I’m reading ProFootballTalk’s preseason NFL power rankings. Today, the Minnesota Vikings are ranked 27th, the first NFC team to appear. I enjoy reading these, and the comments that follow, because they mean absolutely nothing.
Here’s what you need to know about preseason power rankings: Two things are the difference between winning and losing in the NFL. Injuries and matchups.
There are a few outliers on the top and bottom of the spectrum. The middle is filled with pretty evenly matched teams. Let’s just say there’s about eight teams at the bottom, four teams at the top and the rest fill the middle.
Do you really think the NFL’s second best team in 2013, the Denver Broncos are really 35 points worse than the Seattle Seahawks? Probably not. But the Seahawks match up extremely well with the Broncos. The Broncos match up much better with the niners. New England does not match up well against the Seahawks or niners.
And these rankings are full of bias. For instance, if you’re in a media capital like New York, you will likely hear their team is better or worse than they really are. Last season (2013), we constantly heard how bad the Jets would be. NFL.com had the Jets ranked 30th in their preseason power rankings. The Chiefs ranked 28th, the Eagles were 26th and the Cardinals were 25th. Of those four teams, two made the playoffs; three won at least 10 games and not one of them was below .500.
Did we mention injuries? It seems the media’s rationale behind whether a transitioning player will recover from their injuries is the locale the player is playing in:
“Finally, we must mention the lingering concern about the age of some of the Raiders’ key contributors, as well as the wear-and-tear some of Oakland’s core players have endured. For instance, Woodley — whom the Raiders are counting upon at defensive end — has missed a combined 14 games in the last three seasons. “
Meanwhile, Demarcus Ware seems to be in much better condition than Woodley, and is ready to help the Broncos become “dominant.”
Ware, 31, missed the first games of his NFL career — three in total — as the Cowboys gasped to yet another 8-8 season last year. In total, Ware tallied just six sacks (his lowest total ever) while dealing with elbow, back and quadriceps issues.
For the 2014 season, though, Denver may have a defense that can hold its own in concert with its record-setting offense.
Sure they will.
Despite our disgust with everything in puke-orange and Donkey-blue, BSP (unlike national and bandwagoning local media) recognizes the Raiders, Broncos, both, or any team for that matter, could physically break down, resulting in disaster.
Preseason rankings mean nothing. They just fill dead time and give us something to talk about.
One of my former colleagues, Rich says there are only two winners after the Super Bowl: The Super Bowl champion, and the team getting the first overall pick. The Super Bowl champion gets to celebrate, and the team getting the first overall pick gets hope.