NFL

Football Insiders Divisional Round Power Rankings

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Which teams have the best opportunity to advance to the conference championship games next weekend?  We’re going to rank the eight teams that remain in the tournament.

1. New England Patriots- The Patriots might not be the very best team remaining, but they have the best chance to advance.  The Chiefs may be without their best offensive weapon in Jeremy Maclin, and it’s unlikely that Alex Smith has the arsenal around him to out-duel Tom Brady in Foxboro.

2. Arizona Cardinals- The Cards might be the best team in the NFL and the only reason that they’re not No. 1 is because they’re playing against Aaron Rodgers.  Bruce Arians will have Arizona ready to go on Saturday against a team they obliterated a few weeks ago.

3. Denver Broncos- Denver is far from a sure thing with their quarterback situation, but they do have the best defense in the NFL and Wade Phillips leading that defense.  They are catching the Steelers at the right time with the injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.

4. Carolina Panthers- I know it’s “disrespectful” to have the team with the best record in the NFL at No. 4 after a bye week.  It has everything to do with their opponents on Sunday and their recent playoff success.  If Carolina can win Sunday, they can beat anyone.

5. Seattle Seahawks- Seattle knows how lucky they are to still be playing, and it will take a much sharper effort on Sunday to beat Carolina.  Fortunately for them, the pressure is on the Panthers and the weather will be much better for Seattle to utilize their deep passing game.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers- A healthy Steelers team might actually be favored over these Broncos, but we’re not dealing with a healthy team.  Pittsburgh’s best players are banged up and if Ben’s arm isn’t strong, they won’t be able to dink and dunk for points against this defense.

7. Green Bay Packers- The Packers looked great against the Washington Redskins, but they’re facing an entirely different animal in Arizona.  Much of the Packers success was based on the Washington secondary and the Green Bay receivers will have a much tougher time getting open on Saturday night.

8. Kansas City Chiefs- If Kansas City played Denver, they likely wouldn’t be favored, but they would have an excellent chance to win.  They’re traveling to Foxboro, where Tom Brady is 14-3 in the postseason.  It’s been a nice season for the Chiefs, but the 11-game winning streak will be snapped on Saturday.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.