The Times' Sam Farmer ranks NFL teams entering the season, with comment.

1. Baltimore: Miss the Super Bowl? Don't worry, HBO will repeat it thrice daily for six months.

2. Tennessee: Jevon Kearse and Kevin Carter make this place Mashville for quarterbacks.

3. St. Louis: The average Ram game produced 63.1 points last season. Fun's over now that they have rebuilt their defense.

4. Denver: Dazzling new stadium, a few new faces, same old AFC West dominance.

5. Tampa Bay: A big year for Johnson & Johnson? It better be, because Keyshawn is Brad's only good receiver.

6. Oakland: The grayness of the Raiders: Jerry Rice, 38; Tim Brown, 35; Rich Gannon, 35.

7. Indianapolis: Peyton's predicament: Manning is 11-13 in games decided by seven points or fewer.

8. Miami: Fiedler on the hoof? Hardly. Ever-improving Dolphin line surrendered only 28 sacks last season, fifth in the league.

9. New Orleans: NFL's poorest team is rich in quarterbacks, offensive linemen and defensive tackles.

10. Philadelphia: Still searching for the right cleats for the surface Hugh Douglas called "a big, cheap, piece-of-junk mat that should say 'Welcome' on it."

11. N.Y. Giants: They were bad on special teams last season and didn't do much to get better.

12. N.Y. Jets: Still in need of a deep threat. Almost half their passes went to running backs last season.

13. Green Bay: Antonio Freeman is the Packers' best receiver, provided his bell is done ringing from that exhibition-game hit.

14. Minnesota: If you think Randy Moss and Cris Carter look good in games, you should see them in practice against that atrocious secondary.

15. San Francisco: Jerry Rice is a Raider? Jeff Garcia is one of the best quarterbacks in the game? Has the world gone mad?

16. Jacksonville: The Jaguars are injury-prone and wafer-thin. Well, at least they have an easygoing coach in Tom Coughlin.

17. Seattle: Mike Holmgren is convinced he has the quarterback of the future in Matt Hasselbeck. Career starts: 0.

18. Buffalo: If sacks were outlawed, Rob Johnson would go to the Pro Bowl every year. As it is, he has never started more than 11 games.

19. Pittsburgh: Steeler defense could be as good as Baltimore's, but their passing game is cover-your-eyes bad.

20. Detroit: Can Matt Millen rescue a team that has won one playoff game since its last championship in 1957?

21. San Diego: Doug Flutie still can scramble. The Charger offensive line will give him every opportunity to do so.

22. Arizona: Jake Plummer has a way of making things exciting, but only because he gets into trouble in the first place.

23. Chicago: It doesn't say much for Cade McNown if the Bears are more comfortable with Shane Matthews and Jim Miller.

24. Atlanta: Folks say Michael Vick could be football's Michael Jordan. The Falcons play football the way Jordan plays baseball.

25. Washington: Daniel Snyder, Marty Schottenheimer, Jeff George, Michael Westbrook . . . Good thing the Redskins don't have any difficult personalities.

26. Kansas City: The once-proud Chief secondary allows more inbound flights than LAX.

27. Cincinnati: The Bengals, who threw six touchdown passes last season, can confidently call themselves Ohio's best NFL team. For the moment.

28. Cleveland: The Browns barreled into the NFL record books last season, collecting 11--count 'em--first downs a game.

29. New England: No Terry Glenn. No offensive line. Start the countdown clock on Bill Belichick.

30. Carolina: The Panthers had a sack differential of minus-42 last season. In a word, ouch.

31. Dallas: The good news for Cowboy fans: Emmitt Smith could break Walter Payton's rushing record. The bad news: Nothing else matters.

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