Ranking the NFL playoff teams
1/ New England – Defending champ looked vulnerable early in the year but defense has turned from a weakness to a strength, Brady and Gronk are as good as ever and they are always the best coached and most prepared.
2/ Minnesota – What do you say about a team that lost its starting QB last season and this and lost its hot-shot rookie running back and and yet still solidly beat both the Saints and Rams.
3/ Pittsburgh – Just slightly behind New England, but, in these matchups not having the home field and the feeling that you can’t get over the hump against a particular team hurt.
4/ Los Angeles – Yes, they were pasted by Minnesota, but they also dusted the Saints and Seahawks pretty solidly.
5/ Philadelphia – Foles did lead them to the playoffs four years ago. With Wentz, they’d be the favorite, without him, they’re still a top choice and that says a lot about the rest of the crew.
6/ Saints – The odds drop a bit here in the NFC as any of the top 3 have some really good selling points and all finished pretty strong. Saints finished 3-3 and seemed to have peaked in week 10. Can they get the mojo back despite so many injuries on defense and a limited receiving corps?
7/ Carolina – They and Atlanta are both tossups. Both would have to win 3 times on the road and, while both can beat anyone, the odds of stringing that kind of streak together are long.
8/ Atlanta – This team has so much individual talent, but something has been amiss this year. Perhaps it was the Super Bowl letdown hangover.
9/ Jacksonville – Does it really matter here? Jacksonville has a puncher’s chance and should definitely advance to face Pittsburgh in second round.
10/ Kansas City – This team was once considered the best in the league this year.
11/ Tennessee – Almost zero chance
12/ Buffalo – Just happy to be here.