(It's Hipster Power Rankings)

Gallant's "Do You Matter" NFL Rankings

The phrase "Power Rankings" annoys me. "WOW". "PIZAZZ". "FIRE".

As such, I am giving my rip off of NFL Power Rankings the name: "Do You Matter?" Rankings. So much edgier. Can it sell T-shirts? Maybe.

Could Go Undefeated

1. New England Patriots (1-0)

Let's be honest. After their dismantling of the Steelers last Sunday, the Patriots looked unbeatable.

It's week 1, and every team has some sort thermal exhaust port just waiting for an X-Wing to blow it all up (Antonio Brown drama could very well be it). But I'm at a loss for what it is with New England. Their defense looks like it has the potential to be something that I haven't seen from them since the 2000s. They have TOO MANY weapons - (they even traded Demaryius Thomas to free up roster space) for Tom Brady. And an offensive line with questions certainly impressed against a pretty good Pittsburgh pass rush.

The only question you can attempt after a 33-3 blowout: were some strange looking Brady throws early a sign of rust? Or slippage?

The Cool Kids Table

2. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

5. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

Dak Prescott had a strong finish to last season. But he played INCREDIBLY on Sunday, and more importantly, he did it in a game where Ezekiel Elliott struggled. Even if the Giants end up being pushovers this season, there are few teams that can handle the Cowboys' receiver trio of Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup.

The other three teams look like they're wearing sweatpants. Kansas City will be without Tyreek Hill for a while, and saw Patrick Mahomes limping around at the end of Sunday's game with an ankle injury. The Eagles defense was smacked around by Case Keenum before Philly's offense showed up. And with the suspicion around Todd Gurley's knee, will Jared Goff continue to sporadically have shaky outings like his against Carolina?

Peed Themselves

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)

The Steelers flew under the radar this offseason after parting ways with Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. They might have a locker room in better spirits. But on Sunday, they looked less explosive on offense. Shouldn't that be expected after losing those two?

Blame a week of distractions after Antonio Brown signed with the Patriots. Blame the defensive coaching staff. Blame Tom Brady being older than Myles Davis yet STILL really good. But whatever you decide, Mike Tomlin consistently hasn't been able to beat New England when it matters. Is Pittsburgh O.K. settling with that? I wouldn't be.

Praying For A Cool Kid To Get Canceled

I may get all my knowledge of post-millennials from Thirteen Reasons Why. But kids too face the issue that everyone from politicians to actors to comedians face: getting canceled (like Marcus in season 2). So for these kids to yeet amongst the cööl, they'll need something like that to happen to the teams above to move up my relevance ratings.

7. New Orleans Saints (1-0)

I'm concerned about Drew Brees' ability to play at a high level for 16 games plus based off the end of last year.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

They always have talent. But they always feel likely to disappoint.

9. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

Baltimore might have been the most impressive team in week 1. Lamar Jackson looked like a video game. And new additions Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown, and Earl Thomas ALL made contributions.

BUT, they played Miami.

10. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

Seattle's pass rush - with Jadeveon Clowney BUT no Ziggy Ansah aboard - looked pretty good. But the offense looked very sluggish in a post Doug Baldwin world. And it's a strange sight to see the likes of Andy Dalton and John Ross - who were playing without injured teammates A.J. Green and Joe Mixon - dominate a secondary the way they did Seattle's.

11. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

The Vikings didn't need a big day from Kirk Cousins to take down a middle of the road team. But they likely will to take down a real predator.

12. Green Bay Packers (1-0)

I'm not going to lie. I had the Packers FAR lower than this before week 1. I don't see Aaron Rodgers and Matt Lafleur being able to click. And no matter where this goes, they sure as hell didn't click week 1. If not for Green Bay's defensive performance, they'd be in the 20s.

There's just one thing...

13. Houston Texans (0-1)

14. Tennessee Titans (1-0)

15. Chicago Bears (0-1)

16. Buffalo Bills (1-0)

17. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

All of these teams have something that I like...

  • The Texans have Deshaun Watson, who looked top 5 Monday
  • The Titans are consistently average to good across their entire roster
  • The Bears defense is absolutely terrifying
  • The Bills aren't far behind
  • A Colts are a well coached, complete team.
But they're in a rough spot with their current quarterback



  • Deshaun Watson looks he'll get crushed behind his line.
  • Marcus Mariota can't beat teams with his arm, or stay healthy
  • Mitchell Trubisky seems to be trying too hard to put the past behind him
  • Josh Allen struggles with accuracy
  • Jacoby Brissett is not Andrew Luck
Sadly, that ain't as easy as getting rid of pony tails and glasses.

Walk Of Shame

18. Cleveland Browns (0-1)

All that hype, and they were blown out at home by a team with Marcus Mariota under center.

There.

19. Carolina Panthers (0-2)

20. Washington Redskins (0-1)

21. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

22. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

23. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

The only noteworthy thing concerning these teams? The Panthers are stuck in this group.

Florida Men

24. Oakland Raiders (1-0)

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

I'm very much confused by all of these teams, as we all are by Florida men, thus the label.

Old Yeller


27. New York Giants (0-1)

28. Denver Broncos (1-0)

I don't want to watch Eli Manning or Joe Flacco anymore.

The Bye Weeks

29. New York Jets (0-1)

Sam Darnold having mono is sooo painfully Jets.

30. Detroit Lions (0-1)

30. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

Ties are a bi-product of the NFL's bizarre 10 minute overtime rule, which totally disrupts the flow of the game.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-1)

The 2019 Miami team motto - "TNT" for "Takes No Talent" - is amusing.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 on Kube 57, and contributes to SB Nation Radio. Have any questions? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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