This weekend was a funny old one, wasn’t it? Normally Divisional Round weekend is the best weekend of the year — but this year, it all felt a bit “meh.”
Despite the NFL’s desperate attempts to increase parity across the league, it is refreshing to see the final four teams are actually the best final four. Yeah... the Bills have flirted with the top spots all season — but after what we saw Sunday, does anyone actually believe that the recent version of them was in the same league as the Bengals, Chiefs, 49ers and Eagles? More fool us for kidding ourselves.
This is our final ranking of the season. As ever, I want to thank my colleagues for their input. And I want to thank you — yes, you, the reader — for coming along and reading the nonsense that I have spouted every week. I hope to be back doing this next year!
This week’s voters were Ron Kopp Jr., Stephen Serda, Rocky Magaña, Jared Sapp, Maurice Elston, Connor Helm, Price Carter, Dakota Watson, Nate Christensen and myself.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (3rd)
The Eagles’ performance looked a lot like how I expected the Chiefs game to look — if Patrick Mahomes hadn’t been injured. The Eagles came flying out of the traps and never looked back. Some could say that they had another bye. Two results from the Kelce Bowl.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (5th) — This week’s highest riser
This team is as good as it is unlikeable. The chips they carry on their shoulders are unlike any I’ve ever seen in the sport before. We get it: they were upset at the NFL for selling tickets for a potential AFC Championship game in Atlanta — but using that as fuel to beat the Bills? Clearly, the motivation of winning the Lombardi isn’t enough. It must be exhausting being their hype guy.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (1st) — This week’s biggest faller
Let’s be real: The Chiefs are third because of Mahomes’ injury. Nothing more, nothing less. While Cincinnatti certainly impressed us over the weekend, there isn’t a lot to choose between the two teams at full strength. But with Mahomes potentially limited this Sunday, you can understand why the Arrowhead Pride team tucked them in behind the Bengals.
4. San Francisco 49ers (2nd)
The 49ers and the Cowboys produced a defensive masterclass as both teams struggled to move the ball. The 49ers ended as the victors, but there must be concerns about a similar offensive performance happening against the Eagles. I’ve got a feeling they’re going to have to score a lot of points.
5. Buffalo Bills (4th)
This season will go down as another lost opportunity for the Bills. Unfortunately for them, Buffalo isn’t afforded the luxury of having Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. The Bengals have already surpassed them. I can’t imagine it will be too long before others do, too.
6. Dallas Cowboys (6th)
Too much is being said about that final play. Let’s be honest: that play was the least of their problems on Sunday. There wasn’t really a right answer. What else could they have done?
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (7th)
When Mahomes went down, the Jaguars must have thought that a spot in the AFC Championship Game was there for the taking. What they didn’t account for was the brilliance of Andy Reid, Travis Kelce and... urgh... Chad Henne.
8. New York Giants (8th)
The Giants shouldn’t spend too long beating themselves up over losing on Saturday night. I mean it’s not like they got blown out for all of the world to see. And it’s not like they were completely embarrassed by a divisional opponent. Oh... wait a tic.
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Seattle Seahawks
15. Detroit Lions
20. Tennessee Titans
21. New York Jets
23. Cleveland Browns
25. Atlanta Falcons
27. Los Angeles Rams
28. Denver Broncos
30. Chicago Bears
32. Houston Texans