Preseason rankings are one of my favorite things because NFL writers always seem eager to prove that they don't really know much about the sport. Peter King being one guy that just can't wait to share his ignorance.
Here's King's list of the 32 teams. I'll kind of note the interesting ones and we'll roll from there.
1. New England
Teams don't stay the same in the NFL. That's the old bromide. But tell me: What's the difference between the Patriots of 2007 and the Patriots who enter the season in 2009? I'll tell you the biggest thing -- concern about Tom Brady's knee. And if there were any real reason to be concerned, Bill Belichick wouldn't have traded Matt Cassel to Kansas City.
King jumps right into the Titlest washing right here, and completely misses the point. The Patriots didn't trade Cassel because they are confident about Brady's knee. They traded Cassel because they were going to have to pay him $14 million this season. More than Brady will be making. Economics drove that deal, not confidence in Brady.
A complete fallacy. The Steelers still deserve to be the top team because nobody has proven that they can beat them when it counts.
3. New York Giants
I've said I wished the Giants had acquired a veteran receiver like Anquan Boldin, because no team ever rides the backs of one or two rookie receivers to the Super Bowl.
Then why are you listing them at No. 3? Everybody not sucking on the Manning-family teat realizes that Eli Messiah is not the kind of quarterback who is going to make others around him better. This team sold its soul for one Super Bowl title and the fans will happily take it. But King's explanation makes little sense. The Giants are not the NFC's best team because Messiah isn't that type of a quarterback.
Now, there's two things we don't know about Cutler and this offense. There's not a great receiver in the house and no promise of one on the way (Angelo should have guaranteed Torry Holt more money to get him to come to the Windy City). So Cutler's going to have to make do with the Devin Hesters and Rashied Davises, apparently. (Not that there's anything wrong with Hester. But he should be a third receiver, using his speed to game-break.)
Again, King goes out of his way to show why the Bears aren't that good, but still picks them fourth overall. For all of you that believe that a receiver isn't crucial, what has been the downfall of the Eagles for years? The Giants won the Super Bowl two years ago because of Plaxico Burress.
Matt Forte could be the kind of player to deliver a title, but come on, this seems a little high.
Just an unsettling offseason, so far. I love the free-agent signing of Bryant McFadden to pair at corner with Dominique Rogers-Cromartie (does any other corner combination in football contain 13 syllables?), but the Cards are too unsettled right now.
Wait, what? Unsettled? It's freaking May, you (expletive). It's the (expletive) offseason.
The Cardinals have improved. Instead of being content on its Super Bowl-run, the Cardinals have made some moves to keep pace. You can talk about Anquan Boldin, but the Cardinals have put them in his place. The team tried to trade Boldin, but nobody wants him. That has to hurt at the negotiating table.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh's a very good addition, but he's not really much different than Bobby Engram, other than he should be able to stay healthier than Engram.
T.J. has had at least 90 receptions in the past three seasons. Engram had one lucky year. He's also had 25 touchdowns (competed to seven for Engram) during that span, including a off-year in 2008. Even the Sports Dork Bill Simpson checks his facts better than this.
Sorry guys, I tried to make it through a King column.
And for you idiots who say, I read King out of habit, well, you can go (expletive) yourself. You are part of the problem. You aren't a terrorist yourself, but you are keeping the terrorist swimming in Starbucks lattes.