Well, the 2011 regular season has come and gone and this Saturday, the postseason begins. Instead of power-rankings the top 10 teams in the NFL this week, we’ll expand it a bit to include all 12 playoff teams and give everyone a fresh start. Next week, we’ll cut it down to eight and continue like that. Enjoy the longest list of the season and be sure to vote in the poll!
#12: Denver (8-8): As far as I’m concerned, the Broncos are clearly the worst team in the playoffs. It’s not just their .500 record or their QB who completes 11% of his passes. Well, maybe it is. Either way, I don’t think they’re very good HOWEVER, I kind of think that they can beat the Steelers this week. This game wreaks of Saints-Seahawks from last year. We’ll see!
#11: Houston (10-6): TJ Yates? Sure. Somehow the Texans won 10 games this year while losing more key players to injury than perhaps any other team in the NFL. They’re a feel-good story because of that and because they’re in the playoffs for the first time ever, but I think the Bengals’ surprisingly strong defense will be a test for them.
#10: Cincinnati (9-7): Assuming Yates and Andy Dalton are the two QBs in this game–it’ll be the first time ever in the Super Bowl-era that a playoff game has two rookies starting at quarterback.
#9: Atlanta (10-6): The Falcons and Giants are pretty interchangeable as far as I’m concerned–both are teams with personality disorders–and I give a slight edge to Big Blue only because they’ll be playing at home.
#8: NY Giants (9-7): See above.
#7: Detroit (10-6): Young team in the post-season for the first time, road game against a team that many people think is playing the best football in the league right now…yeah, tough break for the Lions. I imagine they’ll put up some points in New Orleans but it’s a really tough draw for one of the cool young teams in the league.
#6: San Francisco (13-3): The Niners are, I guess, the most disrespected team in this week’s power rankings, since they’re the two-seed in the NFC and sixth here. They’ll rest up this week before returning to action at home in the Divisional Playoffs. Just not sure I trust Alex Smith in the postseason. We’ll see!
#5: Pittsburgh (12-4): The Steelers are a good team. The Broncos are not. But with RB Rashard Mendenhall out with a torn ACL and CB Ryan Clark not making the trip because of his issues with altitude, things seem to be lining up for Denver. Like I said: feels like Seattle-New Orleans from last year.
#4: Baltimore (12-4): There’s a lot to like about the Ravens but also a decent number of concerns. They’re a good team–maybe really good–but there’s something I just don’t trust. Like SF, though, they don’t have to worry about it for another week.
#3: New England (13-3): The top seed in the AFC is third in my rankings and this says much more about the next two teams than it does the Patriots. We know they’re good and we know their postseason pedigree. That said–would anyone be shocked if they lost in round two? Didn’t think so. Unless they host the Bengals, that is.
#2: New Orleans (13-3): As mentioned, a lot of people are saying the Saints are playing the best football in the league right now. That’s cute. Don’t get me wrong, they’re playing great. But head-to-head, at this moment, I still think the Packers are the team to beat.
#1: Green Bay (15-1): The best team in the NFL today and all-season long. Not saying they’re invincible–but right now, I wouldn’t put them anywhere but #1.
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