Here is my final power rankings for this year. I will address the team who made the playoffs and how they can win. For non-playoff teams I will be looking at some strengths and weakness and how they can get better next season.
1. Indianapolis Colts (14-2) - Still the best single team in the NFL even though have suffered back to back losses, of course those were in games when Manning only sparingly played. I think some depth needs to be addressed, if Manning is to get hurt they are screwed on offense.
2. San Diego Chargers (13-3) - Chargers are still rolling and unlike many other AFC teams they are on a huge win streak heading into the playoffs. LT's paltry 3.3 yards per carry does show the running game is a weakness heading into the postseason.
3. Minnesota Vikings (12-4) - Just crushed the once mighty Giants 44-7, and seem to be ready to roll into the playoffs. The team still has lost 3 out of its last 5 games but this beatdown is sure to make them feel nice going into their playoff bye week.
4. New Orleans Saints (13-3) - Saints didn't start Drew Brees, so no shock they suffered another defeat. In fact they rested most of their starters and have lost 3 in a row after starting out 13-0. Not a good feeling heading into the playoffs, the bye week should clear their heads and get them focused.
5. Green Bay Packers (11-5)- Packers laid a beating on the Cardinals (without Kurt Warner) 33-7, the reward? To stay in Arizona and play the same game next week. I pencil this team in as the surprise playoff team, they sure have a nice mix on offense and defense and I can see them go far into the post season.
6. Dallas Cowboys (11-5) - Handled the Eagles at home and are rewarded by winning the division and playing the Eagles at home again next week! They take a defensive scoreless streak of two games going into the playoffs vs. the team they just shut out. Cowboys are sure on a roll, will it last?
7. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) - Laid a big goose egg in Dallas, and lost 24-0! Not good, considering they were playing for home field advantage and now must play the exact same game next week. Having the ball for more than 19 minutes during the next game might be important Eagles.
8. New England Patriots (10-6) - Patriots are not playing the Pats of old, and losing Wes Welker really is a huge blow to this team. He really does so much to open the passing game, I also heard Tom Brady got knocked around and broke some ribs. I still believe they can upset anyone but they are banged up and not playing at their full potential.
9. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) - Cardinals rested their star QB Kurt Warner for most of the game and suffered some injuries to WR Anquan Boldin and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They will need to show that the terrible loss to the Packers was because they were resting and not other reasons. They will be back at home vs those same Packers next week.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) - Really were just horrible vs the Jets, they only managed 72 total yards and Carson Palmer did play some, going 1-11 for no yards (that's a QB rating of 1.7..WOW). They did rest a lot of their star players but 37-0 shows signs of struggle to a team who seemingly peaked a while ago. They have lost 4 out of their last 5 and the lone win was vs. Kansas City.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) - This team did not make the playoffs but sure looked back to their old ways in beating a good Dolphins team on the road. They had too many losses to teams they should have easily beaten. I think they remind me of last years Patriots who missed the playoffs despite being a solid overall team. Off season they will need to address the defense, which was really bad and gave up a ton of points. The offense seems to just get better and added WR Mike Wallace as another weapon to go along with Hines Ward, Rashad Mendenhall, Santonio Holmes, Willie Parker and Heath Miller.
12. Baltimore Ravens (9-7) - Ravens made the playoffs and take on the Patriots in the first round. They have won 3 out their last 4 games and sealed their playoff appearance by winning over Oakland on the road. They seem to be a good running team yet the passing game has been inconsistent of late.
13. New York Jets (9-7) - They also sealed their playoff fate by just killing the Bengals 37-0. They will take on those same Bengals next week, but this time in Cincinnati. I think this team has that amazing running game which will always keep them in games and I can easily see an upset over the Bengals.
14. Atlanta Falcons (9-7) - Too many injuries to star players lead this team to a 9-7 record and missing the playoffs. Michael Turner had only 13 carries in his last 7 games. Matt Ryan also 2 important games against playoff teams (Philly and New Orleans). This team can easily bounce back next season, they have a ton of talent.
15. Tennessee Titans (8-8) - If they just didn't start out 0-6 they could have easily been a playoff team, and a good one at that. Chris Johnson had a monster year with a 2,000 yard season and the team started to click after Vince Young was named started quarterback. After week 7 they only lost two games, to the Colts and Chargers, those happen to be the two best teams is in the AFC.
16. Houston Texans (9-7) - Houston has their first winning season and finished on a four game win streak. This team has a killer offense, and no matter who was being plugged in they managed to score points in droves. A week 13 loss @ Jacksonville was really a killer, if they somehow won that game they could have been 10-6. They are slowly becoming a team who could make the playoffs or more.
17. Denver Broncos (8-8) - Two years now this team had just crumbled, this time they started out 6-0 and and finished at 8-8, and they couldn't beat the Chiefs at home to the end the season. I did not think they would even be close to this good without Cutler but Orton proved to be a good choice and they really have the talent to do something next year.
18. Miami Dolphins (7-9) - Even though they finished at 7-9 the Dolphins were very competitive team through the year. They lost their #1 QB (Chad Pennington) and RB (Ronnie Brown) yet still were close in most games they played. QB Chad Henne got a chance to prove what he could do and gives the team hope for next season.
