by Mark Mayer | The key word in Noland Parrys Power Guide for all sports is weekly. In Parrys first NFL rankings released Tuesday, the New England Patriots edged out the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants for the top spot entering the regular season, which begins Thursday, Sept. 4 with the Giants a 3½-point home favorite against Washington.
Parrys rankings will appear weekly in GamingToday, as they have since 1985. New England tops the list with an 88.0 rating, just ahead of the Giants at 86.9. The San Diego Chargers have the third highest rating at 83.3. The lowest rating belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs at 63.4.
The rankings will appear in GTs issues by division. The leaders in the AFC are New England in the East, Cleveland and Pittsburgh (each 77.1) in the North, Jacksonville (82.8) in the South and San Diego in the West. The Giants top the NFC East with Green Bay (80.1) atop the North, New Orleans and Tampa Bay (72.9) tied for the South lead and Seattle (76.3) first in the West.
The Dallas Cowboys, considered by many to be the most talented team in the NFL, are ranked at the bottom of the four-team NFC East behind the Giants, Washington and Philadelphia. Indianapolis, the 2007 Super Bowl champion, is rated second in the AFC South behind Jacksonville.
Parrys preseason college ratings were released last Tuesday with West Virginia as the No. 1 team. A new wrinkle this season is Parrys Top 25 ratings in what is commonly known as Division 1-AA, won for the past three seasons by Appalachian State. The Mountaineers top the rankings at 134.0, well ahead of No. 2 Northern Iowa at 125.7.
With a number of 1-AA tangling with Division 1 teams in the first few weeks of the season, the Parry ratings are an invaluable tool to handicapping these matchups. The marquee game is a battle of national champions this Saturday in Baton Rouge between Division I titlist LSU and Appalachian State. The game will be televised on ESPN at 2 p.m. PT.
Here are Parrys entire NFL rankings going into Week 1. Again, the rankings are based on weekly performances and not the overall season.
1-8: New England 88.0, NY Giants 86.9, San Diego 83.3, Jacksonville 82.8, Indianapolis 81.9, Green Bay 80.1, Washington 79.1, Philadelphia 78.9
9-16: Dallas 77.4, Cleveland 77.1, Pittsburgh 77.1, Houston 76.9, Seattle 76.3, Minnesota 76.3, Cincinnati 76.0, Buffalo 75.1.
17-24: Tennessee 75.0, Chicago 73.3, Tampa Bay 72.9, New Orleans 72.9, NY Jets 72.9, Denver 72.9, Arizona 72.1, Carolina 72.0
25-32: Baltimore 71.8, Oakland 68.9, Atlanta 68.8, San Francisco 68.7, Detroit 66.9, St. Louis 65.9, Miami 65.0, Kansas City 63.4