NFL Power Rankings: Judging Each Team's Playoff Chances in 2013
It's never too early to look into the NFL crystal ball regarding a team's playoff odds.
With only eight teams left in the postseason, many fans are only left to start thinking about what next year could hold.
With that in mind, here's where each team stands and its odds of making the postseason in 2013.
1. Denver Broncos (13-3): 10/10
The Denver Broncos are the best team in the NFL. They're also the most complete.
Peyton Manning has had an MVP-caliber season. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos have one of the best defenses in the league. When you throw in home-field advantage, it's hard not picturing this team in the Super Bowl.
2. New England (12-4): 9/10
You never doubt Tom Brady in the postseason. But the biggest thing going against the New England Patriots is the fact its pass defense ranks 29th in the NFL.
That's a worrying statistic considering all of the talented quarterbacks that would stand between New England and a trip to New Orleans.
3. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): 7/10
The Atlanta Falcons might be the most vulnerable of the teams receiving a bye in the Wild Card Round, and they have maybe the most unfavorable matchup as well.
Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback, without a doubt, but Atlanta is ranked only 24th in total defense.
4. Seattle Seahawks (12-5): 7/10
Sure, the injury to Robert Griffin III affected the game, but the Seahawks were starting to get going when RGIII went down.
Many had doubts as to whether Seattle could win away from home. Its win against the Washington Redskins did a lot to legitimize the hype the Seahawks were carrying into the postseason.
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): 6/10
A lot of the San Francisco 49ers' immediate future rests on the arms of Colin Kaepernick. He's done well so far as the starting quarterback.
This is a very balanced team, and an elite QB could make the difference between simply making the playoffs and lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
6. Houston Texans (13-4): 8/10
At one point, an argument could be made the Houston Texans were the best team in the NFL. They have since cooled off.
There are question marks regarding the pass defense, and as said before with the Patriots, a questionable pass defense isn't something you want in the postseason.
Their matchup with New England could be the most fun of the Divisional Round.
7. Green Bay Backers (12-5): 6/10
The Green Bay Packers desperately need a running game to complement Aaron Rodgers. They have a solid defense, but they'll too one-dimensional right now to make any significant playoff impact.
8. Baltimore Ravens (11-6): 5/10
Ray Lewis is providing plenty of inspiration this postseason. You could see where the Baltimore Ravens are playing with so much emotion that it carries them past the Broncos and Texans/Patriots.
More than likely, though, their average defense will struggle to handle Manning this Saturday.
9. Indianapolis Colts (11-6): 4/10
With Andrew Luck, the sky is the limit for the Indianapolis Colts. This season was a huge achievement for the team.
Next year will interesting to see if the Colts continue to play inspired football. There's quite a few flaws on Indianapolis that caught come around to haunt them.
10. Washington Redskins (10-7): N/A
Until the full medical status of Griffin III is revealed, it's really hard to project where this team will be next year. Kirk Cousins could be a solid replacement if he has to start, but the Redskins would be sorely missing RGIII's scrambling ability.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7): 6/10
The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the hotter teams in the league going into the playoffs. For the second year in a row, Andy Dalton struggled massively against the Texans in the Wild Card Round.
Cincinnati has the tools to compete next year, but it'll have to deal with a much-improved division as well.
12. Minnesota Vikings (10-7): 4/10
If Adrian Peterson runs for 2,000 yards next year, the Minnesota Vikings could make the playoffs. Until Christian Ponder improves, the greatness of Peterson by failing to surround him with enough offensive support.
13. Chicago Bears (10-6): 7/10
Lovie Smith was fired for not getting into the playoffs and making enough improvements offensively. Whoever inherits this team will have a very good chance at postseason football next year.
14. New York Giants (9-7): 5/10
The New York Giants haven't stayed out of the playoffs often under Tom Coughlin. And they seem to play some of their best football when people have written them off.
The NFC East is going to be wide open next season, especially if the RGIII is hobbled for a long period. Don't count out the Giants for a deep playoff run next season.
15. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): 5/10
Oh, Tony Romo. As sure as the temperature drops for winter, Romo wilts as the postseason approaches. Jerry Jones has said that changes will be made, but the biggest change needed is to get rid of Jones
16. Carolina Panthers (7-9): 5/10
The way the Carolina Panthers finished the regular season should offer fans some hope. They won four in a row and five of their last six.
It was the level of play fans expected at the beginning. Next year, though, the NFC South will be absolutely loaded. Getting out of the conference will be a gauntlet.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): 6/10
It's surprising that with all the issues at running back, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished the year .500. At times they've looked very good, and at others, the Steelers have looked awful.
It was a mistake to get rid of Bruce Arians, but there's nothing that can be done about that now. Pittsburgh will be hovering around a playoff spot again next year.
18. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): 3/10
It was great to see Sam Bradford get back on track this season. He really went backward in his development in 2011. Now he's looking like a QB who can be an elite starter in a year or two.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): 4/10
With Doug Martin and Josh Freeman, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a stable backfield for the next few years. It's a shame they have to play in the stacked NFC South
20. New Orleans Saints (7-9): 6/10
Not having Sean Payton definitely hurt the New Orleans Saints. But they have to figure out their defense. It was absolutely atrocious this year.
21. San Diego Chargers (7-9): 6/10
It was long overdue that Norv Turner get fired as head coach. Now the biggest thing is to get Philip Rivers back to an elite level. His 15 interceptions aren't good enough to make the San Diego Chargers a playoff team.
22. Cleveland Browns (5-11): 4/10
The Cleveland Browns are a much better team than warrants a 5-11 record. It's important the organization picks the right head coach, and moving away from Chip Kelly was a step in the right direction.
There's enough talent here that Cleveland could make a surprise playoff run next season. Then again, how many times have Browns fans been telling themselves that?
23. Miami Dolphins (7-9): 3/10
Ryan Tannehill had a very good rookie season that was overshadowed by three rookie QB having other-worldly years.
The Dolphins need to get Tannehill some new targets in the offseason to help him develop
24. Buffalo Bills (6-10): 2/10
The Buffalo Bills are much like the Vikings, at least in regard to the offensive side of the ball. C.J. Spiller can be one of the best backs in the league, but he'll be squandered until the Bills get a steady quarterback.
25. Tennessee Titans (6-10): 1/10
The passing attack needs to improve for the Tennessee Titans. Getting Jake Locker to play 16 games would be a huge step in the right direction.
26. New York Jets (6-10): 2/10
Any proponents of playoff expansion in the NFL simply need to look at the fact that the New York Jets would have been in the playoff hunt had it not been for losses in the last two weeks.
27. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): 1/10
Nobody's quarterback situation is quite as bad as the Arizona Cardinals'. Their record doesn't do justice to how poorly they ended the season.
28. Detroit Lions (4-12): 4/10
Was any team in the league as disappointing as the Detroit Lions? Unlike the Panthers, the Lions never had a stretch where they looked like the team the fans expected
29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): 3/10
It was probably time that Andy Reid moved on. He might be a good coach, but his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles had run its course.
30. Oakland Raiders (4-12): 2/10
Last year it looked like the Oakland Raiders were making some progress. At this stage, it shouldn't be expected they'll ever make the playoffs again until they actually get it done.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): 0/10
There are so many holes in this Jacksonville Jaguars team. It would be a mistake for the team to look at a quarterback in the draft, considering the lack of depth.
Trading for Tim Tebow might be the only opportunity to excite the fanbase.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): 0/10
The Kansas City Chiefs might be the worst team in the league, but they have a core that can start progressing toward the postseason next year. It's imperative the organization make the right decision when it inevitably selects a quarterback in the draft.
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