Power Rankings: NFL playoff teams

Posted on January 4, 2012

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  1. Green Bay Packers (15-1) – The defending champs tore through the regular season, and are the obvious favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

    The Packers are in prime position to repeat as Super Bowl champions

  2. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – New Orleans was incredibly impressive toward the end of the regular season. Right now, it’s hard to argue there’s a stronger offense going than the Drew Brees led offense for the Saints.
  3. New England Patriots (13-3) – The Patriots ride into the playoffs on an eight game winning streak – largely thanks to Tom Brady and the New England offense.
  4. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) – The number two seed in the NFC won the old fashioned way all season – tough defense and a great running game. Should they make any noise in the playoffs, it would go to show fans everywhere that defense still wins championships.
  5. Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – After wrapping up the AFC North division and a first round bye, the Ravens have set themselves up to have the best shot at knocking out New England should they meet in the AFC Championship game.
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – The Steelers head into the playoffs limping, but with a strong defense, solid coaching and Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, they shouldn’t be counted out in the AFC.
  7. New York Giants (9-7) – The Giants enter the playoffs after two big wins against big rivals – The New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys and could be a dark horse the NFC because of their ability to get after the passer and be able to handle the weather elements in a place such as Lambeau Field.
  8. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) – The Falcons rebounded from a tough loss to New Orleans by dismantling the embarrassing Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season finale. The question is whether emerging star Matt Ryan can break through in the playoffs this year.
  9. Detroit Lions (10-6) – The Lions return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but got stuck drawing the surging New Orleans Saints. Who knows, maybe the Lions’ offense will be able to hang with Brees and the Saints – don’t place your money on it though, still a good season for the Lions regardless.
  10. Houston Texans (10-6) – Injuries have decimated the Texans this year – Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson (who returned in a limited role in Week 17) and Mario Williams among the most notable. A healthy Houston squad could’ve made some noise, but now all they are is a playoff afterthought.
  11. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) – The Bengals snuck in the AFC playoffs, grabbing the sixth and final seed by virtue of winning the tiebreaker. The Bengals could knock off the reeling Texans, but don’t hold your breath should they get a shot at New England the following week.
  12. Denver Broncos (8-8) – It would be shocking should the Broncos beat the Steelers at home this Sunday. With some solid defense and some Tebow magic anything’s possible, but after watching them close out the season with three straight losses, there can’t be much confidence in this group.

photo courtesy of packers.com

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