Preseason power rankings

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  • Charles Robinson
    American professional wrestling referee and wrestler

Every Tuesday during the regular season, Yahoo! Sports NFL writers Jason Cole and Charles Robinson rank every team and provide some analysis. Here's how they rank the teams going into training camp.

TOP 12

Cole: I can't wait until all the Patriots fans tell me how stupid I am for putting the Chargers in the top spot. Why not Colts fans, you say? Indy fans are way too milquetoast to get in anybody's face. More telling is the fact that AFC teams occupy eight of the top 11 spots. That's a pretty strong eight and just about any one of them could beat the best the NFC has to offer.

Robinson: New England's got the talent to be in the top spot, but there's no guarantee Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth and Kelley Washington won't undermine the chemistry on offense. Starting Indianapolis in the No. 4 spot may not seem sensible, but the Colts have pressing defensive questions after losing their starting cornerbacks and a playmaking linebacker in Cato June.

MUDDLED MIDDLE

Cole: Everybody likes to pick a team or two that could jump from the middle of the pack to the top. In this group, the best preseason candidates for a jump are San Francisco and Dallas. The 49ers showed progress at the end of last season and Dallas has great talent on defense.

Robinson: San Francisco at No. 13 might seem a bit high, but the 49ers will be better offensively and have added enough defensive pieces to be drastically improved in a notoriously soft division. If Detroit's defensive line can finally come together, the Lions can take a jump up from the NFL's lower echelon. Atlanta is poised to drop like a rock with Michael Vick's federal case hanging over the franchise all season long.

BOTTOM OF THE PACK

Cole: The Michael Vick news dropped the Falcons from a spot in the middle all the way down to the bottom of the league. Wait, you say, Oakland is at the bottom of the league. Well, the Raiders are so bad that they are in a class by themselves at the bottom of the barrel.

Robinson: Tennessee made a surprising step forward last season, but is staring down plenty of issues going into this season. Who will be Vince Young's receiving targets? Who is going to carry the load at the running back spot? And how will the Titans react to losing its No. 1 corner and return man? Minnesota, Oakland and Cleveland all have major quarterback issues to be sorted out.