NFL Power Rankings After The Divisional Round
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The NFL Power Rankings will be updated through the NFL playoffs’ Divisional Round. Although only four teams remain in the NFL following this weekend, it’s a good exercise to assess each team’s position. While Super Wild Card Weekend did not deliver any major upsets, it did lay the groundwork for a Divisional Round that has the potential to be historic.
1. Green Bay Packers
Following a bye week in the first round, the Packers stay atop the power rankings. The problem, however, is that the Niners, who destroyed them in the NFC title game a couple of seasons ago, may be their most difficult conference opponent aside from the Buccaneers.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs (+400) started slowly but easily chugging past the Steelers. Patrick Mahomes took advantage of the matchup against an outmatched defense to ramp up his big-play passing, with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce leading the way with high volume. They added a wrinkle in the backfield when Jerick McKinnon needed to see significant playing time with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams injured. It worked out well, giving more explosive running and receiving. The defense was also excellent, preventing Pittsburgh from getting going on the ground and creating an even tighter passing game for Ben Roethlisberger’s final match.
3. Buffalo Bills
On Saturday night, the Bills crushed the Patriots in a game that will be remembered for one of the finest offensive displays in postseason history — or any other. Josh Allen sparked Buffalo’s offense with seven touchdowns on seven possessions. The Bills never punted, never attempted a field goal, and never reached fourth down against a New England defense that entered the playoffs ranked as one of the league’s best.
Although this was an unprecedented level of dominance, Allen deserves special mention: Bill Belichick’s fourth-year quarterback burned him twice in the last month, slicing up the Patriots with his arm and legs. Allen has established himself as a league giant and the new ruler of an AFC East that is no longer in Belichick’s grip. True, the bully was sent home with a drooping lip and two black eyes.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Even when things aren’t going well, the Bengals are an exciting football club, which is just what we saw against the Titans. We ended up with a thrilling but messy game of football. Joe Burrow appeared to be flawless in the first half. He passed for over 236 yards in the first half and completed 17 of his 24 attempts. Despite this, Cincinnati scored only nine points.
While their defense was excellent for the majority of the game, they allowed the Titans to march down the field once in the first half, as Ryan Tannehill passed freely to his best receivers.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It may seem absurd to rank a club with the best quarterback of all-time fifth in this exercise, but injuries have taken their toll on this brilliant Buccaneers group. Tampa Bay (14-4) lost All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs to an ankle injury in Sunday’s 31-15 victory over the Eagles, depriving quarterback Tom Brady and this struggling offense of yet another key player.
Mike Evans remains an exceptional receiver, but Brady’s downfield throwing attack has lost some of its big-play potential with the loss of Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. Although Evans and tight end Rob Gronkowski can carry the load against the Eagles, how will this attack against some of the league’s finest defenses? It’s a lot for a 44-year-old quarterback to handle.
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