CBS Sports released its NFL power rankings today, and the New England Patriots are right in the top five which is right where they should be. Although I would have actually put them below the Seattle Seahawks despite the uncertainty surrounding Percy Harvin, a top five ranking is right about where the Patriots stand right now. This team looks like an 11-5 or 12-4 club, but the upside with the Pats is higher than the downside. What I mean is that this team has a better chance of winning more than 11 games (using 11 as a median of sorts) than below 11 games, and that’s largely because this is a younger team with player who qualify as “high upside” talent (you know, like Aaron Dobson).
A New England Patriots helmet rests on the side line during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Now which team tops the CBS Sports power rankings? That’s none other than the Denver Broncos, and I would agree that they are the class of the AFC right now. The Patriots are better at quarterback, running back, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker, while the Broncos are better at wide receiver, in the defensive backfield, and have a better pass rush. Wait, that means the Patriots are better in more facets of the game, right? Well, looking at things from a more general perspective, the Broncos and Patriots are about even. The Broncos have the better pass offense and pass defense, while the Pats are better on the ground and at defending the ground. Using the logic that passing is more important than rushing, then the Broncos are better. The Broncos are also the safer bet to be a better team, and I have no qualms with them being listed as the AFC’s best team.
However, I do think the best teams are in the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are the two best teams in the NFC, and Colin Kaepernick is playing out of his mind in training camp; he’s a special player. CBS Sports ranks San Francisco second with their rivals to north slotting in at fifth, but I would have made this a closer gap between them. Heck, you could even successfully argue that both of these teams should switch places, which means that we are in store for a great battle between these two NFC West heavyweights (it wasn’t too long ago when “NFC West heavyweight” was a punchline).
Aside from the Patriots, the AFC East did not do well in these power rankings, and I think the Miami Dolphins were ranked far too low. The next best AFC East team on the list, the Dolphins check in at 23rd, which is a disservice to them considering they are legitimate playoff contenders. Yes there is too much hype, but the defense was great last year and will continue to be great, and there are a few big names and breakout candidates on offense. Then again, there is uncertainty on offense, so we’ll see how things go. But I’m high on the Dolphins and believe they will either take a Wild Card spot or just miss out due to a lack of gelling talent.
The New York Jets were ranked 30th with the Buffalo Bills 31st, and they can both thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for taking home the last place spot in unsurprising fashion.