The New England Patriots were recently ranked fourth by CBS Sports in their power rankings that came out yesterday, and that’s a ranking I am fine with. In fact, I actually would have put the Seattle Seahawks in fourth over the Pats despite the ‘Hawks injury woes at receiver, largely because the Seahawks defense is scary. While I believe CBS got it right, I feel that our own network’s panel of voters slighted the Patriots by ranking last year’s AFC Championship-appearing squad eighth. You can view the released rankings here on the SideLion Report.
Some quick information on how the votes are created for this power ranking. There is a panel of editors who vote on these rankings each week, and, yes, I am a part of that panel, and there’s always going to be differing opinions since each editor theoretically represents a different fan base.
The Patriots eight-place ranking put them behind the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens, and I am more bothered by the fact that they came in behind the Texans and Ravens than behind the Packers. Although I view the Patriots as a better team than the Packers, especially after the way the rookie wideouts have played in training camp, you could make a case for the Packers being better. Interestingly enough, that would mean that there are four NFC teams ranked better than the next best AFC team behind the Denver Broncos, which is also how our rankings went.
In my mind, there is no way the Texans are a better team after the Patriots blew them out both times last season. Is the addition of a probably legit No. 2 receiver in rookie DeAndre Hopkins enough to put the Texans over the Patriots? I don’t think so, especially since the Patriots have an improved defense to counteract uncertainty at receiver (though, again, the receivers have looked good in camp). As for the Ravens, let me just say that if you think the Ravens receivers are better than the Patriots, then you have another thing coming. Ditto to the tight ends following Dennis Pitta’s unfortunate injury (I would feel bad for Joe Flacco, but he signed a huge contract extension).
I have the Patriots as the second-best team in the AFC and a top five team, but I’m fine with those who would like to rank the Patriots sixth. Eight? Well, that’s just too low for my fandom to handle. I view the Texans and Ravens as two really good teams, and the Texans could make the jump, but I just don’t see the logic in ranking either of these teams above the New England Patriots.
These rankings are done as a top 25 ranking, and the AFC East didn’t get love as a whole. The Miami Dolphins are, in my mind, a legit playoff contender with their defense and upside on offense, but they were snubbed (CBS also snubbed them in a worse way too) and came in at 19th. Are they really worse than the St. Louis Rams? As for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, neither of them even cracked the rankings in the top 25, and they were both 30th and 31st respectively in CBS’s rankings. Yeah, no shockers for those two.
The Denver Broncos were ranked first (no surprises there) with the Seattle Seahawks above the rival San Francisco 49ers for second place, and the quirk of the rankings goes to the Minnesota Vikings. They were 13th and actually came away with a first place vote.