NFL Power Rankings: Prisco's 'four-pronged' system places New York Giants No. 5

Eli Manning - Jim O'Connor [USA Today Sports]

Pete Prisco of CBS uses the four positions he considers most important to generate rankings of the teams he considers Super Bowl contenders.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports recently released what he calls "four-pronged rankings" of the 32 NFL teams. The New York Giants come in a very respectable fifth in Prisco's rankings, which are based on the four elements of an NFL team he considers most important. Those are:

  1. Quarterback play
  2. Pass rushers
  3. Left tackles
  4. Cornerbacks

In Prisco's system the Giants garner 111 points. The top four teams are the Denver Broncos (154), Dallas Cowboys (125), Green Bay Packers (124) and San Francisco 49ers (112).

Prisco explains his system this way:

Each of the four categories has players ranked 1-32, one per team, and the player ranked first gets 32 points down to one point for the player ranked last.

There is a catch. The quarterback spot gets double the points since passers are so key to winning -- now more than ever.

Now, let's look at where the Giants rank in each of Prisco's four categories.

Quarterback

Prisco has Eli Manning ranked sixth behind Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. That means Manning is worth 54 points in this system.

Argue all you want about where Manning ranks. For me, somewhere in the neighborhood of Ben Roethlisberger (seventh here) and ahead of Tony Romo (ninth, per Prisco) is fine.

The thing with Manning is we know the ceiling. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP who is as good as anyone in the game when he's right. We know, though, that what keeps him out of the top four are those inexplicable times when he morphs into Mark Sanchez. Those lows happen too often, but no one is going to argue with the highs.

Pass Rushers

Prisco has Jason Pierre-Paul ranked as the seventh-best pass rusher in the league., which has to be a nod to his 16.5-sack 2011 season and not his 6.5-sack 2012. Ahead of JPP are J.J. Watt, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Cameron Wake, Clay Matthews and Aldon Smith. Until Pierre-Paul puts up another dominant double-digit sack season it's hard to argue he belongs any higher.

Cornerbacks

Prince Amukamara is ranked No. 17 among NFL corners by Prisco. To be honest, I believe that's incredibly generous. Not that Amukamara isn't capable of being among the league's upper echelon corners, but his performance has yet to really put him there. The Giants also have yet to commit to treating Amukamara like a top corner and always lining him up against the opposition's best receiver.

By the way, Corey Webster is nowhere to be found on the list.

Left Tackles

This is my biggest problem with Prisco's rankings. He has Giants' left tackle Will Beatty ranked 18th, and there is no way Beatty -- outstanding in 2012 -- is in the bottom half of NFL left tackles. Pro Football Focus ranked him 11th among all tackles (left and right) in 2012, with +22.3 grade. He surrendered only three sacks all season.

There is just no way to convince me there are 17 left tackles better than Beatty.

Other Thoughts

I know many of you will seize on the Dallas Cowboys earning 125 points and being placed second by Prisco. This is where the system Prisco uses is flawed. Yes, I would agree with Prisco that the four positions he uses are the ones of primary importance.

Yet, when you rank contenders you have to look at the coach, the organization, the history, the complete depth of the 53-man roster. As far as Prisco's system goes it's fine. It just isn't a complete picture.

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