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HomeSportNFLNFL power rankings: 49ers, Bills, Tigers head into super wild-card weekend

NFL power rankings: 49ers, Bills, Tigers head into super wild-card weekend

The 2022 regular season has finally come to an end. Now it gets really interesting.

The playoffs promise drama, and a team’s ultimate immortality. But before that, let’s take a final look at the Big 32 league. Next week, we’ll reduce our breakdown to only cover teams that qualify for the playoffs. That means saying goodbye to 18 other teams, including the Lions, a top-10 team that couldn’t find a spot at the end of the NFL playoff game of musical chairs.

Then there’s the 49ers who lost their top two quarterbacks and still serve as our Top teams enter the playoffs with double-digit winning streaks. It’s been a different kind of year in the NFL.

Let’s keep the weird coming.

Don’t forget to check out Dan Hanzus and Colleen Wolfe’s NFL Power Rankings Podcast . There are new episodes every Tuesday throughout the season.

San Francisco 49ers

Previous Rank: No. 1

Niners failed to achieve them A goal for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but everything else is fine for Kyle Shanahan’s team, which will take a 10-game winning streak in a super wild-card weekend against the Seahawks. Brock Purdy has elevated the quarterback game since replacing Jimmy Garoppolo (one of the craziest developments of the 2022 season), and Sunday’s win over the Cardinals ushered in two more dynamic players. Playmakers: wide receiver Debow Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell. The Eagles have the bye and home-court advantage, but the Niners have the best chance of coming out of the NFC.

Previous rank: No. 3

will not throw coin. The Tigers capped off an exciting week with a 27-16 win over the Ravens, ensuring Sunday night’s playoff hate game against Baltimore will be played at Paycor Stadium. Zach Taylor’s battle-tested team will enter the playoffs with eight straight wins and is on track to return to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. Of course, a lot of it had to do with Joe Burrow, the superstar quarterback who was reminded of his limitless charisma when asked about Cincinnati’s championship window after the game. “Windows have been my entire career,” Barrow replied. “Everyone in our locker room, all of our coaches, things change every year, but our window is always open.” You’re with the that guy bet?

Previous rank: No. 4

The Chiefs took care of business on Saturday, easily beating the Raiders for the AFC No. 1 seed for the third time in five seasons. Patrick Mahomes will make the playoffs after another stellar regular season, which will almost certainly lead to his second league MVP award. Mahomes leads the NFL in touchdown passes (41), passing yards (5,250) and QBR (77.6 yards) — the Triple Crown winner at the game’s most important position. The fact that he’s still a dominant force after losing future Hall of Fame wide receiver Tyreke Hill to an offseason trade only reinforces the understanding of Mahomes’ generational greatness. Kansas City has never won fewer than 12 games in his five years as a starter. A trip to the third Super Bowl could be next.

Previous rank:No. 5

The Eagles did what they needed to do on Sunday, beating a Giants team that rested all key starters and finally locked in The top seed of the League of Nations. Sounds like Philly needs all that extra rest before the divisional round of the playoffs. Jalen Hurts returned after a two-week absence and finished the game, although Nick Sirianni’s postgame comments were a bit concerning. “We don’t feel there’s a greater risk [of further injury], but I know he’s injured and he’s hurt badly,” the coach admitted. If Hertz “hurts badly” after two weeks off, is there any guarantee that he’ll be visibly better on the other side of the hiatus? The Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes may be pinned on their quarterback’s ability to run offense and defense without reservation.

Dallas CowboysLos Angeles ChargersDallas Cowboys

superior 1 Rank: No. 6

Is this how you get to the playoffs? Cowboys fans were ringing alarm bells after their team capped off a lackluster end to the regular season with a 26-6 loss to the Commanders. With Philadelphia’s win keeping the Mavericks out of the top seed and NFC East title, the game doesn’t really mean anything in terms of playoff positioning — the fifth-seeded Cowboys visit the fourth-seeded Bucs on Monday night — but it’s likely Wondering if Dallas will be able to flip the switch on either side of the ball. Any route adjustments start with Dak Prescott, who went 14-for-37 against Washington, which included his third pick in four weeks, and needs to clean up his turnover-prone ways. Meanwhile, another loss in the playoffs could keep Mike McCarthy in trouble. Big D is under increasing pressure

Detroit Lions

Previous rank: No. 7

The Chargers were locked into the AFC’s fifth seed ahead of the regular-season finale, but Brandon Staley opted to start anyway. It was a decision that could have been second-guessed, especially after star wide receiver Mike Williams was sent to the locker room with a back injury in the second quarter. “These were not easy decisions,” the coach said after the loss to the Broncos. “They weren’t easy decisions and in hindsight it would have been perfect for everyone out there, but these games weren’t easy to manage. They weren’t because you didn’t have that many players and we did it to the best of our ability.” Worth Note that Staley appears to have locker room support and Williams is expected to play against the Jaguars. I should have forgotten about it by the end of the week.

