NFL Divisonal Round: A Definitive Ranking

NFL Divisonal Round: A Definitive Ranking

Ethan Dean, Sports Writer

Super Wild Card Weekend has shook the NFL world as the 8 best teams from the 2022 season prepare to face off on Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22.  

Super Bowl 57 will be held in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium. On the road to the big game, Super Wild Card Weekend brought us 6 intense games, and 4 missed extra points on Monday Night. The losers of the Wild Card round were:  

  • Seattle Seahawks (41-23 vs. San Francisco 49ers) 
  • Los Angeles Chargers (31-30 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) 
  • Miami Dolphins (34-31 vs. Buffalo Bills) 
  • Minnesota Vikings (31-24 vs. New York Giants) 
  • Baltimore Ravens (24-17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals) 
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31-14 vs. Dallas Cowboys)  

The 6 winning teams, along with 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, play this coming weekend on the following schedule: 

  • Saturday, January 21: (4) Jacksonville Jaguars vs. (1) Kansas City Chiefs (4:30 p.m. on NBC) 
  • Saturday, January 21: (6) New York Giants vs. (1) Philadelphia Eagles (8:15 p.m. on FOX) 
  • Sunday, January 22: (3) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (2) Buffalo Bills (3:00 p.m. on CBS) 
  • Sunday, January 22: (5) Dallas Cowboys vs. (2) San Francisco 49ers (6:30 p.m. on FOX) 

Time for the power rankings. Of the 8 teams, I ranked them based off their opponent and convincing status of their win this past weekend. 

8) New York Giants 

Although they had a convincing win against the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants will just not stack up to Philadelphia’s defense and explosive Jalen Hurts led offense. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley put on a clinic, but the defense had some holes that need to be patched. On the plus side, players like Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux looked unstoppable. The Giants have a fighting chance, but the Eagles will overpower them. I’m thinking there will be a final score of 34-21, in favor of Philadelphia.  

7) Cincinnati Bengals 

This may be a shocking pick for some, but the Bengals beat a struggling Baltimore Ravens offense led by 2nd-string Tyler Huntley by a whopping 7 points. Facing the Buffalo Bills is a tough feat, and I would feel confident if they were facing the Kansas City Chiefs. Burrow and Chase look good, but they need more explosive scoring drives to keep up with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. A solid unit but I’m taking a final score of 31-17 in favor of Buffalo.  

6) Jacksonville Jaguars 

Coming back from down 27-0 is insane, in my opinion. People are going to dismiss them quickly when looking at the powerhouse AFC teams still left, but I think this team has the best chance to beat Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. They only lost to the Chiefs by 10, and this was when the team wasn’t resurging. This Chiefs team has been beaten by teams like the Colts, so they aren’t unbeatable. However, Trevor Lawrence and the Jags having a -5 turnover game will be detrimental against Kansas City. I’m taking a final score of 38-28 in favor of the Chiefs. 

5) Dallas Cowboys 

Yes, they crushed Tampa Bay on the road 31-14. However, the San Francisco 49ers are the hottest team in football, winning 11 straight games. Going on the road to the Bay Area and trying to defeat such a strong defense is a tall task, and Dak Prescott may not be ready to carry the offense on his back. Ceedee Lamb looks good, but Brock Purdy and Chrisian McCaffrey are a powerhouse duo. I’m taking a final score of 41-24 in favor of the 49ers. 

4) Philadelphia Eagles 

The NFC 1 seed, Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are leading the Eagles to a relatively easy matchup against the New York Giants. They’ve beat them both games this season, once by a score of 48-22. While the Giants looked much better against the Minnesota Vikings, this Eagles team is explosive and not afraid to take big shots. This team looks great, but not unstoppable. Their 20-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints and 1 point win against the Indianapolis Colts showed weakness and a level of improvement that they need to battle. Still, I’m taking a final score of 34-21 in favor of Philadelphia. 

3) Buffalo Bills 

Defeating the Miami Dolphins was an interesting experience to watch. Coming out on top by just 3 points against Skylar Thompson was something no one saw coming. However, that first quarter offensive explosion from Josh Allen and Gabe Davis looked like their regular season state of play. Against a Cincinnati Bengals team that also had an unexpected close game, the Bills will look much better and comfortably beat the Bengals. I’m taking a final score of 31-17 in favor of Buffalo. 

2) Kansas City Chiefs 

The AFC 1 seed, Patrick Mahomes is a playoff powerhouse. You can’t deny the unlimited weapons this team has on both offense and defense. With 4 straight AFC Championship appearances, this team is unbeatable in the Divisional Round. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a good team who put up a good fight during the regular season matchup, but the Chiefs are going to have them beat on both sides of the ball. It will be closer than anyone expects, but this is my AFC super bowl, and I’m taking a final score of 38-28 in favor of the Chiefs. 

1) San Francisco 49ers 

This defense is crazy good. The final scores of their 11 straight wins (yes, 11) may not look like a defensive powerhouse, but trust me, they are. Their offense has put up 37, 37, 38, and 41 points in their last 4 games, and against a pretty impressive Dallas Cowboys defense, they need to put up points at that level. Brock Purdy is a Cinderella story of a quarterback, and he is ready to outrun Dak Prescott. This is my NFC Super Bowl pick and I’m taking them 41-24 in favor of the 49ers. 

This is one of the closest Top 8’s in recent memory, and even the Giants and Jaguars have a decent chance to make the Top 4. Tune in this weekend to watch the games, and if any of my score predictions are right…well, you owe me twenty bucks.