With rookies entrenched in offseason workouts and the majority of free-agent movement and trades finalized, it's time to recalibrate how teams stack up one through 32 -- in June.
No team has ever made a Super Bowl in its home stadium, and I'm not saying Dallas will, but the Cowboys have the roster to make them the team to beat heading into 2010. However, their schedule is rugged, and they might not get through their docket medically upright or in playoff contention. The Jets look incredible on paper, but it's tough to get too infatuated knowing that a quarterback's second season is often his most difficult, so Mark Sanchez will have to overcome that. Plus, the new players might not be as good as the ones they replaced.
The more I examined teams, their schedules and the like, there's a team in Southern California that is teed up for a big season, and one in crab country not far behind.
3. Cowboys -- This team boasts enviable depth. If it can survive its early schedule -- including a highly anticipated rematch with Minnesota in Week 6 -- watch out.
4. Colts -- The beefed up offensive line should help, and the returns of WR Anthony Gonzalez and S Bob Sanders add more firepower on both sides.
9. Vikings -- Even if Brett Favre is back, there's no telling if he'll be as money as last season. Minny has to be better in all areas, especially in the secondary.
15. Giants -- Defensively New York should be better, but there aren't any assurances of that. The running game and the offensive line play could determine if this is a playoff team.
22. Buccaneers -- Tampa Bay could be this season's sleeper team -- if the rookies all step up. That's asking a lot. They should be a lot better, especially on offense, but not quite yet.
23. Jaguars -- Another possible sleeper. The young O-line should be better as should the offense as a whole, but the defense still is unsettled. Not good in a division where offense is king.
25. Redskins -- Donovan McNabb should make the offense better, but the line is still unsettled. The change to a 3-4 defense disrupts a solid unit that doesn't have all the parts for the switch.
28. Lions -- A solid draft class in '09 and the potential of the '10 class, as well as some nice free-agent additions should help. They're still far away overall.
29. Browns -- Cleveland seems to have made upgrades, but you can't win if you don't have a quarterback, which they don't.
30. Panthers -- There is bad karma in Carolina. There is still talent and a lot of gritty players, but a lame duck coach and underlying morale issues could undermine this season.