Matzek's NFL Playoff Power Rankings

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Matzek's NFL Playoff Power Rankings

CREATED Jan 4, 2012

The power rankings this week focus on this year's crop of playoff teams. I chose to leave the non-playoff teams out because they just don't matter anymore.

1 (1). GREEN BAY PACKERS - Number 1 seed in the NFC. The Packers have played and beaten every NFC playoff team with the exception of the 49ers. The road to Indianapolis runs through Green Bay, where the Packers were undefeated this season.

2 (2). NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Number 3 seed in the NFC. The Saints are the hottest team in football right now. Their last loss was a head-scratcher against the Rams on October 30th.

3 (3). NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Number 1 seed in the AFC. Most other years, Tom Brady would be a lock for MVP.

4 (4). SAN FRANCISCO 49ers - Number 2 seed in the NFC. Same comment as last week: In the year of the quarterback, I just can't see Alex Smith rising above the rest to win a championship.

5 (6). BALTIMORE RAVENS - Number 2 seed in the AFC. All four of their losses this season came on the road. The Ravens swept the home schedule and beat four playoff teams in the process.

6 (5). PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Number 5 seed in the AFC. They have two healthy running backs on the roster, Isaac Redman and former WI Badger, John Clay. They will carry the load with Rashard Mendenhall on the shelf with an ACL injury.

7 (8). NY GIANTS - Number 4 seed in the NFC. They'll host Atlanta, the...

8 (9). ATLANTA FALCONS - ...number 5 seed in the NFC, in what I believe is the most difficult game to pick during wild card weekend.

9 (7). DETROIT LIONS - Number 6 seed in NFC. How the heck do they plan to stop Drew Brees in the climate-controlled conditions of the Superdome?

10 (12). CINCINNATI BENGALS - Number 6 seed in the AFC. Feels like they're playing with house money as no one expected the Bengals to be a playoff team pre-season. They have the most favorable road test in the opening round at Houston.

11 (11). HOUSTON TEXANS - Number 3 seed in the AFC. They've lost three straight to non-playoff teams and are limping in to the playoffs with TJ Yates at quarterback.

12 (16). DENVER BRONCOS - Number 4 seed in the AFC. The Tebow story has been fascinating, but his season will come to an end this weekend when Tebow's Broncos host the Steelers in the wild card round.

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