2012 NFL Power Rankings: Ravens, 49ers Top First ROTB List

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after scoring a 1 yard rushing touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter of the season opener at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Week one of the NFL regular season is behind us and it was filled with all of the excitement and explosive plays that we'd been waiting for since the end of last season. Many websites offer power rankings for NFL teams, and in many of those power rankings it is clear that the Arizona Cardinals are very under represented. So we're going to start a weekly power rankings column that will rotate through many of the staff writers for a perspective of the power rankings with insight from a Cardinals fans perspective, while trying to emphasize an honest opinion based on game play.

See all 32 teams power rankings after the jump.

1. Ravens. The Ravens have a powerful defense and a potent offense staring Ray Rice and Joe Flacco. They look like an improved version of the 2011 team that was one pass away from the Superbowl. (Trend = Even)

2. 49ers. The 49ers defense is incredible and limited the powerful Packers offense to 22 points. The 49er offense is improved compared to last year and they looked poised to make a strong run. (Trend = Even)

3. Falcons. The Falcons are set to have a break out year, the offense is clicking and Matt Ryan is looking better than ever. He has two of the best WRs in the league with White and Jones, an incredible TE in Gonzalez, and a power running game. Look for the Falcons to rise and take advantage of their division with the Saints still recovering from the sideshow that has been the Saints offseason. (Trend = Up)

4. Patriots. The Patriots defense looked great against the Titans and their offense looked sharp, even without utilizing all of their weapons. The offense is loaded with weapons and they have an elite signal caller behind center. If the defense can continue to gel the Patriots could be climbing the chart to number one in the next two weeks. (Trend = Up)

5. Texans. A top five defense and an offense that features Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and Matt Schaub who when healthy lead the charge to the Texans first playoff game. With a second year in Wade Phillips defensive scheme the Texans can shutdown opponents and light up the scoreboard with their offense. (Trend = Up)

6. Packers. Even with a loss you can see that they still pack a powerful offense and a good defense. They lost to one of the best defenses in the league, all with less than 10 rushing attempts from their starting RB. They currently lack a running game, whether that was by design due to the stacked 49ers defense or just a result of how the game played out, once they start using Benson on the ground their offense will become even more successful. (Trend = Even)

7. Broncos. Peyton Manning led the offense against the Steelers defense and looked as sharp as ever. The Broncos defense is loaded with young talent, and with Manning playing that well in the no-huddle against one of the leagues top ranked defenses the Broncos look ready for a second year with the AFC West crown. (Trend = Up)

8. Cowboys. Some may say the Cowboys are ranked too high here, but Tony Romo played incredibly well behind a porous offensive line. The Cowboys rank 3rd in offense and 7th in defense. These Cowboys are going to make a run in the NFC East and started early by taking down the returning Superbowl champs. The defense was able to hurry Manning and limited the Giants success until the final four minutes of the game. (Trend = Up)

9. Saints. The Saints seem to lack a spark this year but they still have one of the best passing attacks in the league. It could be rust, the outside turmoil taking its toll, or any number of factors but the Saints didn't return to their 2011 command of their opponents. RGIII and the Redskins put up 40 points against them. But I think the week 1 performance was just a stumble and they'll return to form next week against the Panthers. (Trend = Up)

10. Bears. Jay Cutler has true weapons this year at WR and a dual headed rushing attack. The defense is aging and slowing down, but as long as the Bears can break their tradition and lean on their offense the defense will do enough to limit their opponents. (Trend = Up)

11. Steelers. The Steelers offense looked decent, but the defense looks like it's aging. There are question marks around the team, but the team has depth throughout and will find a way to win. The Steelers could find themselves tumbling down this list next week after they face a tough Jets team. (Trend = Down)

