USA Today has released its NFL preseason power rankings. And where it has the Seahawks and why is completely and utterly wrong.
The 49ers (13th) are better than the Seahawks (16th). But the Browns (10th) are better than the Rams (11th?!?!). And the Cardinals (28th) are better than the Redskins (30th). Do not be alarmed, 12s. These are not my views. But they are part of USA Today’s initial ranking of the 2019 NFL teams. They could not be more wrong.
OK well, they could. I imagine USA Today could rank the Dolphins (32nd) as better than the Patriots (1st) and so on, but any subscriptions they have might be cancelled immediately. Still, having the 49ers at this point as three teams better than Seattle is really bad too.
USA Today doesn’t give us a general disclaimer on why they rank the teams the way they do. The news site simply has a caption next to each team on what they are thinking about 2019. San Francisco, for instance, is ranked as the 13th best team in the league based what appears to be solely on potential. USA Today says the 49ers outlook in preseason is actually worse than a year ago but Jimmy Garoppolo is back and there is maybe more talent on the team. I guess that is all that matters.
This is why the Seahawks are ranked too low. Even if Garoppolo is back, Seattle has the better quarterback in Russell Wilson. If we are talking about potential, Seattle has a ton of it. Shaquill Griffin could be much better and so could Tre Flowers. That would mean the cornerback position in Seattle is back to being LOB-esque.
USA Today does rightfully point out that Jarran Reed was suspended for six games to start the season and that could definitely hamper Seattle. But the pass rush should not be relied on from the interior. If defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. gets a little imaginative, the pass rush could overcome the lack of one interior lineman. At least, it should. Otherwise we are saying that Reed is the most important player on Seattle’s defense and he is not.
Basically, USA Today just forgot that Seattle might even be better in 2019 than they were in 2018 and 2018 was a playoff year for Seattle. The 49ers haven’t been to the playoffs since a quarterback that people for no reason love to hate was leading them. Seattle should make the playoffs again this year and USA Today probably just added to the motivation to get back there.