Senior Writer

NFL Power Rankings: Start of a silver-black revival?


Updated: Sept. 7

We know there will be several new playoff teams in the NFL in 2010. That's the way of the league. There have been five new ones in each of the past 14 seasons.

Picking the new ones out is the tough part.

In years past, I've always tried to hit on a few. I was on the Arizona Cardinals a few years ago, so when they made the Super Bowl, even though I didn't go that far, it made me look good.

In 2009, I picked the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC North, leading to a slew of nasty words from Pittsburgh. The Bengals won the division by sweeping all six of their division games, again making me look good.

That isn't to say I get them all right. You all know better, judging by how much you sear me daily in your comments and e-mails.

So who is this season's team to watch?

Dare I say the Oakland Raiders? OK, so you think I'm nuttier than Al Davis right now. But I really believe the Raiders can make a playoff push.

The addition of Jason Campbell is bigger for this team than JaMarcus Russell's stomach was for his uniform. Campbell had to deal with constant change in Washington and never got a chance to show what he can really do. Now that he's with underrated offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, look for Campbell to excel.

There is talent at a lot of other spots. Scan the roster. The Raiders have one of the best cover corners in Nnamdi Asomugha, two very good defensive linemen in Richard Seymour and rejuvenated Tommy Kelly and unsung rising players like safety Tyvon Branch and pass rusher Matt Shaughnessy.

The offense has tight end Zach Miller and running backs Michael Bush and Darren McFadden -- watch them this season -- to go with Campbell. If the offensive line, which will start a rookie at center in Jared Veldheer, can come together, the Raiders might be really good.

I'm still not sure about coach Tom Cable, but the players seem to respond to him. Is he a great X's and O's guy? We don't know, but if his assistants are good -- Jackson is for sure -- it doesn't really matter.

The Raiders are higher in my first batch of CBS Power Rankings than most would expect, checking in at No. 17. That's because I really do think they have a chance to be a playoff team, but I can't really start them any higher for now.

And, no, I am not wearing a white sweatsuit as I write this.

As for the top of the rankings, the Indianapolis Colts will open in the No. 1 spot, even though they were the Super loser. Hey, Vegas thinks they're the best team. Why wouldn't I?

The rest of the 10 is filled with familiar teams, although some, like the Atlanta Falcons, might be higher than you would expect.

If you're shocked that the New York Jets aren't in the top 10, then you haven't been paying attention to me all summer. The Jets are more overhyped than Lady Gaga.

Yes, coach Rex Ryan and his attitude are fun. And they should be good on defense. I just don't think Mark Sanchez is ready to take the next step. Even with Darrelle Revis signed to a long-term deal, it won't matter.

So let me get this straight. I like the Raiders and Jason Campbell but not the Jets and Mark Sanchez. For now, I have the Jets ahead of the Raiders, but by season's end, that won't be the case.

So anybody know where I can get sized up for a white sweat suit?


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre


Most Popular Shop