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JetNation NFL Power Rankings (Top 10) — Conference Championships

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
    Last Week: 2

The Chiefs were unstoppable against the Bills.  They needed less than 13 seconds to tie the game and send it to overtime, and once they won the coin flip, the rest was a formality.  On the downside, Buffalo was nearly unstoppable against the KC defense.  Joe Burrow doesn’t run like Josh Allen, but he does have more options in the passing game than the Bills do.  KC will need a better defensive performance, but if their offense continues playing at their current level, it may not matter if the defense shows up or not.
Prediction: Kansas City 35 Cincinnati 20

  1. Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
    Last Week: 4

The Rams played about as well as any team has all season for three quarters against the Bucs; then things began to unravel.  This is becoming a trend as they had a similar performance against the 49ers in the regular season finale.  The rematch with San Francisco figures to be difficult as the Niners are riding high after throttling the Packers on their own field.  The Rams will need a similar defensive effort against the Niners ground game; Los Angeles held Tampa to just 51 yards rushing.  The Rams will need better ball security in the NFC championship; four turnovers will not get the job done on Sunday.
Prediction: Los Angeles 24 San Francisco 17

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-4)
    Last Week: 1

The Packers were oddly impotent against the 49er defense.  It was shocking to watch the Packers struggle to under 200 yards passing at home.  The Packers must find the running game that was so strong at points during the regular season but fizzled late and was absent against San Francisco.  The big question now is, of course, whether Rodgers will return to Green Bay.  If he does, and the special team issue are addressed, the Packers will again begin the year as one of the favorites for the Super Bowl.

  1. Buffalo Bills (11-6)
    Last Week: 5

The Bills were let down by their league-leading defense.  The defense was woefully overmatched and had no answers for Chiefs.  The yards the Chiefs were able to gain through the air were not as disappointing as the 182 yards they rolled up on the ground against the Bills.  There are few holes for Buffalo to fill in the offseason.  More options for Josh Allen are needed as is a premier pass rusher.  This team has built itself to be competitive for the foreseeable future and, with a few well-placed new parts, they will be right back in contention next season.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
    Last Week: 7

The Bengals must feel like a team of destiny.  The over-achieving Bengals are one step from the Super Bowl after many picked them to finish last in their own division.  The Bengals are capable of scoring in Kansas City, but can they slow the Chiefs offense?  They will need to at least double the 65 yards they ran for against Tennessee.  Taking time off the clock will be imperative as will be winning the turnover battle again.  Win or lose, the Bengals seem to finally be built properly for the long term, and they should be a force in the AFC for the next several years.
Prediction: Kansas City 35 Cincinnati 20

  1. San Francisco 49ers
    Last Week: 8

The 49ers found a way to advance with only 52 yards rushing and 106 yards passing.  The defense was tremendous and has carried the team to within one win of the Super Bowl.  The Niners got to Rodgers 5 times and were in his face multiple times as he tried to throw.  To beat the Rams, the Niner offense must be better.  If they are held to numbers near those the Packers were able to hold them to, the season will surely end in Los Angeles.
Prediction: Los Angeles 24 San Francisco 17

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
    Last Week: 3

The Brady retirement watch is on and tied to that is the Gronkowski retirement watch.  This is an elite team again next season if Brady returns.  If he retires, it could trigger a rebuild as there are several veterans who may decide to look to a team more able to compete for a ring.  The Bucs need to figure out how to gain more than the 51 yards on the ground they were held to by the Rams.  They also need a third receiver who can take the pressure off Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and serve as the second receiver when either Evans or Godwin is sidelined, which is a near certainty given their injury histories.

  1. Tennessee Titans (12-5)
    Last Week: 6

The Titans must be bitterly disappointed in their showing last week.  After getting Derrick Henry back, it seemed they were poised to roll against Cincinnati. The team was flat to start the contest and made too many mistakes to win.  The Titans must be questioning if Ryan Tannehill can lead them to next level.  Tannehill was awful in his biggest start to date.  It will be difficult to improve the quarterback situation through the draft or free agency, so Tennessee may have to focus on improving around Tannehill instead.  The Titans will be solid next season but need to find more on both sides of the ball to take the next step.

  1. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
    Last Week: 6

The Cowboys are done but remain in the news as Sean Payton’s departure from New Orleans has set off rumors of his replacing Mike McCarthy.  Payton would be an upgrade, but it’s hard to imagine him choosing the circus atmosphere around the Cowboys if his statements about a desire to step away from the game are sincere.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
    Last Week: 9

The Cardinals were the league’s best team for more than half the season.  Key injuries derailed high hopes in the desert.  Depth at WR needs to be addressed in the offseason as well as improving the offensive line.  The Cardinals also need a more effective pash rush after ranking in the bottom half of the league in sacks and getting to Matthew Stafford just once in the wild card game.

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Nick Ferraro

This Article Was Written By Nick Ferraro

Nick Ferraro


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