Foxboro Blog Top 12: Preseason

It’s that time again!  The Foxboro Blog Top 12 has returned!  As has been the tradition since the debut of this blog, I’ll be doing a weekly ranking of the league’s upper eschelon.  Unlike most Power Rankings, the Top 12 doesn’t bother with the cellar dwellers and instead focuses on the teams contending for the league’s twelve post-season slot and, ultimately, the Super Bowl.  Without further ado, here are my selections before any actual games have been played.  You can rest assured that there will certainly be some seismic shifts of this list in the days to come.

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Saints
This one is out of respect.  I have no reason to put anyone above the Super Bowl Champions just yet. They’ll have to earn this spot next week by taking down the Saints on opening night.
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2 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Dolphins
Yes, I’m biased, but I believe New England is poised for a Super Bowl run.  There are few, if any, areas where the team looks weaker than the 14-2 squad from last season. In many instances, the Patriots were able to shore up some weak spots.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Bears
Just like last season, I’m liking me some Atlanta Falcons.  They could be the team to beat in the NFC, but part of me wonders if they’re due for another dip after their recent string of up and down years.
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4 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Packers
Just like the Patriots, the Saints had some good off-season moves to strengthen some weak areas.  I have a hankering that Super Bowl XLI winner is lurking within these top 4 spots.
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5 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Steelers
I’ve got nothing but respect for Baltimore since their drubbing of the Pats in the ’09 playoffs.  I’m picking them to win this week against Pittsburgh, and thus they get the #5 ranking.
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6 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Ravens
The Steelers can thank the Jets for knocking off New England and opening the door for their AFC Championship.  I think the Steelers are tough, but I’m not buying the hype.
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7 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Cowboys
There’s no question that the Jets took some steps backwards this season in terms of personel.  Still, this team continues to have a penchant for exceeding my expectations.  I can’t count them out.
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8 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Rams
Love the moves on defense.  Not so sure that Vick will hold up for all 16 games.
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9 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Vikings
On paper, they have been contenders for years now.  On the field, they always seem to have issues.  I’m tempering my expectations here with a #9 ranking.
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10 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Colts
Remember this ranking so you can laugh at me in three months.  The annual overhyping of the Texans before an epic collapse is back once again.
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11 logo N/A N/A 0-0 vs. Lions
The Buccs could really make some noise if they didn’t play in the toughest division in football.
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12 logo N/A N/A 0-0 @ Texans
This is purely out of default.  I can’t imagine the Colts not contending after a decade plus of excellence.  With Manning’s neck, though, who knows?  Unlike Brady’s ACL, this could be a devastating injury that ends Peyton’s career.  Or he could be back Week 2 throwing lasers.  Again, who knows?
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Preseason

I’ve said over and over that the preseason didn’t matter.  Guess, what?  Neither do preseason power rankings.  But just like that little fact didn’t stop me from covering the team this preseason, it also won’t stop me from coming out with the Foxboro Blog Top 12 before any team has even stepped foot on the field.  After all, fun is fun! Please take the following with the grain of salt it deservers, but here’s my initial Top 12 teams.  Click the “Read More” link below to view the rankings!

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo - - 0-0 @ Texans
Is it poor form to not only keep the defending Super Bowl champions out of the top spot, but dethrone them with the team that they beat to win the title? Maybe. But we’re not worried about “form” in the Top 12.  We’re all bias, all the time.  If I was laying money down on a team to win the title in 2010, I’m laying the money on the Ponies.
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2 logo - - 0-0 vs. Vikings
It takes a truly dominant team to claim back to back Super Bowl titles.  They’re good, for sure, but the Saints don’t strike me as “truly dominant”.  I’ll be happy to eat my words when they’re toasting a mini-dynasty in the Big Easy this February, but, for now, I think I’m safe.
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3 logo - - 0-0 @ Redskins
The hype is swirling in Big D about the first “home” Super Bowl ever.  My personal take is that Cowboys fans should lower the bar to hoping for the first divisional round playoff win since they last hoisted the Lombardi 15 years ago.  Still, the Cowboys undoubtedly have the talent to make it all the way to their own stadium this year. The real question is whetehr they can avoid another late-season implosion.
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4 - - - @ Jets
Baltimore has the potential to be scary good.  The real question lies with whether Flacco can come through for them when it matters most.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo - - - @ Eagles
The Packers are becoming a very trendy Super Bowl pick.  You know what that means…  Still, I think the Vikings caught some lightning in a bottle last season and the Pack are primed to take the NFC North.
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6 logo - - - vs. Bengals
I was riding high on the Patriots earlier this preseason, and now I’m feeling a bit skeptical.  It has nothing to do with their two preseason losses and everything to do with the losses of guys like Ty Warren, Mankins, Bodden, Kaczur, and McGowan.  The Patriots seem to rise to the occasion when adversity sets in.  My problem is that the trend was created by guys like Bruschi and Harrison.  It’s Mayo and Merriweather who are now in their place.
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7 logo - - - vs. Ravens
The AFC East is going to be tight, no doubt.  With the Revis holdout ending and the Patriots piling up injuries, the race is going to be closer than I would have liked to admit a month ago.  Still, I think the Jets are a rung below and just waiting to implode…
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8 logo - - - @ Steelers
The Saints had better watch their back.  The Falcons have quietly put together a really nice team and could be this year’s sleeper in the NFC.
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9 logo - - - @ Patriots
They’re the fifth AFC team I’ve listed here.  Unfortunately, I believe they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.  They clearly play the most brutal schedule in the NFL this season (PITx2, BALx2, NE, NYJ, MIA, IND, SD, NO, ATL).  They have a nice collection of talent, but I have some serious doubts on their ability to put up enough wins to take the AFC North or a Wild Card spot.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo - - - @ Chiefs
I’ve given up trying to figure out Norv Turner’s Chargers.  If the past several seasons are any indication, we can expect some turmoil, followed by some playoffs, followed by a gigantic meltdown. 
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11 logo - - - @ Bills
The AFC is going to be very tricky to figure out.  Both the AFC East and North look strong, so like Cincy, the Phins are going to have a tough time making the post-season.  I’d love Miami in the AFC West or South, but I have a feeling we’ll see some inferior counterparts from those divisions overtake the Dolphins.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo - - - @ New Orleans
I just don’t see Brett Favre having another magical season like last one.  Still, the Vikings are a formidable team and should still make the playoffs if Favre can stay healthy.
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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