Final NFL Power Rankings

William Del PilarContributor IJanuary 5, 2010

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 3:  Backup Quarterback Billy Volek #7 and Fullback Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers celebrate their game-winning touchdown pass and catch for the Chargers 23-20 win over the Washington Redskins during their NFL Game on January 3, 2010 at Quolcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

This was one of the most exciting fantasy football and NFL seasons I have seen in years despite what looks like a lot of disparity between teams because of records. The Oakland Raiders , Cleveland Browns , Kansas City Chiefs , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Chicago Bears and others all upset quality teams. How does it shake out? First and foremost these rankings follow the trend of how teams are playing now. It’s funny because some teams that are out of the playoff race may be better than ones that made it in. I judge based on how they’re playing and not by their records.

Diatribe Note: The parenthesis after the team indicates last week’s rank and teams in the underachieving and worst tiers sections are from worst to best.

Top 5 NFL Teams

1. San Diego Chargers 13-3 (1)
2. Green Bay Packers 11-5 (5)
3. Minnesota Vikings 12-4 (NR)
4. Dallas Cowboys 11-5 (NR)
5. Indianapolis Colts 14-2 (3)

Comments: The Chargers are playing a class above everyone else and are the team to beat entering the playoffs. The Vikings ended the season well with two strong offensive performances albeit against inferior teams. The Packers can play with anyone after turning the corner with their offensive line woes. Can you say Packers-Vikings rematch? That’s the matchup I want to see.

The Cowboys should not be taken as lightly as they are in early playoff talk. That could come back to haunt the field and embarrass analysts’ predictions! The Colts are here because of how dominant their starters were in going 14-0. They have to prove they can come out of a layoff and regain their mojo. It’s something they haven’t been able to do in the past. There you have it, the top five teams ending the season.

Top 5 Underachieving NFL Teams

1. New York Giants 8-8 (1)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (NR)
3. Chicago Bears 7-9 (4)
4A. Tennessee Titans 8-8 (2)
4B. Carolina Panthers 8-8 (NR)
4C. Atlanta Falcons 9-7 (4)

Comments: Another embarrassing loss for the Giants in the final week in a season that we’ll remember as one of the worst debacles in recent team history. This is especially true after they started 5-0 and looked like Super Bowl contenders.

The Steelers should have been the team others feared the most entering the playoffs because they’re in every game to the end. Their lack of focus and inability to take care of business in losses to the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns came back to bite them.

The Jay Cutler era began with a thud in 2010. Although he looked better over the final few weeks, it’s obvious he wasn’t the answer they thought he would be. This team needs help on both sides of the ball along with the maturation of Cutler before they can move forward.

The Titans, Panthers and Falcons combined to go 9-3 over their final four weeks, which was impressive but too little too late for the playoffs. While they ended the season strong and have something to build on, few will argue their seasons were disappointing and underachieving.

5 Worst NFL Teams

1. Seattle Seahawks 5-11 (1)
2. Washington Redskins 4-12 (5)
3. Detroit Lions 2-14 (3)
4. St. Louis Rams 1-15 (2)
5. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 (4)

Comments : The Seattle Seahawks supposedly had the talent to compete for a division title but inept coaching combined with injuries and poorly evaluated talent cost them. Three blowouts in the last month tell me Jim Mora has to go, and if he doesn’t Seattle is in for another long season in 2010.

The Washington Redskins just quit, and owner Daniel Snyder’s insistence on overpaying players shows his fantasy football formula is not working. In all honesty, I see that team and see nothing but quitters and losers who stopped caring but didn’t stop cashing their checks. 

The Lions are just bad and did not improve as much as I thought they would. However, injuries hurt them and this is a three to five year building program. The Rams, like the Lions, are just bad but have a franchise running back to build around and some promise with other players. They are a two to four year rebuilding project.

The Chiefs were bad, but out of these teams they were the fun ones to watch. They did make their games exciting. They need an overhaul of personnel but have their future running back and quarterback in Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassel , respectively, to build around.

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