Were they overrated, or were the teams they faced underrated? Were they underrated, or were the teams they faced overrated?
My Consensus Power Rankings, like it or not, have two fatal flaws: an over-emphasis on record and an over-emphasis on the preseason. Like college football polls, come to think of it.
Because the comments I stick on the consensus rankings are based on the comments the sports sites make, I can’t make comments on whether they’re right. But let’s look at all 32 teams in the order of the Consensus Rankings (or, for the purposes of this post, the top 8) and see if they’re overrated, possibly underrated, or neither. Potential upset picks (which I’m 4-0 on) loom.
Patriots: 4-0 against the Jets, Chargers, Bills, and Bengals. All four are 1-3. Overrated.
Colts: 4-0 against the Saints, Titans, Texans, and Broncos. The wins over Tennessee and Houston were on the road and were struggles, the other two were romps. Nawlins is 0-3, Denver is 2-2 but both wins were over teams thought to be awful. As for the Titans and Texans, both have only two wins apiece. The Texans just lost to freakin’ Atlanta. Overrated.
Cowboys: 4-0 against the Giants, Dolphins, Bears, and Rams. The Dolphins and Rams suck, the Bears might be overrated at 1-3, and the Giants are 2-2 with their only two losses against unbeatens. Not coincidentially, the Boys’ closest win is over the Giants at home. We know Cowboys > Giants and Packers > Giants, but we don’t know, really, where the Giants stand.
Packers: 4-0 against the Eagles, Giants, Chargers, and Vikings. All except the Giants are 1-3 (the Chargers’ loss to KC shows the loss to GB was more them sucking than the Packers being good), but the win over the Giants – in the Meadowlands! – was a romp. So, Packers > Cowboys. On the other hand, the victories over Philly and San Diego were by a touchdown or less, so they’re still overrated.
Steelers: Wins against Buffalo, 2-2 Cleveland, and 2-2 San Fran. Latter two were romps. Loss to Arizona, also 2-2, by a touchdown, in the desert.
Seahawks: Wins against 3-1 but overplaying Tampa Bay, 1-3 Cincy in a tight one at home, and 2-2 San Fran in a romp in San Fran. Loss to Arizona. Damn near impossible to read.
Titans: Somewhere between 2-1 Jacksonville (#8) and Indy, both teams with good records. Of course, Jacksonville’s two wins are over Atlanta and overrated Denver, so who knows where they stand? And could New Orleans still be better than their 0-3 start against three teams in the top 10 of the Consensus Rankings, overrated as Tampa Bay is up there? More expertise like this going into the picks for this week after I slip to 7-7 picking mostly favorites. (But both underdogs I picked won. Whoda thunk that? I mean, 9 underdogs winning?)
As promised last week, my upset special is Kansas City over Jacksonville, taking a cue from KC’s shocking upset. As if the Jags’ poor out-of-bye record wasn’t enough, it’s at Arrowhead. A more daring upset is needing-a-win Miami against a potentially over-performing Texans squad.