I like Matt Bowen at National Football Post. He's written some great stuff this off-season. However, I'm going to give him a little crap for these two lines right here:
I’m not big on predictions before camp starts. Too much to find out throughout the month of August before we can begin to lay out the post-season lineup and the matchup we will see in Dallas at the Super Bowl.
These two sentences open his team rankings before the start of training camps. Come on, Matt! You're "not big" on Super Bowl predictions in July, but you are a-okay with team rankings before pre-season?
In general, there's nothing wrong with either, and I really wish people would just accept them as natural elements of NFL coverage. It's fun to predict Super Bowl winners in July. It's fun to ranks teams before any practices start, let alone real games. Remember fun? This is a game after all.
Rankings and predictions are designed to get us all excited for the game. They aren't meant to be taken too seriously. The only thing most NFL fans ask is that you don't get too silly (or biased) with either. That said, Matt's team rankings in July are outstanding. Why? Because, in Matt's rational and unbiased opinion, the Colts are #1.
Maybe too easy to put the Colts in the No. 1 slot, but when we actually look at their personnel on both sides of the ball—and how they game plan—they are primed for another run. The way Peyton Manning runs his one-back system on offense paired with speed and athletic ability of their Tampa 2 defense still sells. My top club heading into the preseason.
Props to Matt for praising the Tampa-2.
One part of these rankings I take issue with is the Saints listed at #5, behind the Cowboys and the friggin Dolphins. Come on. These are the world champions here! The Cowboys have won only one playoff game in fourteen years, and the Dolphins didn't even make the playoffs last season. Saints should be, at least, #3.