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Old 04-06-2006, 09:01 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Sports Line NFL Pre Season Power Rankings:

The Steelers stay in the top spot of these rankings. They lost receiver Antwaan Randle El (Washington) and safety Chris Hope (Tennessee) in free agency. But those losses are by no means crippling.

The Steelers made a nice signing in Ryan Clark to replace Hope and Randle El only caught 35 passes last year, so the Steelers are confident they can replace him.

Current Team Previous
1 Pittsburgh Steelers 1
They are still the class of the league. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to get better, which is why they might be even better next season
2 Indianapolis Colts 2
How do they fill Edgerrin James' shoes? They take a young back early in the draft, plug him into the offense, and move on. It won't be as big a loss as one might think. This is a pass-first team.
3 New England Patriots 3
They're up in arms in New England because the Patriots haven't spent any money and they have so much cap room. Guess what? The Patriots are being smart as hell again. Don't worry about this group, they'll be just fine.
4 Carolina Panthers 7
They had as good an offseason as any team. Adding Johnson and defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu were great moves. They don't have a lot of holes, and the ones they have are not prime positions.
5 Miami Dolphins 8
Even with Culpepper, this team needs to get better line play. If they do, watch out. Ronnie Brown could be ready for a 1,500-yard season.


For a comparison, here are the 2005 Pre-Season Power Rankings.

1. New England (Ended up 10-6): Hard to look past three titles in four years, but Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and San Diego will be gunning for their spot as kings of the NFL.

2. Pittsburgh (11-5): A very brutal schedule (Indianapolis, New England, San Diego, Green Bay, Minnesota, Jacksonville (twice) and Baltimore (twice)) means that "Big Ben" and the Steelers could be in for a rough 2005. If they can overcome their schedule, Super Bowl XL could be theirs to win.

3. Philadelphia (6-10): They can say what they want, but if T.O. sits out the year, the Eagles won't make the NFC Championship game for the fifth straight year, and the rest of the NFC will be very happy about that.

4. Indianapolis (14-2): What could Peyton Manning possibly do for an encore (4557 yards passing and 49 touchdowns in 2004)? Getting a first-round bye or home-field advantage in the AFC would be nice.

5. San Diego (9-7): Will the Chargers Brees through another special year? LaDanian Tomlinson (18 TD's) and Antonio Gates (13 TD's) should help them win their first playoff game in a decade.

6. Atlanta (8-8): If Atlanta wants to be #1 in the NFC, they need to rely less on Michael Vick.

7. Denver (13-3): Can Maurice Clarett (who played ONLY six collegiate games) possibly replace near-1500 yard rusher Reuben Droughns? Probably not, but if Clarett wants to succeed, he's in the right system.

8. Green Bay (4-12): May be Brett Favre's swan song, but there are millions of NFL fans that hope it won't be.

9. Carolina (11-5): Don't let last season fool you- the Panthers are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Underestimating them could be costly.

10. Baltimore (6-10): If their offense ever catches up to their defense, the rest of the NFL is in trouble.

11. Seattle (13-3): This ranking will be much lower if Shaun Alexander decides to sit out the season as he waits for a new contract. Piece of advice, Shaun: let your play speak for itself this year- then work out a new deal. You won't make any money sitting out the season in a contract dispute, so you might as well play.

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