Well, this is it. The last PFT power rankings of the 2010 season.
Take a moment to compose yourselves.
Now, take several moments to read over the final rankings, and to insult our judgments and explanations. It’s your last chance to insult us until September.
OK, it’s your last chance to insult us in this specific context.
1. New England Patriots (No. 1; 14-2): It’s 2007 all over again, but without the pressure of being undefeated.
2. Atlanta Falcons (No. 4; 13-3): The road to the Jerry Dome goes through the Georgia Dome.
3. Baltimore Ravens (No. 3; 12-4): John Harbaugh’s team could soon be knocking Jim Harbaugh’s name out of the headlines.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 5; 12-4): They’ll go as far as Troy Polamalu can carry them.
5. New Orleans Saints (No. 2; 11-5): On Saturday in Seattle, the Saints will get a taste of what the Cardinals and Vikings had to deal with last year in the Superdome.
6. Indianapolis Colts (No. 9; 10-6): The Colts have a four-game winning streak. The real question is whether they still have the weapons to win four more in a row.
7. Chicago Bears (No. 6; 11-5): If the Bears face Atlanta for the NFC crown, it’s going to be hard not to pick the road team to win.
8. New York Jets (No. 8; 11-5): If a one-and-out experience in the postseason won’t shut up Rex Ryan, nothing ever will.
9. Green Bay Packers (No. 11; 10-6): The offense cooled off just enough in Week 17 to raise doubts about the Packers’ ability to go 2-0 in Philly this year.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 12; 10-6): Do they give out an award for the best team to miss the playoffs?
11. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 7; 10-6): The Eagles left their miracles in the Meadowlands.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10; 10-6): The Chiefs could be a dangerous road team in the playoffs, if they can first win at home against an even more dangerous road team in the playoffs.
13. New York Giants (No. 14; 10-6): It may be time for the Giants to ask themselves whether Eli Manning is the right guy to lead the offense over the long haul.
14. Detroit Lions (No. 15; 6-10): Everyone will be picking the Lions to make the playoffs in 2011. Given the Lions’ luck of late, it likely means that a lockout will cancel the entire season.
15. Oakland Raiders (No. 18; 8-8): Only in Oakland would the head coach who finally pulls the team back to .500 be in danger of getting fired.
16. San Diego Chargers (No. 16; 9-7): Hey, at least they won’t lose in the first round of the playoffs.
17. Dallas Cowboys (No. 23; 6-10): Well, at least they fulfilled their goal of winning their last game of the season.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 17; 8-8): If the Jags make the playoffs in 2011, hopefully Wayne Weaver won’t give Jack Del Rio another five-year contract.
19. Seattle Seahawks (No. 28; 7-9): Yes, they deserve this spot in the rankings. Now, watch them beat the Saints on Saturday.
20. St. Louis Rams (No. 13; 7-9): With Sam Bradford in hand, the Rams will rule the NFC West until the other three teams get their own quarterback situations under control. In other words, the Rams will rule the NFC West until Bradford retires.
21. Miami Dolphins (No. 19; 7-9): For not having a consistently good quarterback, they’ve actually done well over the last decade.
22. Minnesota Vikings (No. 20; 6-10): Call us crazy, but Joe Webb could become a very good quarterback.
23. San Francisco 49ers (No. 23; 6-10): Vernon Davis says the players were afraid of Mike Singletary. It would have been far more newsworthy if they weren’t.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 21; 4-12): You know things are bad in Cincinnati when Marvin Lewis may opt for unemployment over returning as head coach.
25. Houston Texans (No. 31; 6-10): Maybe the 10th time will be the charm.
26. Arizona Cardinals (No. 22; 5-11): Hey, playing in the postseason can get expensive.
27. Washington Redskins (No. 24; 6-10): We’re sort of rooting for Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb to end up on the same team in 2011. And for that team to win the Super Bowl.
28. Cleveland Browns (No. 26; 5-11): If Brett Favre decides to come back for one more year, Cleveland actually could be his best fit.
29. Tennessee Titans (No. 29; 6-10): From 5-2 to 1-8, why do the Titans need to even consider whether it’s time for a coaching change?
30. Buffalo Bills (No. 25; 4-12): The challenge for 2011 will be to build a defense to complement an underrated offense. And to win more than four games.
31. Denver Broncos (No. 30; 4-12): Hey, if John Elway is going to run the team, why not make Tim Tebow the coach?
32. Carolina Panthers (No. 32; 2-14): We’ve got a feeling that the best Stanford quarterback since Elway will be taking a page from his “I dare you to draft me” playbook.