Overtime Week 17 – Power-Ranking vor den Playoffs

In his “Overtime” column, TOUCHDOWN24 editor Daniel Wolf takes a look at some of the most exciting storylines of the past week every Tuesday morning. Today, shortly before the postseason, he looks at the current balance of power among the playoff teams and gives his assessments of who will play for the Super Bowl title in the end.

The best time of the year has arrived – playoff football in the NFL. A total of 14 teams made it for the first time this year and will battle each other on Saturday and Sunday in the “Super Wildcard” weekend. Instead of the normal storylines, I once allowed myself a little joke and ranked the teams in the playoff race:

14. Washington Football Team (4th Seed NFC)

In the end it had to be one and finally, the Washington Football Team, the most consistent team in the NFC East, prevailed. The men around Coach Ron Rivera have a good defense, but the offense for the designated Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith is too fickle to tear anything in the playoffs. Reaching the postseason was a big surprise.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

13. Chicago Bears (7th Seed NFC)

The Bears owe it to a Cardinals meltdown in the last two games that they are even in the postseason. With Mitch Trubisky the offense goes better, but Trubisky himself still plays extremely inconsistent and sometimes just weak. If you combine that with a defense that has been falling for weeks, you get the recipe for a quick playoff-off.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

12. Cleveland Browns (6th Seed AFC)

For the first time since the 2002 season, the Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs of the NFL. Is there anything that describes our weird 2020 better? Joking aside, the Browns have more than earned their move over the year. Baker Mayfield turned up mid-season and must now show that he is made for big games. The first round against the Steelers should already be a ride on the razor blade.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

11. Indianapolis Colts (7th Seed AFC)

The Colts got the help they needed from the Bills at the weekend to reach the postseason on their own. And as the football god wants it, Indy must now travel to Buffalo in the wildcard round. The Colts are still a limited team offensively, but should run the ball well against Buffalo. The key question: Can Indy’s defense aggressively limit the Bills? I don’t think so and ultimately Rivers can’t keep up with everyone in a shootout.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

10. Los Angeles Rams (6th Seed NFC)

I don’t think anyone would have guessed before the season that it would be John Wolford who would lead the Rams into the playoffs. Wolford played well against Arizona, but Los Angeles needs Jared Goff back if they want to break something offensively in Seattle. The Defense LAs may be able to usurp a game every day, but four times in a row against the best teams in the league? Unlikely. McVay has to unpack a few magic bits if the Rams want to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

9. Tennessee Titans (4th Seed AFC)

The Titans are a highly dangerous team that, on a good day, can beat any team in the league. So why only 9th place? Well, the Titans are still running too much early down and their defense is one of the worst in the league. That means Tennessee has to put up 35 points or more in each round. The Titans have possibly the toughest schedule of all teams (Ravens, @Chiefs, @Bills) and I think that the first game against the revitalized Ravens will be a very tight box.

Forecast: out in the wildcard round

8. Seattle Seahawks (3rd Seed NFC)

The Seahawks haven’t let Russell Wilson cook for a while, and what comes out is reminiscent of a bad steak from the supermarket – tough affairs against teams that Seattle would have shot out of the stadium in the first few weeks. There are two reasons why the Seahawks are so high: Firstly, Russell Wilson, who I still have a lot of confidence in in the playoffs. And on the other hand, a defense that has caught up over the past few weeks. Still, the Super Bowl will not do anything if the Seahawks don’t find their way back to their aggressive ways of starting the season.

Forecast: Out in the Divisional Round

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (3rd Seed AFC)

The Steelers are one of the most interesting teams in the playoffs. Pittsburgh got out of its crisis a bit towards the end of the season and has been playing better football for the past two weeks. If the offense can at least show its efficient short passing game again, the defense has the potential to usurp games. The margin for error is very small and teams like Kansas City and Buffalo take advantage of every mistake. For the Steelers it will be over before the Super Bowl.

Forecast: Out in the Divisional Round

6. Tampa Bay Buccanneers (5th Seed NFC)

Apparently at the right time, the Bucs have solved their offense puzzle. Over the past three games, Tampa Bay has averaged over 40 points. Tom Brady has found his Deep Ball again and the coordination with Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin is getting better and better. That makes the Bucs a hot contender for the Super Bowl, but I still see them standing just behind Green Bay and New Orleans.

Forecast: Out in the Divisional Round

5. Baltimore Ravens (5th Seed AFC)

Attention league, the Ravens are rolling! The public perception of this team could hardly be more different than last year. While Baltimore was the first target for all AFC teams last winter, Lamar Jackson and Co. are running a bit under the radar this year. But the team found its rhythm in the season’s final sprint and focused on its strengths – rungame and Jackson as a runner. Baltimore is my dark horse candidate for the postseason.

Forecast: Out in the Divisional Round

4. New Orleans Saints (2nd Seed NFC)

The Saints are hard to pin down as a team. It feels like the last really impressive game of the men around Drew Brees was some time ago, but the offense has been able to warm up against weak defenses in recent weeks. But does that also work in the playoffs against the best teams in the league? We all remember the Saints’ last playoff appearances all too well. If all factors are intertwined, New Orleans can definitely take the title. And what kind of farewell would that be for Brees, who will probably end his career for good after the season?

Forecast: Out of the NFC Championship Game

3. Buffalo Bills (2nd Seed AFC)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the hottest team in the league: The Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen and Co. took apart a Dolphins team that was fighting for their playoff life over the weekend. Allen is currently playing from a different planet and Stefon Diggs is perhaps the best wideout in the league. Buffalo should march through to the AFC Championship Game and, in my opinion, has a chance of overthrowing Kansas City. It would probably be the game of the year and my anticipation increases just thinking about it. But we’re still a few games away.

Prediction: out of the AFC Championship Game

2. Green Bay Packers (1st Seed NFC)

The “Aaron Rodgers Revenge Tour” is one of those things that hardly anyone foresaw in the offseason. The Packers appeared to be a worse team on paper than last year when the 49ers crushed them in the NFC Championship Game. Well, this year it’s Green Bay that has the number 1 seed and San Francisco isn’t even in the playoffs. I wouldn’t want to bet against Aaron Rodgers right now, who would add the cherry on the cake to his extraordinary career with a second ring.

Forecast: defeat in the Super Bowl

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1st Seed AFC)

What else is there to say about the Chiefs? When this offense starts rolling, no team in the world can stop it. It’s like trying to stop an avalanche with your bare hands. But there is hope for the rest of the league: So far, the Chiefs have only switched to their “God-Mode” for a while and otherwise walked close to mortals. Can Kansas City move up a gear for the postseason as expected? I think so and at the end of the day I wouldn’t have a quarterback more than Patrick Mahomes. The chiefs do the repeat.

Prognose: Super Bowl Champion


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