19. New York Giants (8-8) - Not sure how a team with this talent and coach fell to 8-8 but that is how it happened. They started out 5-0 to end up losing 4 straight games. I can see them bounce back easily in 2010 and get back in the playoff hunt. Seems like they gave up in their last two games being outscored 16-85.
20 tie. Carolina Panthers (8-8) - Panther finished strong winning 4 out their last 5 (the loss was to New England). If they did not start out 0-3 they could have been in the playoff talk. Shaky QB play was also a major concern. QB Jake Delhomme threw 18 Int's yet QB Matt Moore looked good when he played (he had 8tds to only 2 int's)/ The running game was amazing and team produced two 1,100 yard rushers (Williams and Stewart) for the first time in NFL history. They could easily be a force next season.
20.tie. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) - I am glad my team was competitive in most of their games and the defense really turned it on this season. I still have questions for the O-Line and still think with a better overall QB they could be a playoff team. Maybe the O-Line will help make QB Alex Smith look better.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9) - Finishing out losing 5 out of last 6 kinda messed up those playoff hopes, but there is much to look forward to in the future. They went with a one back system and Maurice Jones-Drew had a monster season. They found a future WR star in Mike Sims-Walker (maybe they should draft all guys with two last names?). This team will always have some talented players, its just a matter of winning those close games.
23. Chicago Bears (7-9) - I really thought Cutler would turn this team into a playoff contender, he had 27 td passes but 26 int's. The running game just wasn't there like it was the year before and it was a tough for Matt Forte to duplicate his break out rookie season. They still need a true #1 Wr, but it seems like they always need a #1 something...before it was a RB, then a QB, now a WR..when will they just win?
24. Cleveland Browns (5-11) - I put them a tad higher because this team really woke up during the second half of the season and won 4 in a row to end the season, I don't think anyone really wanted to play them down the stretch. Looks like they solved their RB situation with Jerome Harrison. He had 561 yards and 5 tds in the last 3 games on the season! They have something to look forward to now, and Mike Holmgren is coming in as the new GM, this team will be competitive somewhat soon.
25. Buffalo Bills (6-10) - The Bills went through a coaching change which usually is a sign that your team is not doing well, and they had an overall pretty bad season. They stuck with QB Trent Edwards and then benched him in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. They did seem to find their future RB in Fred Jackson not Marshawn Lynch. Many questions still linger for this team.
26. Oakland Raiders (5-11) - At least the Raiders know who they need to quarterback this team in the future, that would be anyone but JaMarcus Russell! He makes Alex Smith look like John Elway. But the Raiders continue to be the biggest mess in the NFL....not sure how they can fix this team but I would start by giving the starting nod to Bruce Gradowski who played well and try to find your true #1 RB. They still have an awesome punter in Shane Lechler!
27. Seattle Seahawks (5-11) - A lot of media said this team would be in the playoff hunt, um... yah. The Seahawks still have some talent on offense with the aging and injury prone Hasselbeck, Nate Burelson, Housh, and new RB Justin Forsett seems like he could be a deadly one two punch with another RB (thinking MJD and Fred Taylor situation).
28. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - Another team who was trying to find out who they were, they seemingly did find out they did not need the cancer who was Larry Johnson, and found someone who can run and run well, Jamaal Charles. Charles reminds me of Chris Johnson style RB. He had 658 yards rushing in his last 4 games. Sure we all knew Matt Cassel was not going to be as good as he was in NE but he still threw 16 tds in 15 games. The D still need a lot of work but there is signs of hope here.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13) - I thought this year was going to be bad for the Bucs, but they do have something to look forward to in 2010, his name is Josh Freeman. But overall this team allowed an average of 25 points a game! So they need to address something on the D. Not sure why they started Qb Josh Johnson over Freeman, he could have used those games to get more prepared for next season.
30. Washington Redskins (4-12) - This team is another mess in which I have no answer for. They always seem to struggle with whoever coaches and they always make big free agent signings, and then you never hear about that guy again. I think the division they play in is really tough and they need to get stronger all around. Is QB Jason Campbell the best they can do? I think he is a serviceable QB but not sure if his the answer. They lack a true #1 WR and the defense was bad allowing 21 a game.
31. Detroit Lions (2-14) - Good news, you doubled your win total from last year! Bad news you only won 2 games. This team was still a mess but showed some offensive signs this year. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Kevin Smith could prove a lethal combo when healthy and well the D was just utter shit, they allowed an average points per game of 30.9! 30.9!!!!!!!!! WOW. They need to address that in the draft, as well as offensive line. This will be a team that stays rebuilding for a while, but at least they have some pieces in place.
32. St Louis Rams (1-15) - As a life long 49ers fan I almost feel sorry for the mess which is called the St. Louis Rams. They have no QB, WR, or Defense. They do have a good RB which is a start. This team averaged 10.9 points while giving up an average of 27.3, so to just tie most games they need to find a way to get 16 more points a game. With the #1 pick they just need to go with whoever has the most talent, they need talent everywhere. I am not sure how they got so bad so fast. It is amazing that RB Stephen Jackson had 1416 yards for this team.