The NFL season has just a week left before the playoffs begin. In week 16, we saw teams like Baltimore, Seattle, and Cincinnati make statements and teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers fail to make the most of their oppurtunities. With one game left for each team to play, the current power rankings look like this:
1: Denver Broncos (12-3): This team played a very difficult first 6 games or so but has been gaining steam ever since and is getting very hot going into the playoffs. With MVP candidate Peyton Manning leading the offense and DPOY favorite Von Miller leading the defense, this team has a good shot at hoisting the Lombardi this year.
2: Atlanta Falcons (13-2): It’s hard to really know what the Falcons are capable of. They have an explosive offense and can beat you in numerous different ways. The defense is a question, but it all comes down to Matt Ryan. It’s up to him to lead his team to the Super Bowl, and he won’t have many chances like this to do it.
3: New England Patriots (11-4) Say what you want about New England. They lost to San Fransisco in week 15 and struggled early on vs. Jacksonville this week. It is impossible to deny the talent they have. With an offensive core of Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Stevan Ridley, Brandon Lloyd, and Rob Gronkowski, this team will be very difficult to beat in January.
4: Houston Texans (12-3) The physicality on this team is unreal. They hit their opponents in the mouth every play. The biggest question with Houston is their ability to play from behind. They have not played well vs Elite quarterbacks this year and their secondary could prove costly in the playoffs. They let one slip in week 16 vs Minnesota, but that doesn’t take away what this team is capable of.
5: Green Bay (11-4) Greg Jennings return just gives Aaron Rodgers another toy on offense. As long as their defense doesn’t give up 4o points in every playoff game, they will have success.
6: Seattle Seahawks (10-5) The Seahawks came out in week 16 and put a beatdown on the division rival 49ers. They are dangerous at home, but it’s their play on the road that leaves a lot of questions unanswered heading into January.
7: San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) The 49ers still control their destiny in the division, but their loss to Seattle was embarassing. Known for being a physcial team, they got smacked around in Seattle. It will be interesting to see how 2nd year QB Colin Kaepernick plays in the playoffs.
8: Baltimore Ravens (10-5) The Ravens came out strong vs the New York Giants and clinched their division. If QB Joe Flacco can play this well in the playoffs, the sky is the limit.
9: Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) The Bengals beat the Steelers in an extremely physical defensive game. The decision making of QB Andy Dalton is key for them in the playoffs.
10: Indiannapolis Colts (10-5) The Colts are the team that everyone finds themself rooting for. Led by sensational rookie QB Andrew Luck, the Colts look to play spoiler in the playoffs.
11: Washington Redskins (9-6) The Redskins caught a break in Philadelphia but managed to get by without their star quarterback Robert Griffin III playing at 100%. The Redskins play Dallas this week in a winner takes all divisional matchup.
12: Minnesota Vikings (9-6) Led by superstar and MVP candidate running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have been on a tear. After knocking off Houston in week 16, the Vikings have a real shot to make the playoffs.
13: Chicago Bears (9-6) The Bears are a team who were incredibly hot when the season started and were scoring in tons of different ways. They have cooled off dramatically, they can’t protect their quarterback and they aren’t forcing turnovers like they once were. They no longer control their destiny, but playoffs aren’t out of the question.
14: Dallas Cowboys (8-7) The Cowboys rally came up short vs. a New Orleans team that is much better than their record shows. If they beat Washington in week 17, they are NFC East champions.
15: New York Giants (8-7) The Giants have really struggled lately. They were once in position to run away with the NFC East. There is still a chance they get in, but they need help.
16: New Orleans Saints (7-8) The Saints have played well the last two weeks. They defeated Dallas in overtime and have a chance to buld some momentum heading into next season.
17: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) The Steelers found a way to beat Baltimore with Charlie Batch but have come out flat since getting Ben Roethlisberger back from injury. It has been a disappointing season for Pittsburgh, but there is a chance they make it back to the playoffs in 2013-14.
18: St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) The Rams have had a pretty good first season with their new head Coach Jeff Fisher. They have some questions on the offensive line but they are building a nice team over in St. Louis.
19: Miami Dolphins (7-8) Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have surprised some people this year. If the young Quarterback can continue to develop into next year they could be a team to watch out for.
20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) The Bucs came out strong this season but have faded as of late. With an improved secondary and another offensive lineman, this team could make some noise next year.
21: Carolina Panthers (6-9) Like Tampa Bay, the Panthers have a lot of questions in their secondary. Led by Cam Newton and a great rushing attack, this team has a chance to build an explosive offense.
22: San Diego Chargers (6-9) San Diego is a team with enough talent on both sides of the ball to make a wildcard push next season. If their new head coach utilizes their talent correctly, you could be looking at a 10 win team a year from now.
23: Cleveland Browns (5-10) Cleveland does some things nicely. They are a young and developing team with a stud running back in Trent Richardson. It will be interesting to see if they blow things up in the offseason.
24: New York Jets (6-9) The Jets are a mess. But, if they figure out the QB situation and grab another playmaking wide receiver, they can be solid next year.
25: Buffalo Bills (5-10) The Bills have underachieved this year. They have a chance to surprise a lot of people if they hire a head coach who can play to their strengths.
26: Arizona Cardinals (5-10) This team has a good defense but a horrid offense. They need a QB and an offensive line if they have any hope of reaching the playoffs anytime soon.
27: Detroit Lions (4-11) The Lions have some major playmakers such as Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. They need to fix their secondary and parts of their offensive line and then they will be ready to contend for the playoffs.
28: Tennessee Titans (5-10) The Titans are a team with a lot of speed and enough talent to improve next year. Quarterback Jake Locker has to show something next year or else it might be time for them to look for another option.
29: Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) With a new head coach, the Eagles can contend for the playoffs next year. They have tons of talent on both sides of the ball, it will be interesting to see how they handle the offseason.
30: Oakland Raiders (4-11) The Raiders can’t play defense and they are plagued with injuries and are always commiting penalties. It will be a rough next couple of years for Oakland Raiders fans.
31: Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) The Jaguars can play defense, but their offense is a mess. They need to figure out their indentity on offense and their QB situation.
32: Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) The Chiefs have some talent on both sides of the ball, but they need a quarterback. They can’t win with Brady Quin..