Free NFL Picks: 2012 NFL Power Rankings (Updated 7/22/12)
NFL Power Ratings
Our staff has developed NFL football power ratings with up to date rankings and how we as handicappers see these teams. We will list our NFL team rankings on a week by week basis and as much as possible. You can check this page for up to date NFL power ratings from Cappersinfo Sports Handicapping. Thanks for visiting and don't forget to check out all the free sports picks in the forums and free picks monitor, other sports betting information, and NFL Football predictions for sports handicappers!
CappersInfo Current NFL Power Rankings
(2012 NFL Preseason Power Rankings)
1: Green Bay Packers – Sure, the Pack didn’t end up winning the Super Bowl last year, but they are still a stacked team that have a lot on their side. QB Aaron Rodgers still has a slew of weapons, and the defense just can’t be any worse than it was a season ago. Remember that this team has won 20 out of 23 games dating back to the end of the 2010 season in which it won the Super Bowl. Green Bay is no joke once again in 2012.
2: New England Patriots – Are we overrating the Patriots at this point? Some might think so, but we really don’t. The addition of WR Brandon Lloyd cannot be underestimated, and the Pats had a lot of high draft picks as well that should jump right into the fold and help the team win games. New England has a cupcake division in our eyes once again, and that means that the road to the Super Bowl might once again go through Foxboro. The Super Bowl runners up are going to be out for blood this year to finish the job that couldn’t get done before.
3: Houston Texans – Put QB Matt Schaub in that playoff game against the Ravens, and the outcome almost certainly would have been a heck of a lot different. Houston has a team that is stacked, and if it can stay healthy, it will be right there with New England as the team to beat in the AFC. Last year was the year that the Texans knocked on the playoff door for the first time. This might be the year that they kick that door right now.
4: Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens really probably aren’t as good as they were last year, knowing that DE Terrell Suggs is out, likely for the whole season, and both S Ed Reed and LB Ray Lewis are aging and aging quickly. Still, getting to the AFC Championship Game a campaign ago was no mistake, and we still think that this is the best team in the AFC North. QB Joe Flacco just has to prove that he can get all the way through the playoffs and not just be a one-trick pony as he has been in recent years in the postseason.
5: San Francisco 49ers – The Niners stormed through the NFC West last year, and they were blessed with a first round bye in the postseason as well. They won’t be taken for granted this year, but they have improved their team in our eyes quite a bit. All those young offensive linemen from a season ago are only going to be better, and the addition of RB LaMichael James should make the running attack all the more dynamic. WR Randy Moss can stretch the field, and WR Mario Manningham should be that consistent No. 1 receiver that was so badly lacking a campaign ago. Now, the big question: Is QB Alex Smith really this good? If he is and can take care of the football, the Niners will once again be scary. If he isn’t and doesn’t, the rest of this NFC West could catch up in a hurry.
6: New Orleans Saints – The Saints nearly got away with a lucky win against those Niners in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year on the road. Now though, they have been rocked by off the field problems the likes of which they haven’t seen since Hurricane Katrina basically displaced the franchise for a full season. Head Coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the season, as has LB Jonathan Vilma. DE Will Smith will miss a month, and the assistants on the coaching staff have been ripped apart. Both Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams have been suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell as well. Still, QB Drew Brees is arguably the best quarterback in the game, and in spite of the loss of OL Carl Nicks, this is still one of the premier offenses that the league has to offer. If the defense can keep up in any way, shape, or form, New Orleans will still be a team that no one wants to face this year.
7: New York Giants – It feels weird to see the champs way down at No. 7, but there is a real argument as to whether or not they are the best team in their own division or not. Remember that they had to go on the road and play against the Packers and Niners to get to the Super Bowl last year, and the argument really could be made that this was a case that they just caught some fire and really weren’t as good as that run suggested. WR Mario Manningham is gone, as is RB Brandon Jacobs. QB Eli Manning truly is elite, and he has done a great job replacing his receivers in the past, but we still feel like we might be being generous by putting the G-Men at No. 7.
