San Francisco 49ers Rating – 78
Even at an overall rating of 78, the 49ers are overrated. They are going to be putrid. Now I’ll admit this isn’t entirely fair because it wasn’t until recently that Aldon Smith got cut from the team. However, expect that rating to plummet come launch day because without Aldon anchoring that defense, the 49ers have don’t have a whole lot going for them.
Colin Kaepernick’s best weapons are aging Alquan Boldin and Vernon Davis who is joined by Torrey Smith; the former Raven who had an uninspiring season last year getting outplayed by old man Steve Smith Jr. Kaepernick himself had a down year as well. The biggest loss though that the ratings should be accounting for but probably aren’t, is the loss of head coach Jim Harbaugh. His coaching ability probably boosted some players’ ratings higher than they should be, and expect some players’ ratings to drop as the season progresses.
San Diego Chargers Rating – 82
A rating of 82 might not be a total reach but when you look around at what the San Diego Chargers actually have, it definitely seems high. Phillip Rivers is an elite QB, probably one of the best active QBs right now to have never played in a Super Bowl. However, there are no WRs or TEs currently on staff that had more than 1000 receiving yards last year (Keenan Allen is somehow rated at an 86). Antonio Gates hasn’t been a dominant TE since 2009 and he’s only getting older. Their running game is nonexistent. Danny Woodhead isn’t enough.
The Chargers have a strong secondary on defense but are they really on par with the Kansas City Chiefs that are also rated at 82? A Kansas City Chiefs team with legimtimate star playmakers such as Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, Justin Houston, Sean Smith and Tamba Hali? Nope. The Chargers should not be rated the same as the Chiefs, the Chargers are definitely overrated.
Detroit Lions Rating – 83
While the Detroit Lions aren’t the joke that they used to be, after the loss of Ndamukong Suh, I don’t see how they should be rated higher than they were at the beginning of last season (80). Matthew Stafford, once promising, now looks to be an average QB with flashes of greatness.
The Lions do have a great receiving core and still have a strong defense even without Suh but the 83 rating puts them ahead of teams such as the Arizona Cardinals (82), Kansas City Chiefs (82) and only one point behind teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe with Suh, the Lions would still deserve to be #11 overall, but the Lions didn’t do enough in the offseason while other teams around like the Dolphins, Bills, and even division rival Vikings (by virtue of getting AP back) got a lot better.
Baltimore Ravens Rating – 85
The Baltimore Ravens are by no means a bad team, but that overall rating of 85 makes them the highest rated team in the AFC North, ahead of their bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers with a rating of 84 has a FRIGHTENING triple threat offense going with Ben Roethlisberger (who is off one of his best years in recent memory), La’Veon Bell (second last year in rushing) and Antonio Brown (first in yards, first in receptions, second in TDs last season).
Who do the Baltimore Ravens have at the offensive skill positions? An aging Steve Smith Jr. who has already announced his retirement for after the season, a rookie WR2, and journeyman RB Justin Forsett who has never had a great season until last year. Joe Flacco is a good QB but he just doesn’t have the weapons around him. The Raven’s defense is great but the Steelers’ defensive players should see improvements in their ratings as the post-LeBeau era unfolds. The Ravens’ defense isn’t so amazing that it should catapult them over arguably the best offensive team in the league.
Dallas Cowboys Rating – 86
Sorry Cowboys Nation. Your team is good, but it isn’t a top tier team in the league anymore, not without Demarco Murray. I will admit Tony Romo is an excellent Quarterback and worthy of his 93 rating. However, we shouldn’t be foolish enough to think that Romo and the Cowboys had some kind of renaissance last year. They got to where they did on the back of Demarco Murray who is now playing for the rival Eagles. Not only did they lose Murray, they replaced him with Darren McFadden, the former Raider who will likely be injured before he even takes a regular season snap. A good running game makes everyone else look a lot better.
Also, last year NOBODY predicted how well the Cowboys’ defense would play. Any non-Cowboy fan who thought that defense was going to be anything other than horrible prior to the start of the season is a liar. Expected to be as bad as the Bears are this year, last year’s Cowboys’ defense shocked people just by being middle of the road. Let’s see the Cowboys D do it again before we start calling them the 6th best team in the league sans Demarco Murray. Hell, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Cowboys weren’t even the best team in their division with stiff competition from the Giants and Eagles.