1 – Kansas City Chiefs
With the first round bye in the AFC, the Chiefs are gearing up for another run at the Lombardi. They had a few less-than-perfect games in the last few weeks of the season but finished off strong with a dominating effort against the Raiders. Even with the possible neutral site game, the Chiefs will not play another road game this year and will not play during Wild Card Weekend. Two very large bonuses for a team led by the MVP of the league.
Will we see more of this in the playoffs?
2 – Philadelphia Eagles
As the top seed in the weaker of the two conferences, Philadelphia comes in at number two in our Wild Card Power Rankings. If Jalen Hurts can get back to full health, this Eagles offence is still one of the most dangerous in the NFL and won’t have to see the conference’s toughest competition until an NFC Championship game at home.
3 – San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are arguably the hottest team in the league right now and are winners of ten straight. With the best defense and one of the most dynamic offences in the league, it’s tough to see any holes in the team. There may be one with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy playing at such high stakes, but everything he’s done so far has given the team no reason to worry.
4 – Buffalo Bills
The Bills locked up the AFC’s 2 seed with one of the most memorable games in recent memory. As Damar Hamlin’s scenario looks better and better every day, Buffalo looks more and more like it could be the team of destiny this season. They have the experience, they have the talent, and they certainly have the motivation.
5 – Cincinnati Bengals
The reigning AFC Champions round out the Top 5 in our Wild Card Power Rankings. Having to possibly beat the Bills AND the Chiefs on the road will not make an easy road to the Super Bowl, but if any team in the AFC can do it, it’s the Bengals. Let’s just hope they’re healthy enough on defence, because the Joe Burrow-led offence is no concern.
6 – Minnesota Vikings
As long as Justin Jefferson is playing, the Vikings have a chance. Unfortunately, there are some holes with this team that may prevent a deep playoff run. In their last 8 games before Week 18 against Chicago’s backups, Minnesota’s defensive unit allowed an average of 31.6 points per game. You can beat mediocre teams, but it’s tough to beat teams in the playoffs with that kind of defence.
7 – Dallas Cowboys
Had it not been for last week, Dallas would be coming into Wild Card Weekend with seven wins in their last eight games and confidence at a peak. Unfortunately, the team put together a terrible effort against the Commanders and lost 26-6. Even though it ended up being a meaningless game, the Cowboys kept the majority of their starters in for most of the contest. Dak Prescott’s interceptions have also become a bit of a concern, as he now has thrown 11 in the last seven games.
8 – Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are dangerous. When fully healthy and at their best, they can play with anyone in the league. Sadly, Brandon Staley decided to play his starters in last week’s meaningless game and Mike Williams was carted off with a back injury. Williams is an absolute game changer and part of one of the better one-two WR punches in the league alongside Keenan Allen. If Williams can’t go, Allen, Austin Ekeler and Justin Herbert will have to carry a heavy load for Los Angeles.
Not a lot of guys in the league can make this catch.
9 – Jacksonville Jaguars
The season looked lost at one point for Jacksonville. Then, the team ripped off six wins in seven weeks to win the AFC South at 9-8. You may not think they deserve to be this high in the Wild Card Power Rankings, but momentum and home-field advantage must count for something. No one’s expecting a long playoff run, but every snap played will be a learning experience for the up and coming Jaguars.
10 – New York Giants
The New York Football Giants are back in the playoffs for just the second time since their Super Bowl title in 2011! It’s been a great year for first-year coach Brian Daboll as well as QB Daniel Jones and star RB Saquon Barkley. The team has holes but know they can certainly give the Vikings a run for their money. In Week 16, they played Minnesota tight all game before losing on a last-second 61-yard field goal.
11 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, the season was terrible, but they’re in. The Bucs are the only team in the playoffs with a losing record, but they have homefield advantage, playoff experience, and the best to ever do it at quarterback. If there’s one team that could turn it around in crunch time, it’s Tom Brady’s Buccaneers.
12 – Baltimore Ravens
The biggest question for the Ravens is the health of Lamar Jackson. Since Jackson went down, the team has played six games and is yet to score more than 17 points. The defence is clearly for real, but Baltimore desperately needs Lamar back to stand a chance in the stacked AFC.
13 – Seattle Seahawks
Regardless of the outcome, the season has been a success in Seattle. They were completely written off at the beginning of the season and struggled in the second half of the year, but somehow still find themselves in the playoffs after the Lions took down the Packers to end the regular season. They will be going up against a juggernaut in San Francisco, but there may not be a team in the league that knows the 49ers better than Pete Carroll’s Seahawks. A loss is expected, but all they’ve done this season is surprise.
14 – Miami Dolphins
At one point this season, the Dolphins looked like they may contend for the AFC East title. Now, they’re just lucky to be here. Miami squeaked into Wild Card Weekend despite scoring zero touchdowns in a win against the Jets while the Patriots were bested in Buffalo. A healthy Tua would certainly give this team a boost, but the chances of his return are becoming less and less likely as time moves on.
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