The 2020 common season is completed. The 2021 NFL playoffs are set with 14 groups, with the AFC and the NFC every getting an additional entry.
The seedings for the Tremendous Bowl 55 event are officially attached to each staff that is nonetheless alive to win all of it. However historical past reveals these numbers might be deceptive.
These playoffs needs to be extra unpredictable than traditional due to solely two groups getting byes, restricted home-field benefits and little separation between groups with gaudy information, no matter division-winning or wild-card standing.
Right here then are Sporting Information’ energy rankings for each NFL playoff staff from 1-14, from the staff with the most effective probability to win the Tremendous Bowl to the staff with the longest odds of lifting the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa Bay.
NFL playoff energy rankings 2021
1. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (AFC No. 1 seed)
The Chiefs (14-2) are heavy favorites to repeat (+200 at DraftKings), like they’ve been ever since successful Tremendous Bowl 54 with Patrick Mahomes. They’re a stronger general staff than final season, as they stayed principally wholesome and did not endure key offseason losses.
Mahomes and the offensive principals will likely be rested and prepared for one more run. The protection additionally will get after it with the move rush and makes large performs on the proper instances. The particular groups are also sound and typically spectacular. The latest successful expertise with Andy Reid and training strengths additionally cannot be discounted. It is exhausting to search out any weak point in a staff that misplaced just one significant sport. It actually is Kansas Metropolis vs. the sector.
2. Inexperienced Bay Packers (NFC No. 1 seed)
The Packers (13-3) have their elite QB reply to the Chiefs with the best way Aaron Rodgers performed this season, maybe stealing MVP honors away from Mahomes late. He is locked into his playmakers led by Davante Adams and the Packers even have a powerful working sport led by Aaron Jones. Dropping left deal with David Bakhtiari is a tough blow that may decelerate the machine just a little.
Defensively, Inexperienced Bay has had points in opposition to the run, however it’s constructed effectively to hurry the passer and has a tough secondary anchored by Jaire Alexander. It will likely be merely troublesome for any opponent to outscore the Packers and wishes a QB effort to match Rodgers to tug it off.
3. New Orleans Saints (NFC No. 2 seed)
The Saints (12-4) have marched to their fourth consecutive NFC South title, surviving quite a few offensive illnesses by adjusting effectively working and passing and enjoying constant, good all-around protection. Additionally they held off a severe problem by the Buccaneers by dominating that staff twice.
New Orleans goes into one other playoffs with few weaknesses. The Saints’ greatest concern is overcoming previous frustration, together with the Minneapolis Miracle, the controversial NFC championship sport loss to the Rams and being shocked by the Vikings at house in final 12 months’s opening spherical. Drew Brees and Sean Payton nonetheless have the sturdy expertise of successful a Tremendous Bowl collectively. The Saints’ means to win video games in numerous methods is a useful asset in win-or-go-home mode.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC No. 5 seed)
The Buccaneers (11-5) have put all of it collectively late with Tom Brady. Their offense is buzzing together with stability and explosiveness. Loading up on receivers, backs and tight ends was good to search out the fitting wholesome combine round Brady. The protection is harmful as a result of it might probably shut down the run and be in place to tee off effectively with the move rush when Brady has helped ship a major lead. The Bucs have proved they’ll win both high-scoring shootouts or low-scoring battles of attrition.
This staff is peaking on the proper time and bought a positive draw because the NFC’s prime wild card. The Bucs may boast an enormous win over the Packers and enjoying the Chiefs tight regardless of having some breakdowns in opposition to Mahomes. It would not harm that the Bucs may dream about enjoying within the Tremendous Bowl of their house stadium.
5. Buffalo Payments (AFC No. 2 seed)
The Payments (13-3) are down right here behind three NFC groups as a result of they play within the AFC going through the large impediment of the Chiefs, who beat them by a strong 9 factors within the common season whereas containing Josh Allen, the convention’s second-most harmful QB after Mahomes.
The Payments actually are able to outscoring the Chiefs if wanted, however the issues could be having ample defensive holes for Mahomes and the Chiefs’ working sport to use. They’re helped by their latest playoff expertise (albeit shedding) with coach Sean McDermott and the feelings that can come from making an always-proud franchise a Tremendous Bowl contender once more.
6. Baltimore Ravens (AFC No. 5 seed)
The Ravens (11-5) are the most popular staff within the NFL going into the playoffs, driving a five-game successful streak with Lamar Jackson again locked in as a runner and passer, whereas additionally discovering their groove elsewhere within the speeding assault with the dynamic duo of J.Okay. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Baltimore is trying extra just like the staff that went 14-2 in 2019 and was the No. 1 seed within the 2020 playoffs, earlier than being upset by the Titans within the divisional spherical.
Go determine the Ravens, who additionally misplaced to the Titans at house in Week 11, are confronted with attempting to lastly remedy Tennessee on this 12 months’s wild-card spherical. Ought to the Ravens get previous that sport, they’d doubtless get the crack on the Chiefs that eluded them a postseason in the past. After Mahomes and Allen, Jackson is the one different AFC QB who can completely take over a sport nevertheless wanted along with his arm and legs. Remember a few veteran protection with good work up entrance and daunting cornerbacks.
