SI's Don Banks should expect to receive X-mas cards from me starting this football season.
In his most recent set of power rankings, he has the Jets listed as the #1-ranked overall team in the NFL.
I've never been a big fan of power rankings, although I do converse with people that are big into handicapping and swear by them. I feel as things can change drastically from events such as injuries, momentum/winning & losing streaks, intangibles --- and choose to look at matchups and divisional standings on a week-by-week basis. Regardless, they do serve their purpose.
I'm not one to long-quote things, but Mr. Banks really stole the show here! So let's look at the teams he has rated as #1 - #5 in NFL.
New York Jets (2009 record: 9-7)
Normally I'm not the type to buy the hype, but with the Jets so clearly going all-in when it comes to their 2010 season, why not play along and add to the self-created pressure on which Rex Ryan and his players seem to thrive? Let's see if they thrive on it this year. That'll be the tricky part. Handling all the Super Bowl expectations that come with a roster built to win -- and win big -- now. Of this much we are certain: After the offseason personnel spree they went on, the Jets mercifully can't trot out that tired no respect/underdog spiel they rode so far last season.
New Orleans Saints (13-3)
If I had to, I could probably come up with some very cogent reasons why the Saints will never duplicate their success of 2009 as defending Super Bowl champions. For starters, few teams repeat these days. But there was nothing all that fluky about the Saints winning last season, so I don't see them suffering anything resembling the classic post-Super swoon. As camp convenes, I believe there's not a more confident squad in the league than Sean Payton's club, and I think New Orleans is going to ride that wave for quite a while longer.
Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
I liked almost everything about the Ravens offseason, from Anquan Boldin signing in March to Marc BulgerJoe Flacco. But what really has caught my ear is the sense of urgency that prevails on Baltimore's roster. It's a hungry team, with an intriguing blend of youth and experience in almost all of the right spots. Bigger things are in store this year for the Ravens than just the AFC's sixth seed in the playoffs and another January road trip. signing in June as a potentially shrewd insurance policy on the health of
Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
I can hear the Colts fans now: How can the Jets and Ravens, two teams Indy beat soundly in the AFC playoffs in January, start this season ranked ahead of the defending AFC champs? It's a fair point, and yes, I did see both of those games, thanks for asking. All I can say is that was then and this is now. The Colts' Super Bowl window isn't closed, so let's not overreact. And I'm not making the same mistake I made last preseason, believing that Indy would finally miss the playoffs. But I don't see where the Colts really improved this offseason, and the status quo can sometimes be the enemy in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
I like the Packers and I like them a lot, even though I strangely don't hear a ton of optimism coming from the Cheesehead fans I live amongst these days in Madison. True, there's not enough pass rush on hand and the age and health of Green Bay's cornerbacks is worrisome. But if the Pack can protect Aaron Rodgers, this team is going to score enough to overcome a lot of its issues. As the Saints proved last season, a high-scoring offense and opportunistic defense can earn you a parade.
Do you agree with his assessment? This is the first set of power rankings I've even seen the Jets listed in the top 3, let alone #1 spot. This is also only the second set of power rankings I've seen the Jets ranked above the Ravens, and certainly the first I've seen with them listed ahead of NO and Indy (who many analysts have at #1 and #2).
To view his entire set of power rankings, please click (here).