NFL Power Rankings: Postseason Edition

By Teddy Covers - Covers Expert

The 2016-17 NFL regular season is all wrapped up like a Christmas present nestled under the holiday tree. 12 teams have earned the right to be unwrapped and progress further toward Super Bowl 51, while 20 other teams are simply headed to the garbage heap.

NFL Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L-T (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 same 14-2-0
(13-3-0)
-7 New England
Before we anoint the Patriots as the inevitable Super Bowl champs, let’s note one key advanced metric fact: New England faced the single weakest schedule in the NFL during the regular season.
2 2 same 13-3-0
(10-6-0)
-5.5 Dallas
Since their win over the Steelers in Super Bowl following the 1995 season, the Cowboys are just 3-8 SU in the postseason. They failed to cover the spread in their last playoff win two years ago.
3 3 same 11-5-0
(9-6-1)
-5 Pittsburgh
No team that plays on Wild Card weekend is hotter than the Steelers right now, riding a 7-0 SU, 5-1-1 ATS hot streak into the playoffs.
4 4 same 11-5-0
(10-6-0)
-4.5 Atlanta
How good was Atlanta’s offense under coordinator Kyle Shanahan this year? On a yards per play basis (6.7), they finished a full half yard better than the #2 team in the NFL.
5 5 same 12-4-0
(9-7-0)
-4.5 Kansas City
Unlike last year, the Chiefs are pretty much healthy heading into the postseason. Only rookie special teams contributor Dadi Nicholas is expected to miss their playoff opener.
6 6 same 10-6-0
(9-6-1)
-4 Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers had a QB rating of 96.1 while averaging just 6.4 yards per pass attempt in the first eight games. In the second half, those numbers improved to a 112.9 QB rating and 8.1 ypp!
7 9 up 2 11-5-0
(9-6-1)
-2.5 N.Y. Giants
History bodes well for the Giants if they are able to win their playoff opener. Each of their two Super Bowl titles in the Eli Manning era have come after notching a road win at Lambeau.
8 7 down 1 10-5-1
(8-8-0)
-2.5 Seattle
In their last two games without perennial pro bowl safety Earl Thomas, Seattle has been outgained by 3.3 yards per pass attempt vs. Arizona and by 1.1 yards per attempt vs. San Fran!
9 13 up 4 7-8-1
(6-10-0)
-1.5 Arizona
Arizona’s coaching staff could return intact, with Bruce Arians not expected to make wholesale changes as long as Offensive Coordinator Harold Goodwin doesn’t land a head coaching gig.
10 8 down 2 8-8-0
(7-9-0)
-1.5 Baltimore
Head coach John Harbaugh retained offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, keeping the Ravens fifth offensive coordinator in the last five years despite a poor statistical season.
11 17 up 6 9-7-0
(9-7-0)
-1.5 Denver
It looks as if the Broncos first choice to replace the departed Gary Kubiak will be Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a coach with a family history of success in Denver.
12 23 up 11 9-7-0
(7-9-0)
-1.5 Tennessee
I bumped the Titans up following Week 17, accounting for Marcus Mariota returning as their starting QB next year, not Matt Cassel closing out the season in a meaningless finale.
13 10 down 3 10-6-0
(9-7-0)
-0.5 Miami
The last three times an Adam Gase coached offense has faced Pittsburgh, his team has scored 29, 30 and 31 points while averaging better than seven yards per play!
14 11 down 3 9-7-0
(9-7-0)
-0.5 Tampa Bay
After calling the plays and performing all the responsibilities as head coach, Dirk Koetter is likely to hire an offensive coordinator to do the offensive play calling next year.
15 20 up 5 6-9-1
(7-9-0)
0 Cincinnati
Expect another offseason talent drain in Cinci, with the likes of Andre Whitworth, Domata Peko, Dre Kilpatrick and Kevin Zeitler all heading into free agency.
16 18 up 2 9-7-0
