The Super Wild Card Weekend to kick off the NFL playoffs did not disappoint by any measure. Nearly all of the six games played were compelling and entertaining, which fans can only hope foreshadows things to come. Of course, the fun is just beginning, especially for those fans looking to make a major on the Super Bowl winner. Bovada has tons of odds and options for the entire NFL playoffs. After all, it wouldn’t be a shock to see any of the eight remaining teams make it to Tampa next month for Super Bowl LV. That being said, some teams are in better shape than others. Let’s run through the power rankings of the eight teams still alive for a spot in the Super Bowl.
The Browns looked like world-beaters while jumping on the Steelers 28-0 in the first quarter of last week’s game. However, those 15 minutes aren’t exactly emblematic of who the Browns are as a team. Cleveland has a wide range of concerns that opposing teams are capable of exploiting this deep into the playoffs. For example, the Cleveland pass defense has been suspect all season. The Browns are now dealing with injuries on the offensive line. To be fair, the tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is one of the best backfield duos in the NFL. Teams that can run the ball effectively always have a chance in the playoffs. However, the Cleveland running game has to overcome a lot of deficiencies in other areas.
Los Angeles Rams
We all know that defense wins championships, which is why the Rams are not to be taken lightly. But the uncertainty of the quarterback position is almost enough to negate the best defense in the NFL. Jared Goff was miles from being 100% against Seattle last week after undergoing thumb surgery late in the regular season. That’s why he only played after starter John Wolford was lost to injury. As a passer, Wolford has limitations, and the same is true of Goff until he proves his thumb is back to full strength. While Cam Akers helps to give the Rams a productive rushing attack, Los Angeles is too reliant on its defense right now to be considered a serious threat.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady’s team is always a threat do make some noise in the playoffs, even if he’s playing for the Buccaneers. Tampa’s problem has been wild inconsistency this season. To be fair, the Bucs got hot down the stretch, although they didn’t exactly play a challenging schedule. Even in the Wild Card Round, all they did was beat a 7-9 Washington team. That was just the second time this season the Buccaneers beat a team that made the playoffs. While Brady and the Tampa offense can be something special, the Bucs still have a lot to prove when it comes to beating playoff-caliber opponents.
5. Baltimore Ravens
It took a little bit of time, but the Ravens have finally found their stride, specifically reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. Taking down Tennessee in the Wild Card Round was a sign that the Ravens are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Outside of Jackson’s brilliance, the Baltimore defense did an incredible job of slowing down Derrick Henry and the Tennessee rushing attack. With the Ravens now able to win games on the defensive side of the ball, they’re capable of beating teams in multiple ways. However, there are questions that linger about Jackson’s ability to lead the Ravens to victory if Baltimore falls behind and must throw the ball late in games.
The Bills could not be more confident or have more momentum than they do right now. If not for giving up a Hail Marry pass against the Cardinals, Buffalo would be winners of 11 in a row. They’ve even been added to the list of teams allowed to have fans for home games. Josh Allen is as dangerous as any running quarterback not named Lamar Jackson and is also throwing the ball with great confidence and accuracy. On top of that, Stefon Diggs has arguably been the best wide receiver in the NFL this season. In other words, the Bills can keep up with any team in a shootout and are never out of a game as long as there’s time left on the clock. Of course, the caveat is the Buffalo defense, which looked vulnerable against the Indianapolis running game last week and needs to create takeaways in order to slow down top-flight offensive teams.
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s hard to find too many concerns with a team that went 14-2 during the regular season, especially since the Chiefs didn’t bother trying to win in Week 17. That being said, the Chiefs played nothing but close games during the second half of the season, winning seven straight games by six points or less. Obviously, Patrick Mahomes makes them a serious threat to win every game they play. But a lackluster rushing attack and a defense that isn’t always reliable could make Kansas City vulnerable against the best of the best. The good news for the Chiefs is that Mahomes is the great equalizer.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints looked like the most complete team that played during Wild Card Weekend. Defensively, New Orleans has difference-makers at all three levels. Offensively, things are starting to click now that the Saints are starting to get healthy and get all of their best playmakers on the field at the same time. One of the few concerns for New Orleans is that Drew Breesisn’t exactly in his prime anymore. It remains to be seen if he can still play well enough to take the Saints to the Super Bowl. The good news is that his supporting cast is arguably the best in football right now.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is likely going to win the MVP Award, which is enough to put the Packers at the top of the power rankings. The connection between Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams has been unstoppable this season, not to mention the balance that running back Aaron Jones brings to the Green Bay offense. Defensively, the Packers are far from the best team that’s left in the playoffs. However, the Green Bay pass rush is good enough to cause problems when the Packers have a lead. Plus, Rodgers and company have no problem winning a high-scoring game, elevating the Packers slightly above the rest of the NFL