NFL Power Rankings are a list of all 32 teams in the league as ranked by some expert(s) somewhere based on their opinion of the team. They mean nothing in the long run - but they sure are a lot of fun to discuss. Tuesday, ESPN released their post-free agency NFL Power Rankings and they do not appear to be fans of the Miami Dolphins.
ESPN created a “power panel” of 80 different writers, editors, and TV personalities to create their ranking, then compared it to their “way-too-early” power rankings posted immediately after the Super Bowl. This latest version of the power rankings is “based on which teams would win head-to-head. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams.”
And the Dolphins are apparently destined to go 0-16.
At the top of the power rankings are the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, one and two respectively for the two Super Bowl participants. The top five also include the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Miami’s AFC East division, along with the Patriots, the Buffalo Bills are ranked 23 and the New York Jets are 26th. But, we are still scrolling for the Dolphins.
And there they are, 32 out of 32. They were 27th last time, so free agency dropped them all the way to being the worst team in the NFL. Of the placement, ESPN writes:
Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, Mike Pouncey, Jermon Bushrod, Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons are among the Dolphins’ losses this offseason. That’s a lot of talent departing. But they have added some players, too -- just older ones. The incoming include Frank Gore (34), Danny Amendola (32) and Josh Sitton (31).
So, nevermind that Thomas and Timmons were disappointments last year, still hold that against the Dolphins. Nevermind that Bushrod - who Sitton is essentially replacing - will be 34 when the season begins, Timmons will be 32, and Thomas will be 30, let’s just point out that the Dolphins have gotten “older” players. Nevermind that Gore is not being asked to be the starter, he is being asked to be the veteran behind Kenyan Drake. Nevermind that the Dolphins, as a replacement for Landry added Amendola and Albert Wilson, who will be 26 when the season starts. And, let’s pretend that Pouncey was the Pro Bowl Pouncey, not just a guy who started 16 games at center last year - a major accomplishment after multiple hip issues.
The Dolphins are not a top tier team this year, though they could surprise in a push for the playoffs again. But, they are not the worst team in the league, either. Clearly 80 people at ESPN are not actually paying attention to the Dolphins, they are simply seeing names like Suh, Landry, and Pouncey no longer on Miami’s roster.