First, in case you didn't notice, I am the artist formerly known as njdevil7. If you still want to refer to me as njdevil, go for it.
Every year, writers try to rank the teams before they ever play a single down, and ultimately, they are way off by the time the Super Bowl champ is crowned six months later. Honestly, how many people had the Saints as their number one team? Or the Cardinals two years ago?
For any fans of these teams: I don't think all of these teams are lousy or destined for greatness. I am just measuring up the expectations with what I believe their roster will produce.
The most Overrated Teams:
Baltimore Ravens: Now, I think the Ravens will be good. Just not automatic-superbowl-berth good. I don't like the secondary at all, Ed Reed would hide a lot of their shortcomings, and if he is out for an extended period, you can throw all over them. I expect their defense to finish among the top 12 or so, but not anything close to where they have been in the past. Sergio Kindle suffered a serious injury, and Mount Cody can't even practice because he is too fat. Yes, they can run the ball and they have a solid possession receiver in Anquan Boldin, but Baltimore is going to have to overcome some holes to get to where they want to be.
Tennessee Titans: I think Vince Young is the guy. Obviously CJ2K will have his way with defenses. What concerns me in Tennessee is the defense. Bullock was shipped to the Giants. They have a nice DT in Brown, but the Titans rely on a four-man pass rush, as they rarely blitz. They can hope Derrik Morgan is the next "Freak", but pass rushers take some time to develop. Plus, that division is as tough as they get.
Chicago Bears: This team is the single most desperate team in the league. GM Jerry Angelo knew that if he didn't deliver a playoff team this year, he and most of the coaches would be gone. Without a first round pick, they overspent for Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor. They didn't fix anything on the offensive line (unless you consider releasing Orlando Pace an upgrade), and are forcing a complicated, demanding offense from Mike Martz down Jay Cutler's throat. Martz's offense takes time to develop routes, and without decent protection, it all means nothing.
Underrated Teams, after the Jump:
Cincinnati Bengals: They will repeat in that division. They lost almost nobody, they made a lot of nice pickups, especially in their dormant passing game. Mike Zimmer is a great coordinator, and is probably up for a head coaching job as some point. They went 6-0 in a tough division last year. Explain to me why they can't beat the Ravens? The run the ball just as well, they have a better QB, more weapons, and a better defense. They will win the division again.
Detroit Lions: I have said i once and I will say it again: The Lions will finish ahead of the Bears in the NFC North. The added Nate Burelson, Tony Scheffler and Jahvid Best to an offense that already had Calvin Johnson. With Vandenbosch, Suh, and Williams, they have a nice D-Line. I wouldn't expect greatness, but I'm optimistic about Detroit.
NY Giants: The Giants problem last year was defense and running the ball. They hope to have Kenny Phillips back, alongside Antrel Rolle, to form one of the better safety tandems in the league. Getting Keith Bulluck was huge. I wouldn't be surprised if they stole this division from the Cowboys. They just need Brandon Jacobs to remember how to run the ball inside.