ESPN’s NFL Week 18 Power Rankings: Wild Card Edition


1 (1) Titans 13-3-0 Coach Jeff Fisher earned the right to play his backups and play vanilla in Indianapolis. (PK)
2 (2) Giants 12-4-0 I know they’ve lost three of four, but the Giants are still the best team in the league. (MM)
3 (4) Steelers 12-4-0 No one needs a bye week more than QB Ben Roethlisberger. (JW)
4 (3) Panthers 12-4-0 Kicker John Kasay came through to save the division title and the No. 2 seed. That gives a banged-up defensive front some time to heal. (PY)
5 (5) Colts 12-4-0 Can the league’s hottest team go to San Diego, beat the Chargers a second time and avenge last season’s playoff ouster? (PK)
6 (6) Ravens 11-5-0 Although the Ravens are the No. 6 seed, they like their chances against anybody. (JW)
7 (7) Falcons 11-5-0 The Falcons closed the regular season on a three-game winning streak. That’s plenty of momentum, and a road playoff game at Arizona is at least winnable. (PY)
8 (9) Dolphins 11-5-0 The Dolphins pulled off an unprecedented turnaround by beating the Jets to clinch the AFC East title. (TG)
9 (8) Patriots 11-5-0 The Patriots deserved better. They’re only the second 11-win team in NFL history not to make the playoffs. (TG)
10 (11) Vikings 10-6-0 The first home playoff game in eight years awaits the Vikings this weekend. (KS)
11 (15) Eagles 9-6-1 What an amazing turn of events Sunday. This team will be dangerous in January. (MM)
12 (16) Chargers 8-8-0 Forget the regular season. The Chargers are in the playoffs and are mighty dangerous. (BW)
13 (19) Cardinals 9-7-0 Only the Lions, Rams, Broncos and Chiefs allowed more points this season. (MS)
14 (10) Cowboys 9-7-0 Jerry Jones will stay the course with a “changed” Wade Phillips. Much rejoicing in the land. (MM)
15 (13) Bears 9-7-0 Coach Lovie Smith needs to take apart his defense before he can put it together again. (KS)
16 (12) Buccaneers 9-7-0 If the Jets and Cowboys weren’t in such big markets, people around the country would be talking about Tampa Bay’s collapse. As it is, folks in Florida are griping about a team that went from 9-3 to missing the playoffs. (PY)
17 (14) Jets 9-7-0 The nosedive continued even after Sunday’s final gun. The Jets need a new coach and maybe a new quarterback. (TG)
18 (21) Texans 8-8-0 Despite the big finish, the Texans have a lot of roster revisions to do. (PK)
19 (17) Saints 8-8-0 Drew Brees threw for 5,000 yards, but it didn’t really matter. You must at least be able to run a bit and play some defense to reach the playoffs. (PY)
20 (23) 49ers 7-9-0 The Niners are lamenting that Monday night defeat at Arizona. (MS)
21 (18) Redskins 8-8-0 The hot start is a distant memory. This team has a lot of questions to address heading into 2009. (MM)
22 (20) Broncos 8-8-0 It will be a long, cold winter in Denver as the Broncos chew on their historic collapse. (BW)
23 (22) Bills 7-9-0 For the third straight season, the Bills finished 7-9. How inspiring. (TG)
24 (24) Packers 6-10-0 The Packers will look for help on both lines this offseason. (KS)
25 (25) Jaguars 5-11-0 Last year, the Jaguars made a big trade up to No. 8 in the draft. This time, the Jags earned it all on their own. (PK)
26 (27) Raiders 5-11-0 Are the Raiders on their way up? Well, two wins to end the season won’t hurt the Raiders’ psyche. (BW)
27 (29) Bengals 4-11-1 A season-ending three-game winning streak provides a ray of hope for 2009. (JW)
28 (26) Seahawks 4-12-0 The Seahawks need to find a pass rush in a hurry. (MS)
29 (28) Browns 4-12-0 The Browns will start from scratch for the fourth time in 10 years. (JW)
30 (30) Chiefs 2-14-0 A season of change is upon us in Kansas City. (BW)
31 (31) Rams 2-14-0 The Rams need to become more physical on both sides of ball. (MS)
32 (32) Lions 0-16-0 Are the Lions actually pushing continuity after finishing 0-16? (KS)

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