Mark Craig's NFC power rankings

  • Updated: September 8, 2012 - 6:09 PM

NFC POWER RANKINGS

1. Packers

Defending league MVP Aaron Rodgers carried a defenseless team to a 15-2 mark. Using their first six draft picks on defenders should help the Packers boost that side of the ball.

2. Cowboys

It's always risky picking the Cowboys to be good. That's usually when Tony Romo lets you down. But this team is loaded with even more talent after an offseason spending spree on the secondary.

3. Giants

Yes, Eli is an elite quarterback. No, Tom Coughlin isn't on the hot seat. Winning two Super Bowls in five years does wonders for perceptions, don't 'cha think?

4. 49ers

This could be a letdown season because no way Alex Smith plays as error-free as he did a year ago. However, the defense is too good to let San Francisco fall too far.

5. Saints

Yeah, Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma were suspended for the year. But Drew Brees wasn't. Plus, the Saints have a built-in motivator to carry them through the season.

6. Eagles

Some of us got suckered by last year's Dream Team hoopla. But now that they're a sleeper pick, we'll project the Iggles as a playoff team.

7. Bears

The strength of the NFC East makes it tough for the Bears to come out of the North as a wild-card team. Jay Cutler and the offense will be outstanding, but the defense has the usual age-related issues.

8. Panthers

With their health returning on defense, the Panthers should have a winning record and contend for a playoff spot behind second-year QB Cam Newton.

9. Falcons

Atlanta is coming off consecutive playoff berths for the first time in franchise history. But franchise QB Matt Ryan still is looking for his first playoff victory. So let's all chill on the "Matty Ice" nickname.

10. Lions

Everyone feels good about the Lions after their first playoff berth since 1999. It was the best offensive season ever and 21 starters return overall. Maybe it's an old habit, but does anyone else sense a Motown letdown?

11. Cardinals

Defense is what carried the Cardinals to a 7-2 finish after a 1-6 start a year ago. If the QB position gets straightened out -- a big if -- receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. could help carry Arizona into the playoffs.

12. Rams

Jeff Fisher, who won 147 games with Houston/Tennessee, and QB Sam Bradford is a combination that should get the Rams turned around quickly. But it could take a year.

13. Vikings

The Vikings should be better than they were last year. Of course, that's not saying much. Anyone who claims they know which direction Christian Ponder's career will end up is purely guessing.

14. Seahawks

Sorry, but it's hard to believe Russell Wilson or Matt Flynn is the answer at quarterback. This is the same outfit that put its trust in Tarvaris Jackson last year.

15. Buccaneers

One of last year's most disappointing teams collapsed after winning 10 games in 2010. Six of the Bucs' final nine losses last year were by double digits. Coach Greg Schiano will need at least a year to turn it around.

16. Redskins

Playing in one of the league's toughest divisions will make Robert Griffin III's transition to the NFL much more difficult in Washington than Luck's transition in Indianapolis. Washington's last NFC East title: 1999.

MARK CRAIG

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Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore 0 Top 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Kansas City 1 Top 2nd Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 1 Top 2nd Inning
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Detroit 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 2 1st Prd 14:49
NY Rangers 1
Detroit 0 1st Prd 14:44
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 0 1st Prd 5:50
Philadelphia 0
Washington 0 1st Prd 14:25
Philadelphia 0
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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