Power Rankings: Seahawks, Panthers on top

Updated: September 1, 2006, 12:01 PM ET

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
The offseason rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff -- writers John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli, Michael Smith, Scouts Inc. insiders Jeremy Green and Keith Kidd, and ESPN.com NFL editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell.

The AFC has won the past three Super Bowls and five of the last six. But is the balance of power starting to shift a little toward the NFC? If our preseason Power Rankings are any indication, the answer might be yes. The 2006 season opens with two NFC teams (Seahawks and Panthers) on top of the rankings. Of course, that doesn't mean the NFC is the stronger conference overall. The next five teams in the rankings (Steelers, Colts, Broncos, Bengals and Patriots), and six of the top 10, are from the AFC.

There wasn't too much movement within the top 10 from our offseason rankings. The Panthers jumped three spots and seem to be this year's "it" team heading into the season. The Bengals also jumped three spots (No. 9 to No. 6). Carson Palmer's impressive return was clearly enough to convince the voters that the Bengals are poised to continue their ascension

Anyway, on to the rankings, which we're sure will look completely different after 17 weeks of football. You can rank the teams yourself with SportsNation's NFL Power Rankings.

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