It is that time of the year again. You know, where people ridicule the always useless power rankings of the mass media.
The East Coast Biased Sports Network ESPN has kicked off the power ranking season with their pre pre-season rankings. Because why wait to see some actual on the field performances? Jump to see some thoughts on the attempt to speculate and hype up the east coast teams rank power.
Sitting at number one? Predictably, it's the reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. It isn't a bad move at all to put the Packers first. They won the Super Bowl behind Aaron Rodgers and a group of back-ups. If healthy, the team is better without making any splashy free agency moves.
However, this does exhibit a glaring fact of most early season rankings and predictions: They favor teams that did well last year (the top nine ESPN teams made the playoffs last season). Given that playoff turnover is usually about 5-7 teams per season, at least that's the average since 2002 when the NFL re-aligned, you should avoid judging this season on the last one. There are too many factors (experience, injuries, different schedules, regression, progression, free agency, rookies, coaching changes, etc) that change from season-to-season. You can ignore most of the media's rankings and predictions because they don't take this into account as much as they should.
Moving on from that lengthy aside, the Indianapolis Colts, host of Super Bowl XLVI, are tops in the AFC South. Until someone dethrones the Indianapolis Mannings it's the way it should be. Manning's health and the offensive line will determine how Indy's season goes. The new offensive line versus the new Houston 3-4 defense will be an intriguing match-up in week one.
Your Houston Texans? They're once again in the middle at 17. Even Paul Kuharsky's analysis of the team is balanced with both good and bad - despite the fact that many people have had Houston as a free agency winner and draft winner.
I won't stump too hard for the Texans in a power ranking, but they are a better team now than they were in January. You add a great defensive coordinator, a strong rookie class, Johnathan Joseph, and Danieal Manning and the team looks as good as they ever have in their entire history. Not only that, but there are three-to-five teams ahead of Houston that I think are worse and only there because of their reputation. In the end, it doesn't matter. The great thing about the NFL is that teams can prove their "power" on the field, and Houston will get that opportunity by playing six of the teams ahead of them.