Power rankings piss me off.
And yet I read them, each and every week, on each and every website. And I do my own, right here on the Goal-Line Stand; have been for four years.
We measure teams in terms of wins and losses in the standings, so why measure them again based completely on subjective and personal feelings? Why?
Well, most of us hate numbers. It’s easy to look at who the best and worst teams are from a statistical standpoint, but it’s more fun to look at them beyond the numbers, even if the rankings themselves are completely arbitrary … and meaningless.
Arbitrary. Meaningless. But fun. Hence the name above. The term “power rankings” is overused, and we like to do things a bit differently around here. So this’ll do. In years past, this post has been called “The Ten” but I’ve decided to stop being lazy (or start being slightly less lazy) by ranking 220 percent more teams. (I only think that math is right.)
Maybe at some point down the line we’ll simply call them the “AMF” rankings, but for now we’ll leave that acronym for the Arab Monetary Fund.
Anyhow, let’s get to maiden edition of the Arbitrary and Meaningless (but Fun) Rankings:
1. Dallas Cowboys: It also pisses me off when power rankers claim the defending Super Bowl champion has to be on top in Week 1 of the following year. These are my rankings, dammit, and I think the Cowboys are the most skilled team in the National Football League.
2. Indianapolis Colts: I guess my biggest worry is the offensive line. Can they hold up, or will Peyton Manning finally start taking some hits? Either way, they’re the class of the AFC.
3. Baltimore Ravens: That said, I’m picking the Ravens to win the Super Bowl. Love the mix of youth and experience and the rejuvenated offence. The late Josh Wilson acquisition could save the secondary early.
4. New York Jets: In other words, Monday night’s Ravens-Jets opener at the New Meadowlands will be the game of Week 1, not the Thursday night headliner.
5. New Orleans Saints: What will Gregg Williams do without Darren Sharper, who is far from 100 percent? Sharper played a massive role in the Saints’ Super Bowl season.
6. Green Bay Packers: Still not sure the offensive line is good enough to win a championship. But the offence might lead the league in points scored, so that counts for something.
7. Minnesota Vikings: Injuries to Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin don’t do all the damage here. The banged-up secondary and Brett Favre’s ankle hurt more.
8. Miami Dolphins: I still think this will be Chad Henne’s big breakout season. Love the offence.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers: If Dennis Dixon/Charlie Batch can take care of business and Mike Wallace can step in and make them forget about Santonio Holmes, they’re almost the same team that won the Super Bowl two years ago.
10. Atlanta Falcons: Soooo many questions coming into this year, but there is Super Bowl potential in Atlanta if Matt Ryan and Michael Turner can prove that last year’s problems were a fluke.
11. New York Giants: I get the feeling everyone’s sleeping on the Giants, who made some positive changes on defence and were already stacked on offence.
12. Tennessee Titans: Ditto for the Titans. This is a team that finished last year 8-2 and made very few offseason changes.
13. San Diego Chargers: If not for this holdout crap, the Chargers would be 10 slots higher. Seriously.
14. New England Patriots: Two major defensive losses already. The aging Patriots appear to be headed for a down year, but Tom Brady and Randy Moss (both entering contract years) could prove me wrong.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: I don’t trust Kevin Kolb. Yet.
16. San Francisco 49ers: I don’t trust Alex Smith. Yet.
17. Houston Texans: Can the defence keep them in enough games to finally make the playoffs? The secondary will have to surprise.
18. Detroit Lions: Foolishly, I believe this is the year the Lions take that leap and climb out of the NFC North basement. Love that offensive trio of Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best and Calvin Johnson. And the defence will be better.
19. Cincinnati Bengals: Look at the roster, top to bottom. They just aren’t that good.
20. Oakland Raiders: Watch out! The AFC West isn’t wide open, but it might be up for grabs for the first time in years. Can the Raiders pounce? The offensive line will have to somehow hold up for Jason Campbell.
21. Chicago Bears: I’m actually not that worried about Jay Cutler and his turnovers. I’m worried about the Bears’ mediocre defence.
22. Washington Redskins: Okay, prediction time: Donovan McNabb will play in 10 or fewer games in 2010. No support, anywhere.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Proof, right here, of how quickly NFL teams can completely fall out of favour. If they were in a tougher division — say, the AFC East — I’d have the Cards pegged to win six games at the most.
24. Seattle Seahawks: It’s not easy being Matt Hasselbeck these days. Still no protection, especially with top pick Russell Okung out for Week 1.
25. Denver Broncos: No Brandon Marshall. No Elvis Dumervil. No John Elway.
26. Kansas City Chiefs: The future is bright. Yes, that’s a cliché, but it’s the case in KC.
27. Carolina Panthers: They do have some good pieces in place, but who, besides Steve Smith, is Matt Moore going to throw the ball to? And who is Matt Moore?
28. Cleveland Browns: I suppose the team that took Carolina’s quarterback scraps should be placed here.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: I can’t believe Jack Del Rio still has a job. I also can’t believe the city of Jacksonville still has a team. Both could change after an abysmal season.
30. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford won’t do what Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco or Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez did as rookies, simply because those guys had better weapons.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: So young, so talentless. And yet still better than Buffalo.
32. Buffalo Bills: It doesn’t matter if Trent Edwards is good, he’s going to get steamrolled all season because the front office refuses to address gaping holes on the offensive line.