8: Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have still never won a playoff game under the direction of QB Matt Ryan, but the truth of the matter is that the excuses are starting to run thin. WR Roddy White and WR Julio Jones are both out of this world, and the defense has at least done its share to keep up with the good things that the offense is doing. The problem though, is that this is a team that is in what we perceive to be the hardest division in football this year, and that means that finishing 9-7 might mean competing for the outhouse, not the penthouse.
9: Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are probably going to be a tad cyclical this year. On one hand, they have a defense that is aging and really didn’t look good at times down the stretch of last season. On the other, they have a young offensive line and a running game that should gain more confidence as the season wears on and RB Rashard Mendenhall gets healthy. WR Mike Walker and WR Emmanuel Sanders could both be Pro Bowl receivers this year, and TE Heath Miller might be worked into the fold quite a bit as well. The sky could be the limit for the men in black and gold, but if that defense doesn’t keep up and the team becomes too offensive oriented, Pittsburgh won’t be able to run down Baltimore atop the AFC North.
10: Philadelphia Eagles – To have the Eagles down this low seems to be a bit cruel, but we think that it is justified to say the least. QB Michael Vick turned the ball over far too much last year, and we think that the defense that was built up to be this great unit is really nothing but a soft bunch with a lot of holes. Now, adding LB DeMeco Ryans and putting him in the middle of that 4-3 scheme should help dramatically, but in the end, the question is going to be as to whether or not Head Coach Andy Reid can keep this team going. He did it last year, but he did it too late to make a difference. Reid was lucky to keep his job. He won’t survive if we are right about Philly being the tenth best team in the league this year.
11: Denver Broncos – The possibility is there that we could be way off base about the Broncos this year. Their defense was the star of last season, contrary to the Tim Tebow supporters, and the running attack really came into its own as the campaign wore on. If that defense, led by the likes of DL Elvis Dumervil and LB Von Miller, can do it again, Head Coach John Fox will have himself a winner. Remember that it isn’t just QB Peyton Manning that is new in town, but so is the new man that figures to be leading this team in the future, QB Brock Osweiler. Still, we thought that this was a very average team with incredible coaching a season ago, and though the coaching isn’t getting any worse, the mediocrity might still be there.
12: Detroit Lions – The Lions took a lot of good steps in the right direction last year, and that was thanks to the fact that we finally saw what QB Matt Stafford could do if he stays healthy. He threw for over 5,000 yards, and WR Calvin Johnson was simply off the chain. If a running game ever forms, look out! This will be the most dangerous offense in football in a heartbeat. Still, the defense doesn’t feel like it has the discipline to succeed night in and night out, and that scares us, to say the least. Detroit doesn’t have much more improvement in it in our eyes this year.
13: Kansas City Chiefs – Perhaps we are a bit high on the Chiefs, but we think that they are going to be competing this year in the AFC West. QB Matt Cassel is going to be back under center, and RB Jamaal Charles will be healthy and ready to go. The team has a backup plan this year in the backfield in RB Peyton Hillis. Don’t underestimate the addition of OL Eric Winston, one of the best run blockers in the league as well. It’s not quite the formula that the Patriots used to win Super Bowls in the past, but GM Scott Pioli knows what he is doing, and new Head Coach Romeo Crennel is probably going to have more success here than he did with the Browns all those years ago. DE Tamba Hali and S Eric Berry should be leading what should amount to be a budding defense as well.
14: Chicago Bears – The time for excuses in the Windy City is said and done now. Head Coach Lovie Smith knows that he has to get to the playoffs this year, or he’ll be dismissed. QB Jay Cutler has back his top target from his days in Denver, WR Brandon Marshall, and the defense was held intact this year once again. RB Matt Forte isn’t a happy camper at the moment, but ultimately, the Bears will likely take care of him and get him inked to a long-term contract. This might be the third best team in this division, but Chicago still knows that it needs to get into the second season this year. It might not, but it is still one of the teams in the top half of the league in our eyes.
15: Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is starting to really become a mediocre team. The squad didn’t get in the playoffs last year, and it probably isn’t going to do it this year either. Sure, in the NFC West, this would be a postseason squad year in and year out, but in the NFC East, matters are always tough. Time is running out for Head Coach Jason Garrett and QB Tony Romo. Eventually, some wins have to come, and they have to come in the playoffs as well. This is a talented offense and a defense that has some great aspects to it, but it just isn’t all coming together quickly enough in Big D.
