Don't pretend you know. That's the theme this week, ladies and gentlemen. The funny thing about the lead up to Week 1 is that it's the exact time in which the highest percentage of fans feel confident that a) they know who's going to be good, bad and average, and b) their team is going to be better.
Really, though, we're all pretenders. The NFL is beautifully unpredictable. I'd say it's the Rubik's Cube of sports, but Rubik's Cube's are solvable.
Frankly, luck plays too much of a role for any of us to know. Injuries affect every team too deeply, and many of them can't be forecast. We're just going to have to accept that what takes place over the next four months is out of our control.
What's also funny is that the majority of preseason predictions and Week 1 ranking columns will seem edgy and far-fetched, but the reality is that they rarely actually stray far enough from the presumed sequence of events.
In the debut edition of the TGS weekly power rankings, we promise to be dauntless. Even though, in reality, we're just doing our best to pretend we know.
1. Green Bay Packers: They ran into the wrong team at the wrong time last year, but the league's most dominant squad should be just as potent in 2012.
2. Houston Texans: The young, explosive Texans are the league's most balanced team. Think about it.
3. New England Patriots: The defense can only really get better, and it's hard to imagine the offense getting any worse.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Our issue with the Eagles is bad juju. It just feels like they're going to fail. Still, there isn't a more talented roster in the game.
5. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning can change everything. Consider that and throw in the superb running game and those fierce pass-rushers and they'll contend in January.
6. Kansas City Chiefs: If they can stay healthy they're a double-digit-win team. The AFC West might not be solved until the Chiefs travel to Denver Week 17.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers: You get the feeling there could be some rocky times as they appear to be transitioning from one era to another on defense. But with Ben Roethlisberger, they're always in contention.
8. Detroit Lions: Continue to trend upward. The flaws they have can be overcome in the NFL circa 2012.
9. Chicago Bears: It's easy to forget how smokin' hot they were right before Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down last year. Those guys are back now, ya know?
10. Atlanta Falcons: Is this the year Matt Ryan takes off? There were indications last year that might be the case, and he definitely has the supporting cast.
11. Carolina Panthers: There's something special about this team, and it goes beyond Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.
12. Baltimore Ravens: The Terrell Suggs injury can be overcome, but we're still not sure we trust Joe Flacco.
13. Dallas Cowboys: Few teams did a better job at addressing weaknesses in the offseason. They can win the NFC East.
14. New York Giants: A team that allowed more points than it scored last season enters 2012 with a target on its back. It could be a rough hangover.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Can they win with Alex Smith? The schedule gets tougher this year.
16. New Orleans Saints: It's tough to tell how the Saints will react to all the offseason tumult, which is why the No. 16 spot makes sense. #Copout
17. Cincinnati Bengals: The future's bright for Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and the Bengals' no-name defense. They can climb this list quickly.
18. Seattle Seahawks: The ceiling's also high here but you get the feeling they're a year away with Russell Wilson.
19. Buffalo Bills: The second-best team in the AFC East will be in wild-card contention all season.
20. San Diego Chargers: The window might have closed on the Chargers team that was a perennial favorite in the AFC West.
21. Washington Redskins: Probably a year away in the competitive NFC East, but Robert Griffin III could have an immediate impact. And that defense will get a lot of pressure.
22. Tennessee Titans: They'll be competitive each week but they lack the wow factor.
23. Oakland Raiders: Built to succeed in a previous era. That said, Carson Palmer is a wild card.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A new regime can do a lot of good, and they think they still have a franchise quarterback. Was last year an anomaly?
25. Arizona Cardinals: Does anyone believe John Skelton or Kevin Kolb are the answer? On the bright side, the rest of the team is pretty promising.
26. St. Louis Rams: See: 24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27. New York Jets: How does a team come back from what happened to the Jets this summer?
28. Minnesota Vikings: The problem with the Vikings is a lack of talent on both sides of the ball. Beyond that, it's smooth sailing.
29. Indianapolis Colts: They were hit hard by injuries last year, and it went beyond Peyton Manning. Expect improvements right away as the Andrew Luck era begins.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars: Not buying into the August-fueled Blaine Gabbert hype. Sorry.
31. Miami Dolphins: That car wreck you can't look away from? Miami, 2012....
32. Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden's suspensions just became the cherry on top of what will be a very rough year in Cleveland.