NFL Power Rankings: Wild Card Weekend

By Teddy Covers - Covers Expert

Teddy Covers unveils his final Power Rankings as we transition into the postseason. The NFC boasts the top three teams in his final rankings with the the Texans the lowest-rated team still left standing.

NFL Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L-T (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 same 13-3-0
-6 Arizona
The Cardinals special teams are a big concern moving into the postseason. They’ve struggled to defend returns all year and kicker Chandler Catanzaro is missing field goals and extra points.
2 3 up 1 10-6-0
-6 Seattle
The Seahawks have RB Marshawn Lynch back in practice, and there’s a decent chance Seattle will get ‘Beast Mode’ back on the field in Minnesota for their Wild Card game.
3 2 down 1 15-1-0
-5.5 Carolina
The Panthers elite defense has suffered some major injury losses in recent weeks, with cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere both suffering season ending injuries.
4 4 same 12-4-0
-3.5 New England
This power rating number is waaaay too high TODAY for an injury riddled Patriots team that has lost four of their last six. But numerous key players could be back on the field after the bye.
5 6 up 1 10-6-0
-3.5 Pittsburgh
After losing stud RB LeVeon Bell earlier in the season, Mike Tomlin just lost his replacement DeAngelo Williams. New starting RB Fitz Toussaint has 24 career carries.
6 7 up 1 12-4-0
-3 Cincinnati
The Bengals defense has been the best in the NFL against the deep ball, ranked #1 in the NFL against passes that travel at least 16 yards from the line of scrimmage.
7 8 up 1 12-4-0
-3 Denver
The unexpected return of Peyton Manning in Week 17 sparked his teammates as Denver rallied for the win. But Manning didn’t erase questions about his arm strength in cold weather games.
8 9 up 1 11-5-0
-3 Kansas City
Trend bettors take note: Teams riding a winning streak of eight games or more coming into the playoffs (like the Chiefs) are on a 1-14 ATS slump in their first postseason game since 2004.
9 11 up 2 11-5-0
-2.5 Minnesota
Teddy Bridgewater is not a downfield thrower and his coaching staff knows it. Only the Chiefs attempted fewer deep passes than Minnesota this year.
10 10 same 10-6-0
-2 Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 13 times in the last two weeks alone, and his 6.7 yards per pass attempt in 2015 looks miniscule compared to his 8.4 ypp last year.
11 5 down 6 10-6-0
-2 N.Y. Jets
New York picked a bad week to play some of their worst football of the season. I thought they were Super Bowl contenders, but instead, they’ll be watching the playoffs on TV.
12 12 same 9-7-0
-2 Washington
Jay Gruden was able to rest starters after halftime last week once the Redskins took a commanding lead, leaving Washington ‘fresher’ than most on Wild Card Weekend.
13 14 up 1 8-8-0
0 Buffalo
The good news? The Bills spoiled the Jets season, and Rex Ryan got revenge on his former employer. The bad news? They’re missing the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season!
14 15 up 1 7-9-0
1 Detroit
Pre-game quotes indicated that Detroit would play hard in Week 17 for embattled head coach Jim Caldwell. They did, closing out the season one Hail Mary away from a 7-1 2nd half mark.
15 17 up 2 7-9-0
1 Philadelphia
After spending the last three seasons gutting the roster in favor of players who would excel in Chip Kelly’s system, ownership foolishly pulled the plug following just one bad year.
16 13 down 3 8-8-0
1.5 Atlanta
Well regarded coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense was ‘too much at times’ according to QB Matt Ryan, but Ryan expects significant improvement following another offseason of study.
17 16 down 1 9-7-0
1.5 Houston
The Texans are, by far, my lowest power rated playoff team. The betting markets agree, installing Houston as a +3 or +3.5 point home underdog on Wild Card Weekend.
18 19 up 1 7-9-0
1.5 New Orleans
Drew Brees is 37 years old, but he’s looking for a contract extension after throwing for more than 4,800 yards in each of the last five seasons, with 30+ TD passes in eight straight years.
19 18 down 1 6-10-0
2 N.Y. Giants
After a dozen years with the G-men and two Super Bowl titles, the NFL’s oldest head coach – Tom Coughlin – called it a career after his third straight losing campaign.
20 20 same 7-9-0
2 Oakland
After compiling a 19-4 TD-INT ratio with a 104.3 QB rating over the first half of the season, Derek Carr regressed down the stretch: a 13-9 ratio and a 79.2 QBR in his last eight games.
21 21 same 7-9-0
2.5 St. Louis
Things are not hopeless for this long dormant franchise. The Rams have the ground game and the defense to make some noise in 2016... if they can find a decent quarterback.
22 24 up 2 8-8-0
3 Indianapolis
Owner Jim Irsay is not always the most rational billionaire out there, but he made a smart, rational decision to sign well regarded head coach Chuck Pagano to a contract extension.
23 22 down 1 6-10-0
3.5 Chicago
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase is a hot commodity in the offseason carousel, which probably means that Jay Cutler will be forced to learn yet another new offense in 2016.
24 23 down 1 6-10-0
4 Tampa Bay
No team in the NFL relied more on rookies than Lovie Smith’s squad. Tampa led the NFL with 4,499 snaps from first year players, 1,200 snaps more than the #2 team (Chicago).
25 25 same 5-11-0
4.5 Jacksonville
Head coach Gus Bradley signed a contract extension prior to Week 17 and his team played with none of the passion of a squad trying to save their coach’s job in another ugly blowout loss.
26 27 up 1 4-12-0
4.5 San Diego
The Chargers fired multiple assistant coaches following their disappointing season, but the real issues in San Diego are talent deficiency and poor health.
27 28 up 1 4-12-0
5 Dallas
Expect Dallas to be lined in the range of 8.5 wins again next year, even on the heels of this dismal 4-12 campaign. A healthy Tony Romo puts them immediately back in contention.
28 32 up 4 6-10-0
5 Miami
From a pure personnel standpoint, the Dolphins rank higher than #28 in terms of talent, but there’s uncertainty everywhere for a team about to hire a new GM and head coach.
29 29 same 5-11-0
5.5 Baltimore
The Ravens stayed competitive, losing nine games by one score this year, despite a severely depleted roster after their barrage of injuries. They’ll be no major offseason shakeup here.
30 26 down 4 3-13-0
6 Cleveland
The Browns didn’t lay down in their season finale, actually getting six more first downs than the Steelers got. They still got whipped and their coach still got fired after the game.
31 30 down 1 5-11-0
6 San Francisco
Jim Tomsula went ‘one-and-done’ in San Francisco, and the York family ownership group is widely regarded to be among the weakest in the NFL. What mistake will they make next?
32 31 down 1 3-13-0
6.5 Tennessee
The Titans are looking for a new coach and a new GM. Persistent rumors have ownership looking to sell and CEO Steve Underwood doesn’t want to be there, coaxed out of retirement.

Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.