So most power rankings are delivered following week 1 and are delivered on a week-by-week basis. However, I have decided to make my assessment following the first weeks of the season so that I can get a better grasp of the teams and this is my assessment of how things have played out thus far.
6) Chicago Bears 3-1
When you mention the Chicago Bears, the first thing you normally think is “solid defence.” While that has not changed, the offense now have a trifecta of Cutler, Forte and Marshall that threatens the stranglehold the Packers have recently had on this division.
7) Minnesota Vikings 3-1
Strong running game, strong D. That is the staple diet of Vikings’ football. In the past few years the Vikings tried to become something they weren’t by going after the big names and for the most part it was a failed experiment. Now that that era has passed the Vikings are looking simple, yet effective. An impressive win against the 49ers have meant that a lot of people are now taking note of the Vikings progress but in a strong NFC North, I have my doubts about the Vikings progression into the postseason.
8) San Diego Chargers 3-1
Trying to predict how well the Chargers will do has been near impossible for the best part of a decade now. While they have dominated the AFC West for most of the past 10 years, they have failed to live to the expectations many have had for them. With Peyton Manning now in the same division, the Chargers can expect that the Broncos will be a genuine threat to the division title, so there is little room for errors. They have been doing well enough so far, but I’m sure they wish they could play the Raiders every week.
9) Cincinnati Bengals 3-1
When a rookie quarterback has a great year, a wave of scepticism follows, suggesting that they should fear the sophomore slump. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have simply laughed in the face of this threat. With the Steelers having a few key mean out and in a period of transition, the Bengals should finish second within this division. Only time will tell whether this will be sufficient for them to reach the playoffs.
10) New England Patriots 2-2
Welker is in a contract year but isn’t feeling the love from the Patriots’ owners and Aaron Hernandez has gone down hurt. What initially seemed like a season that the Pats could get through on cruise control is now starting to look a little bit tricky. However, with Brady and Bellichick at the helm, they should still be able to win the division, but I would be surprised if they were able to go deep into the playoffs.
image: © Keith Allison