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Nfl Top To Bottom

August 26, 2000|Robyn Norwood

1. St. Louis Rams

Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, speed, depth --and Super Bowl champs have backup quarterback Trent Green.

2. Indianapolis Colts

Manning, James and Harrison -- a trio for the '00s. Get ready for Mora the same -- they're not going anywhere.

3. Tennessee Titans

Eddie George is a great star and leader, and receiver Carl Pickens will help Steve McNair. Ball-hungry defense is a plus.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Adding Keyshawn Johnson to team with red-zone trouble was huge, but defense will miss Nickerson.

5. Washington Redskins

Daniel Snyder's shopping spree -- Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Jeff George -- better pay off, or Norv Turner pays bill.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars

Maybe banged-up players should be thinking about a game plan for Titans after 0-3 record wasted 14-2 regular season.

7. Buffalo Bills

If Rob Johnson doesn't get injured -- always a big "if" -- Bills might not feel the departure of stars from Super Bowl years.

8. Minnesota Vikings

Daunte Culpepper is converting skeptics to believers, and predictions of Viking demise might have been very premature.

9. Oakland Raiders

Janikowski says he's kicking habit of getting into trouble, and Raiders might be in playoffs for first time since L.A.

10. Green Bay Packers

Favre's sore elbow making Packer fans uncomfortable a year after nagging thumb injury led to subpar year for great QB.

11. Baltimore Ravens

Defense belongs in the playoffs, but offense with quarterback Tony Banks at the helm is still trying to catch up.

12. Carolina Panthers

Defensive line adds Reggie White, Eric Swann and Chuck Smith, and if quarterback Beuerlein is as good as '99 ...

13. Denver Broncos

Terrell Davis is back, Brian Griese should be better. But Bill Romanowski hubbub threatens to unsettle Broncos.

14. Seattle Seahawks

Is Jon Kitna the quarterback he seemed in the first half of last season -- or in losing six of the last seven games?

15. Atlanta Falcons

No team with even a partially fit Jamal Anderson will rank next to last in rushing, and Falcons should rebound.

16. New England Patriots

Defense can keep Patriots in neighborhood, but it would be nice to see old Drew Bledsoe and a running game.

17. New York Jets

Keyshawn's gone but Testaverde's back, Chrebet is in his glory and maybe new coach will Groh on Jets.

18. Dallas Cowboys

Brain isn't willing to believe team with Aikman, Smith could be awful -- but early signs haven't been promising.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Only 5-11 last season, Eagles are one of the teams looking at Rams' Super Bowl turnaround for inspiration.

20. San Diego Chargers

Ryan Leaf's turnaround is tempting to believe, but it's still too early to count on it lasting all season.

21. Kansas City Chiefs

Blown 17-point lead to Raiders kept Chiefs out the playoffs. This season, it might not be that close a call.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers

With Kent Graham around, Coach Bill Cowher might finally cut the cord on Kordell Stewart at quarterback.

23. Miami Dolphins

Last game was a 62-7 playoff loss to Jacksonville, Marino's gone, and Huard/Fielder decision isn't solid.

24. Chicago Bears

McNown needs to make progress from 66.7 passer rating as rookie, but Bears hope he'll thrive in Crowton's scheme.

25. Detroit Lions

Oft-injured quarterback Charlie Batch coming off broken bone in knee, and then veteran Mike Tomczak breaks his leg.

26. New York Giants

If quarterback Kerry Collins makes comeback and Ron Dayne looks like Heisman winner, Giants will be moving up.

27. Arizona Cardinals

Jake Plummer coming off an awful year, stadium vote coming up, and injuries have come in droves.

28. San Francisco 49ers

Pull out some videotapes of the good old days. It's going to be a while, and Garcia's not the next Steve Young.

29. New Orleans Saints

Ricky Williams should be better and new front office went on a free-agent spree. Until proven otherwise, still the 'Aints.

30. Cincinnati Bengals

Akili Smith and Peter Warrick will produce some dazzling plays in new stadium, but it's still going to be a while.

31. Cleveland Browns

College players watch as defensive end Courtney Brown from Penn State pays the price for being No. 1 pick overall.

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