16: Tennessee Titans – Last season was a massive improvement on the expected for the Titans. They challenged for a playoff spot right down to the last week of the season, and they did so without RB Chris Johnson giving them a lick of help. The defense had some bad games, but it had some yeoman’s efforts as well. QB Jake Locker is the future of the franchise, and that future looks bright. If Johnson returns to being one of the elite backs in the game, Tennessee could be playoff bound this year in an AFC that really only has six very good teams in our eyes. If any of them slip, the Titans might be the next team in line.
17: Seattle Seahawks – We have a heck of a lot of respect for what the Seahawks have done over the course of the last few years. They have gone out and signed the best quarterback options out there, year after year, and this time, they might have the keeper in QB Matt Flynn. The defense is getting better each campaign under Head Coach Pete Carroll, and this could be the year that Seattle finishes above .500 for the first time in quite some time.
18: New York Jets – Been waiting for the Jets to make an appearance on this list? No, we didn’t forget them. We just don’t think all that much of them. The running game that was great two years ago was abysmal last season, and without RB LaDainian Tomlinson back there to help out RB Thomas Jones, we just don’t see things getting any better this year. Those crazy blitz packages have been figured out, and teams are getting their protections together for their quarterbacks. What’s left is a team that has tried to figure out anything possible to win, and that now means making a big deal out of the trade for backup QB Tim Tebow. The bottom line? QB Mark Sanchez isn’t that good, and it won’t be “Tebow Time” any time in the near future in the Big Apple either as we see it. With the locker room already in some serious need of unity, Tebow probably didn’t help matters any. Sexy Rexy might have gotten the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in two straight campaigns, but a second miss at the playoffs might see him get fired.
19: Cincinnati Bengals – Were the Bengals fool’s gold last year? They just never felt like a team that was all that good, and they didn’t beat a single team that made the playoffs a season ago over the course of the whole campaign. That just doesn’t make all that much sense for sure, and now that they have been in the playoffs, it could be a whole new ballgame. QB Andy Dalton needs to show a lot of improvement this year, or Cincinnati will slink back into being a six or a seven win team.
20: San Diego Chargers – The Bolts almost have to be next in line just by default, because the point is coming that there is really going to be a big time drop off in the talent level of these teams. QB Philip Rivers is great, and he has a world class tight end in Antonio Gates and a budding running game behind RBs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert. The defense underachieves every single season though, and in the end, we still think that Head Coach Norv Turner is at fault. Talent? Absolutely. Execution? Might not be a bad idea.
21: Arizona Cardinals – It’s a make or break season for Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and the Cards. WR Michael Floyd might be the man that makes this offense explosive again, and he might be just another draft pick that doesn’t pan out. If it’s the latter and it’s because of QB Kevin Kolb, his career might be over as well. We know that Whisenhunt had Arizona in the Super Bowl just three years ago, but his time is running short if he can’t figure out how to win again in the desert.
22: Buffalo Bills – Some talent is definitely in place in Buffalo. The combination of RBs Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller has proven to be solid, and the offensive line is really coming together. The defense has its home run hitter now that DE Mario Williams has been inked to a long term contract as well. Here’s the problem that we have, though. You have to go back to Jim Kelly to find the last time that this team had a truly elite quarterback, and the idea of a truly elite head coach hasn’t been the case since Marv Levy (the first time) either. Buffalo is still just that; it’s Buffalo. The team will win some games that it shouldn’t, especially at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but it will lose some that will make you scratch your head as well.
23: Carolina Panthers – This is a sneaky Carolina team this year, and it is one that we probably have underrated just a bit. QB Cam Newton had the best rookie campaign that any passer (or rusher!) ever had, and now, he is really hoping to take that next step into stardom in this league as one of the best quarterbacks that the game has to offer. The offense has the right combination now of rushers (Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams) and receivers (Steve Smith and whatever complement to him that gets signed will be fine), but the challenge for Head Coach Ron Rivera is going to be improving a defense that was just downright bad at times a campaign ago.
