NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs, Rams and Niners
The Kansas City Chiefs won one of the wildest games we have ever seen in the playoffs, and take the top spot in this week's NFL Power Rankings
It was one of the wildest weekends in the history of the NFL, with all four games being decided on the final play of the game. Three of the four favorites fell in the Divisional Round, with the only home team holding serve being the Kansas City Chiefs in a stunning finish at Arrowhead.
1) Kansas City Chiefs, 12-5, 3 last week
The Chiefs had the ball last in Arrowhead Sunday night, which is why they are going to the AFC Championship for the fourth time in four years. Whoever had the ball last was winning that close contest.
The Bills looked like one of the best teams in the playoffs after their thrashing of the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs, which set of for a blockbuster matchup in Kansas City this weekend.
I’m sure you’ve seen, or at least heard of how the Chiefs won so I won’t recap that, but the fact that the Chiefs were able to fend of the elimination twice in the last two minutes shows you that this is a team that not only play like champions, but they have a resilience of a champion.
They have won 11 of the last 12 and their only loss came in Week 17 against the Bengals. I’ve always been of the mindset that the rematch is much tougher for the team that won the first match up, so we’ll have to wait and see if that theory proves true against the NFL’s newest sweetheart, Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
2) Los Angeles Rams, 12-5, 2 last week
I’ve been big on the Rams since they shook off their mid season slump and rattled off five of their last six. They made all the right moves at to bring in mid season signings that are playing a huge role at crucial moments in big games.
Take Vonn Miller’s strip sack and recovery that seemed like it would seal the deal for Los Angeles, until the Rams’ fumbled snap just a play later or Odell Beckham Jr.'s six catches for 69, and his role on the team is growing by the week.
It’s true they were up 27-3 midway through the third quarter. It’s also true they gave up 24 unanswered points to let the Bucs tie up the game with under a minutes left, but against Tom Brady that’s kind of expected at this point. The Rams survived and Matt Stafford went from not having won a game in the playoffs to 2-0 this post sesaon having just knocked off the greatest quarterback.
3) San Francisco, 10-7, 8 last week
San Francisco’s miraculous run continues after knocking off the top seed in the NFC, and what many people around the league considered the favorite to win the Lombardi Trophy.
The San Fran defense is looking like the strongest remaining unit left in the playoffs. They are physical, they are ferocious and they have proved they can win a game for the Niners, even against one of the best offensive teams in the league.
It may seem like fortune has favored San Fran in the last few weeks. Think about the game tying drive against the Rams to get into the playoffs, the last play against the Cowboys, and the blocked punt to start the comeback bid against the Packers. They say you have to be good to be lucky and the Niners are proving they are a bit of both. How much longer will that luck stay on the side of San Francisco?
4) Cincinnati Bengals, 10-7, 7 last week
The only thing the Bengals have going against them is youth and inexperience. As a franchise that hadn’t won a playoff game in over 30 years before the the win over the Raiders in the first round of the playoffs. That means a whole generation of fans are witnessing something they have never experienced in this playoff run.
They have second year QB Joe Burrow, a rookie star wide out, and a 38 year old coach in Zac Taylor. They youth might be their biggest asset. Guys this early in their career are not usually in these situations, and perhaps that lightens the pressure for a team who was not expected to get anywhere close to where they are at the moment.
Burrow has got the best of Patrick Mahomes once already, can he do it a second time to get the Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988.