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As much as things change ...

Posted by Albert Breer  May 5, 2010 10:30 AM

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Just as so many college football gurus have long released "Post-Spring Top 25" rankings, there's now plenty of post-draft efforts among NFL scribes to make sense of the 32 teams.

ESPN.com has taken its stab at it, with four of the WWL's football scribes (Mike Sando, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky, Jeff Chadiha) ranking the teams from 1-32, with a poll coming from those lists.

What you find, at this early juncture, is that consensus holds that the Patriots are now what they proved to be in January -- in that 8-12 group that got eliminated in the wild card round. New England got one eighth-place vote, two ninth-place votes and an 11th-place vote.

The eight teams ranking above the Patriots were the Saints, Colts, Vikings, Chargers, Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, and Jets. Seven of those eight made the divisional round last year, with the one outlier being Green Bay, which was outlasted in the Wild Card classic by Arizona in January.

The truth is that the Road to Jerry's Big House in North Texas probably won't play out that way. Of the eight teams above (not including New England), four didn't make the playoffs in 2008, a reminder that things change a lot from year-to-year in the NFL. Conversely, the 12 teams that made the playoffs in 2009 are all ranked among the Top 13 on this list.

You can probably expect more surprises than that.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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