The New England Patriots are atop ESPN’s early 2018 NFL Power Rankings.
The New England Patriots ended their season on a low note, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52. Despite that loss, the Patriots still showed they are the class of the NFL throughout the season.
New England went 13-3 in the regular season, earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC and their ninth consecutive AFC East title. The combination of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady was still as dominant as ever.
Despite being 40-years old, Brady was performed as a top quarterback. There were a few hiccups throughout the season, but Brady overcame every one of them, taking home the NFL MVP award.
While the Patriots were losers in the Super Bowl, they were the first winners of the offseason. For weeks, it looked as if offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be leaving to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was heading to the Detroit Lions to take their head coaching job, so the Patriots looked like they would need to replace both coordinators.
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Shockingly, McDaniels withdrew from the Colts job hours after he was announced as their head coach. It was a big win for the Patriots, as their continuity offensively will continue with McDaniels sticking around.
Despite some potentially big turnover on the roster, and the need to replace a defensive coordinator, the Patriots are looking to be in good shape.
Good enough shape that ESPN has the Patriots atop their early 2018 NFL Power Rankings. Here is what they have to say about having the Patriots atop the early power rankings.
"They lost the Super Bowl, but why bet against a return? Tom Brady doesn’t appear close to retiring, and unless Bill Belichick decides to hang up his sleeveless sweatshirt, the Patriots are the default No. 1 team heading into the 2018 season. The quarterback-coach duo has been to more Super Bowls (eight) since 2001 than 28 franchises have appeared in."
Yes, the Patriots have been the most consistent organization in the NFL for nearly two decades. However, it feels weird having them atop these power rankings.
On the page, there is a note stating part of their process to making the rankings. The first sentence is, “These rankings are based on which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups.”
If that was the case why are the Eagles No. 2 behind the Patriots? The Eagles just defeated the Patriots in the biggest game of the season, winning the Super Bowl. Having them behind the Patriots seems like a contradiction to that statement.
While it is odd given their own set of rules, it truly isn’t a surprise to see the Patriots atop these rankings. As long as Belichick and Brady are around, they will be the team to beat. New England is already the early favorites for Super Bowl 53 as well.