Minnesota Vikings

Previous rank: No. 10

Don’t feel sorry for the lion. They weren’t part of the playoffs, but Dan Campbell’s team got everything it could have asked for in the 2022 season. Sunday night’s 20-16 win over the Packers knocked out a longtime playoff bully and capped an encouraging year on a high note. “Listen, I certainly don’t want to hear about those ‘old lions’ anymore. That’s what it’s all about,” Campbell said after the emotional win. “There’s a lot going on, and it all comes with winning, but, Yes, I want to be a part of building a whole new brand. Campbell did just that and deserves serious consideration in Coach of the Year discussions.

Minnesota VikingsNew York Giants

Previous rank: No. 11

All worries about the Vikings can officially stop. You can take them as seriously as most 13-4 division champs…or you can ignore their success and take it Viewed as a product of a fluke regular season. The truth is, none of that matters anymore. The playoffs have a way of weeding out pretenders from contenders, and it all starts with Minnesota playing against the Giants on Sunday. The Vikings could blow it all, or They can stage elite playoff drama over multiple rounds. They’re a tough team to navigate, which makes them a good team to own. Our own wilderness move mystery of.

New York GiantsNew York GiantsGreen Bay PackersSan Francisco 49ers

Previous rank: No. 13

Brian Daboll Made the easy decision to send most of his starters to a pointless Week 18 final against the Eagles. That leaves the Giants healthy and rested for Sunday’s wild-card round against the Vikings. Minnesota is 13-4 going into the showdown, but a close game on Christmas Eve (the Vikings beat the Big Blue on a 61-yard field goal in the last second) showed that, from a talent standpoint, How close these teams actually are. It’s been a successful season for a New York team that looks closer to the No. 1 pick than the playoffs in training camp. Defeating the Vikings would be considered a major organizational conquest.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous rank: No. 9

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Packers lost in January An important game. Despite the successes of the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay, there’s no denying that, as we saw Sunday night against the Lions, missteps throughout the season have been part of the story. As for Rodgers, his future remains to be seen. The 39-year-old did look like a quarterback contemplating his future as he left the field on Sunday. “It’s kind of rusty now,” Rodgers said after the loss. “I want to clear the emotions and have a conversation, to see where the organization is, to see how I feel as time passes.” The dance begins again.

Previous rank: No. 14

Mike Tom Mike Tomlin just doesn’t have a losing season. The venerated head coach has done it again, digging from a 3-7 hole in November to finish 9-8, given the ever-evolving roster and the rookie quarterback who started most games. , which is a remarkable achievement.An intense finish to the regular season is one step away from a playoff bid, but Pittsburgh looks like a team that could be ready to seriously compete as soon as next year . As for that rookie QB: Kenny Pickett showed considerable improvement in the second half of the season. His rise and the return of All-Pro game-wrecker TJ Watt on defense are the two biggest reasons for the team’s surge. Neither player is going anywhere.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay BuccaneersTampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous rank: No. 12

John Harbaugh opted for a more cautious approach in Week 18, resting Tyler Huntley and the rest of the starters in a loss to the Bengals, meaning Baltimore will return to Paycor Stadium for Sunday night’s season A grudge match between opponents in the post-match. The decision to keep Huntley out of harm’s way clearly shows that Lamar Jackson’s return is far from certain before this weekend. Jackson hasn’t played or practiced since Dec. 4 with a knee injury — Baltimore has totaled four touchdowns in the five games he’s missed. “He wants to play,” Harbaugh said Monday. “There is no doubt that this is how I feel.”

Tampa Bay BuccaneersMiami Dolphins

Previous rank: No. 15

The Bookers will host a playoff game against the Cowboys on Monday night Team, the Cowboys feel vulnerable after the regular season. Still, facts are facts: The Buccaneers’ loss to the Falcons on Sunday, as the only team with a losing record to make the playoffs, was frustrating for a team that seemed allergic to building any kind of momentum. To be fair, Tom Brady was knocked out with four minutes left in the first half; if GOAT had played four quarters, we probably wouldn’t be talking about the first losing season of his 23-year career. For a team that could benefit from it, the playoffs represent a clean slate.

Miami Dolphins

Previous Rank: No. 16

This Not a beautiful thing, but the Seahawks have nothing to apologize for. Pete Carroll’s team — thought by most pundits to have come up with it after Russell Wilson’s blockbuster trade — beat the Rams in overtime, plus the Packers’ loss to the Lions Sunday Night Football . Geno Smith threw his 30th touchdown pass of the season in the finale, and now the veteran is getting his first taste of the playoffs in a tortuous career of nearly 10 years. Drawing a strong Niner in the first round is tough enough, but Seattle has defied expectations all year. Why stop now?

