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Patriots somehow rank fourth in Pro Football Talk Preseason Power Rankings

Related: Can Cam Newton be Bill Belichick’s greatest reclamation project?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

As they’re fond of reminding us, Pro Football Talk issues one (1) set of preseason power rankings, no more, no less. And as always, the only couple certainties that come with said preseason power rankings are usually that A) the defending Super Bowl champs reign supreme, and B) everybody will surely see no discrepancies.

Anyway, if you were checking out the list after Sunday Funday to try and find something to argue about before the Sunday Scaries set in, football fans across the country were likely shocked to see that the top four on the countdown went “K, Super Bowl champions, Super Bowl runners-up and play-calling darlings, Lamar Jackson’s team, then.....wait what?”

Yup, your New England Patriots are here checking in at the 4th-best spot in the entire NFL, 2019 playoff hot streaks be damned.

Let’s run down the top 3 real quick before we get to the team everyone loves to hate:

1. Chiefs: The King of the Hill remains in the top spot until someone knocks them off. It helps that nearly every starter is back from the team that won the Super Bowl.

With all due respect to the new members of Dynasty Club, please refer to the first rule of Dynasty Club.

Anyway, any reasonable person would be cool with putting the Super Bowl champs at #1 and the runners-up at #2:

2. 49ers: Coach Kyle Shanahan quickly has established himself as one of the best coaches in football. He passed on a chance to swap Jimmy Garoppolo for Tom Brady in 2020. How well Garoppolo repays that faith in him will go a long way toward determining whether the 49ers can finish the job. First, they have to survive in the toughest division in football.

Moving on, the team that coldclocked the as-of-then-unbeaten New England Patriots in Week 9 to the tune of a reality-check 20-37 final score comes in at third, which, at the risk of being redundant, nobody except maybe Titans fans should really have a problem with:

3. Ravens: Dominant in the 2019 regular season and loaded again for 2020, the Ravens’ biggest challenge will come in January, when the urgency to keep Lamar Jackson’s 0-2 postseason trend from becoming an 0-3 narrative will reach full boil.

This is where, depending on your perspective, it either gets real weird or business as usual:

4. Patriots: The only certainty amid so much uncertainty is that, whatever the rules or procedures or protocols for 2020, Bill Belichick will crack the code and win games. And he has Cam Newton. And Newton is apparently healthy and motivated.

For what it’s worth, that puts the Patriots above the preseason darling Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the perpetually all-in New Orleans Saints, the second-best AFC playoff-winning Titans, and our suddenly-formidable frenemies in Buffalo.

For the first time in what, 15 or so years, we have to ask: Is this too high? Is New England properly ranked, given that Bill Belichick is still A) Bill Belichick, and B) just got an MVP to play chess with? Or is this lofty ranking all sizzle and no steak?


Do the New England Patriots deserve to be ranked 4th in the NFL?

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  • 28%
    (351 votes)
  • 42%
    (516 votes)
  • 28%
    Who knows?
    (348 votes)
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