Article Written By: Julian Beck
With 4 teams eliminated from the Super Bowl run, it is now down to only 8 teams. The teams that won their divisions will be coming off a first-round bye while the other teams will be going into their match-ups with momentum. Now lets see how they rank in these Power Rankings.
#8 Indianapolis Colts
With Andrew Luck under center anything is possible for the Colts. Luck is the truth and one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. It’s only his second season but he plays liked a seasoned veteran. He has also stepped his game up by making better decisions; the evidence is in the reduction of interceptions, 18 in 2012 and only 9 this season. Luck produces with whomever is playing receiver, and TY Hilton is taking advantage of that. The running game is a threat also with Donald Brown able to break off a big run anytime and being able to catch out of the back field. Only thing holding back this team is their very weak defense. Last week they made Alex Smith look like a superstar QB, throwing for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns. They will have a very difficult match-up facing Tom Brady this week. But if Luck can lead this team on offense then the sky is the limit.
#7 San Diego Chargers
Looks like the Bolo Tie has worked once again. Philip Rivers and this offense are very lethal. They finally have a balanced attack and Rivers isn’t throwing interceptions like he was in years past. Philip is finding all the open receivers, throwing the ball away when needed, and making great decisions. Ryan Mathews is also running with force, and breaking off long runs. Danny Woodhead is always the player moving the chains and gaining the tough yards when they are needed. Keenan Allen is the player Rivers trusts the most in finding the end zone. The “Super Chargers” defense isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. Last week they forced four turnovers, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. As long as they are able to put points on the board after forcing turnovers then the Chargers have a good chance to beat any team that gets in their way.
#6 New England Patriots
After having a first-round bye the Patriots should be fully recovered from a long season and will have a detailed game-plan for the Colts. The Patriots don’t have the same offense they had in season passed, but they are still able to put points on the board. Big reason to that is Tom Brady of course. Brady makes everyone around him good and with his competitiveness he can take this team to the Super Bowl. With Gronk out once again the passing attack will have to lean on Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Aaron Dobson. Those three wideouts were able to make big plays consistently throughout the season and will have to continue in the playoffs. If Blount is able to carry the load in the backfield with his physical running then Brady will be able to pass at will.
#5 Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton put this offense on his back and was able to produce with a very limited offense. With Steve Smith getting old, and no other viable wideouts, Newton didn’t slow down. The running attack wasn’t as dangerous as seasons before, but that’s because Jonathan Stewart was hurt and didn’t relive Deangelo Williams in games where he seemed tired. Tolbert was used as full-back most of the season, but when he was playing running back that little cannon ball was able to find the end zone. The defense is the reason why this team had a spectacular season. They forced many turnovers and Cam took advantage of that field position.
#4 Denver Broncos
Yes the Broncos are ranked 4th this week. That’s because this defense has many question marks and has no passing rushers. This defense gives up too many points and forces this offense to put up big numbers, just so they can stay in the game. When this offense is rolling then there is no way of stopping them. All the receivers are capable of putting up big numbers and Manning trusts them all. From Thomas, Decker, Welker, to Julius Thomas and even Moreno. Any of these players are able to kill any defense. D Thomas is one of the best wideouts in the league. He does everything from catching passes down the middle of the field to taking a short screen to the house. If the running game is able to move the chains and open up the passing attack and the defense forces some turnovers then Manning will be able to put points on the board.
#3 New Orleans Saints
Did the Saints finally find a running attack with Mark Ingram? If so then this team may have taken their offense to another level. If Ingram can continue running the ball as physical as he has then he can open up this passing attack. Ingram has been considered a bust since being drafted. If he starts at running back, which he should, then I believe they will have a chance to upset the Seahawks at home. He deserves to start because when he gets the majority of the carries he produces good numbers. Brees is the player that will take this team to the Super Bowl once again or not. Drew hardly has bad games and makes great decisions. They have a tough match-up in Seattle, but it has been proven that the Seahawks can be defeated at home.
#2 San Francisco 49ers
This 9er’s team is making sure they don’t lose the Super Bowl two years in a row. Anquan Boldin will be a big factor to that also. Last season they didn’t have that physical wideout who isn’t afraid to catch passes in traffic or gain tough yards to move the chains. With Crabtree back Kapernick looks comfortable in the pocket and is able to make big plays running the ball since the passing attack is a threat now. But the passing attack only opens up when Frank Gore is able to run the ball. When Frank is rolling so is this offense. But they have a tough match-up against Carolina this week. The 49er’s defense is one of the best in the league in forcing turnovers and should continue to reck havoc allowing Kap to take advantage of the turnovers.
#1 Seattle Seahawks
Once again the Seahawks uphold the number one seed. They are the most complete team from top to bottom. When they place their reserves in the game they’re still as physical and talented as the starters. The Seahawks defense eats up any offense that gets in their way. They have pro-bowlers sprinkled around that D and have two players in the running for Defensive Player of the Year in Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. When this defense is able to create good field position for Russell Wilson and his offense then Seattle is able to gain an early lead. The offense has been playing very good and never turn the ball over. Wilson is playing MVP type quarterback and Marshwan Lynch continues to run in beast mode. This team is the odd on favorite to win the Super Bowl and it’s obvious why.
How would you rank the remaining teams in the playoffs? Write your rankings in the comments below.