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NFL Power Rankings Heading Into Wild Card Weekend

The NFL playoffs are here! After a hectic slate of games in Week 18, we finally have insight into the paths for each team to make it to Super Bowl LVI. With a full season of games behind us, how do the teams stack up? More importantly, who are the favorites to make a deep run in the 2022 NFL Playoffs? Going into a loaded Wild Card Weekend, here are your NFL playoff Power Rankings.

nfl power rankings wild card weekend playoffs
Credit: Getty Images

NFL Power Rankings: NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend

1) Green Bay Packers (13-4) (Next Week: BYE)

The Green Bay Packers are coming off a loss to the Detroit Lions, but not many are putting stock into the game. While the offense wasn’t great, it looked like the Packers were simply going through the motions. They will have an extra week to rest and prepare and have All-Pro offensive lineman David Bakhtiari back. The special teams has improved for the Packers, but their porous running defense has not. If they face off against a team that can run the ball with force, it’ll be hard to get a win even at home. Luckily for the Packers, they have the weather of the Frozen Tundra on their side. They enter the playoffs in the top spot of our NFL Power Rankings.

2) Tennessee Titans (12-5) (BYE)

When the Titans went into halftime with a 21-0 lead over the Houston Texans, it was largely believed they’d coast to an easy victory. Instead, Houston scored 18 unanswered over the next quarter and a half of play. While Tennessee came away with a win and locked up the top seed in the AFC, they have plenty of things to work on. Many of their problems will be solved by the likely return of Derrick Henry. This team has plenty of holes but their offense can put any opponent in big trouble with their grit and grind play.

3) Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) (vs PIT)

The biggest problem for the Chiefs is that they cannot stop the run for the life of them. They were destroyed on the ground by the Denver Broncos this past week and barely escaped Mile High Stadium with a win. Defenses now know to sit back on Patrick Mahomes and force him to be patient and take what’s given to him. He often gets antsy and tries to make plays that simply aren’t there. With Tyreek Hill being hampered by a heel injury that he suffered in warmups and played through, it’ll be interesting to see how much of his explosiveness is lost. Without a big-play threat, they could find it hard to make the Super Bowl again. The Chiefs are the highest team in the NFL Power Rankings that will play this weekend.

joe burrow NFL betting odds trends 49ers vs Bengals prediction stream
Credit: Sports Illustrated

4) Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) (vs LV)

There isn’t much to note from Cincinnati’s 21-16 loss in Cleveland to the Browns. Nobody of note on the offense played, minus receiver Ja’Marr Chase. It was smart to give their team a rest given there was very little to play for in Week 18. The offense on paper can put up points with any of them but needs their offensive line to step up. Their line is easily one of the worst in the league. Their defense is solid, but it won’t be able to hold up if Joe Burrow is getting pummeled all game. This team’s fate rests firmly on the shoulders of their offensive line.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) (vs PHI)

Tampa Bay struggled out the gate against the Carolina Panthers. It appeared the Buccaneers still had a hangover from their game with the New York Jets where they barely escaped with a win. Tampa Bay pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Carolina 24-7. The Buccaneers offense has had trouble getting started a lot of times this season and can’t afford to do the same come playoff time. While the defense isn’t near what it was last year, you can never count out a Tom Brady-led team in the playoffs.

6) Buffalo Bills (11-6) (vs NE)

The Bills may have won four straight to finish the season, but it did little to put their fans at ease for the playoffs. Buffalo has had a hard time all season winning against bad teams. Much of that has to do with the play of quarterback Josh Allen. A legitimate MVP candidate last season, Allen has struggled with accuracy and consistency all season. The Bills defense is not what it has been in years past, especially with the loss of Tre’Davious White for the season. Josh Allen will need to reclaim some of last year’s magic to make a run in the AFC.

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7) Dallas Cowboys (12-5) (vs SF)

Dallas’ offense rebounded nicely against the Philadelphia Eagles putting up 51 points. The defense wasn’t great overall but it didn’t matter with Dak Prescott rolling. The question for Dallas come playoff time is whether or not they can break their streak of playoff woes. Dallas will be tested mightily against the 49ers. San Francisco’s run offense is no joke and their defense will likely create fits for the Dallas offense. If the Cowboys start slow like they have so many times this season they could have trouble getting a win. If Dak and the boys are ready to play, however, there are few who can stop them.

8) Los Angeles Rams (12-5) (vs ARI)

The Rams jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead on the 49ers on Sunday. The game quickly took a turn for the worst when the 49ers started to impose their will on the ground. Los Angeles’ defense looked like a shell of itself allowing the 49ers offense to go 88 yards to tie up the game, sending it to overtime. Questions have to be asked of Matthew Stafford as he once again left plenty to be desired. His decision-making, especially in the last few possessions was downright bad. The Rams are going to need Stafford to be at his best against a Cardinals team that will be a handful for the Rams’ defense. If he continues to struggle, it might be all she wrote for the Rams.

Kyler Murray Cardinals nfl power rankings
Credit: Arizona Cardinals

9) Arizona Cardinals (11-6) (at LAR)

Maybe the biggest question in the entire NFL Playoffs will be what comes out of the Cardinals. Last week, the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys on the road, ending their three-game losing skid. This week, the Cardinals lost to the Seattle Seahawks at home in a game that could’ve seen them crowned NFC West champions. Outside of the first drive in the game where Arizona returned a fumble for a touchdown, Seattle scored on six of their next nine possessions. If Seattle can score at will on Arizona, the Cardinals don’t have a chance in the playoffs. With J.J. Watt possibly coming back for the playoffs, the Cardinals need him to step up immediately or risk being a first round exit. While they aren’t ranked high in the NFL Power Rankings, they are very dangerous.

10) San Francisco 49ers (10-7) (at DAL)

The San Francisco 49ers may very well be the most dangerous team in the playoffs. Their running game may be the best in the league and their defense is getting healthy. With the team as a whole seemingly hitting their stride at just the right time, the sky is the limit for them. While Dallas will be a tough out for sure, the 49ers have shown this season that they are more than capable of getting tough wins on the road. If defense really does win championships, however, the 49ers should have no problem. They are an interesting team in our NFL Power Rankings.

11) New England Patriots (10-7) (at BUF)

12) Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) (at CIN)

13) Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) (at TB)

14) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) (at KC)

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