The NFL regular season is half over. Here are PFPod’s Midseason Power Rankings.
Think of PFPod’s Rankings as the half-breed love-child of traditional “Power Rankings” and the NFL playoff format: from Best to Worst, we rank the 8 divisional leaders and our two favorite wild card teams from each conference. Our Top 12 rankings give you all the fun of a college poll AND a meaningful outlook on the NFL playoff picture!
Top 4: Bye-week bound Divisional Leaders
1. Kansas City Chiefs. (8-0). All eight of the Chiefs’ wins have come against teams without winning records. In the second half of the season, KC will play five games against opponents above .500 (the Broncos and Chargers twice apiece, plus a game against the Colts). We’ll be shocked if the Chiefs finished better than 12-4.
2. New Orleans Saints. (6-1). After watching Drew Brees throw for five TDs last week, we started fantasizing about a Saints’ Super Bowl run that would pit Brees, the single season record-holder in passing yards, against a string of other QBs who have at least one of the 25 best performances for passing yards in a single NFL season. Imagine Matt Stafford leading the Lions to New Orleans for a duel between two of the three active QBs who have ever passed for 5,000 yards in a season. Brees could then face former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game, before a dream rematch in the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning, whose record setting pace of nearly 6,000 passing yards this season would obliterate Brees’ current watermark of 5,476 yards.
3. Indianapolis Colts. (5-2). Coming of their bye week, the Colts have a pivotal game against the Texans on Sunday night. If Houston wins, the Texans would revive their hopes of winning the AFC South. Indy must win Sunday if they want the league to believe the Colts are ready to win a championship. Six-point home wins over Seattle and Denver just aren’t enough to convince us that the Colts are capable of winning the Super Bowl.
4. Seattle Seahawks. (7-1). Seattle’s offense struggled mightily against the Rams’ pass rush last week. While few teams in the NFL can get at Russell Wilson as quickly as the Rams did on Monday, the Seahawks should be worried about the Saints’ defense, which is averaging more sacks per game than St. Louis.
Best of the Rest: NFL Power Rankings 5-12
5. Denver Broncos. (7-1). While holed up in Billings, MT last weekend, I watched the Sunday Night Football game at Fiddler’s Green Sports Bar. The bartender was wearing an Elway jersey, and the waitress on duty had on her Shaun Alexander Seahawks’ jersey. And that’s when it dawned on me: if we get the Broncos and Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, Montana police are going to be really busy on February 2 and 3.
6. Cincinnati Bengals. (6-2). In last week’s Power Rankings, John questioned my ranking of Cincy ahead of New England. Well, the Bengals just stomped a Jets team that one week ago bludgeoned Brady with his own man-purse. Advantage: Howard.
7. Green Bay Packers. (5-2). Eddie Lacy will be an X Factor in the postseason.
8. New England Patriots. (6-2). Tom Brady is on track to have his worst statistical season since 2006– the last time he did not make the Pro Bowl.
9. San Francisco 49ers. (6-2). The 49ers are still the weakest of the two-loss teams in the NFL right now. Colin Kaepernick has only thrown for more than 200 yards twice this season, and chances are, he won’t fare well in their next game against Carolina’s stingy defense.
10. Detroit Lions. (5-3). After playing three quarters of pitiful football, the Detroit Lions dropped 24 points in a miraculous 4th quarter comeback against Dallas. Is it just me, or does Matt Stafford’s game-winning touchdown seem like the pivotal moment that began the Lions’ 2013 playoff run?
11. San Diego Chargers. (4-3). The 3rd place team in the AFC West is chomping at the bit for their first game against the Chiefs. If Philip Rivers can avoid making turnovers (plural), the Chargers will sweep the season series.
12. Dallas Cowboys. (4-4). When your turnover margin is +4 in a game, you’re supposed to win. The Cowboys did not last week. Hence, the Eagles, Redskins, and Giants all remain in the hunt for the NFC (L)East title.