With training camp right around the corner it is time to take a closer look at the NFL landscape.
1) Seattle Seahawks- The Seahawks have dynamic playmakers on both sides of the ball along with a tremendous home field advantage. If there is an area of concern it could be at quarterback where there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Russell Wilson. The second year signal caller will not be catching anyone by surprise this year.
2) Denver Broncos- Denver went 13-3 in Peyton Manning’s “knock the rust off” year. The addition of Wes Welker and running back Montee Ball to the offense will keep defensive coordinators up at night.
3) San Francisco 49ers- The Michael Crabtree injury was a huge blow to the offense and will put a lot of pressure on receivers like Kyle Williams and A.J. Jenkins. Colin Kaepernick better keep his track shoes ready.
4) Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodgers being supported by a very productive running game (drafted rbs Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin) could mean big things in Green Bay.
5) Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons are built to win on offense, but questions remain on defense. Will Osi Umenyiora improve the pass rush? Can rookies Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford help solidify the secondary?
6) Houston Texans- Once again the Houston Texans will be a very balanced team that should contend for the AFC crown. And once again the spotlight will be on quarterback Matt Schaub who must raise his game in the big spot.
7) Baltimore Ravens- A Super Bowl hangover combined with the retirement of Ray Lewis and the departure of Ed Reed could be a recipe for failure. Thankfully for Ravens fans general manager Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the NFL and quietly re-stocked the roster.
8) New England Patriots- I am not buying into the demise of the Patriots as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will still find a way to win 11 games this year. An improved running game and defense will not hurt either.
9) Cincinnati Bengals- Believe it or not the Bengals have a very deep and talented roster. Now it is up to Andy Dalton to take his game to the next level.
10) New York Giants- The Giants will be able to put up some point on offense, now it is up to the defense to prevent some.
11) New Orleans Saints- The Saints remain a talented team flawed by a frustrating, inept defense. The return of head coach Sean Payton helps, but now it is up to Rob Ryan to exhibit his coaching skills.
12) Washington Redskins- The pieces are in place for the Redskins to win, it all comes down to the health of Robert Griffin III.
13) Chicago Bears- The Bears offense could improve under new head coach Marc Trestman while the defense may take a step back. One thing that is for certain: It will be weird watching the Bears without Brian Urlacher (retired).
14) Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck and the Colts will improve in 2013, but it may not show in the wins and losses.
15) Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys have talent now it is up to head coach Jason Garrett to effectively utilize it. The hiring of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin could pay huge dividends.
16) Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins added speed to both sides of the ball, now it is up to quarterback Ryan Tannehill to take the next step. If Tannehill has a solid season Miami could make a run at the division title.
17) St. Louis Rams- Don’t look now but Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have quietly put together a talented roster. The defense could be very good, but the team’s success will fall on the shoulders of Sam Bradford. It is almost make or break time for Bradford.
18) Pittsburgh Steelers- Under Mike Tomlin the Steelers will always be a competitive team. How competitive depends on the health of Big Ben for 16 games.
19) Minnesota Vikings- I want to believe in the Vikings but quarterback Christian Ponder still scares me. I do not think it is fair to expect another 2,000 yard season out of Adrian Peterson.
20) Carolina Panthers- In order for the Panthers to have success in 2013 Cam Newton will have to have a monster year. The defense remains a concern.
21) Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs will surprise some people but not to the point of making the playoffs. It will be interesting to see Alex Smith in Andy Reid’s offense.
22) Detroit Lions- If the Lions could get anything out of their defense they could be a very dangerous team. Eliminating all of the stupid penalties would not hurt either.
23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The addition of Darrelle Revis will help the defense, but the team’s success is still hinged to quarterback Josh Freeman. If the team struggles early this could become a volatile situation.
24) Arizona Cardinals- To believe or not to believe in Carson Palmer. That is the question when you evaluate the Cardinals. Arizona could be a sleeper team in 2013.
25) Philadelphia Eagles- The only thing we know about the Eagles is that they will play faster on both sides of the ball. The rest is a mystery including the starting quarterback.
26) San Diego Chargers- An offense without a proven left tackle spells nightmares for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. At this point Rivers almost needs a change of scenery.
27) Tennessee Titans- The Titans addressed their offensive line issues, now it comes down to quarterback Jake Locker. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be starting sooner rather than later.
28) Cleveland Browns- What can offensive coordinator Norv Turner do with quarterback Brandon Weeden? Answer that question and you will determine the Browns’ fortunes.
29) New York Jets- The Jets defense could be very good but the offense remains a concern starting at the quarterback position. Add in depth issues at the wide receiver position and Rex Ryan could be facing some serious scrutiny this season.
30) Buffalo Bills- The Bills have some talent on both sides of the ball but there will be growing pains with a new head coach and a rookie quarterback (assuming E.J. Manuel sees extensive playing time).
31) Oakland Raiders- The Raiders continue to rebuild and will look to quarterback Matt Flynn to help lead the way. Not sure if that is a good idea or a bad one.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars- A team without an identity or a franchise quarterback. Could be another very rough season for the Jags.