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The regular season ended with some playoff teams peaking while others limped into the post season. Both the Saints and Colts ended what had been perfect seasons with losses, while the Chargers ran the table with 11 straight wins. As a result, the Bolts have moved to the top of our rankings while the other two wonder whether they can turn things around in the playoffs.
The Vikings ended their 3-game losing skein with the dismantling of a disinterested New York Giants team. Along the way, they regained the NFC's #2 seed when Dallas whitewashed an Eagles team that crashed and burned. Accordingly, the Vikings get a week of rest and then a divisional round playoff game in the Metro-dome, while the Eagles need to travel back to "Big D" for a "do over."
The Patriots, Cardinals and Bengals all decided to take the safe route with little to gain. Unfortunately the Patriots lost the NFL
's leading receiver when Wes Welker tore the ligaments in his knee. The Ravens and Jets took care of business to hold onto their AFC wild card slots.
The teams that are playing the best heading into the playoffs are the Chargers, Packers and Cowboys. As the Cardinals proved last year, though, that is not always the best predictor of post season success. While the Colts and Chargers appear to be the clear favorites in the AFC, it is conceivable that any of the 6 NFC teams could reach the Super Bowl.
- Chargers (13-3)- Could be team to beat after 11 straight wins
- Colts (14-2)- Lost momentum and disappointed players
- Saints (13-3)-Confidence down heading into playoffs
- Packers (11-5)-Played to win and keep momentum
- Vikings (12-4)- Giant destruction helps regain #2 seed
- Cowboys(11-5)-Feeling great as NFC East champs
- Eagles (11-5)-Total meltdown in Dallas, set for "do over"
- Patriots (10-6)-Loss of Welker will be very costly
- Cardinals (10-6)-Starters back might not be enough for Pack
- Ravens (9-7)- Have ingredients to be scary in playoffs
- Jets (9-7)- Great defense and good running game
- Bengals (10-6)- Rolled over in finale, but still strong D
- Steelers (9-7)- Pulled out another, but too little, too late
- Texans (9-7)- First winning season, but no post season
- Falcons (9-7)- Strong finish to disappointing season