The defending champion, Seattle Seahawks, match up against their NFC rival, the Green Bay Packers, on Thursday night, kicking off another NFL regular season. A new season has everyone asking who will come out on top when February rolls around. With that being said, let’s see who begins the year in the top 10.
1. Seattle Seahawks
Hard to put the reigning champs anywhere else but atop this list. With almost all of their core roster returning, as well as a versatile and now healthy Percy Harvin, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this team be the first to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005.
2. Denver Broncos
It’s hard to believe that Denver could have improved since last season’s record breaking offensive output en route to a 13-3 record, but they have. They had to after a 43-8 drubbing against the Seattle Seahawks in last year’s Super bowl. With offseason additions of established players such as Aqib Talib and Demarcus Ware, their defense is much improved. As long as Peyton Manning can stay healthy, we can expect this team to be in the running again.
3. Green Bay Packers
After missing seven games last season, Aaron Rodgers seems poised for a resurgent year and has all the pieces to put together an MVP season. A revamped defense doesn’t hurt the Packers cause, and come playoff time this team could emerge as the favorite to win it all.
4. New England Patriots
Some may think this is too high for the Pats, but I beg to differ. At 37 years old, Tom Brady shows no signs of slowing down, and if Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy there’s no reason to think this offense can’t rival the Broncos, Packers and Saints. Defensive additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner make for a secondary tandem, arguably tops in the league. If all things go accordingly, this team could be scary good.
5. San Francisco 49ers
Consistency at the quarterback position is my biggest concern here. If Colin Kaepernick can emerge as an elite team leader this season, then the 49ers will be right there. Their defense is still one of the best, although a suspension for Aldon Smith would really hurt. I expect this team to be a sure playoff lock.
6. New Orleans Saints
With a prolific offense and a surprisingly strong defense, the Saints are holding their own against the other top teams.. After holding opponents to 19 points per game (PPG) last year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them match that defensive output this season. Quarterback/Coach duo Drew Brees and Sean Payton are poised for another successful season.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Losing wide receiver DeSean Jackson hurts, but a healthy Jeremy Maclin is more than capable to fill that void in Chip Kelley’s fast paced offense. Lesean McCoy is an early MVP candidate. If quarterback Nick Foles can come close to his 27 TD, 2 INT production over 13 games last season, the Eagles will be a very fun team to watch, and more importantly a favorite to win their division.
8. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is entering his third year, and it should be his best. With a nice core of receivers, Luck should have plenty of options to pass to, meaning a high chance of touchdowns. Even with some holes in their roster, the Colts should come together for another solid year.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton put together a nice preseason for the reigning AFC North champions, which is a good sign for the team as a whole. The team’s success all lies on Dalton’s consistency, but a young and talented defense could be a game changer.
10. Atlanta Falcons
Despite the Falcons extremely disappointing 2013-14 campaign, this team has the right pieces to get back to the top of the NFC south. Many people might have a different team in their top 10, but I have high hopes for this team. Matt Ryan wants nothing more than to get back to his winning ways, and he has the talent to do that.