New England Patriots

Previous rank: No. 20

The Dolphins are back in the playoffs thanks to a day of defense amid continued quarterback position uncertainty. The 11-6 victory over the Jets means the Fins will beat the Bills again, less than a month after Miami claimed the AFC East title at Orchard Park. Tua Tagovailoa was good in that game, but it’s still uncertain whether the starter will return this season. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Monday that Tagovailoa has not been cleared for any football activity after entering concussion protocol on Dec. 26. Asking journeyman Teddy Bridgewater or rookie Skylar Thompson to win a playoff game in Western New York feels like science fiction.

Washington CommandersWashington Commanders

Previous rank:No. 18

Panthers enter another offseason hoping to find a long-term solution at quarterback, but The first task is to identify the head coach. Steve Wilks received positive reviews for his work in the interim position and is scheduled to formally interview for the full-time position on Tuesday. Wilkes would be a smart hire, but Scott Fittler did sound like a GM looking to bring in someone from the outside when he met with the media on Monday. “It’s a division we can take over,” Fitler said, offering his thoughts on why a job with the Panthers is attractive. “That opportunity is there. It’s up to us to go for it. I think they see it.”

Previous rank: No. 17

A strange, disappointing season ended in a frustrating loss to the Bills, including two crushing special-teams meltdowns that yielded 14 Buffalo points. It’s a fitting ending: Throughout the season, we’ve witnessed breakdowns in the traditionally impenetrable New England region. Bill Belichick returns for a 24th season, but there could be big changes — both on the roster and on the coaching staff. “Nobody’s happy with that. It’s not our goal. We need to improve on that,” the legendary coach said of the 8-9 record on Monday. “So it’s all of us — there’s accountability everywhere, starting with me, the coaching staff, the players, every unit. These are issues that we’re going to address and that process will probably start later today.”

Previous rank:No. 22

In Ron Rivera’s three seasons, the Commanders have yet to set a winning record, but the team does A surprisingly one-sided victory over the .500 mark over the Cowboys in the final. Sam Howell’s first NFL pass was for a touchdown, but Washington’s defense powered the win, holding Dak Prescott to just one touchdown and keeping Dak Prescott One of the worst statistical performances of his career. Washington entered the offseason with uncertainty on multiple levels, with obvious questions at the quarterback position. The next few months will be critical for the future of the organization.

New Orleans Saints

Previous rank:No. 19

In an ideal world, Jarrett Stidham is out for the second straight week, his season-ending The audition led the Raiders into an offseason full of optimism for the young pass rusher. In fact, Stidham was fine in a season-ending loss to the Chiefs. Maybe it’s for the best. Regardless, Stidham doesn’t get enough field reps to allow the team to make any meaningful long-term decisions at quarterback; the Raiders are better off making aggressive moves in a potential post-Derek Carr world. Speaking of which, finding a business partner for the former starter was the first big deal. Despite clearly losing the trust of his own team, Carr has the potential to pay off handsomely in a trade.

Previous rank: No. 25

Titans play in Week 18 A valiant fight, before a disastrous error created a touchdown, beat the popular Jaguars in 55 minutes, which played a role in the 20-16 loss. While losing a game and a division in such a dramatic fashion is obviously painful, it’s also a team in decline that will never make the playoffs China shines. “We didn’t do enough — we lost too many games,” coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. “That kind of self-reflection, no one is judging that they did a good enough job because we didn’t win. … The short answer is: not good enough.” Changes are inevitable, they announced Monday from offensive coordinator Todd Downing and Three other aides were fired to begin.

Previous rank: No. 21

The Jets hit rock bottom in December and January, and the resulting six-game losing streak ruined what should have been a major stepping stone season for the eternal star Seasons – Cross franchises. The good news is that even with Gang Green continuing to wander in the quarterback wilderness, there are some legitimate players on the roster to wrap around. The position can be addressed this offseason, but teams should start by taking care of their position. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Quinnen Williams told reporters Monday that he hopes to reach a new deal by April. In recent years, the Jets haven’t been great at keeping homegrown stars happy. This trend needs to stop here.

Atlanta Falcons

Previous rank: No. 23

one The frustrating season ended with a final setback, a 10-7 win over the Panthers, the Saints’ first double-digit loss season since 2005. Although the team is yet to make it official, head coach Dennis Allen told the media he is working hard and expects to return in 2023. “I don’t see the need to discuss this further,” Allen said in his status. “And I’m certainly going forward with that expectation, that’s what I’ve been instructed to do. I’m excited about it. Again, 7-10 is not what we want. But we’re not like maybe some people might be Think that’s far off.” If Allen survives, his second season could be in trouble.

