Sitting atop these Power Rankings in May matters little come kickoff in September. But this gives an idea of where teams stand right now. There will be another edition of the Power Rankings before the opening of training camps, factoring in late moves such as June 1 cuts and signings.
Until then, these are the Power Rankings for May 12:
Current Team Previous
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
This team will be better on offense, and the defense should play to the same level -- or even better. But does anybody really think they'll repeat except the Bucs themselves?
2 Philadelphia Eagles 2
They've suffered their share of losses, but getting a healthy Donovan McNabb back should overcome those. They also have done a nice job replacing those lost players.
3 Oakland Raiders 3
They do have to worry some about age at key positions and harmony, too, with the return of Barrett Robbins following his going AWOL at the Super Bowl. The bitter Super Bowl loss will be hard to shake.
4 New York Jets 5
Losing Laveranues Coles hurt, but getting Curtis Conway will help fill that role. The big help will come from first pick Dewayne Robertson and the improvement of end Bryan Thomas on the defense.
5 Tennessee Titans 4
As long as Steve McNair is on the field, the Titans can win it all. They do need to get some people to step up outside on offense and Jevon Kearse has to return to health on defense.
6 New Orleans Saints 11
This team was slow last season, but that's changed after some good offseason moves. The key will be how well Aaron Brooks plays at quarterback after shoulder surgery.
7 Green Bay Packers 7
Brett Favre still has the rifle, so this team is still a Super Bowl threat. There are some worries on defense, especially at linebacker.
8 St. Louis Rams 25
With Warner back healthy, this is a different team. You wait and see how good he'll be playing behind an improved offensive line, including right tackle Kyle Turley, who came over in a trade from the Saints.
9 Miami Dolphins 8
This might be a make-or-break year for coach Dave Wannstedt. The offense has to get more vertical if the Dolphins really want to get to the Super Bowl.
10 Atlanta Falcons 13
Adding Peerless Price will help the offense, but Michael Vick still must become better in the pocket for the Falcons to get to the Super Bowl.
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 10
They should again be in the playoff mix, but Tommy Maddox has to prove that he was for real. The pass defense has to be better in the secondary.
12 New York Giants 6
The offensive line needs to be rebuilt some, but the return of Ike Hilliard should help the passing game. The special teams have been overhauled, which is a good thing.
13 San Francisco 49ers 9
All that young talent on defense will come together this season, but now there are worries about the offense. What happened to Jeff Garcia last season?
14 Indianapolis Colts 12
The key in 2003 will be the return to form of running back Edgerrin James. If that happens, they will be a playoff team. The defense should be better based on the growth of young players.
15 Denver Broncos 15
The signing of Jake Plummer was a controversial move but one that will pay off. If the defense plays better, the Broncos will move up this chart come September.
16 New England Patriots 16
The offensive and defensive lines have to play better than they did in 2002. So does running back Antowain Smith.
17 Buffalo Bills 17
It's not often that a team that is so prolific on offense decides to change the style of the team and become more defensive-oriented. That's a major risk.
18 Kansas City Chiefs 18
The cloud hanging over this team is the uncertainty surrounding Priest Holmes' hip injury. But the new faces on defense should improve it a bunch.
19 Seattle Seahawks 20
Now that Matt Hasselbeck has a grasp of the offense, this team will score points. It just has to play better on defense.
20 Baltimore Ravens 19
The main concern now is the quarterback position, which is obviously a big issue. If Chris Redman can develop, this can be a playoff team. More likely they will contend for a Super Bowl in 2004.
21 Washington Redskins 22
They've made some nice moves this offseason and should be lauded for them. But they will matter little if quarterback Patrick Ramsey doesn't prove to be a solid starter.
22 Cleveland Browns 14
Of all the playoff teams from a year ago, this one has the most questions, the biggest being: Who will be the quarterback? The defense has some major holes to fill.
23 San Diego Chargers 21
When are the Chargers ever going to have the offense and defense both playing well? It used to be a defensive team, and then when the offense became productive the defense fell off in 2002.
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 27
They will be much better on defense with the addition of Hugh Douglas and Mike Peterson, and they still have playmakers on offense in Jimmy Smith, Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor. The offensive line has to play better.
25 Minnesota Vikings 24
They will score loads of points on offense with the improved offensive line. The key will be if the defense can take a major step from a year ago.
26 Cincinnati Bengals 32
Coach Marvin Lewis has instilled a new feeling around this team. The Bengals have talent, too, which could make them dangerous in 2003 if Jon Kitna can continue to advance.
27 Chicago Bears 28
If they think Kordell Stewart is the answer to their quarterback woes, they are wrong. Rex Grossman could be starting by Halloween.
28 Dallas Cowboys 26
Bill Parcells is a great coach, but even great coaches can't do much without a quarterback. If Chad Hutchinson isn't the answer, Parcells could have a 5-11 start to his Dallas career.
29 Carolina Panthers 23
Coach John Fox did a great job last season, but can we expect the same from Rodney Peete in 2003? And can the defense play like it did last season with those same starting corners?
30 Houston Texans 29
They will make strides on offense this season, but the defense overachieved in 2002. They'll be in games, but it might not translate to the win column.
31 Detroit Lions 31
They will be better than a year ago because Joey Harrington will be better. But where's the running threat to ease the pressure on him?
32 Arizona Cardinals 30
They let go Plummer and signed an average quarterback in Jeff Blake, and they have little outside at the receiver position. Poor Dave McGinnis.