NFL Power Rankings Week 18 | Packers, Buccaneers and Titans
The NFL regular season has come to a close after a wild Week 18. The Green Bay Packers hold their top spot in Rankings and are favorites to win it all.
After a dramatic end to the regular season, the fourteen playoff teams have been determined and next week's divisional round matchups are already set. So too is our last list of Power Rankings.
1) Green Bay Packers, 13-4 (1 last week)
It would be unfair to count the Packers loss to the Lions against them. Having already clinced home field Aaron Rodgers, and the rest of the starters played a bit, but that was just to keep them fresh before a much deserved by week. They finish on top of the rankings, and aside from Week 1 they have been the best team in the league.
2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 13-4 (3 last week)
It has been an adventurous season for the Bucs, but they finish second in the NFC and will host all but one game in Tampa Bay on their potential path to the Super Bowl. Brady is rolling, despite having a depleted WR corp. Anyone one who would bet against him in the playoffs is much braver than I am.
3) Tennessee Titans, 12-5 (4 last week)
Who would have thought that the Titans would be tops in the AFC after losing Derrick Henry in early November? Like Sunday’s win over the Texans, it hasn’t always been dazzling, but they have taken care of business and will get King Henry back after the bye week looking to make a Super Bowl run for the first time since the franchises first season in the league.
4) Los Angeles Rams, 12-5 (2 last week)
The second half of the Niners game was not a good look for the Rams. Some of their previous demons surfaced in the week before the playoffs start, but I still think this is the most talented team on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. They won the division, and as a result get to play the free falling Arizona Cardinals.
5) Kansas City Chiefs, 12-5 (5 last week)
The Chiefs have had a strangle hold on the AFC for the last two years. They may not have homefield throughout the playoffs, but this is a team that can hit the road and come out of any stadium with a win. KC is still my favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl for a third straight year.
6) Dallas Cowboys, 12-5 (7 last week)
Dallas spanked the Eagles to finish the regular season with the three seed in the NFC having won five of their last six. Dak has made fans in Big D forget about the mini mid season slump and has them focused on getting America’s Team back to somewhere they haven’t been since 1996.
7) Cincinatti Bengals, 10-7 (6 last week)
You have to hope that the Week 18 loss to the Browns won’t slow the momentum Joe Burrow and the Bengals had coming into the last game of the season. This is currently the most fun team to watch in the entire league, and they look more than capable of knocking off the big boys in the AFC.
8) Buffalo Bills, 11-6 (8 last week)
There were plenty of expectations for the Buffalo Bills coming into the season, but throughout the season those expectations turned to doubts. Josh Allen and the Bills still won the AFC East, but will play a familiar foe in the Pats during the first round of the playoffs.
9) San Francisco, 10-7 (11 last week)
What a display of character by Jimmy G and the Niners to come back on the Rams. Against LA, Garoppolo was the depiction of San Fran’s final stretch of the regular season showing guts, and toughness when the odds were stacked against them.
10) Las Vegas Raiders, 10-7 (15 last week)
It's been a tumultuous year for Las Vegas. They lost their coach, and one of their top receivers which left Las Vegas swarmed in controversy, but David Carr and interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the silver and black to four straight wins over the final stretch, and sealed their playoff spot on the final snap of the NFL’s regular season.
11) New England Patriots, 10-7 (13 last week)
There was a time when the Patriots looked like the best team in the league, or at least one of the best teams in the league, but Mac Jones and New England fans were brought back down to earth in December, losing three of their last four. They will now take on the Bills in the rubber match of the AFC East rivalry.
12) Philadelphia Eagles, 9-8 (14 last week)
The Eagles didn’t have much to play for in the final week and it showed. They went with Gardner Minshew under center which is always an adventure, this time it didn’t play out like Minshew’s first start of the season. The Cowboys waxed the Eagles, but it didn’t have an affect on Philly’s playoff standings.
13) Arizona Cardinals, 11-6 (13 last week)
The Cardinals have backed into the playoffs after their red hot 7-0 start to the season. This team hasn’t looked the same since Kyler Murray’s midseason injury and at the moment the Rams must be quite pleased they drew Arizona in the opening round of the playoffs.
14) Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-7-1 (16 last week)
Pittsburgh did what they needed to do against the undermanned Baltimore Ravens, but they still needed some luck. It looked like they were going to get dealt the most unlucky card in the history of the final week of any NFL season when the Raiders and Chargers were on a crash course for a tie which would have KO’ed Pittsburgh and brought an to Big Ben’s career, but a Daniel Carlson FG pushed Pitt on to the playoffs and we will see Roethlisberger for at least one more week.
