Rick Zamperin: Chiefs sit atop NFL playoff power rankings

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) will try to lead his team to a second straight Super Bowl title. AP Photo/Brett Duke

The NFL‘s regular season wrapped up on Sunday and 14 teams are now left standing in the battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Only one team is going to end up becoming Super Bowl LV champions in Tampa, Florida, but which clubs have the best shot at football immortality?

Here is my NFL playoff power rankings.

14-Washington Football Team. Washington won the NFC East with a 7-9 record and is the only playoff team with a sub.-500 record. QB Alex Smith is a great comeback story but if Washington’s second-ranked defence can’t hold the fort — starting this weekend against Tampa Bay — they will have no chance of extending their season.

13-Chicago Bears. Chicago started the season 5-1, then lost six games in a row, before closing out their campaign with three wins in their last four games. They’re playing their best football of the season but will be hard pressed to make a long playoff run.

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12-Cleveland Browns. The Browns are playoff bound for the first time since 2002 after going 11-5. Cleveland has the No. 3 ground attack in the NFL, but they are two weeks removed from losing to the New York Jets and nearly lost last Sunday to a Pittsburgh team than rested a number of its starters.

11-Los Angeles Rams. Bolstered by the league’s top-ranked defence, the Rams have shown flashes of excellence on offence but will be hard pressed to make any noise if QB Jared Goff’s thumb injury keeps him on the sideline.

10-Tennessee Titans. Derrick Henry won his second consecutive rushing crown after becoming just the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season (he finished with 2,027) and added a league-high 17 TDs. Tennessee’s downfall will be their 28th ranked defence, by far the worst among all playoff teams.

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9-Indianapolis Colts. Phillip Rivers and the Colts have been one of the most balanced and consistent teams in the NFL this season. Indy has also benefited from having the second best turnover ratio (+10) in the NFL and will need a few of them to get past Buffalo in the Wild Card round.

8-Seattle Seahawks. At 12-4, the Seahawks are a battle tested unit that can keep up with the best offences and defences in the league. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, Seattle will be a handful this post-season.

7-Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting the season 11-0, Pittsburgh has lost three of their last four games. However, with a dynamite defence and a well-rested Ben Roethlisberger at QB the Steelers are well equipped to make a deep run.

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6-Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak in which Tom Brady threw 12 TDs and the team averaged 37 points. The knock against the Bucs this season, though, is that of their 11 victories this season only one came against a team with a winning record (Green Bay).

5-Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore finished the season 11-5 after ripping off five straight wins before the finish line. The way that quarterback Lamar Jackson is playing right now, the Ravens are going to be a tough out.

4-New Orleans Saints. Rumours are swirling that soon-to-be 42-year-old QB Drew Brees will retire after this season. The future Hall of Famer remains an important cog in the Saints wheel, but they will rely on the explosiveness of running back Alvin Kamara and their fourth-ranked defence to go all the way.

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3-Green Bay Packers. MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers, at age 37, enjoyed his most productive season in four years. Coupled with receiver Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones, they make up the league’s most lethal three-headed monster.

2-Buffalo Bills. The Bills are the team that no one wants to face in the playoffs. Buffalo roared to a 13-3 record on the strength of quarterback Josh Allen, receiver Stefon Diggs and their rock solid defence. Buffalo is a bona fide Super Bowl contender.

1-Kansas City Chiefs. K.C. rested a bunch of players in their final regular season game and so QB Patrick Mahomes and co. will be raring to go in two weeks time. Until a team knocks off the defending champions, who went 14-2 this season, the Chiefs remain the favourite to win it all on Feb. 7.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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