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Ranking the NFL: Finale

I’ve compiled the final rankings. When I set out to do this, I was hoping it was going to show that the Falcons weren’t as bad as the experts think. But unfortunately, that didn’t prove to be the case. And frankly, I feel like a jackass since they finished only 2 points (out of 500) out of last place, just barely ahead of the Miami Dolphins.

I started this to break the doldrums of summer, and now that I’ve finished, like most things I don’t know if there is anything important here. I wouldn’t sit here and propose that the team that finished at the top (the Chargers) will have the best record in football. The top four teams: Chargers, Patriots, Cowboys, and Colts all finished so closely, that I wouldn’t contest an argument of anyone to claim either of those teams as the league’s best.

I guess at the end of the day all this shows is who is the best team on paper according to me. And I guess the Chargers win that honor by a hair. And I guess the Dolphins win the dishonor of being the league’s worst team, but again by only a marginal degree. My guess would be that the eventual Super Bowl winner is probably going to be one of the top four teams, and probably the team picking first in the draft next year is probably going to be one of the bottom four teams.

I’d like to believe that the rankings will be somewhat accurate. If all twelve playoff teams are represented in the Top 18 or so teams by the end of the year, then I’ll be happy.

Let’s just get to the final rankings. I also factored in special teams which counted for up to 36 points. I also factored in the schedule as well, with the teams with the easier schedules getting more points. That was worth up to 80 points, which made the absolute maximum for allowable points 500. No team got close to that. But here they are:


RNK TEAM PTS GRADE
1 Chargers 359 A-
2 Patriots 358 A-
3 Cowboys 357 A-
4 Colts 357 A-
5 Jaguars 332 B+
6 Vikings 325 B+
7 Buccaneers 325 B+
8 Steelers 317 B
9 Eagles 313 B
10 Saints 312 B
11 Giants 307 B
12 Packers 298 B
13 Seahawks 296 B
14 Panthers 290 B
15 Rams 288 B
16 Broncos 286 B
17 Redskins 286 B
18 Titans 285 B
19 Bengals 284 B
20 Ravens 283 B
21 Bills 281 B-
22 Jets 281 B-
23 Bears 277 B-
24 Browns 275 B-
25 Cardinals 271 B-
26 Texans 271 B-
27 49ers 268 B-
28 Raiders 255 B-
29 Lions 244 B-
30 Chiefs 241 C+
31 Falcons 230 C+
32 Dolphins 228 C+

Why are the Falcons so low? If you’ve been reading throughout this thing, you’ll know exactly why. It’s because so few of the Falcons are proven playmakers. The team doesn’t lack talent, but in order for it to be good this year it will need contributions from a lot of guys that have been backups here in Atlanta or elsewhere, and improvement in a number of young, talented players. Guys like Chris Redman, Michael Turner, Laurent Robinson, Justin Blalock, Sam Baker, Jamaal Anderson, Chris Houston, Curtis Lofton, Erik Coleman, Jonathan Babineaux, etc. offer a lot of potential, but it remains to be seen if any of them will actually be what many term “good” this season. The potential is certainly there. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if most or all of these guys play up to their potential. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if they flame out. And given that, it’s hard to sit here and say the Falcons players will be better than expected and play up to their potential, while another young team like the Dolphins or 49ers their young players will crash and burn.

Final Thoughts
Now some of you are scoffing at this, and will cite this as evidence that I think the Falcons stink and hate them or whatever and question my fanhood. But whatever. Jamaal Anderson, in my eyes, represents a perfect analogy for this. Starting 16 games in the NFL at defensive end and not recording a single sack is a rare distinction. It happens, but not very often in the NFL. And as such, if asked to rank all 64 defensive ends in the league, Anderson must be near the bottom for that reason alone. Let’s say 60th for the sake of argument. Now, most of us believe Anderson will show improvement this year. If pressed for a prediction, I’d toss out 4.5 sacks for how many Anderson will have this year. And maybe that figure would rank him 36th as far as production goes among starting DEs this season. But even with that in mind, I’m not about to bump his rank up from 60th to 36th based off that projection if you’re still asking me to rank the DEs in the league. Rather, I’d still probably rank Anderson around 60th, but make a distinction that I believe he could show significant improvement by year’s end. I’m basically doing the same with the Falcons.

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Author: Aaron Freeman

Aaron is the founder of FalcFans.com.

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