Well, folks, it's the day after Memorial Day, which obviously means that it's time for the first NFL preview issue of the year to hit the newsstands. Actually, I picked up Yahoo! Sports' NFL preview issue yesterday at my friendly local Wal-Mart, but I didn't want to detract from the Memorial Day post or anything else, so I held off on it until today.
But I'm not confused about the fact that the first preview issue of the year is already available for perusal. . .heck, I've been lamenting such things for as long as this site has been around. What I'm confused by is some of the material that is contained within, and specifically that which pertains to the NFC North. Not surprised, mind you, because the end result is the Minnesota Vikings getting disrespected once again, but still a bit confused none the less. Hit the jump, and I will detail my confusion for you.The good people at Yahoo! Sports rank every team in eight specific categories, four for the offense and four for defense and special teams. The following table shows a breakdown of the NFC teams at each of those spots, along with a "GPA" for the overall grade at the end.
|Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers||Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions|
|Quarterback||A- (3.7)||A- (3.7)||B- (2.7)||C+ (2.3)|
|Running Back||A (4.0)||B- (2.7)||B (3.0)||C (2.0)|
|Receivers/Tight Ends||A- (3.7)||A- (3.7)||C+ (2.3)||B (3.0)|
|Offensive Line||B (3.0)||C+ (2.3)||C (2.0)||C- (1.7)|
|Defensive Line||A (4.0)||B+ (3.3)||B+ (3.3)||B (3.0)|
|Linebackers||B (3.0)||B+ (3.3)||B (3.0)||C- (1.7)|
|Secondary||C+ (2.3)||A (4.0)||C (2.0)||D (1.0)|
|Special Teams||B (3.0)||C- (1.7)||A- (3.7)||C+ (2.3)|
|Overall GPA||3.3 (B+)||3.1 (B+/B range)||2.8 (B/B- range)||2.1 (C+/C range)|
Now, of these four teams. . .
One of them is predicted to go 6-10 as their long, painful rebuilding process gets a little shorter and, in all likelihood, a lot less painful.
One of them is expected to go 9-7 and finish just on the outside looking in at a playoff berth.
One is projected to go 11-5, good enough for the second-best record in the NFC (third-best in the entire NFL). . .and, unfortunately, only a wild-card berth, because. . .
One is predicted to go 13-3, finishing with the best record in the entire National Football League, and triumph over the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.
Just for fun. . .take a minute and see if you can't match up those four descriptions with the four teams in the NFC North. Go ahead. . .I'll wait.
Okay, time's up!
The 6-10 team with the long, drawn out rebuilding process is the Detroit Lions. I'm guessing most of you got that one right without really straining your brains.
The 9-7 team that comes up just short is the Chicago Bears. I'll assume that most of you nailed that one, too.
So, that leaves the Packers and the Vikings for the positions of 13-3 (projected) Super Bowl champion, and 11-5 NFC North runner-up. Now, you would think that, based on the above table, since the Vikings grade out better than the Packers overall and haven't lost any significant ground to the Packers or to any other team in the NFC North during the off-season, that they would match up with the former description rather than the latter.
Yes, you'd certainly think that.
Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. In something that I can't quite wrap my (admittedly) purple-shaded mind around, the good folks at Yahoo! are picking a team that, through their own grades, they perceive as not being as good as the Minnesota Vikings to not only be two games better than Minnesota in the regular season, but to win the Super Bowl as well.
Confused? Believe me. . .it's not just you. In the immortal words of one Ricky Ricardo. . .Yahoo! got some 'splainin' to do.