Starting at the top, it’s not surprising that the Steelers and Patriots are atop the VERY EARLY rankings for the 2009 NFL season. Both are so darn solid that injuries seem to just bounce on them as they make deep runs on an annual basis. With Brady back, New England could be right there for the best record in football.
The Falcons sit at #7 on the list, 3rd highest in the NFC behind Philadelphia (#3) and the Giants (#4). I can’t disagree with the Eagles and Giants at all because they have been there and done that. Both are loaded, well-coached and are December and January tough and tested. Atlanta definitely falls in the next group of Arizona, Minnesota, New Orleans, Chicago, Carolina and Green Bay, where any of those could be 11-12 win teams or .500 or below depending on how they respective schedules pan out. Minnesota and Philadelphia are intriguing teams in the NFC with Percy Harvin and Jeremy Maclin in the mix and the possibility of Brett Favre in 2009.
Miami at #17 seems a little low – call me crazy but 2008 definitely wasn’t a fluke. Parcells is getting things together and Pat White was the perfect pick for all the wildcat permutations. Buffalo was given no love with the addition of Terrell Owens, still mired at #24 and picked to finish last in the AFC East.
The 49ers are #28, but imagine the difference if Kurt Warner would have signed there. I would have put them in the top-20 with that defense and Gore, adding Warner.
Despite adding Matt Cassel, Kansas City is #31 on the list. Talk about being labeled a Bill Belichek product of New England….