WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR
20. Washington. The natives won't be thrilled with 8-8, but there's lots of deadwood, and deadwood attitude, to flush out of the organization for Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen. If McNabb is his usual self, the Redskins will be in 13 games in the fourth quarter.
21. Jacksonville. Lots to find out this year -- whether David Garrard is the longterm quarterback, whether Jack Del Rio will be around longterm, and whether the franchise can sell enough tickets to survive in north Florida. We'll know an awful lot after the Jags see San Diego, Philly and Indy in Weeks 2-4.
22. Arizona. Let's just say everything I hear about Matt Leinart is lukewarm. I don't get a confident feel that he'll be a good or long-range replacement for Kurt Warner, and without a strong passing game, the Cards can't score enough to help an OK defense with some holes. Now, if Joey Porter can turn back the clock six years ...
23. Cincinnati. I love Carson Palmer. I worry about Carson Palmer. And I bet if you ask every Bengals fan out there, they'd say the exact same thing.
24. Detroit. If the Lions were in the NFC West, they might win it this year. They're making significant progress -- assuming Ndamukong Suh is the genuine item and Kyle Vanden Bosch has something left.
25. Chicago. The Mike Martz-Jay Cutler marriage could work, or it could explode. The defense will be solid, assuming Julius Peppers comes to play, but he can't solve everything on a unit that allowed 375 points last year.
26. Kansas City. I think Matt Cassel was unfairly blamed last season for too much on an offense with few weapons, but he's good and will make strides this year. Having Dexter McCluster will help. Giving up 26.5 points a game again can't happen if the Chiefs want to be a threat of any kind, which is why Eric Berry has to be the genuine item from day one of training camp.
27. Tennessee. Tough to see a Jeff Fisher team down for a second straight year, particularly coming off such a strong finish last year. But this is a team in transition, unsure where the pass-rush will come from and whether Vince Young can be the quarterback of the future.
28. Oakland. Good for Tom Cable. He stays and gets a defensive quarterback (Rolando McClain) to pilot the other side of the ball. But while everyone is thrilled JaMarcus Russell is gone, and it's clearly addition by subtraction, those left in his wake -- Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell -- aren't proven NFL winners. So here are the Raiders in five-win-ville again.
29. Cleveland. Still can't believe the Browns could end up paying Jake Delhomme $7 million to play quarterback this year. For a team I rank so low, there's a lot about Cleveland I like, though the passing game is not one of those things.
30. Tampa Bay. What I like about the Bucs: that the top five draft picks will get a chance to play right away, and a lot. What I don't like about the Bucs: that the top five draft picks will get a chance to play right away, and a lot.
31. Buffalo. Drafting C.J. Spiller is the one thing a terrible offense did this offseason to get better. Unfortunately, he can't throw the football.
32. St. Louis. The Rams are 6-42 in the past three years. They were 32nd in points scored last year, 31st in points allowed. The Lions scored 87 more points. But there's a quarterback now, and there's a solid defense captain now in James Laurinaitis. The cavalry's on the way, St. Louis. Give it another year or two, if you've got the stomach.
Seth Davis' Bracket Breakdown: South Region
Blackhawks top red Wings 4-1 to stop two-game skid