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Saints obvious choice for some very early rankings

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Too early to look forward to 2010? Not at all. Here is my very early look at the 2010 season, and my first rankings. Obviously a lot can change, but here goes.

1. New Orleans Saints - The Super Bowl champs will make every effort to re-sign safety Darren Sharper. If Reggie Bush walks, that won't be end of the world.

2. Indianapolis Colts - The best team in the AFC brings back a strong cast, and maybe even safety Bob Sanders gets healthy?

3. Green Bay Packers - The Packers will get help at tackle, another year in 3-4 defense will aid their cause as well. Quarterback Aaron Rogers is Super Bowl ready.

4. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens have to address the receiver situation and general manager Ozzie Newsome will. If quarterback Joe Flacco can improve decision-making in the red zone and fourth quarter just a bit, this could be Super Bowl team.

5. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles need to solidify offensive line, but love the Dick Jauron hire. Great depth at quarterback.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers - Safety Troy Polamalu changes that defense. The Steelers will be a factor in AFC title race.

7. San Diego Chargers - Part of me thinks they will take a step back, with the defense facing questions, but they'll run away with that division without really trying.

8. Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys are poised to be a real postseason factor in a year in which they host the Super Bowl. Wouldn't that be something?

9. Tennessee Titans - AFC South could have three playoff teams. The Titans are legit.

Experts' rankings
Will the Saints be the team to beat next season? Some of our experts don't think so. Find out who they like, then create your own rankings and sound off with other fans.  Rankings ...

» Teams on the rise in 2010

10. Minnesota Vikings - If quarterback Brett Favre returns, they'll be a playoff team. But it says here that Green Bay gets their number in 2010 regardless of whether No. 4 plays or not.

11. New England Patriots - Look for the Patriots to win another division title and quarterback Tom Brady to put up bigger numbers, but that defense has issues.

12. New York Jets - I would not be shocked if there is a bit of a sophomore slump for Jets. The defense and run game keep them in hunt, though.

13. Houston Texans - The Texans have stability at head coach but can they finally get over hump? Not convinced yet.

14. New York Giants - New coordinator Perry Fewell will help that defense. Getting safety Kenny Phillips back will be huge. In thick of playoff hunt.

15. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins will be in thick of things. Like hiring of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and quarterback Chad Henne is a good fit there. The team needs more dynamic receivers.

16. Atlanta Falcons - Look for quarterback Matt Ryan to have a big bounce-back year, but that defense needs fixing.

17. San Francisco 49ers - Nine wins likely wins that division. This is the team to do it. San Francisco will be back in postseason.

18. Chicago Bears - The Mike Martz-Jay Cutler marriage has to work or heads will roll.

19. Cincinnati Bengals - Lack of wideouts and vertical element will hamper the Bengals.

20. Arizona Cardinals - Expect the Cardinals to take quite a step back with quarterback Kurt Warner retired.

21. Kansas City Chiefs - Love the additions to the Chiefs' coaching staff. New offensive coordinator Charlie Weis needs to make it work with quarterback Matt Cassel.

22. Carolina Panthers - The Panthers are bracing for departure of pass-rusher Julius Peppers. John Fox coaching in lame-duck year.

23. Denver Broncos - Another offseason of high drama looms. Losing Mike Nolan could prove to be big blow.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars - Very tough division and have to wonder if this is their last season in Jacksonville.

25. Seattle Seahawks - No quick fix for new coach Pete Carroll here. The Seahawks need a major rebound season from Hasselbeck.

26. Washington Redskins - New coach Mike Shanahan might eventually fix the offense, but that defense could take major step back with new staff and 3-4 scheme.

27. Oakland Raiders - Guess we're assuming Tom Cable is the coach and JaMarcus Russell is the quarterback at this point?

28. Detroit Lions - The Lions have some pieces on offense, but the defense is in disarray. The teams hasn't won a road game in years.

29. Cleveland Browns - This roster has major flaws from the quarterback on down. I do not see that four-game winning streak continuing.

30. Buffalo Bills - I have a feeling the Bills will be last in AFC East for a long time. Like their old coaching staff more than the new one. Godspeed.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This is a make or break year for a beleaguered coaching staff that just might break them.

32. St. Louis Rams - St. Louis has arguably the worst roster in the NFL with holes and uncertainty all over the place.

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