Emboldened by the accuracy of my James Jones prognostication (see ), I have decided that I am now qualified to rank the top ten NFL teams of 2011. (Interesting side note: I also called the Kat Von D and Jesse James's break-up, but couldn't think of a way to work it into an earlier post).
So look out Peter King, because here come the rankings:
1. The Eagles - Hey, I realize that if we based power rankings solely on big-ticket, off-season free agent acquisitions, the Washington Redskins would have topped everyone's list for the past three years running, but I think this revamped Eagles team is special. The key to their success will be minimizing Vick's wear and tear and placating D-Jax. The new D looks scary.
2. The Patriots - Can Bill Belichick continue his string of luck with formerly overpaid, under-performing, free agent busts? If Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco respond the same way as Randy Moss circa three years ago, we'll have our answer.
3. The Packers - Is it fair to start the Super Bowl champs out at #3? If you don't think so, feel free to chime in with the plethora of teams that have won back to back in the past 15 years. The Packers will be great, but teams also need to be lucky to win two in a row. I'm also a little concerned about the state of the left guard.
4. The Saints - It's time to end the Reggie Bush chapter in order to usher in the Mark Ingram era. The Saints hope their new Heisman-Trophy-winning back will pan out a little better than their last. This offense will be dangerous again, but can the defense keep up?
5. The Falcons - Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds sold the farm to buy wide receiver Julio Jones. We'll see if the move pays dividends, especially after the team has largely neglected secondary help for a unit that got shredded by Aaron Rodgers at home in the playoffs last year.
6. The Colts - They've "ponied"-up to keep Peyton Manning around for a few more years, but their veteran QB might now have more bolts in his neck than the Frankenstein monster. I think this is a team in decline, but they've got just enough to hang around for one more title run.
7. The Steelers - I don't think a married Ben Roethlisberger is necessarily good news for the boys in Steel City. For some reason, I see this ending badly. Like Thanksgiving-evening-with-an-overturned-SUV-and-an-angry-wife-wielding-a- nine-iron badly. I don't see them back in the big game this year.
8. The Lions - I know this may be a bit of a reach, but I am really starting to like this team on both sides of the ball. From Megatron to Suh, this is a ballclub that is stacked, and if Matt Stafford's right arm can stay attached to his right shoulder this season, look out!
9. The Jets - Look, I just can't buy into the Jets. I don't care what you tell me about Santonio Holmes, Revis Island, or Rex Ryan. I don't see them turning the corner until they add an elite QB. And at this point, "Sanchise" is still a misnomer for Mark. All this aside, beating the Pats in the playoffs gets them into the top ten.
10. The Chargers - They're my new hometown team, and are consistently near the top of the league in offensive and defensive categories. So how the heck didn't they make the playoffs in 2010 playing so well on both sides of the ball with an MVP-caliber QB? Your guess is as good as mine, and that's why they're bringing up the rear of the inaugural Talented Ten.