10. Detroit Lions - Coach Jones is finally back. There was some concern that he may not make it due to off-season surgery but, it looks like he’s going to gut it out and try to make his mark this year. We predict not the best things in the world for him though, we wish him well in his endeavor to be our first (physically) handicapable player.
9. San Francisco 49ers - The Bird is the word and frankly, that’s about all there is to say about the newbie in the NFTGL. The Niners have a long way to go to the top and many obstacles to overcome but, they may have the schedule to make that happen. Two big games out of division are against the Vikings and the Packers. Those could be huge statement games for Coach Bird. While no one thinks they can win the division, winning their out of division games would send the right message and move the Niners quickly up these rankings.
8. Green Bay Packers - Speaking of unfulfilled potential, former Rams coach Jarrad Lutton has made major strides in improving the Green Bay Packers and has set the teams aim high. The only reason the Rams are ranked higher then them is because of Coach Smutnik’s big wins the last two years against a fierce rival, the Carolina Panthers. The Packers need to make the playoffs with this team but, it will be hard with both the Buccaneers and the Bears never missing the playoffs and the Packers not having any wins against either opponent since… well. Since ever? OK. Maybe this wont happen.
7. St. Louis Rams - If only this team could hire someone to coach them on the field as well as they make trades in the offseason. The St Louis Rams are stacked. This is something we’ve been saying about this team now for *two* different coaches and yet, we have the same results, mediocre (that kind) play and three straight no shows in the playoffs. With a possible power swing in the NFC Fluff, can the Rams finally fulfill some of their potential, or will the funk of forty thousand years continue to cling to this corpse of a team?
6. Minnesota Vikings - This team made such an impact in Season IX that they were left off of the original Power Ranking when they were sent in. It would be best for them if we could forget their playoff performance happened just as easily. Season IX was a big season for Coach Summerfield, a huge win in Cetera Bowl II got them a playoff birth and what appeared to be a slow and steady understanding of how his team should play helped him manage a close game against eventual ManBowl champs, Tampa Bay. Let’s try and forget he even played that playoff game and pretend as though this year will be his first year in the playoffs. It just makes getting slaughtered that badly easier to swallow if you pretend it didn’t happen. Think “Oldboy” with less incest.
5. Chicago Bears - This is a team that finds themselves in the same position as the Falcons. A great team that constantly underachieves against elite opponents. If you don’t count the game against the Falcons in the playoffs where they were missing Ironhead—when was the last time this team won a big game? A game that made you stand up and say, “This team could compete for the ManBowl?” A losing playoff record and two Man Bowl victories that are long forgotten memories, isn’t it time we see something more from this team? A ManBowl win this year though, could put have people a buzz again just like the Bucs who looked like their best years were long gone!
4. New Orleans Saints - This ranking says more about the quality of the team below then what this team looks like without Eric Allen. This is a dicey season that could say a lot about the credentials of future Hall of Fame coach, Raymond Bordier. Was it always just about Allen or was there a special method to the offensive madness that everyone thought of as so generic? Can a secondary mostly made up of castoffs and nonamers make a name for itself? Or will this be the season we finally see the mighty fall?
3. Carolina Panthers - OK. We’re of the opinion that last year was an amalgamation. An outlier. There is no way that the first belt winners will regularly score 3 points a game. Wait. That might be too generous. Either way, the defense looked fantastic, the offense looked like the ‘78 Bucs and with a team like that, you’re going to get the first missed playoff for Coach Lutton in a *long* time. Look for him to start a new streak this year and make some serious waves!
2. Atlanta Falcons - It’s time. The next step. It appeared to be the dawn of a new day and then, like a bolt of lightning, Ironhead goes down and the parade is over. Smashed by the Bears and sent packing from the playoffs yet again, the Falcons were left to try and pick up the pieces of another season of promise. They have to be able to battle through those injuries that will inevitably come in order to finally fulfill the expectations that are out there. This team has the potential, but can they dig deep and win when it counts?
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I don’t believe Coach Pine thought that finally being able to score a point in the playoffs would lead him to his first ManBowl victory in a long time… but it did! It’s no coincidence that those points were scored after Rodney Hampto was reacquired by his favorite coach. He returned kicks, he broke to the outside of the line and he brought home the ManBowl belt for Coach Pine. It’s amazing what scoring a point in the playoffs can do!
9. Detroit Lions - Despite being last in the power rankings, we love the evolution of this squad. Smith out of the backfield catching the ball? An epic win against the Bears? A fantastic 4th quarter battle against the up and coming Packers? We like this. We like this a lot.
8. Carolina Panthers - Wow.
7. St Louis Rams: Flashes of brilliance and a myriad of questionable plays... we still can't figure out this team. They're like Jekyll and Hyde... only it’s a lot of Hyde. It's mostly just Hyde. OK, it's really just Hyde.
6. Chicago Bears - We're trying to figure out this team still. They have some major games coming up against their division that will determine if Coach Fonovic will be able to continue his streak of making the playoffs but, with the level of play in the NFC Superior at its highest, its going to get harder and harder. Will the Bears see the streak snapped finally?
5. Minnesota Randall's - The Randal’s look like they may have finally figured out the secret everyone else knew: QB Eagles is *really* good. Like broken kinds of good. It'll be about making it work for the long haul now but once they get in the flow, its ON!
4. Green Bay Packers - How can you not love the heart this team is playing with? Hard fought games against the the Bucs where they again end up going 0-1-1 but, they just *look* like a better team! Do the Packers take a playoff spot this year? Our money is on green!
3. New Orleans Saints - Unexpected? Slightly. No Eric Allen, no big deal. One man loss and a bunch more super close games, the Saints are where they always are, leading the division. Can the Saints keep pulling out late game wins or is this the end of the road? We're willing to bet on this being a Long Train Running!
2. Atlanta Falcons - So far their only loss is to the league leading Bucs...and some might argue they out played them in that one. The Falcons, if healthy, look poised to make that move toward the top, they just need to show the consistency to topple the mighty Saints.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Back in business and business is good! The Bucs played two knock down drag out fights against their new division rivals, Green Bay Packers... and came away 1-0-1 even without Rodney Hampto. Can the Bucs ride the wave of Phil Collins or will they sink into late era Genesis notoriety.