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ESPN's 2008 Power Ranking: Training Camp Edition


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2008 Power Rankings: Offseason

RK (LW) TEAM REC COMMENT

1 (1) Patriots 16-0-0 The Patriots may have major question marks at CB. But with the NFL's easiest schedule, that shouldn't matter. The key is staying healthy. (JC)

2 (2) Colts 13-3-0 The Colts head to camp with health concerns about Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney, but won a lot of games without them in 2007. (PK)

3 (3) Chargers 11-5-0 The Chargers have to make sure the injuries don't mount because this team enters training camp smelling its first Super Bowl visit in 14 seasons. (BW)

4 (4) Cowboys 13-3-0 QB Tony Romo knows the only way he can validate his immense talent is to win a playoff game. With this team, he'll finally break through. (MM)

5 (5) Jaguars 11-5-0 The Jags' draft concentrated on pass-rushers who can give Peyton Manning and Tom Brady a harder time. (PK)

6 (6) Giants 10-6-0 New York didn't have to wait until training camp for the Super Bowl hangover to start. Losing four key players on defense won't help, and Jeremy Shockey's not the type of person to put his ego aside to help the team. (MM)

7 (7) Steelers 10-6-0 Ben Roethlisberger looked awfully good this spring. He might be primed to join the elite QB class of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. (JW)

8 (10) Packers 13-3-0 Yes, they've had some unexpected drama this summer. With or without Brett Favre, however, the Packers have assembled a deep and talented roster that is built for the long haul. (KS)

9 (8) Seahawks 10-6-0 Coach Mike Holmgren is looking for the defense to toughen up on the road, which could be key as the offense works its way through personnel changes. (MS)

10 (9) Browns 10-6-0 Recent injury setbacks for WR Joe Jurevicius (knee), OG Ryan Tucker (hip) and CB Daven Holly (knee) have hit this team hard. But the Browns are deep. (JW)

11 (12) Vikings 8-8-0 The Vikings hit a couple of offseason home runs, signing WR Bernard Berrian and trading for DE Jared Allen. Their arrivals, plus the development of QB Tarvaris Jackson, should be enough to get to the playoffs. (KS)

12 (11) Saints 7-9-0 LB Jon Vilma and rookie DT Sedrick Ellis should make the defense significantly better. The offense already had plenty of talent. (PY)

13 (13) Eagles 8-8-0 This is the wild-card factor. With a healthy Donovan McNabb and and an improved defense, the Eagles could get back to winning NFC East titles. Keep your eyes on speedy rookie DeSean Jackson. (MM)

14 (16) Titans 10-6-0 The Titans will rely on offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger to jump-start the pass offense, while the run game and defense remain the backbone. (PK)

15 (15) Buccaneers 9-7-0 The defense always will keep the Bucs close. If Warrick Dunn, Earnest Graham or a healthy Cadillac Williams can provide a consistent ground threat, this team is in the playoffs. (PY)

16 (14) Redskins 9-7-0 We're about to find out whether Jason Campbell is the answer at QB. Head coach Jim Zorn was hired to help Campbell, and so far, the two are getting rave reviews. (MM)

17 (17) Cardinals 8-8-0 Edgerrin James turns 30 next month, but he's confident superior conditioning will help him avoid injuries that strike older running backs. (MS)

18 (19) Bills 7-9-0 **** Jauron has the Bills poised to be a surprise playoff challenger. Trent Edwards had a great offseason working with the offensive changes implemented by new coordinator Turk Schonert. (JC)

19 (20) Texans 8-8-0 Houston could improve and not have its record show it because of competition in the AFC South. (PK)

20 (18) Panthers 7-9-0 Coach John Fox is betting his future that QB Jake Delhomme can make a full recovery from Tommy John surgery. Rookie RB Jonathan Stewart will have to make an immediate impact. (PY)

21 (22) Ravens 5-11-0 Choosing the right QB this summer could be the difference between a winning and losing season. (JW)

22 (23) Broncos 7-9-0 If Jay Cutler can stay healthy and Brandon Marshall can stay out of trouble, this offense will be fun to watch. (BW)

23 (21) Jets 4-12-0 Eric Mangini plans to go heavy on the run this year, but will there be enough offense to make a playoff run? The big question is at QB. (JC)

24 (25) Bengals 7-9-0 If new coordinator Mike Zimmer can rally the defense quickly, the Bengals could surprise. (JW)

25 (24) Bears 7-9-0 The Bears are hoping Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman will emerge as a viable quarterback, but their histories suggest otherwise. It's a big risk to take. As with the Lions, the defense will have to take control. (KS)

26 (28) Rams 3-13-0 Getting LT Orlando Pace healthy -- and keeping him that way -- must rank as the Rams' top priority heading into training camp and the season. (MS)

27 (26) Raiders 4-12-0 Optimism is sky high in Oakland. It might not be warranted, but the Raiders will be more fun to watch than in recent years. (BW)

