NFL Power Rankings: Playoff Edition

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Jan 1, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

To ascertain cover32’s power rankings, statistics such as points per game, yards per game, points allowed per game, and yards allowed per game were averaged and compiled with power rankings from the top sports authorities and analysts from around the industry to arrive at the current projection.

Power rankings have been updated for every NFL team heading into the playoffs of the 2016 season.


AROUND COVER32

Winners and Losers:  NFL Week 17 — The fat lady has sung

QB Rankings:  NFL Week 17 — The last dance

Five Questions:  NFL Week 16 — Jerry’s World is a-rockin’

Power Rankings:  NFL Week 17 — 2016’s Curtain Call

cover32 Exclusive:  NFL Pick’ems Week 17 — In a blink


NFL Power Rankings:  Playoff Edition 

1. New England Patriots (14-2)

With home field advantage throughout the playoffs up for grabs in week 17, the Patriots secured the number one seed in the AFC and will play at home for the duration of the postseason. This will be New England’s eighth straight division title and their 14th since the year 2000.

2. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)

Lead by the outstanding play of their star rookies, the NFC East division champions enter the playoffs with home field advantage as the the NFC’s top seed, while clinching a first-round bye. For the Cowboys, it is only their fourth division title since 1998 and could be the makings of the next great dynasty in Dallas.

3. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)

The Falcons finished the year as division champs and move into the postseason with a first-round bye as the second seed in the NFC. Since its creation in 2002, the Falcons have now claimed their fourth NFC South division title.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

Opportunity struck for Kansas City in week 17, when the Raiders lost and opened the door for the Chiefs to lock up the highly contested AFC West. Moving from the fifth seed to the second, the Chiefs now find themselves with a bye in the first-round and guaranteed at least one home game in the playoffs.

5. Green Bay Packers (10-6)

With the NFC North division title coming down to the final week of the regular season, the Packers came out on top of the Lions in convincing fashion and stole their fifth division crown over the past six years. Green Bay went from Wild Card contender to the NFC’s fourth seed as the head into the postseason.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

The Steelers are offensive juggernaut and enter the playoffs as the AFC’s three seed. They will have to play some of their best football to make their way through the postseason, but look to have the best shot of knocking-out the Patriots and representing the AFC in Houston this February.

 7. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)

The Seahawks ran away with the NFC West, claiming their third division title in four years and their eighth since the division’s inception in 2002. After failing to reach the Super Bowl last year, the Seahawks hope to return as the NFC’s third seed, but will have to be more consistent in the playoffs than they were through the duration of the season.

8. New York Giants (11-5)

The Giants have been one of the league’s better teams over the second-half and will look to continue their surge into the playoffs. Unable to catch Dallas in the NFC East, New York had to settle for the NFC’s fifth seed. It would be unwise to overlook this team, as Eli Manning has a way of capturing postseason magic.

9. Oakland Raiders (12-4)

The Silver and Black were looking like one the postseason favorites in the AFC, when disaster struck in week 16 with Derek Carr suffering a broken fibula. Without their star quarterback, Oakland was unable to protect their AFC West lead and dropped the division title to the Chiefs as the season came to a close. The Raiders went from the number two seed and a first round bye, to the fifth seed in the AFC and playing in the Wild Card round.

10. Miami Dolphins (10-6)

The Dolphins have played really strong football down the stretch, despite losing Ryan Tannehill to injury and having Matt More fill-in. Miami reached the playoffs as the AFC’s sixth seed and will open the postseason in Wildcard Matchup.

11. Detroit Lions (9-6)

The Lions were in control of their destiny, but were unable to hold off the surging Packers as they surrendered the NFC North division title to Green Bay in week 17. Detroit was still able to sneak into the playoffs with the Redskins losing and was fortunate to end up as the NFC’s number six seed.

12. Houston Texans (9-6)

Even with their quarterback situation in-flux, the Texans managed to lock up the much maligned AFC South and earn a spot in the postseason as the number four seed in the AFC. They open the playoffs with a Wild Card-round matchup and don’t figure to factor much beyond that.

– Miles Dittberner, is the National Editor of cover32 and also covers the Minnesota Vikings. Like and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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