Houston Texans

Previous rank: No. 24

The Browns are changing defensive leadership. Cleveland announced Monday that it has parted ways with Joe Woods, who has served as the team’s defensive coordinator since Kevin Stefanski took over as head coach in 2020. The team has improved in the final weeks of the season, but it’s still a burden game for too many teams, especially against the running back. The Browns rank fifth in the league in pass defense (196.2 yards allowed per game), but only 25th in run defense (135.2 yards allowed per game). The team has requested interviews with Patriots defensive assistant Jerrod Mayo and Steelers defensive assistant Brian Flores about their DC vacancies.

Previous rank:No. 27

Dean Pees’ Happy Footsteps , he announced he was ending his coaching career after 50 years after Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers. It’s the third time Pease has announced his retirement, but the 73-year-old thinks he’ll stick with it this time. “Right now, my ego and my heart are telling me to stay,” he said. “But my mind and my body told me it was time.” On the other side of the ball, let’s show some love to Tyler Allgeier, the rookie running back who has put up more than 1,000 yards on the ground this season without a turnover. The Falcons entered the offseason with an offense built around offense.

Previous ranking: No. 28

Broncos end order on a positive note Disappointing season, beating the Chargers in Jerry Rosberg’s final game as interim coach. Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the win and it was a productive game that capped what should have been a grim debut for Denver. Finding a coaching and offensive scheme that gets Wilson to (or at least close to) his former heights is the organization’s top goal in 2023. It’s a delicate balance, however: The Broncos need to get the quarterback in top shape and improve his position without falling into the trap of making Wilson the sun the rest of the team surrounds.

Chicago Bears

Previous rank: No. 26

When Baker Mayfield was badly beaten in overtime Van Jefferson, it marked the end of the Rams’ attempt to beat the Seahawks in Sunday’s regular-season finale. Could the loss also mark the end of Sean McVay’s famous tenure in Los Angeles? On Monday, the head coach told reporters he was weighing his options. “I think what I want to do is be able to spend the right amount of time,” McVeigh said. “Never been through anything like that, but you make sure you think about the people affected.” McVay does sound like a coach preparing to take a day off from the sidelines. If that happens, the Super Bowl LVI champions could be in for an offseason of dramatic change.

Previous rank: No. 31

Texans in their draft Got the pocket behind the No. 1 pick. Then things got weird: the desperate fourth-and-20 touchdown, the two-point conversion, the final defensive stand. Almost impossible, the Texans left Lucas Oil Stadium with a 32-31 victory, gift-wrapping the No. 1 pick to the Bears in the process. From a competitive spirit standpoint, the comeback shows aggressiveness, but it won’t do much for most Texans fans, who probably just want their team to go on the draft clock after a miserable season. Lovie Smith was fired hours after the unlikely win, marking the second straight year the Texans gave their head coach just one season before showing him the door. This is something any potential candidate needs to consider.

Previous rank: No. 30

The Cardinals restart. The team fired head coach Cliff Kingsbury on Monday, while announcing that general manager Steve Keim – who was sidelined indefinitely last month with health concerns – has also decided to leave his position to focus on his health. The franchise reset comes just 10 months after Arizona signed the duo to multiyear contract extensions. Ownership must now identify new leadership to better align with franchise QB Kyler Murray, also a question mark after a serious knee injury that required reconstructive surgery last week. You won’t find another team in the league feeling this uneasy.

Previous rank: No. 29

Someday we might look back at the Bears’ 10- The losing streak ends the 2022 season, the biggest thing to happen to a franchise since the “Super Bowl Shuffle.” The Texans’ crazy comeback against the Colts landed Chicago at pole position in the draft, giving the Bears incredible leverage as they continued to rebuild. With a young franchise quarterback, the Bears could use the No. 1 pick to pick prospects they fall in love with, or sell the pick to a desperate QB organization for the Kings’ bounty. That’s how the super roster was born.

Previous rank: No. 32

is finally over. After a disastrous 2022 season, the Colts can finally move forward. That’s likely to start with a new head coach, though we’d rather not get too sure about anything with what has become the most unpredictable franchise in the sport. On Monday, interim Jeff Saturday expressed his interest in continuing the job, explaining to reporters that what they saw from the Colts in their season-ending seven-game losing streak was not indicative of how the team would work full-time with his role. “It’s going to be a different direction and a different vision,” he said, “and it’s my own, and I can go and implement it and move on.” We’ll soon find out if Jim Irsay bought what he tried to sell Saturday .

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