|Rank||Team||Quinn Saturday||Tori Ziege||Andrew Vailliencourt||Zak Berliner||Average|
|1||Seattle Seahawks (12-4)||1||1||1||1||1.0|
|2||New England Patriots (12-4)||2||2||2||3||2.3|
|3||Dallas Cowboys (12-4)||3||4||3||2||3.0|
|4||Green Bay Packers (12-4)||4||3||4||4||3.8|
|5||Denver Broncos (12-4)||5||5||5||5||5.0|
|6||Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)||6||7||7||6||6.5|
|7||Detroit Lions (11-5)||7||6||6||9||7.0|
|T8||Indianapolis Colts (11-5)||10||8||8||8||8.5|
|T8||Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1)||9||9||9||7||8.5|
|10||Baltimore Ravens (10-6)||11||10||11||11||10.8|
|11||Arizona Cardinals (11-5)||8||11||12||15||11.5|
|12||Houston Texans (9-7)||15||13||13||10||12.8|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)||13||12||10||18||13.3|
|14||San Diego Chargers (9-7)||12||15||15||14||14.0|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)||14||14||14||16||14.5|
|T16||Buffalo Bills (9-7)||18||16||16||13||15.8|
|T16||Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)||17||17||17||12||15.8|
|18||San Francisco 49ers (8-8)||16||18||18||19||17.8|
|19||Minnesota Vikings (7-9)||20||20||20||21||20.3|
|20||Miami Dolphins (8-8)||19||19||19||25||20.5|
|21||Cleveland Browns (7-9)||23||22||22||20||21.8|
|22||New York Giants (6-10)||21||24||23||22||22.5|
|23||Atlanta Falcons (6-10)||25||25||24||17||22.8|
|24||New Orleans Saints (7-9)||22||23||21||26||23.0|
|25||St. Louis Rams (6-10)||24||21||25||23||23.3|
|26||New York Jets (4-12)||26||26||26||27||26.3|
|27||Washington Redskins (4-12)||27||27||27||29||27.5|
|T28||Chicago Bears (5-11)||29||28||28||28||28.3|
|T28||Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)||30||30||29||24||28.3|
|30||Oakland Raiders (3-13)||28||29||30||30||29.3|
|31||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14)||31||31||31||31||31.0|
|32||Tennessee Titans (2-14)||32||32||32||32||32.0|
Arizona (ranked them 15th): As little faith as I had in Drew Stanton, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, I have even less in Ryan Lindley. The team has been ravaged by injuries, which is unfortunate, but the “next man up” at each position has played comparatively poorly. The team is lucky that it drew the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the playoffs, my next-lowest ranked playoff team.
Jacksonville (ranked them 24th): Most people will probably be shocked with how high I have ranked the Jaguars. I have seen tons of potential out of this team the entire season. Jacksonville has especially been impressive the past few weeks, losing to good teams by comparatively small margins. In addition, out of all the teams I have ranked from 24 out of 32, the Jaguars have, by far, been the most consistent.
Arizona (ranked them 8th): The ultimate “Nobody Believes in Us” Team starts its quest for a home Super Bowl this week. Honestly, the Panthers, who finished 7-8-1, are 6.5 point favorites in this week’s playoff matchup! Here are some things to believe in: defensive captain and run-stopping linebacker Larry Foote is returning to a defense that has had some mental lapses against running quarterbacks, starting quarterback Ryan Lindley finally threw his first TD pass last week so he is now free of that burden and now has more confidence, the Panthers four game winning streak came against a weak lineup of the Saints, Bucs, Browns, and Falcons, and Larry Fitzgerald’s postseason career numbers are 42 receptions for 705 yards and 9 touchdowns in six playoff games. The Cards probably won’t have enough to play a home Super Bowl, but their season isn’t ending this weekend.
Dallas (ranked them 3rd): When it comes to preventing the Seahawks from returning to the Super Bowl, the only team I feel is capable of doing that is the Cowboys. The Seahawks defense is at or near the top of nearly every category, but if there is one trend that links the Seahawks four losses together, it’s rushing yards allowed. Seattle is third in the NFL with 81.5 rushing yards allowed per game, but in all four of their losses they allowed more than 100 yards on the ground (101 to San Diego, 102 to St. Louis, 162 to Dallas and 190 to Kansas City). That sets up well for DeMarco Murray, who had 115 yards and a score when the Cowboys gave Seattle its only home loss on the season. Unlike in years past, the Cowboys don’t have to rely on Tony Romo as much, which was a big reason the Cowboys went nowhere in the postseason. It will be a challenge for Dallas to advance to Seattle (they’d only play in the NFC Championship game) but know that this is the one team the defending champs don’t want to face.
Seattle/New England (ranked them 1st and 2nd respectively): Now I know the Patriots just laid down to the Bills, but can either of these teams be stopped at home in the playoffs? What a Super Bowl this would be.
Detroit (ranked them 6th): The Detroit fan base has been starved of the playoffs, and especially playoff wins. The last time they won in the playoffs was in 1991. This is the best team they’ve had in a long time and the Lions match up nicely with the Cowboys. It should be fun to watch for everyone.
Carolina (ranked them 17th): I based my final rankings off the collective performance of the season, but if I had to make playoff rankings, I would put Carolina ahead of Arizona. This team, despite my mocking of the NFC South throughout the regular season, is playing hot on a four-game win streak and a thrashing of division rival Atlanta. I don’t know if the Falcons were just that bad or the Panthers are just that good, but I see Carolina easily out-playing the lifeless Cardinal offense (at home) this Saturday.
N.Y. Jets (ranked them 26th): I owe Zak Berliner for being the first point this out to me, but did anyone see just how well Geno Smith played against Miami? Smith posted the best passer rating of any QB this season at 158.3. While it’s likely an anomaly, the Jets had an inspiring performance to end the season, and by finally taking the long-needed step in firing Rex Ryan, look to be better on a path for 2015. As a Patriots fan, that’s not something I say lightly.