Bengals power down to 25th
The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, but they can't beat them out for the top spot in USA TODAY's NFL power rankings.
(Power rankings reflect votes by 12 staffers after the NFL draft, with 32 points awarded for a first-place vote, 31 for a second ...)
QUESTIONS: Bengals fans, where do you rank your favorite team, 1 to 32, why, and who are your top five and bottom five at this point of the offseason?
1 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS Last rank: 2 Total points: 376
Notes: Surprising that 18-1 team receives NFL's easiest schedule. (Four first-place votes)
2 N.Y. GIANTS Last rank: 1 Total points: 362
Notes: Really no superstars, but burgeoning depth is impressive. (Five first-place votes.)
3 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Last rank: 5 Total points: 357
Notes: Marvin Harrison's health could be least of his worries now. (One first-place vote.)
4 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS Last rank: 3 (tie) Total points: 353
Notes: Title hopes probably hinge on Philip Rivers' knee. (Two first-place votes.)
5 DALLAS COWBOYS Last rank: 7 Total points: 346
Notes: With Jerry, Felix, Pacman and in tow, Dallas loves Joneses. (Sorry, Julius.)
6 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS Last rank: 6 Total points: 325
Notes: Hey, Peyton, they're coming after you on the field and in the standings.
7 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS Last rank: 9 Total points: 288
Notes: Mike Holmgren could return to Super Bowl in his swan song.
8 CLEVELAND BROWNS Last rank: 11 (tie) Total points: 286
Notes: The Browns look primed to make a run at first division title since NFL return.
9 GREEN BAY PACKERS Last rank: 3 (tie) Total points: 271
Notes: Over/under: Is Brett Favre back under center by Week 6?
10 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Last rank: 14 Total points: 270
Notes: Donovan McNabb reverted to Pro Bowl form at end of '07. Will it continue in '08?
11 PITTSBURGH STEELERS Last rank: 8 Total points: 263
Notes: If patchwork line can block, offense (with Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall in backfield) could be really scary.
12 MINNESOTA VIKINGS Last rank: 17 Total points: 224
Notes: QB questions persist, but with that defense, 13 points a game might net 11 wins.
13 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Last rank: 16 Total points: 215
Notes: Sedrick Ellis will stop the run. But will the Saints be able to run themselves?
14 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Last rank: 13 Total points: 207
Notes: Jon Gurden is quietly building the best young offensive line in the league.
15 HOUSTON TEXANS Last rank: 15 Total points: 199
Notes: They must overcome the division. Despite the injuries, they were 7-3 outside AFC South.
16 TIE ARIZONA CARDINALS Last rank: 18 Total points: 198
Notes: Issue No. 1: Can Matt Leinart reclaim (and thrive in) his starting role?
16 TIE TENNESSEE TITANS Last rank: 10 Total points: 198
Notes:Are they going to run the Wing-T or the wishbone this year?
18 WASHINGTON REDSKINS Last rank: 11 (tie) Total points: 193
Notes: Jason Campbell must now learn his third NFL offense since 2005.
19 CAROLINA PANTHERS Last rank: 23 Total points: 170
Notes: The draft showed that this regime is clearly in a win-now mode.
20 DENVER BRONCOS Last rank: 21 Total points: 168
Notes: It's been awhile since Mike Shanahan's had this many question marks.
21 BUFFALO BILLS Last rank: 20 Total points: 152
Notes: If Trent Edwards progresses, the Bills could reach the playoffs ... as a wild card.
22 CHICAGO BEARS Last rank: 19 Total points: 133
Notes: The defense had better rebound as the offense could be non-existent.
23 ST. LOUIS RAMS Last rank: 27 (tie) Total points: 127
Notes: Avoiding the injuries is key. But the Rams have the tools to be a major factor.
24 N.Y. JETS Last rank: 26 Total points: 115
Notes: They addressed plenty of needs in the offseason ... just not quarterback.
25 TIE CINCINNATI BENGALS Last rank: 22 Total points: 111
Notes: Even if Chad Johnson returns, the damage may be irreparable.
25 TIE DETROIT LIONS Last rank: 24 Total points: 95
Notes: Jon Kitna has set 10 wins as the goal again, but can they maintain progress despite the offensive overhaul?
27 BALTIMORE RAVENS Last rank: 25 Total points: 86
Notes: Ray Lewis might be in a nursing home before Joe Flacco's ready.
28 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS Last rank: 27 (tie) Total points: 82
Notes: And you thought Mike Nolan was tough. Alex Smith, meet Mr. Martz.
29 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Last rank: 29 Total points: 50
Notes: Will Herm Edwards still be around to reap this excellent draft's rewards?
30 OAKLAND RAIDERS Last rank: 30 Total points: 49
Notes: The Raiders have skill players aplenty, but what about the trenches?
31 MIAMI DOLPHINS Last rank: 32 Total points: 27
Notes: Next up on Bill Parcells' agenda: What to do with Jason Taylor?
32 ATLANTA FALCONS Last rank: 31 Total points: 24
Notes: Matt Ryan will need lots of time and seasoning before this team takes flight.