Tom Brady and Peyton Manning seem to be forever competitively linked throughout their illustrious careers and now they orchestrate the offences for the top two teams in the pre-season edition of the TSN.ca NFL Power Rankings.
No NFL teams is without flaws, so even the top-ranked teams have holes that will need to be addressed in some manner this season. Rankings take injuries and suspensions into account so all the roster movement that has occurred since last season is addressed by the first rankings of the 2013 season.
Brady's New England Patriots have endured quite a tumultuous offseason, with major losses on the receiving front, but there is reason to believe that, at this stage of his career, Brady can elevate the production of those in his supporting cast.
Manning's Broncos are right behind the top-ranked Pats, having added former New England wide receiver Wes Welker to their receiving corps, though their defence already has some pass-rush questions, regardless of whether outside linebacker Von Miller ultimately ends up serving a four-game suspension.
San Francisco, coming off a loss in the Super Bowl, is the top-ranked NFC team, with quarterback Colin Kaepernick appearing poised to be the next big thing, even if his preferred target last season, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, is likely to miss most of the season with an Achilles injury.
The defending-champion Baltimore Ravens suffered major losses to their championship roster including, most recently, a torn ACL for tight end Dennis Pitta, so they open the year ranked eighth.
Some teams on the rise, compared to last year's record, include the Carolina Panthers, ranked 12th, and the Detroit Lions ranked 16th.
Conversely, the Minnesota Vikings, who were 10-6 in 2012, are ranked 19th.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.