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CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

Power Rankings: While Peyton wins offseason, Eli's Giants still favorite

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The Giants look to have staying power, but Prisco says don't be surprised if the 49ers regress. (US Presswire)  
The Giants look to have staying power, but Prisco says don't be surprised if the 49ers regress. (US Presswire)  

The four biggest misconceptions of the NFL offseason:

 Peyton Manningwill make the Denver Broncos an immediate Super Bowl favorite.

 The San Francisco 49ers have staying power.

 The New York Giants can't repeat.

 The Cincinnati Bengals don’t have staying power.

Let's look at all four of those, starting with the Broncos. Manning, if he's back to his old form, gives the Broncos a chance to be a playoff team and maybe more. But they have to fix a defense that struggled for much of last season and they have to adjust to the Manning ways. That could take time.

The 49ers, in my mind, are one of the playoff teams from 2011 that might take a step back. I say that because of style of play. They run it and play good defense. That's a style that has seen many a playoff team fade the next year. The margin for error for those types of teams is slim. The 49ers are no different.

The Giants are a young team that should be much improved from a year ago. Remember, they were 9-7 to just get into the playoffs before getting hot at the right time. They have most of the key players back. And Eli Manning is now a much more confident passer. As for the Bengals, they made the playoffs as a surprise wild card team last season with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. He is a year older and will benefit from having an entire offseason. In addition, the Bengals had the best draft of any team in the league, which will help fortify what is already a good, young roster. They're not going anywhere.

Take all of those into account, and you will get a better idea of where my thought process was for the latest CBSSports.com Power Rankings. This batch reflects what has happened in the NFL since February and also includes some of my theories about the league that could impact where teams are headed (see 49ers).

Just remember that there will be a preseason batch of rankings coming as camps open, with another one or two before the regular season.

Who knows, maybe before then my opinion of the 49ers and others will change.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)

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.
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