1. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning bounced back last season. This team will be lethal if Manning stays healthy. They had a great offseason. Wes Welker makes their WR core perhaps the best in the NFL. Can Shaun Phillips, Robert Ayers and others replace Elvis Dumervil? Anything short of a Superbowl appearance will be a failure for the Broncos in 2013.
2. Seattle Seahawks: This team is gonna be off the hook in 2013. Adding Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to that defense is lethal. Don’t forget about Percy Harvin, either. The four-game suspension for Bruce Irvin discounts the offseason gains.
3. San Francisco 49ers: This team will be loaded and will be a powerful force to be reckoned with once again. Especially after the draft they had. Kaepernick only has 10 games under his belt is capable, he must show steady improvement going forward.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Another team that was so close to taking it all the way. Didn’t have a perfect draft, but still a solid team. The key this year will be if their defense can hold up in the playoffs. Is Osi Umenyiora enough?
5. Green Bay Packers: Rodgers is too good of a QB to keep them out of the top 5. Defense should improve with this draft class. Lacy will help as well. If they can stay healthy, I would be shocked if they do not win the NFC North.
6. New England Patriots: Brady is still the man. Losing Welker hurts, but they play in a weak division. Draft won’t have much of an impact. Amendola is a great addition, concerned about Rob Gronkowski’s injury. What will the Aaron Hernandez drama fallout be?
7. Houston Texans: They can only go as far as Schaub takes them, and I am not sure how far that really is. Ed Reed is way past his prime at this point, and the outside rushers have to do more.
9. Chicago Bears: New coach Marc Trestman will liven up the passing game with Jay Cutler. They under achieved last year. They will still make a strong case for the playoffs.
10. St. Louis Rams: Rams are under the radar big time. Remember, they played Seattle and the 49ers really strong last year. They have a talented front seven that they could ride to a playoff berth, even in a tough division.
11. Indianapolis Colts: Major additions in the offseason. They will make a push for a wildcard spot, as long as Luck keeps improving. If the Texans are overrated as many suggest, Indy could win the division.
12. Washington Redskins: They live and die by RGIII. The defense is projected to be one of the worst in the league in 2013. They may benefit from a weakening division, though.
13. Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis is gone and others have departed but Flacco is getting better quickly. They still have Ray Rice.
14. New York Giants: Only a year removed from a Superbowl, they still have what it takes to make some major noise in the league. They cannot finish 31st on defense again in 2013, though. Coughlin will not allow that.
15. Miami Dolphins: Does Tannehill have what it takes to lead this team anywhere? I think he will eventually. Mike Wallace will certainly help him get there.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers: Age and cap issues are finally starting to catch up with them. No doubt they still have talent, but they will not be as dominate as they were throughout the last decade in the North. The good news is they used the draft to fix some problems
17. New Orleans Saints:Sean Payton is back and that a positive but how many more years can Brees carry this team? Vaccaro should help on defense, but they have to find a way to get pressure without bringing the blitz. Can Rob Ryan fix the defense?
18. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder has to take steps forward or this team will struggle much worse than in 2012. Losing Percy Harvin hurts. It really hurts. Their draft class is stout, though. They might be able to take second in the North again.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Really love their draft class. They have a weak schedule out of the gate and may gain some momentum. Gabbert is the key to this offense; he must improve for them to come close to 8 wins this year.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will the real Josh Freeman please stand up? Please stand up? The defense looks great on paper, but that means nothing until they hit the field. Reports are that Glennon may have a shot at being the starter at QB during some point of the season.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Smith isn’t the best QB out there, but he is a big upgrade at the worst position on the team in 2012. They may be a surprise in 2013.
22. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is exciting but they might be stuck in neutral. The rest of the team is lack-luster. Rookies will help this team a bunch. The secondary hasn’t been upgraded at all, which is a concern in their division.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Will Palmer lead them anywhere? Not sure, especially in a really tough division. He is way past his prime and will be learning a new system. The defense should improve steadily, however.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo has a new deal but If it weren’t for DeMarcus Ware and Dez Bryant, where would this team be? Jerry Jones has mismanaged this team for quite a long time, and the Romo deal just keeps piling it on the poor Cowboys fans.
25. San Diego Chargers: They made some key additions in the offseason, but with a head coaching turnover who knows what will happen. The defense is pretty solid, but Rivers must start to redeem his career if they want to make any noise in the West.
26. Detroit Lions: I always think they should be higher but continue to dissapoint. That defensive line has to start making a difference at some point. Especially with Ansah on it, now.
27. Philadelphia Eagles: I believe Chip Kelly has what it takes to be an NFL coach. He may have some growing pains early on, however. Will it be Vick or Barkley? I see both of them taking snaps at some point during the season.
28. Tennessee Titans: Draft class will help the Titans, but their roster is still very patchy. Players don’t really fit the scheme. Munchak has a lot to deal with this year.
29. Cleveland Browns: Weeden must improve, and I do not think he can. Browns stuck near the bottom once again. Perhaps Trent Richardson can take the next step and help them out on offense?
30. Buffalo Bills: EJ Manuel will be starting day 1. I’m not sure thats the ideal situation for Bills fans. He was inconsistent in college, and it may show up big time early in his NFL career.
31. Oakland Raiders: We miss Al Davis. They had a real draft class for once, but is it enough to make a big difference? Tyler Wilson has been strong early in camp according to reports. Will he beat out Flynn? Time will tell.
32. New York Jets: Smith will help their offense, but I still think they suffer from lack of talent and finish near last. It’s Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez. The way they seem to be rebuilding, it might be wise to just play Smith. Rex Ryan will most likely be looking for a new job come 2014.