NFL Playoffs Power Rankings Week 1: Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Who's No. 1?

Bear Heiser@@BearHeiserFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2011

NFL Playoffs Power Rankings Week 1: Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Who's No. 1?

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks to his team during the fourth quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won th
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Twelve teams remain after 17 weeks of action. The Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Falcons, Ravens, Colts, Jets, Chiefs, Packers, Saints, Seahawks and Eagles have all made it to the big dance, while 20 other teams sit back and watch while figuring out if they need a corner or a running back. 

    Five teams that made the playoffs last season are part of the group that sits at home (AZ, MINN, DAL, CIN, SD). How many teams that made the playoffs this year won't make it next year? Just wait, I'm gonna tell you.

    NFC North: Green Bay Packers

    NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles

    NFC West: St. Louis Rams

    WC(s): New York Giants, Chicago Bears

    AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

    AFC South: Tennessee Titans

    AFC East: New England Patriots

    AFC West: Oakland Raiders

    WC(s): San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens

    #writethosedownASAP

    The playoffs are here, 

    Oh the playoffs are here, 

    Which happens to be, 

    My favorite time of year.

    That may or may not be a poem. I don't know. 

    And now, what you've all been waiting for: the greatest Week 1 playoff power rankings in the history of the world. #YeahISaidIt

    Don't like my list? I want to hear from you! Share yours in the comments section below. Let's discuss, people! Have any mock headlines? Share those too.

    For more NFL coverage, head over to http://www.BearConsults.com, or you can follow @BearConsults and @RamsReport on Twitter.

12. Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks hugs defensive end Chris Clemons #91 after defeating the St. Louis Rams 16-6 at Qwest Field on January 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 7-9

    I think most of us can agree that the Seahawks don't belong in the playoffs. They did nothing during the regular season to show us they belong. Nine losses by at least 15 points is not exactly a résumé builder.

    Don't see Pete Carroll's squad faring better than the 15-point loss to the Saints back in Week 11. 

    Next Up: No. 5 New Orleans Saints at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks—Qwest Field, 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC

11. Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs is sacked by Kamerion Wimbley #96 of the Oakland Raiders during the game on January 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Im
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 10-6

    It's unfortunate that the acts of two egomaniacs could derail a really good team. I think, at this point, it would be best if Charlie Weis left the team for warmer pastures. 

    Matt Cassel's disappointing performance against Oakland raised some major questions about how far the team can go in the playoffs.

    Next up: No. 5 Baltimore Ravens at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs—Arrowhead Stadium, 1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS

10. New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Rex Ryan and Nick Folk #2 of the New York Jets celebrate with fans after they defeated the Buffalo Bills 38 to 7 at New Meadowlands Stadium on January 2, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bell
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 11-5

    Sucks that the Jets have to face Peyton Manning and the Colts in the first round. Rex Ryan thinks the playoff rematch is "personal," and I kind of agree. I'm just not sure it matters. 

    Next up: No. 6 New York Jets at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts—Lucas Oil Stadium, 8 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC

9. Chicago Bears

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 02:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball after making a catch against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 11-5

    If the Bears lose in the divisional round of the playoffs, Lovie Smith should be fired. The Bears had a ton of momentum built up after beating the Jets in Week 16. With nothing at stake, why bother playing the starting unit? 

    OK, to embellish my point, let's play a little game. In this game, winning means nothing and losing would be similar to a kick in the nuts. 

    Which do you choose? The gratifying win that gets you a hearty pat on the back, the kick in the nuts or the new, third-option you get, which is to not to play at all!

    #justsayin

    Next up: Bye

8. Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Joseph Addai  #29 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular season: 10-6

    I could see the Colts flying under the radar all the way to the AFC Championship Game.

    Peyton Manning is good enough to put the team on his back to carry it for a bit. Because of that fact, I think the Colts will dismantle the Jets in the first round.

    Next up: No. 6 New York Jets at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts—Lucas Oil Stadium, 8 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC

7. New Orleans Saints

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Drew Brees #9 and Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after scoring a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at the Louisiana Superdome on December 12, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated t
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 11-5

    Did Tampa expose a few weaknesses in the Saints in Week 17? It seemed as if Sean Payton threw in the towel when he pulled the starters.

    An easy first-round game up in Seattle should get them back on track for a likely rematch with Atlanta.

    Next Up: No. 5 New Orleans Saints at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks Qwest Field—4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC

6. Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 28: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 10-6

    Even though they didn't secure a first-round bye, most of the Eagles' skill players got a much-needed day off on Sunday. With the Packers looming, Andy Reid needs to work out the kinks that grounded his team against the Vikings.

    If Leslie Frazier can put together a scheme to stop Vick, I would have to imagine that Dom Capers can throw a wrench or two into the game plan. 

    Next up: No. 6 Green Bay Packers at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles—Lincoln Financial Field, 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX

5. Green Bay Packers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 02: Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers carries the ball after making a reception against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on January 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 10-6

    Aaron Rodgers finally won a close game. Is 2011 the year of the Packers? Probably not, to be honest. Even though they came out on top, they were stymied most of the game.

    The Packers will go as far as Rodgers can take them. 

    Next up: No. 6 Green Bay Packers at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles—Lincoln Financial Field, 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX

4. Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 2:  Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens returns a last second endzone interception in the first half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals  at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 12-4

    I'm not sure there's been a better time to play the Chiefs than now. Not sure which is worse: a blowout loss at home to Oakland or the major dysfunction between offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and head coach Todd Haley.

    If the Ravens can keep Jamaal Charles under five yards a carry, I think they'll fare OK. 

    Next up: No. 5 Baltimore Ravens at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs—Arrowhead Stadium, 1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS

3. Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 02:  Thomas DeCoud #28 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates their 31-10 win over the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on January 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 13-3

    The Falcons got very lucky that Carolina graced their schedule with an appearance in Week 17. After losing a heartbreaker to New Orleans at home the week prior, it would have been nice to see how they'd respond. 

    Barring a miracle, either Green Bay or New Orleans will head to the big ATL to face the Falcons in two weeks.

    Next Up: Bye

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 02:  Wide receiver Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown with wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 12-4

    Pittsburgh put on a defensive clinic in Cleveland on Sunday. No question they are the best unit in the league at this point in the season. Scary thing is, they're only going to get better with an extra week of rest. 

    I think a Pittsburgh-New England AFC Championship is inevitable. 

    Next Up: Bye 

1. New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls out the play in the first half against the Miami Dolphins on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 14-2

    The Patriots have been the league's hottest team for the better part of four months and have showed no signs of slowing down. Unless Tom Brady cuts his hair, I don't see them losing.

    Next up: Bye