12. Redskins. The Redskins currently have the #1 offense in the league, but can they continue that trend next week against the Rams? Possibly. They have a young defense that currently ranks 19th after facing the Saints and rank 4th in both passing and rushing. RGIII could start the season 2-0 and prove to have landed in the perfect spot to lead a team that is ready to win now. I think the Redskins should climb the chart next week as long as there are no second week setbacks. This could get interested in the NFC East if they can continue this momentum. (Trend = Up)

13. Jets. The Jets rank 11th in offense and 24th in defense in a surprise to many the offense suddenly clicked and Mark Sanchez started finding his weapons at WR. If they continue the trend next week against the Steelers I think they'll move up two spots to take over the Steelers current ranking. (Trend = Up)

14. Lions. The Lions stumbled against the Rams defense. While the numbers have them as the 5th ranked offense and 2nd ranked defense their play was too close for comfort against the Rams who are still rebuilding under Jeff Fischer. They looked like they were still knocking some rust off of their game and deserve to be recognized for the talent on the team, but they should have won the Rams game handily rather than requiring a last second TD to beat the NFC Wests worst team. Next week they play the 49ers, we'll see how they trend against one of the best defenses in the league after struggling against the Rams new defense. (Trend = Even)

15. Giants. Talk about a team that lacked conviction until the 4th quarter. It just didn't seem that they were playing with heart against a bitter division rival in the season opener while returning from winning the Super Bowl. The Giants currently rank in the bottom of the league in offense and defense and they earn middle of the road rankings simply due to street cred, but look to see them fall if they can't produce against the Bucs 11th ranked defense next week. (Trend = Even)

16. Chiefs. The Chiefs looked good with so many starters returning to their line up from injury last year. The rushing attack looked good with Jamaal Charles quickly returning to 2010 form and the defense is showing signs of returning to a strong unit, and the main reason the Packers finished 15-1 last year. The Chiefs look to be the only team to challenge the Broncos right now in the AFC West. (Trend = Up)

17. Cardinals. What a win, and what a surprise. We've seen the Cardinals ranked as low as 31 in the league, but now they tout the 4th ranked defense in the league, but also the 30th offense. If the Cardinals can convert more red zone opportunities into TDs versus FGs they'll quickly rise in the offensive statistics. The rushing game was very poor and unless they can build off of their close victory and develop a running game they'll be stuck in the middle of the pack and relying on the defense. I truly believe the Cardinals have a good team that will gel with time. The Patriots will be a tough opponent in week 2, but if the Cardinals can pull out a win they should soar up the chart. (Trend = Up)

18. Seahawks. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson gave the Seahawks many glimpses of why he was chosen over veteran Matt Flynn, and also a few reminding them that he's just a rookie. The defense is stout and shutdown the Cardinals offense in the 3rd quarter. They rose to the challenge and will only get better in time. I think the Seahawks have an opportunity to rebound after a tough loss to the Cardinals and take down a highly rated team. If the Seahawks beat the Cowboys this week they'll climb the chart and prove that they're a force to be reckoned with. (Trend = Up)

19. Chargers. The Chargers honestly look like a team that is past it's prime. They upgraded their WRs, but the offense lost too many weapons over the past two seasons and were unable to replace them. They won an ugly win against the Raiders on MNF and do not look like competition for the Broncos for the AFC West title. Hopefully they can score more points against the Titans in week 2, but it looks like the Chargers are on the downward trend and looked poised for another 8-8 or worse season. (Trend = Down)

20. Eagles. A sloppy game like week one is proof that no matter how many big names are on your roster that a team with a QB who's quarterback rating is smaller than his show size can beat you. Well the Browns almost did at least, and (spoiler alert) they're dead last in the power rankings. The Eagles have the numbers to claim they are 2nd in offense and 1st in defense in the league, but the Browns almost beat them. The BROWNS. If they can contend with the Ravens in week two, they'll raise in the power rankings, but numbers can't hide what the eyes see and right now the Eagles look sloppy. (Trend = Even)

