There are certain topics that drive football fans crazy when covered by the media. Perhaps the biggest culprit in feeding the anger of the NFL masses is the arbitrary process in which media outlets rate teams. They get a bit more accurate as regular season records begin to stack up, but they almost always spark a debate.
On Sunday, just before the kickoff of the first official game of the 2014 NFL season (Hall of Fame Game), Yahoo! Sports released their "pre-preseason" power rankings. Coming in at No.1 overall, predictably, was the San Francisco 49ers. The beloved Cincinnati Bengals made it at No.10 on Frank Schwab's list.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton could throw for 6,000 yards and it won't matter to everyone if he doesn't win a playoff game.
Short and to the point, eh? In truth, Schwab has a point to an extent. Expectations are very high around The Queen City and another premature postseason exit or missing out altogether won't cut it. Dalton simply needs to show up in the big games to avoid another major disappointment.
Breathing down the Bengals' neck in the rankings are the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 11, who are coming off an impressive end to their 2013 season. The Baltimore Ravens came in at No. 18 and the enigmatic Cleveland Browns were all the way down at No. 29.
You could argue that the AFC North is one of the roughest and most competitive divisions in the NFL, behind the likes of the NFC West, making it interesting that the top team in that division comes in at No.10 on the list. One could surmise that the logic behind it falls in line with 12 total playoff teams and a first round exit for the Bengals. Still, offseason moves, the draft and injuries all should play a role in deciding.
Go ahead. Debate.