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NFL Power Rankings – Wild Card Weekend

The #1 seeds stay on top heading into Wild Card Weekend.

Wild Card weekend is already upon us! It seems like just a few weeks ago, we were getting ready for Week 1 in the NFL, but now, only fourteen teams remain in the race for the Super Bowl. Not every team made our latest NFL Power Rankings, though … 

1 – Baltimore Ravens (1)

The Ravens may have lost last weekend, but it wasn’t a loss that meant anything. They’re still the top seed in the AFC and one of our favourite teams to go the distance this season. Getting Wild Card Weekend off is huge at this time of year, and hopefully, Baltimore can use this opportunity to rest up and get healthy. Based on the teams left in the AFC, there’s almost no chance they’ll have an easy matchup in the Divisional game, so they’ll need to remain locked in during practices all week.  

2 – San Francisco 49ers (2)

In the NFC, San Francisco reigned supreme this season. Like the Ravens, they’ll enjoy the week off as they prepare for the Divisional Round at home. When this team plays their A game, they’re the best in the NFL. If they can get fully healthy with this time off, the 49ers will be an extremely tough team to beat. With how the bracket is shaping up, they might blow their first opponent out, too.  

3 – Dallas Cowboys (3)

Now, we get to a team playing this weekend. Winning the NFC East this season was huge for Dallas because they’re simply a different team at home. The Cowboys went undefeated at Jerry World, and in the playoffs, they’ll get a home-field advantage against everyone except San Francisco. Dak Prescott and Ceedee Lamb are having the best years of their career, and they haven’t seen a team that’s been able to slow them down in a while. Sure, the Cowboys still have their doubters regarding the postseason, but it’s hard to disregard what we’ve seen from them all year.  

4 – Buffalo Bills (4)

What a crazy year it was for the Buffalo Bills! Just over a month ago, they were 6-6 and out of a playoff spot. They’re heading into the postseason as AFC East Champions and the second seed in the conference. When they’re playing well, the Bills are one of the best teams in the league. However, they weren’t often at their best for the first half of the season. This lack of consistency has been Buffalo’s biggest issue for a few years, and unless they’ve finally figured things out, it could be what once again takes them out of the hunt in the AFC. However, if they’re not beating themselves, very few teams are. 

5 – Detroit Lions (5)

For the first time in 30 years, the Detroit Lions are hosting a playoff game. It won’t be easy to go up against Sean McVay and their old quarterback, Matt Stafford, but the Lions are still the rightful favourites in their Wild Card matchup. Offensively, they’re one of the best teams in the league, and I expect to see a massive day from Amon-Ra St. Brown on the weekend, especially with rookie TE Sam LaPorta missing due to injury. Unfortunately, this team does have some defensive issues. If anything will prevent them from beating the best teams in the NFC, it’s that.

6 – Cleveland Browns (6)

Who could have predicted that Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns would be strutting into Wild Card Weekend as the AFC’s #5 seed? Since starting with the Browns, Flacco has been just what they’ve needed him to be and then some, and the veteran signal-caller is airing it out like it’s 2012. Cleveland’s defence is good enough to keep them in any game if their offence doesn’t go stale. With their style, I don’t think any team wants to see the Browns right now, regardless of who has a home-field advantage.

7 – Kansas City Chiefs (8)

The Chiefs are certainly limping into playoffs this year, but this is still a team with a quarterback who has never missed the AFC Championship game. Their numbers are down offensively, but Kansas City quietly had one of the stingiest defenses in the league this season, and that should help immensely in their Wild Card matchup against Miami. The Chiefs could still return to the Super Bowl but need their receivers to step up. All season, Patrick Mahomes has been trying to figure out who to go to besides Travis Kelce when he needs a catch. Rookie Rashee Rice is starting to emerge as the go-to guy, but the supporting cast will need to make plays, too. When a quarterback only trusts two guys to catch passes, the team is a lot easier to defend.  

8 – Miami Dolphins (7)

They’re an electric team to watch, but Miami’s injury problems could be too much for them to overcome in the playoffs this year. The team is decimated on defence currently, and they’ll be missing three linebackers, Xavien Howard and Bradley Chubb, for their Wild Card game in Kansas City. Raheem Mostert and Jaylen Waddle should be back on offence for the game, but for Miami to have a chance, they’ll need to make a significant and immediate impact. The Phins came into the game with a record of 11-6, but they were just 1-5 against teams with a winning record. To beat the ‘fraud’ allegations, they’ll need to pick another win up this weekend. 

9 – Houston Texans (-)

Houston may not be everyone’s pick to win it all this year, but they cannot be taken lightly. For a young team with a future as bright as theirs, Wild Card weekend is not only an opportunity to win a playoff game but also an opportunity to grow. C.J. Stroud is the QB of the future for the Texans, and as long as he’s around, I’m sure this team will have plenty of playoff chances down the road. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take down the Browns in front of a rocking home crowd this weekend. 

10 – Los Angeles Rams (10)

Finally, we’ve got the pesky, surprising Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay is not a coach you’d want to see on the opposing sidelines in a playoff game, and if Detroit’s not careful, they will learn that the hard way this year. He and Matt Stafford have built an excellent offence around young players like Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams, and I don’t expect the unit to make things easy for Detroit. This team has been 7-1 in their last eight weeks, with the only loss coming in overtime at Baltimore. They should be taken VERY seriously. 

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