Here are my final NFL power rankings of the regular season, focusing just on those teams that are making the playoffs. Because, honestly, does anyone really care where the Tampa Bay Bucs rank?
- Seattle Seahawks: The best and most complete team in football. Add on top the strongest home field advantage among teams that will host a game and they have to be the favorite.
- Denver Broncos: I don’t buy all the cold weather talk. The Broncos are a historically great offense with a phenomenal QB playing out of his mind right now.
- San Francisco 49ers: A stout defense and they are peaking at the right time. They play well on the road, which they’ll need to as a wild card team.
- Carolina Panthers: The defense is for real and they’ve beat a lot of good teams. They’re legit contenders for the title.
- Philadelphia Eagles: I know, I know… I’m a homer. But when they’re good, they’re REALLY good. And their road to the conference championship shapes up nicely: New Orleans at home and, if they win, a trip to Carolina for a team that has fared well on the road this year.
- New England Patriots: They pull out wins it seems like they shouldn’t. But they might have to do that three times in the row — twice away from home — and I don’t see that happening.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Had they gotten the #2 seed, they’d be much higher on this list. They’re a very different team on the road versus at home. That will likely be their downfall.
- Indianapolis Colts: A bit of a confounding team. They’ve beat some of the best teams in the league but have a bunch of bad losses. They’ve looked better as of late and get a home game in the first round.
- Kansas City Chiefs: They’ve been a different team in the second half of the year. Are they paper tigers? They’re better than they’ve looked recently, but not good enough to go all the way.
- Green Bay Packers: Rodgers being back makes this a different team, but I’m still not sure they’re good enough on defense. Their matchup against the 49ers could spell trouble.
- New Orleans Saints: They just aren’t the same team outside of the Super Dome. Should weather become a factor, they’re likely toast.
- San Diego Chargers: This was probably the most talented team involved in the scrum at the bottom of the AFC, but they still don’t compare to the elite contenders. Too inconsistent and too many mistakes.