Senior NFL Columnist

Power Rankings: Keep in safe place until January, then let's see how wrong I am

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Alex Smith and Drew Brees are out to prevent the letdowns Prisco is predicting for their teams. (Getty Images)  
Alex Smith and Drew Brees are out to prevent the letdowns Prisco is predicting for their teams. (Getty Images)  

Updated Sept. 4

Advice for all you haters: Print and save this column.

You will have some laughs because of it come January.

That's what always happens with the first CBSSports.com Power Rankings. They become fodder for the rippers, the bashers, the haters and the nasty boys who appear on the bottom of this column each Tuesday.

Unlike most, I can take it. That's why I want you save this column. You will get a chance to fire back at me come January -- even more than you do now.

How do I know?

It's too damn hard to figure out the NFL. The turnover from year to year is what makes the league so great, but it also makes it so tough to predict.

Right now, it would be easy to just state the obvious, which is 10 teams have Super Bowl chances and the rest are just hoping to make the playoffs.

We know better. There have been 18 teams in the past 11 seasons to finish last one season and win the division the next. Denver and Houston did it last season. That makes each season tough to predict.

But that doesn't mean it will stop me from putting the best teams right now -- and none with quarterback issues -- in my top 10 of the rankings. Since this is a quarterback league -- they are now 70 percent of the game -- it's only natural that the best quarterback has his team in the top spot.

That's the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers. They went 15-1 last season, seemingly on their way to the Super Bowl, before losing to the Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs. That team did what it did with the 32nd-ranked defense. There is no way the defense will be that bad again in 2012.

So Green Bay starts on top. The Giants, the defending Super Bowl champions, are in the second spot, with the New England Patriots at No. 3.

A certain group of fans from the city with Golden Gate Bridge might take exception to where their team is in these rankings. The 49ers are 11th. But like I've been saying all along, I just don't like their passing game enough.

Of the 10 teams in front of them, tell me which one has a worse quarterback than they do? I just don't see it.

But remember, 49ers fans, these initial rankings are usually way off. So clip and save. And when your team is in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, just promise you won't have somebody put some nasty voodoo hex on me down there (then again, Saints fans might have done it already).

After all, it is just a prediction.

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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