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Top Five Teams Heading into the 2010 NFL Season


Because of the CBA unrest, the makeup of most teams will remain largely unchanged. There will be a few cogs being replaced here and there, but for the most part, teams will work in the same way.

Because of that, it should be fairly easy to guess the top five teams heading into 2010. This is, of course, without the draft factored in and represents the five teams with the most talent, and most stability, heading into the new season.

5. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys made history by winning their first playoff game since 1996 by beating their division-rival Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round. They did this by playing selfless, physical football. Everyone on the team seemed to be playing for the guy next to him, and with the talent this team has, that means bad things for the rest of the league.

They need to run the football more than they did in the playoffs, and need to shore up their secondary, but if they can do that either through the draft or with the limited free agents at their disposal, they should be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

4. San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers continues to show why, even though he’s the only one without a ring, he’s the best quarterback out of that 2004 class that also included Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning.

He’s taken that team by the horns and has made it his own. He’s the unquestioned leader and he doesn’t do it by running his mouth. He will stay in the pocket and take the hit to make the tough throw, and will sacrifice his body if it means his team will win.

If they can get a running back like Chester Taylor and get Shawne Merriman healthy, they will be a very scary team again in 2010.

3. New Orleans Saints

Having the defending Super Bowl champions at three may be a bit drastic, but this team appeared to be playing off pure emotion throughout the playoffs. They had an entire city and, let’s be honest with ourselves, half the country pushing them forward and rooting them on.

Their running game and defense was not all that impressive, and unless they can be more consistent at stopping teams from scoring, they’re not going to be able to defend their status as champions.

Their front four is an average bunch that has to do a better job of getting to the quarterback on their own and were really exposed in the final few weeks of the season. Losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then beating the Indianapolis Colts seems to back my theory of their adrenaline rush, rather than their talent, winning them the Super Bowl.

Anyone watching knew the Minnesota Vikings were the better team in that championship game and were it not for their giveaways would have easily beaten the Saints.

2. Minnesota Vikings

This is largely dependent upon the status of Brett Favre. If he comes back, the Vikings should be the favorites in the NFC to get back to, and win, the NFC Championship game.

However, if Favre does not decide to come back, the team could start the year off with Sage Rosenfels at the helm. Rosenfels is not a bad quarterback, but he will not be able to do the things that Favre did for this team.

He won’t be able to place the ball perfectly where only Sidney Rice and Visante Shiancoe can come down with it in the endzone, he won’t be able to hit Greg Lewis in the endzone at the end of regulation, and he won’t make teams unload the box and open up running lanes for Adrian Peterson.

1. Indianapolis Colts

Even with a decimated defense and a nearly non-existent running game, the Colts were able to step on most of the teams they faced. They did have to come from behind in a lot of games, but that’s just a more impressive testament to the power of that offense.

If the defense is able to stay healthy, and they’re able to add some young talent in the secondary, this will once again be the team to beat in the AFC. Even the Jets No. 1 ranked defense was unable to stop Peyton Manning and company from giving them a beat-down in the second half of the AFC Championship game.

The Colts did look a bit unprepared in the Super Bowl, and Jim Caldwell did appear to be outcoached, but let’s remember that the guy was a rookie. He took this team to the Super Bowl in his first season and only looks to get better.

He’s got what it takes to pick up right where Tony Dungy left off, and something tells me that he’ll win a ring or two of his own before he and Manning’s days with the Colts are over.