21. Bills. The Bills added a lot of pieces to their defense in the off season, the most talked about being Mario Williams but their passing game is still weak. With a highly paid Ryan Fitzpatrick passing the ball to Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler you'd expect more than the 25th ranked passing game. If Fitzpatrick can return to his pre-contract form the Bills will climb the power rankings. (Trend = Even)

22. Bengals. The Bengals did not look like the playoff contender from 2011, even though they have Andy Dalton passing to 2nd year all-star A.J. Green. The rushing game played well and it's easy to see that the Bengals run blocking is a big reason Cedric Benson was able to sustain so many 1000 yard seasons. The Bengals will take on the Browns in week two and will look to work out a few kinks in their offense and return to form. (Trend = Up)

23. Rams. The Rams defense looked good against the Lions offense. Jeff Fischer's calling card is a strong defense and a good rushing game. In his first year with St. Louis his defense is shaping up, he'll just need to work on improving the rushing game to help open up more opportunities for the 29th ranked passing attack. The Rams looked better than expected. (Trend = Even)

24. Vikings. Adrian Peterson returns and looks like Adrian Peterson. The Vikings are going to get better as the weeks go by and will climb the charts as they gel on offense and defense. I like where they're going now that they have AP back. (Trend = Up)

25. Jaguars. MJD looked a little lost, but he'll gain his focus once he knocks off the rust of his hold out. Gabbert looked good and will continue to improve. The Jaguars have surrounded him with legitimate weapons, he just needs to build the chemistry to use them properly. (Trend = Up)

26. Panthers. The Panthers did not look like the Week 1 Panthers of 2011 primarily because they were missing their calling card rushing attack. The defense is stout, and Cam Newton has proven he is a dual threat, but the Buccaneers exposed a weakness in Carolina. Their nearly pass only offense won't win games. Look for Jonathan Stewart to rally quickly to bring the dash back to the backfield. (Trend = Up)

27. Titans. Jake Locker got hurt and Chris Johnson is in a slump. They've got a good defense with an up and coming pass rush. The Titans will continue to be lower level until they can get their offense rolling, and it could be this week with Matt Hasselback behind center against the Chargers. (Trend = Even)

28. Raiders. The Raiders special teams looked like the Chargers special teams of 2010. Palmer lead the offense with plenty of yards but had troubles closing the deal and putting up more than three points. Right now the Raiders are looking up in their division and have a lot to work on. Good D, mediocre everything else. (Trend = Even)

29. Buccaneers. The Bucs have all the right pieces, just the offense is unable to put it all together right now. The defense and rushing game are ranked 11th and 8th, respectively. But the passing game is listed at 31st. Even with Josh Freeman getting big name free agent Vincent Jackson to throw to. The Bucs will get it going, but at this point they're a few games away from starting their power rankings climb. (Trend = Even)

30. Colts. Andrew Luck looked very good for his first start against the Chicago Bears. He is poised and is clearly an NFL ready rookie QB. Unfortunately the team around him needs to come up to his ability. The rushing game needs to step up and the defense needs to find it's identity. The good news is, the Colts have the most important part figured out, it's similar to Peyton's start in Indianapolis. (Trend = Up)

31. Dolphins. After watching Hard Knocks I expected more from the Dolphins, but I guess 31 other teams saw Hard Knocks as well and started breaking down rookie QB Ryan Tannehill. He looks poised but is currently throwing a lot of INTs. Once he settles down and develops more chemistry with his receivers the Dolphins will climb in the rankings but probably still be in last place in their division this year. (Trend = Even)

32. Browns. The Browns have a lot of youth on their team and it shows in moments of brilliance followed by moments filled with rookie mistakes. They'll probably start to gel in the coming weeks as the team gains experience from the regular season. The defense looked good against the Eagles, but the offense is struggling. I'm make a claim that they'll be rolling toward the end of the season but will start out the first half of the 2012 season at the bottom of the power rankings and statistics in the NFL. (Trend = Even).

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.

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