trip to Denver in week one.
10. Chicago Bears – The Bears finally got Cutler a stud at WR. He couldn’t be happier with Brandon Marshall back on his side. If they can block just a little bit, the Bears will make a major run. The schedule is brutal, but week one has the Colts in town, which should mean a good start.