28 (27) 49ers 5-11-0 The 49ers have not yet committed to a starting QB, but the season could hinge on whether Alex Smith recovers from a brutal 2007 season. (MS)

29 (29) Lions 7-9-0 Converting from a pass-happy offense to a more balanced attack is a good move for the long haul, but will take some time. This team needs to rely on its defense, which is under development. (KS)

30 (30) Chiefs 4-12-0 This is one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Let the rebuilding phase begin. (BW)

31 (31) Dolphins 1-15-0 Bill Parcells has improved the roster with his type of tough, physical players, but the success of the season will depend on what happens at QB. It's anybody's guess who will start -- John Beck, Chad Henne or Josh McCown. (JC)

32 (32) Falcons 4-12-0 The roster was gutted -- not a bad thing. But it's going to take time to add enough talent to make this team a serious contender. (PY)

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mark hunter (7/21/2008)
let everyone think we are the worst team.....so at the end of this season,everyone will be eating their words & saying how we are the most improved team in the nfl & start getting some respect

everyone thinks that because you are the worst team in the league. No, the falcons won't suprise anyone and there won't be a person eating their words.

you have the worst team in the league

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Jigga Donkey (7/21/2008)
mark hunter (7/21/2008)
let everyone think we are the worst team.....so at the end of this season,everyone will be eating their words & saying how we are the most improved team in the nfl & start getting some respect

everyone thinks that because you are the worst team in the league. No, the falcons won't suprise anyone and there won't be a person eating their words.

you have the worst team in the league

believe what you want to......we had 4 times as many wins as the fins last year & we have done more to get better than they have....& they just got worse by trading their best player to the redskins.....so whatcha gonna do when we win more games than 5 or six other teams & prove that we arent the worst team.....hopefully disappear
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Remember the Dallas Cowboys of 1989?  How many football prognosticators in the summer of '89 predicted that the mighty Cowboys would finish the season at 1-15?  I suspect it was a number quite close to zero.  But 1-15 was how Dallas finished the 1989 season.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

The herd mentality of most sportswriters make lemmings look like individualists.  Actually, I am delighted to see that the common wisdom of the sportswriters proclaming the Falcons having a disastrous 1-15 season because the sportswriters common wisdom is consistently WRONG.

 

As any experienced horse bettor will tell you, those who bet only on favorites die broke.  That's because the favorites bettors only know the hype and ignore (or are too lazy to learn) other factors which may negate whatever advantage the favorite may have.  (In retrospect, the Patriots stumble in the last Super Bowl against the Giants was not completely inexplicable.  Most sportswriters, however, were so blinded by their own hype that they couldn't see the very real flaws in the Pats game plan exposed during the regular season.)  The Falcons are undeniably in a rebuilding season; the shocks of 2007 will have their effects.  That's why I don't expect the Falcons to march to the Super Bowl this season.  However, the Falcons are hardly without weapons and it may surprise some posters on this board to learn that none of the Falcons' opponents are unbeatable.

 

I truly believe that the 2008 Falcons will attest to the dictum of that which doesn't destroy you makes you stronger. Preseason will more interesting than usual this season.  I predict that if the Falcons win the season opener against the Detroit Lions, we may see a season that will astound the sportswriters and many others.

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 Can you imajine what motivation tools these rankings will give our Coaches?? You talk about getting a team fired up !  All they have to do is shows these blogs to our players and let in sink in and simmer , grind it in there minds each week , These people are helping our team greatly by putting us last . I love it!

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falconsdenmark (7/21/2008)
I can understand why they're kinda high on Saints - Vilma is an imidiate upgrade of that defence and Ellis has good potential. But what they see in Bucs I don't get - there is no upgrade from last year - maybe they get bonus points for having the most QBs in the league? ;)

Saints will blow our Div in the weeds this year , mark it down . I don't like it anymore than you but they will be great this year and I think will go deep into the playoffs. I'm just glad it's not the Bucks !! Cant stand that bunch of dirty, cheap shot players and Coaches.

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Saints will blow our Div in the weeds this year , mark it down . I don't like it anymore than you but they will be great this year and I think will go deep into the playoffs. I'm just glad it's not the Bucks !! Cant stand that bunch of dirty, cheap shot players and Coaches

If Vilma is healthy and Ellis is as good as advertised then the Saints are going to be very tough.

But then again the Saints have a history of making the offensive and defensive lines a priority... and sometimes it really pays off for them.

I wish we had been doing that... and I am referring to past drafts more than this one Ryan fans...

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this really is the first year in a while that people arent hyping up the panthers

thats great since i live in sc and have to hear it constantly

the saints really do seem to be improving, their defense could be solid

and the bucs dont seem like they can do worse than last year unfortunately

but i do think we will surprise people i think better than last season

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Sun Tzu 7 (7/21/2008)
Saints will blow our Div in the weeds this year , mark it down . I don't like it anymore than you but they will be great this year and I think will go deep into the playoffs. I'm just glad it's not the Bucks !! Cant stand that bunch of dirty, cheap shot players and Coaches

If Vilma is healthy and Ellis is as good as advertised then the Saints are going to be very tough.

