The wait to find out which teams are playoff contenders and which ones are pretenders is over. Week 17 of the NFL season is in the books. Here are the new Power Rankings.
- Seattle Seahawks (Last Week – #1): Seattle locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And they definitely have a HUGE advantage at home. Any team that attempts to enter the home of the Seahawks will struggle. Not only are they the best team in the league this year, but they also have some of the loudest fans in the NFL. They’re clearly the team to beat in the NFC.
Denver Broncos (Last Week – #2): If the Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC, the Broncos are that team in the AFC. This offense is seemingly unstoppable and really helps to cover up some of the struggles that they have defensively. Then again, Peyton Manning can help cover up any holes a team has on offense. They’re the powerhouse and favorites in the AFC for a reason, and the main reason Manning.
- Carolina Panthers (Last Week – #3): They are definitely a much better team than I expected coming into the season. They have found their groove and rode it right into a first round bye. The Panthers will be hard to beat in the playoffs and any team that has to face them should not be very confident in their chances to beat them. Their defense is just too good.
San Francisco 49ers (Last Week – #5): Kaepernick’s woes were scary at the beginning of the season, but this team is just too talented not to be a contender. They will be (unfairly) heading to Green Bay to take on a defense that can’t stop a nosebleed. The 49ers should be licking their chops at the Wild Card matchup.
- New England Patriots (Last Week – #4): Tom Brady didn’t even need to do much for the Patriots to knock off the Bills on Sunday while they locked up a first round playoff bye. One thing I’ve learned is to never bet against New England. They are one heck of a resilient team that always seems to find a way to win.
Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week – #6): The B-Team of the Chiefs almost knocked off the Chargers in a thriller this week. Despite that, the Chiefs are a great team, but will be facing one of the hottest teams in the league (Indy) in the first round of the playoffs. The Chiefs vs Colts game should be the most entertaining game of the wild card round.
- Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week – #7): Andy Dalton may be inconsistent, but that Bengals defense always on point. If Dalton can step up for this team and play at a high level, they can knock off anyone, even the seemingly unbeatable Broncos. They will take on the San Diego Chargers in the opening round in a contest that should be a shootout.
Indianapolis Colts (Last Week – #10): I still scratch my head when I think about the Colts. Sometimes they look like an organization that has no clue what they’re doing and yet, at other times, they look like a real Super Bowl contender. They will be facing the Chiefs in the opening round, a team that they dismantled previously.
- New Orleans Saints (Last Week – #8): When you look at the rankings, you’d think that I have the Saints and the Eagles on about the same level, but that’s not the case. This Saints defense is playing good football while the Eagles had to beat a somewhat pathetic Cowboys team to even get into the playoffs. Either way, I have faith New Orleans will advance.
San Diego Chargers (Last Week – #12): The Chargers struggled against the Chief’s backups, but the ended up grabbing a spot in the playoffs. If the defense can play well enough to keep the Bengals out of the end zone on a regular basis, the Chargers offense can be scary enough to put up some points. Should be a fun game to watch.
- Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week – #9): I’m not buying the Eagles. They have a really tough matchup against the Saints coming up in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. To be honest, I’m not sure they even deserve to be in the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers (Last Week – #16): Did I mention teams that don’t deserve to be in the playoffs? Because the Packers would be on the poster for that campaign. They’re lucky that division winners are guaranteed to have a playoff spot. Not to mention that they get to HOST the 49ers, a team with FOUR more wins than them. Not really fair.
To the rest of the teams that didn’t make the cut, good luck on their searches for coaches, players and stability next year.