7. Seattle Seahawks (NFC No. 3 seed)
If there have been fashion factors awarded to playoff groups, the Seahawks (12-4) would not have loads of them going into the playoffs. They nonetheless have Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, one in all a number of Tremendous Bowl-caliber QB-coaching mixtures within the area.
Wilson cooled off down the stretch, however he was lifted by the working sport and protection beginning to do extra to win video games, which is Carroll’s most well-liked system, anyway. There’s all the time an opportunity that Wilson reheats to navigate the Seahawks by a area that features fellow ringed ones Rodgers, Brady and Brees. However in the long run, Seattle might fall quick with both not sufficient offense or not sufficient protection for a very long time.
8. Tennessee Titans (AFC No. 4 seed)
The Titans (11-5) have an intimidating offense powered by their hammer of a 2,000-yard again, Derrick Henry, who additionally opens up a terrific downfield passing sport with Ryan Tannehill firing usually to A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. Tannehill’s personal wheels are an enormous X-factor, too.
Protection is the issue right here. That was on full show when Henry went off in opposition to the Texans in Week 17 however the Titans nearly blew an enormous lead late. The Titans have a shaky run protection plus a restricted move rush and might get roasted within the again seven. Tennessee can rating with anybody, however not stopping somebody will ultimately price the staff.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC No. 3 seed)
Take into account the Steelers (12-4) to be the anti-Titans. They do not have a dependable working sport to arrange a downfield passing sport, relying closely on Ben Roethlisberger dinking and dunking effectively on short-to-intermediate throws to maneuver the ball. Defensively, they do cease the run persistently, backed up by a daunting move rush and a secondary full of fine cowl males.
The Steelers’ offense is able to getting sizzling with their gifted receivers beneath Large Ben, however there’s restricted proof to suppose they’ll outscore 4 groups to win once more with Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin.
10. Indianapolis Colts (AFC No. 7 seed)
The Colts (11-5) are positively harmful for any opponent, beginning with the Payments within the opening run. That is as a result of they run the ball extraordinarily effectively with rookie Jonathan Taylor they usually have a essentially sound, well-rounded protection, from the entrance to the secondary. Frank Reich additionally has the Tremendous Bowl-winning expertise from the Eagles, whereas Philip Rivers has a ton of expertise, interval.
The query is whether or not Rivers can ship within the passing sport, working comfortably out of the pocket to make large performs with out making large errors beneath strain. The Colts can both put up large factors with every thing clicking or battle at instances to maneuver the ball in any means. They really feel like a boom-or-bust final wild-card staff, and the speedy Payments matchup drops them into the latter class.
11. Los Angeles Rams (NFC No. 6 seed)
The Rams (10-6) offensively aren’t buzzing the best way one is used to seeing them beneath Sean McVay. With Jared Goff not enjoying effectively and now hurting, they should be reliant on the working sport and intermediate passing, specializing in limiting errors figuring out absolutely effectively their protection can dominate. From Aaron Donald to Jalen Ramsey, it is exhausting to really feel assured and rating a lot on Los Angeles. However once more, here is one other staff that may’t string collectively sufficient high-scoring video games. The Rams are also harm by seeing Wilson and the gritty Seahawks once more immediately.
12. Cleveland Browns (AFC No. 6 seed)
The Browns (11-5) needs to be thrilled about how a lot rookie coach Kevin Stefanski bought the most effective out of Baker Mayfield, enjoying effectively off the working sport, and the way their protection shored up in opposition to the run. Attending to the playoffs alone is a significant breakthrough for a staff that hasn’t skilled something like this in nearly 20 years.
Cleveland may have the ability to get previous Pittsburgh once more within the opening spherical, however the move protection is not adequate to deal with Mahomes, Allen or Jackson later.
13. Chicago Bears (NFC No. 7 seed)
The Bears (8-8) discovered loads of offense down the stretch to get into the playoffs. Operating again David Montgomery was the catalyst, however Mitchell Trubisky additionally made good use of the depth at broad receiver and tight finish. Sadly, by that improvement, due to some accidents, the Bears’ protection has gone downhill for probably the most half round Khalil Mack, each exhibiting extra holes in opposition to the run and giving up large move performs.
Chicago will strive its greatest to outscore New Orleans on the highway, however everybody already is aware of the NFC North runner-up is not getting previous Inexperienced Bay past that.
14. Washington Soccer Workforce (NFC No. 4 seed)
Washington (7-9) misplaced extra video games than it gained, however aside from Arizona, no different NFC staff might make a case it was worthy for the ultimate spot. WFT has a powerful protection led by rookie Chase Younger and cannot be bought quick offensively with playmakers comparable to Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic to assist Alex Smith. That mentioned, WFT is the longest of photographs to get by a really powerful NFC area, going through Brady’s Buccaneers proper off the bat.
Smith is a seasoned playoff QB, however in the long run, his resume would not come near the veteran QB heavy hitters within the convention, led by 2005 first-round draft mate Rodgers.