But then again the Saints have a history of making the offensive and defensive lines a priority... and sometimes it really pays off for them.

I wish we had been doing that... and I am referring to past drafts more than this one Ryan fans...

I think now that we got our QB that next few drafts will be all about the trenchs , and then there will be success here and not untill then.  I'm hoping that we will pick up maybe one more very good DT and OT after the last cuts. I'm OK with every thing else for this year at least.

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formul8or (7/21/2008)
I ask this question everytime:

What did the Dolphins do to go from an almost 0-16 team to surpass us?

Absolutely nothing.  Their QB situation is at best equal to ours, they lost their best defensive player, new GM and Coach (just like us), weedhead running back, etc.

It's f'n irresponsible journalism to rank us lower than the Dolphins, Chiefs, Raiders, and Rams.

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falcon_freddie (7/21/2008)
 

Remember the Dallas Cowboys of 1989?  How many football prognosticators in the summer of '89 predicted that the mighty Cowboys would finish the season at 1-15?  I suspect it was a number quite close to zero.  But 1-15 was how Dallas finished the 1989 season.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

The herd mentality of most sportswriters make lemmings look like individualists.  Actually, I am delighted to see that the common wisdom of the sportswriters proclaming the Falcons having a disastrous 1-15 season because the sportswriters common wisdom is consistently WRONG.

 

As any experienced horse bettor will tell you, those who bet only on favorites die broke.  That's because the favorites bettors only know the hype and ignore (or are too lazy to learn) other factors which may negate whatever advantage the favorite may have.  (In retrospect, the Patriots stumble in the last Super Bowl against the Giants was not completely inexplicable.  Most sportswriters, however, were so blinded by their own hype that they couldn't see the very real flaws in the Pats game plan exposed during the regular season.)  The Falcons are undeniably in a rebuilding season; the shocks of 2007 will have their effects.  That's why I don't expect the Falcons to march to the Super Bowl this season.  However, the Falcons are hardly without weapons and it may surprise some posters on this board to learn that none of the Falcons' opponents are unbeatable.

 

I truly believe that the 2008 Falcons will attest to the dictum of that which doesn't destroy you makes you stronger. Preseason will more interesting than usual this season.  I predict that if the Falcons win the season opener against the Detroit Lions, we may see a season that will astound the sportswriters and many others.

 

I remember....who was their only win?

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I think now that we got our QB that next few drafts will be all about the trenchs , and then there will be success here and not untill then.  I'm hoping that we will pick up maybe one more very good DT and OT after the last cuts. I'm OK with every thing else for this year at least.

I hope you're right.

I've come to terms with the Ryan pick but one thing still bothers me. 

It's how management have kind of dismissed the DT position.

"After the top 2 there was such a drop off in talent..." they decided to NOT draft anyone?  Does that mean our staff thought every other DT prospect in this draft must have sucked?

And then they said "that's why we were so active in free agency signing defensive tackles..."

Once again other teams back-ups are our starters...  I guess we'll find out if any of the DT's we have on the roster are worth anything....

Or if we'll be giving up 20-30 points a game...

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I'll post this again for you, Jigga:

Jigga, you really do have a fascination with the Falcons, don't you?  I mean, every post of yours in some way, shape, or form is to put down the Falcons.  It's not like we don't know we're bad.

I could understand coming here and spouting off if you were actually a fan of a good team like the Colts or the Patriots, but you're a Bucs' fan.  As pathetic as this Falcons' franchise is, the Bucs' franchise is just a hair less pathetic.  Aside from TB's one great year of 2002, your team is just awful.  Tampa was the best team in an absolutely pitiful division last year.  Big deal.  They may win it again this year, but much like last time, they'll get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

I, too, am pretty sure this Falcons team will be one of the worst in football this season.  I have no problem with that, but let's not forget those miraculous teams the Bucs fielded in the late 70s.  You know, those teams that lost something like 26 games in-a-row?  Yeah, no chance the Falcons are that bad. 

So just remember, the Falcons and Bucs share one thing in common:  They're both pathetic franchises.  One good season doesn't make up for those awful teams from '76 to the present.  In any other division the Bucs would be a last place team.  Your offense is horrible.  Your defense is old as dirt.  And your special teams are just pathetic.

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Jigga Donkey (7/21/2008)
falconchef (7/21/2008)
It's f'n irresponsible journalism to rank us lower than the Dolphins, Chiefs, Raiders, and Rams.

no it's not, you have the worst franchise in sports. Yes, even the Dolphins have a better roster and talent

Using facts, like last year's roster and record; vs this year's roster and schedule for the aforementioned teams, why don't you try to validate your opinion???

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