NFL Power Rankings | Conference Championships | Rams, Bengals, Chiefs
After a wild three weeks of playoff football, it's the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals who will square up in Super Bowl LVI on February 13th.
The NFC and AFC have their representatives for Super Bowl Sunday in less than two weeks time. Following one of the most exciting postseasons in NFL history, it’s the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals who will be kicking off at Sofi Stadium on the February 13th. After three exhilarating weeks of do or die football, we go back and place each playoff team from top to bottom in our final edition of NFL Power Rankings.
1) Los Angeles Rams, 12-5, heading to Super Bowl
The Rams made sure that the rest of the league knew they were ALL IN prior to the regular season. They built a super team on the offensive and defensive side of the ball to assure they would be fighting for the Lombardi Trophy at their home stadium on Super Bowl Sunday.
2) Cincinnati Bengals, 10-7, heading to the Super Bowl
The Bengals were already one of the shocks of the NFL season when they not only made the playoffs, but won the AFC North. They handled the Raiders, and then knocked off a vulnerable top seeded Titans. Don’t know how many people actually had Burrow and the Bengals beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead, but as we’ve seen this season, the Bengals are no strangers to shelling out shocks this season.
3) Kansas City Chiefs 12-5, KO in AFC Championship
It was a fourth straight AFC Championship in Arrowhead, and a chance to go to a third straight Super Bowl for Kansas City. It looked done and dusted in the first half when the Chiefs led the Cincy by 18 points. But the Bengals responded to rattle Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense into just three points in the second half.
4) San Francisco 49ers, 10-7, KO in NFC Championship
The Niners were playing on their lives since before the postseason started, but they continue to win with their backs against the wall. First, down 14 to the Rams in Week 18, then holding off the Cowboys in the last play of the game, and finally their 13 special teams points were enough against the Packers on a night where their offense could get nothing going. They gave the Rams all they had, but couldn’t hold on to get to their second Super Bowl in three years.
5) Buffalo Bills, 11-6, KO in Divisonal Round
How history could have changed if the Josh Allen and the Bills would have won the coin toss before overtime in Arrowhead. Their offense was hitting stride at just the right time, and Josh Allen looked unstoppable through the air and with his legs. The only thing that could derailed them was Mahomes and the Chiefs getting the opening possession of the overtime session which sent them packing at the hands of Kansas City for the second straight year.
6) Green Bay Packers, 13-4 KO in Divisional Round
The Packers looked like and were the best team in the league all regular season long. They overcame the offseason Aaron Rodgers soap opera to bounce back and finish as the top seed in the NFC. The week off they earned as the best team in the conference looked like it took a toll on the Packers. Their offense looked out of sorts, and their special teams lost them the game against the 49ers. Will that the last time we see Rodgers in a Packers jersey?
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 13-4, KO in Divisonal Round
Defending a Super Bowl title is not an easy thing to do. It gets even harder when you lose two top receivers heading into the postseason. Brady and the Bucs almost worked another miracle late in the game against the Rams. They overcame a 24 point 3rd quarter deficit to tie the game up, but left too much time in regulation for Matthew Stafford to drive down the field and set up a game winning field goal to end the Bucs repeat bid.
8) Tennessee Titans, 12-5, KO in Divisional Round
Losing Derrick Henry certainly had it’s affect on the Titans, but they still finished the season with home field and a bye after clinching the top spot in the AFC with their Week 18 win over the Texans. Getting Henry back seemed to hurt the Titans as well, as they looked like a team without an identity on the offensive end. If Henry could have come back for one game before the playoffs, it could have been a different story for Tennessee, but throwing him to the lions in his first week back from had an adverse affect on the top seeded Titans.
9) Dallas Cowboys, 12-5, KO in Wild Card Round
No one really knew what to expect from the Cowboys coming into the season. They got Dak Prescott back after his horrific injury, and Mike McCarthy finally had a full squad to compete with. Things were gliding right along in Big D. A 7-2 start gave Cowboys nation the faith to believe that America’s team could return to the Super Bowl more than 20 years later. The offense that was the best in the league for much of the regular season was non existent in the playoff game against the Niners, and the Cowboys Super Bowl run quite literally ran out of time in the Wild Card round.
10) Las Vegas Raiders, 10-7, KO in Wild Card Round
You have to tip your cap to the resilience of the Raiders and former coach Rich Bisaccia, who took over in difficult circumstances following the abrupt firing of Jon Gruden. Then they lost Henry Ruggs III after he was involved in a fatal high speed clash weeks after Gruden was let go. After Bisaccia led the Raiders to four straight wins to end the regular season, including that overtime thriller over the Chargers in Week 18. The run ended against the eventual AFC Champions, but the Raiders have to be proud they achieved with the adversity they had to overcome.
11) Philadelphia Eagles, 9-8, KO in Wild Card Round
The Eagles came out of nowhere to clinch a Wild Card spot in the NFC. They won six of seven on the back of sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts before losing to the Cowboys in Week 18. Their post season run was cut short by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who thrashed the Eagles 31-15. Things are looking up for the Eagles who have a young quarterback and a good base to build around in the City of Brotherly Love.
12) New England Patriots, 10-7, KO in Wild Card Round
The Patriots were at one time the hottest team in the AFC, winning seven straight gams and temporarily claiming the top spot in the conference. Mac Jones was the best of any quarterback to come out of last year’s deep draft class. They really struggled coming out of their bye week in Week 14, losing three of their last four. The Bills buried a sinking Patriots in the playoffs, crushing New England 47-17. It may have been a dark ending to the season, but the future looks bright for Bill Belichick and Pats nation.
13) Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-7-1, KO in Wild Card Round
No one expected the Steelers to make a deep playoff run after just squeaking in to the postseason on the last snap of the regular season. Even Ben Roethlisberger knew that Pittsburgh had very little chance of getting past the Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs, saying the Steelers “didn’t have a chance” so why not “just go play and have fun.” The 42-21 beating they took from Kansas City probably wasn’t the most fun but at least they went in to the game with no expectations.
14) Arizona Cardinals, 11-6, KO in Wild Card Round
Arizona had the best start of any team in the league, going 7-0 to begin the season, but stumbled into the playoffs. They lost four of their last five to close out the regular season, and they became the team that everyone in the NFC wanted to play. The Rams did what everybody expected them to do in the Divisional Round, which was demolished Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. A disappointing end to a season that started with such promise.