15) New Orleans Saints, 9-8 (20 last week)
You have to hand it to Sean Payton. This season was not going to be easy in any circumstance. Losing Drew Brees will leave a vacancy in any team. Losing the quarterback that was brought in to replace Drew Brees didn’t help either. But NO responded after Jameis Winston went down with a knee injury, and were a last minute LA stop of the Niners away from the playoffs.
16) Miami Dolphins, 9-8 (18 last week)
The Dolphins were the only team in NFL history to lose 7 straight and win seven straight. But inconsistency like that won’t get you far in this league. No one really expected Miami to make a playoff push, but the last half of the season will serve this franchise very well in the near future.
17) Cleveland Browns, 8-9 (19 last week)
The AFC’s preseason dark horses had far from a bright season. Injuries plagued the offense all year long. Chubb and Hunt couldn’t stay healthy, and Mayfield played through destroyed left shoulder for the second half of the season.
18) Los Angeles Chargers, 9-8 (12 last week)
Imagine going through the toughest conference in the entire league only to have a loss to the Houston Texans be the game that keeps you out of the playoffs. The Chargers put on a spectacle against the Raiders on Sunday, but were a missed Raiders FG away from the post season.
19) Indianapolis Colts, 9-8 (10 last week)
They came so far only to get let down so hard on the last week of the season. Losing to the Jags in any capacity this season is inexcusable. But when you lose to the Jags when you’re playing for your post season future, you deserve to be kept out of the playoffs.
20) Minnesota Vikings, 8-9 (21 last week)
There’s plenty of promise coming out of Minnesota. Kirk Cousins was extremely efficient this season and he has a super star in the making in Justin Jefferson, but they need to sure things up on the defensive end and need to use this season as a learning lesson on how to win close games late.
21) Baltimore Ravens, 8-9 (17 last week)
The Ravens over came a bucketload of injuries in their backfield to start the season and still looked like one of the top teams in the AFC, but Lamar Jackson’s ankle injury was the straw that broke the camels back. They may have lost five of their last six by three points or less, but they still lost six in a row to end the season.
22) Washington Football Team, 7-10 (23 last week)
They were the darlings of the NFC this season, with Tyler Heinicke winning hearts of NFL fans around the country. Unfortunately WFT were hit with the COVID bug at the worst time possible and the wheels fell off from there.
23) Denver Broncos, 7-10 (22 last week)
The Broncos looked like a contender for much of the season, but Teddy Bridgewater going down with injury tossed Denver in to a spiral in which they lost their last four and any chance of the playoffs disappeared in that stretch.
24) Atlanta Falcons, 7-10 (24 last week)
You just got the feeling the Falcons were never going to be a playoff team. They were hovering around the Wild Card spot until the final few weeks, but very few outside of Atlanta figured the Falcons would be in the playoff mix at the end of Week 18.
25) Seattle Seahawks, 6-11 (27 last week)
What a disappointing season it was for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Losing Russell Wilson didn’t help matters, but even when he came back for the final furlong the Seahawks were well out of contention.
26) Chicago Bears, 6-11 (27 last week)
The Bears will be expecting some big changes in the offseason after a disappointing season. They have a promising young quarterback, but they need some direction and stability in the front office and on the sideline before anything else.
27) New York Jets, 4-13, (25 last week)
Let me put this how you might understand it. The Jets were the best of the worst in the NFL this year. They may not have had many wins, but a couple of their wins came against good teams like the Titans and the Bengals. Zach Wilson looks the most ready for next season of the rookie quarterbacks out side of Mac Jones.
28) Houston Texans, 4-13 (28 last week)
The Texans had to know it was going to be a tough season, and they got exactly what they were expecting. No Deshaun Watson, and they were without Tyrod Taylor for a good portion of the season. They started behind the 8 ball, and were kept there all year.
29) Carolina Panthers, 5-12 (29 last week)
There was actually hope for the Panthers at the beginning of the season, but that hope quickly turned to despair as they lost 12 of the next 14 games to close out their 2021/22.
30) Detroit Lions, 3-13-1 (31 last week)
The good new for the Lions is they didn’t end the season with the worst record in the league. The bad news is the didn’t end the season with the 1st pick in the NFL Draft after beating the Packers on the final week of the season.
31) Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-14 (32 last week)
What a win it was for Jacksonville, who unleashed a bit of frustration on their division rivals and playoff hopefuls the Indianapolis Colts. Let’s see if that win serves as a spark for next season. Oh, and they will get their second consecutive No. 1 draft pick, so the Jaguars are officially on the clock.
32) New York Giants, 4-13 (30 last week)
The Giants don’t own the worst record in the league, but they aren’t far away from it. It was a pitiful season for the boys from the Meadowlands. They lost their last six games, and in five of those games they failed to score more than 10 points. The Giants season was over long ago, but they will be happy this year is officially over.
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