Back in May, Sports Illustrated's Peter King listed the Green Bay Packers atop his pre-preseason power rankings. And even though King had Chicago in the 2010 Super Bowl and ranked New Orleans 24th a year earlier, this was enough to prompt many of his fellow pundits to predict that the Packers will be playing in Dallas on Feb. 6.
Some have cited quarterback Aaron Rodgers' preseason performance to reinforce these prognostications. Appearing in two games, Rodgers has completed 20 of 24 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and, perhaps most impressively, no sacks.
But Rodgers' efficient production has come against Cleveland and Seattle, teams that each finished last season at 5-11. In a ranking of teams by yards allowed per game, these two teams finished the season 31st and 24th, respectively.
So Rodgers and company's performance this Thursday night (Aug. 26) against the Indianapolis Colts, last year's Super Bowl runners-up, should be a much better indication, right? Not so fast. Since 2005, the Colts are 4-17 in preseason games and ranked 18th in defense last season, giving up 339 yards per game. And Green Bay likely won't even get a look at a full-strength Peyton Manning-led offense.
Preseason games can be fun to watch. They're like an oasis in the desert for fans who have gone without football for nearly six months. But it's a good idea to resist assigning any real importance to the results.