Seahawks - you gotta leave the champs at number one until proven otherwise. However I can see a SuperBowl hangover for this young team. Can Harvin play a full season and does it matter? Lynch has taken a lot of carries and wasn't as effective in the second half of the season. Wilson is great and I think he gets better this year. The D will still be great with the fantastic fits in that scheme, particularly Thomas and Chancellor. Their rotational pass rush won't be as good with not as much depth.
49ers - Hard to gauge the 9ers coming into this year. Kap is a bit overrated in my opinion as a QB, not as a playmaker. I mean the guy had games under 100 yards. Missing Bowman and potentially Smith is gonna hurt, elite players don't grow on trees and I don't think you can "next man up" those two guys. Plus all this stuff with Harbaugh and the front office, I see the 9ers as already having hit their peak after three successful years.
Broncos - Much easier schedule last year than this year, however they get Clady back, get Miller back (assuming he's recovered to full strength), and all the other guys they added they are gonna be a force. And of course Peyton. I'd actually rank the Broncos as the best team after the offseason and barring injuries.
Patriots - Talib made a big difference when he was healthy for them; Revis is gonna be even better, particularly under his mercenary for hire contracts. Brady regressed a bit last year, especially after Gronk went out. Gronk being healthy is important for them. However to think they made it as far as they did with the pieces around them and the injuries they faced is amazing. Can never count Belechick out.
Packers - Aaron Rodgers. The guy is elite. They are gonna contend and be a threat as long as he's around (and can keep above water enough even when he's not). I can see them in the playoffs again, even though the Lions should have already had this division locked down by now.
Saints - Probably the best team in the NFC all around. And Brees and company are gonna put up yards and points no matter what like every year. The defense adding Byrd back there has the chance to be a force, and I can see Jordan taking a step up to be an elite level pass rusher.
Eagles - All about how the league reacts to Chip's second year. Still gonna be a potent offense, and Maclin might be a better fit for Chip's offense than Jackson. The defense is still suspect but getting better. Much tougher schedule than last year. Love the Sproles addition. First in the East unless the Skins can actually play to their potential.
Colts - A solid team, some weird losses but beat all the elite teams last year. Luck is the real deal. They are gonna be a top team in the league.
Bears - Defense needs to improve. Cutler has some of the best weapons in the league and their OL is improved from the sieve they used to have not long ago. They will contend...but I don't see them as quite the force as other teams in this list. Jeffrey is a beast though.
Bengals - Dalton posted some good numbers, and they were ravaged with injuries. They are packed with talent and on paper the best team in the AFC North...Marvin just can't ever seem to get them to the next step. Dalton in a contract year helps, and the defense is top level when healthy. A strong reg season contender.
The Panthers are not a top 10 team. Lost way too much and didn't do anything about it. Ron should have done a bit more Riverboating this offseason. They are shackled by some huge contracts. Cam Newton is not Tom Brady, he can't take a bunch of 3's and make them serviceable 1's. And losing your franchise LT is huge, particularly with no one behind except run of the mill RT's. DeAngelo is old yeller and Stewart is a walking injury.
They'll get to the QB still, but the end zone and the sticks not so much.
With Gross' impromptu retirement and the mess with Steve Smith, and a mostly nonexistent offseason, there is more than meets the eye in regards to the problems in Carolina.
The Panthers aren't a top 10 team IMO after losing so much on offense. Their schedule is going to be tough too, especially considering the Falcons should return to form as a near top 10 team this year now that they're healthy.