ESPN has released their preseason power rankings, and (in case you didn't see the huge headline above) the St. Louis Rams came in at 15th, with NFC West blogger Mike Sando simply noting the classic mathematical adage: Sam Bradford + Josh McDaniels = yippee!
For those of you new to TST, we break down the power rankings from across the internet every week (example). We'll continue that this season, but as this is where ESPN sets the bar for the upcoming season it merits a bit of extra discussion. Worldwide leader and stuff.
After the jump, I offer my take on a couple of hits and misses from the rankings.
#10 - San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are football's internal clock. You go into every recent season thinking they're capable of competing with the best teams in the NFL and, perchance, wiggling through the ridiculously physical AFC playoffs. By the time you realize they're not that good, it's December and it's nearly time for the playoffs.
Do I think San Diego merits a place around the 10 spot? Certainly. Do I think they end up anywhere near this high? Certainly not. This was a team that went 2-2 against the NFC West last year and lost both games to Oakland. And they lost to Cincinnati. And yet I could see them in the AFC Championship. Are they screwed in the head, or am I?
#16 - Dallas Cowboys
Despite going 6-10 in 2010, I was prepared to see the Cowboys around 10th. I was also prepared to launch a lengthy diatribe about how ESPN manufactures its own bullshit storylines to then be able to profit off the downfall of superstars they anointed using their own market saturation (see: LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Favre, Philadelphia Eagles?). Instead, just when I think they couldn't possibly be any dumber, they go and do something like this...and totally redeem themselves! I might quibble that the Cowboys are ahead of the Lions and Texans, but cheggars can't be boozers. Or something.
#25 - Minnesota Vikings
Much like the Cowboys, I expected the ESPN heads to bow to the pressure from above, ceding their judgement to the marketing machine: "Guys, Adrian Peterson is incredibly marketable. And people know who Donovan McNabb is; he's like the friendly homeless guy that is way too happy about being homeless. Jared Allen and Chris Kluwe are the embodiment of Minnesota wackiness. You have to put them in your top 12." Gladly, they found a way out of the burden. Atlas shrugged indeed, good sirs.
#1 - Green Bay Packers
It is written nowhere by nobody on no parchment in not ink that defending champs of any sports must be awarded the #1 spot in preseason rankings. I love the self-loathing of the rationale given:
While other teams stockpiled free agents, the Packers stood pat. Are the defending champs still preseason favorites?
They acknowledge that other teams spent millions of dollars to lure the best players on the open market whereas the Packers did not (implying they've been leapfrogged by teams based in, oh I don't know, maybe Philadelphia or Boston), and then openly question their own decision to keep the Packers at the top.
Power Rankings aren't for asking questions; they're for providing your opinionated answers. Here is how you do Power Rankings, ESPN
#1 - The MuthaF'in St. Louis Rams: The Rams are better than every team on Earth. End of discussion. Have a nice day, batches. (Connect with us on Facebook!)
#6 - Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons won 13 games in the the best division in football, losing their only playoff appearance last year to eventual champions Green Bay. New Orleans won two less games (splitting with Atlanta), and lost to a Qwestroided out Seahawks team in the wild card round. First round picks: Julio Jones to ATL, a RB to the Crescent City. The real scale tipper? New Orleans signed OT Alex Barron.
How are the Saints two spots ahead of the Falcons?
#17 - Houston Texans
I'm not falling for this again. Every year, you tell me they're a sleeper pick. And slowly, I start believing you. Like a Siren, you draw me in unwillingly. Well not this year! This year, I'm staying strong. This year, I will go wire-to-wire knowing the Texans won't supplant the Colts at the top of the AFC South.
Always a darling preseason pick. Could it be the year? Sure.
WHOO HOO! GO TEXANS! GUYS, NO SERIOUSLY I MEAN IT. THIS IS THE YEAR FOR HOUSTON. EVERYTHING'S SET UP IN THEIR FAVOR. THERE'S NO WAY THAT PEYTON MANNaw damnit, you did it again.