24: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Here’s another team that we like and like a lot. Head Coach Greg Schiano is trying to get all of the slackers out of Tampa Bay and bring in proven winners that put in the work necessary to succeed. The team should run the ball and run it a lot, and when it gets down near the red zone or needs a big target to throw the ball up to, both WR Mike Williams and the newly acquired WR Vincent Jackson should be the names to watch. The talent is here in Tampa Bay. The question is whether the Bucs are going to have the mindset to put it all together with a roster that is still quite young.
25: Miami Dolphins – Head Coach Joe Philbin probably wasn’t the first choice for the Dolphins’ head coaching vacancy this year, but he might turn out to be a steal. QB Ryan Tannehill is the weakness of this team. The rushing attack will be anchored by RB Reggie Bush, but the key is going to be a young defense that could be ready to take the next step from being a squad that is young and good to one that is truly at an elite level.
26: Oakland Raiders – Poor Raider Nation. It’s time for yet another new coaching staff and yet another new regime in its entirety. The fans in silver and black have to be tired of seeing rotating quarterbacks. Still, this time around, QB Carson Palmer really looks like he is going to stick, and he might be a real asset to the community and the franchise for the long haul. He did a lot with a little in a short amount of time in 2011, and with a full offseason and a new scheme being built around him, Palmer might be able to become that franchise quarterback for the second time in his career. Still, there just seem to be too many holes in the Raiders this year to see them in the playoffs.
27: Washington Redskins – Washington made the bold move to go up and get QB Robert Griffin III in the NFL Draft, and now, he is going to be the cornerstone of the franchise. The rushing game still isn’t there, and the receivers really aren’t all that great either. Defensively though, youngsters like LBs Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are going to lead the way to potential greatness.
28: St. Louis Rams – The future is coming for the Rams, and we might see some glimpses of it this year. When the team finished 7-9 two campaigns ago, a lot of it was the dismay of the rest of the NFC West. Now though, the team is truly rebuilding around QB Sam Bradford. There were a ton of first and second round draft picks this year, and there are more on the way down the line. Head Coach Jeff Fisher should get this team going in the right direction once again sooner rather than later. This year though, it would be tough to expect more than maybe six or seven wins and some truly great competitive efforts.
29: Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Maurice Jones-Drew literally was the entire team last year for the Jaguars. He led the league in rushing, broke the franchise record for rushing yards in a campaign and for rushing yards in a career. And of course, the rest of the team was just awful. Adding WR Justin Blackmon will help out dramatically for second year QB Blaine Gabbert, but he has to make some smarter decisions, or he is going to be a quick bust and will be out of a job quickly in the NFL.
30: Minnesota Vikings – QB Christian Ponder just doesn’t have a lot of talent around him to work with. Sure, RB Adrian Peterson is good, but there is a question about his durability, especially in the face of the fact that he has to run the ball seemingly 25-30 times per game for the squad to win. The defense is aging and decaying quickly, and that’s a bad sign going forward. Add in three teams that might be playoff teams this year in the NFC North, and the recipe is ripe for a disastrous season.
31: Indianapolis Colts – The last time the Colts were this bad, they used the top pick in the NFL Draft to take QB Peyton Manning instead of QB Ryan Leaf. Now, they took QB Andrew Luck instead of QB Robert Griffin III. Of course, Manning’s first year was a tough one, and this year is going to be tough for Luck as well, knowing that he has so many pieces around him that just aren’t all that good. Years of overspending for players like RB Joseph Addai, DE Dwight Freeney, and the likes really finally caught up to this team, and when the shell that Manning cast over the whole rest of the team finally was broken, what was left was a team that just wasn’t really good at all. Indy will take some steps forward from last year, as Luck has to be better than QB Curtis Painter and the rest of the crapola that it put out there to replace Manning, but it is still two or three years before the team is back on the map as a contender.
32: Cleveland Browns – We just don’t understand what the heck the Browns were doing when they picked QB Brandon Weeden with their second pick of the NFL Draft this year. Weeden had better be THAT much better than QB Colt McCoy, or the pick was a total waste. We do like bringing in RB Trent Richardson, but there was more that could have been done with all of those high selections to improve this team. In the end, the penalty will be paid in the form of a really bad season, one that just seems inevitable at this point in the Dawg Pound.
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Lou PalumboLou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.
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