(8-8-0)
0 Detroit
The Lions closed out the season losing to a trio of playoff teams by a TD or more. The only Super Bowl entrant to ever lose three straight to close out the season? The 2009 Saints.
17 15 down 2 7-9-0
(11-5-0)
0 New Orleans
In NFL history, there have been nine seasons in which a QB has thrown for 5000 yards. Marino, Manning, Stafford and Brady all have one season on that list. Drew Brees has done it five times!
18 16 down 2 12-4-0
(10-6-0)
0 Oakland
If Connor Cook starts at QB in Houston on Saturday, he will be the first QB in the last 50 years to start a playoff game without a single career regular season start under his belt.
19 14 down 5 9-7-0
(6-9-1)
0.5 Houston
One week after being benched after a truly dismal debut season in Houston, Brock Osweiler has a chance for redemption as the starting quarterback of a division winning playoff team.
20 12 down 8 8-7-1
(10-6-0)
0.5 Washington
The Redskins brass has a tough decision to make: Pay Kirk Cousins to be their franchise QB or let the QB who threw key ugly INT’s in all three late season losses get paid somewhere else.
21 24 up 3 6-10-0
(6-9-1)
1.5 Carolina
There’s hope for a rebound in Carolina next year, but Cam Newton has to fix what caused him to finish the season with a #28 QB rating on the heels of his #8 ranking last year.
22 21 down 1 8-8-0
(7-8-1)
1.5 Indianapolis
Indy’s situation is rife with uncertainty right now. Owner Jim Irsay hasn’t made up his mind about whether to bring back Coach Chuck Pagano and/or GM Ryan Grigson.
23 22 down 1 7-9-0
(8-8-0)
1.5 Philadelphia
Doug Pederson’s coaching staff could get raided! Offensive coordinator Frank Reich, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and QB coach John DeFilippo are all in line for promotions elsewhere.
24 28 up 4 8-8-0
(9-7-0)
2 Minnesota
This power rating number is probably too low for Minnesota heading into the offseason. They’re a couple of offensive linemen away from being legit contenders next year.
25 19 down 6 7-9-0
(6-10-0)
2.5 Buffalo
GM Doug Whaley got a vote of confidence and will be charged to lead the Bills head coaching search, despite the fact that ownership fired Rex Ryan without his input.
26 25 down 1 3-13-0
(7-9-0)
2.5 Chicago
For a team ranked this low in my power ratings, Chicago has enormous upside for 2017. Injuries and poor QB play doomed 2016, but there’s hope for the future.
27 26 down 1 5-11-0
(7-9-0)
2.5 San Diego
The Chargers sent Mike McCoy packing after another lousy season. The problem, of course, is that McCoy didn’t create their injury woes and few candidates can match his resume.
28 27 down 1 3-13-0
(8-8-0)
3 Jacksonville
The Jaguars head into the offseason with a Top 5 draft pick for the sixth consecutive year and a Top 10 pick for the tenth straight season, both NFL records for futility.
29 30 up 1 5-11-0
(6-10-0)
4.5 N.Y. Jets
Todd Bowles kept his head coaching gig, but offensive coordinator Chan Gailey retired and five assistants were fired, ensuring more offseason upheaval.
30 32 up 2 1-15-0
(3-12-1)
5 Cleveland
I truly believe Hue Jackson when he promised that the Browns would not be a 1-15 football team next year. They’re loaded with high draft choices and salary cap space.
31 29 down 2 4-12-0
(4-11-1)
6.5 Los Angeles
As a rookie, Todd Gurley ran for more than 1100 yards at 4.8 yards per carry. In 2016, Gurley didn’t have a single carry of longer than 25 yards while averaging only 3.2 ypc, a massive decline.
32 31 down 1 2-14-0
(5-11-0)
7 San Francisco
49ers fans cannot be happy with this quote from Ned York: “I own this football team. You don’t dismiss owner. I’m sorry that that’s the facts and that’s the case, but that’s the facts.”

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.