2023 NFL playoffs: Postseason rankings of all 14 teams, with Chiefs, Bills leading Super Bowl contenders

The 2022 NFL playoffs are officially set. After the Lions upset the Packers in dramatic fashion on Sunday night, knocking Green Bay out of postseason contention and elevating the Seahawks to the final wild card spot, the schedule for Super Wild Card Weekend is complete. Now the real games can begin. The postseason is a fresh slate for 14 contenders, and only time will tell which ones are ready to make a run at the Lombardi. In the meantime, we will rank them as follows:

Tyreek Hill

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Mike McDaniel deserves credit for leading Miami to this point, and for locking up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early this year. Tyreek Hill is also always prone to shaking up a game with his speed. But Tagovailoa is a total unknown from a medical standpoint recovering from his latest concussion, and even if his health wasn’t in jeopardy, neither he nor No. 2 Teddy Bridgewater have the consistent deep-area accuracy to play the shootout, which may well be necessary thanks to their vulnerable passing defense.

13. Seahawks (9-8)

DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett

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Ticketed to the postseason via the Lions’ heroics, Seattle has the benefit of experience on the sidelines, where Pete Carroll has now coached 10 different playoff games in 13 years. Rookie Kenneth Walker III offers some pop as the old bell cow. And the once porous defense has tightened recently. Unfortunately, things have gone the wrong way through the air, where a resurgent Geno Smith has elite targets in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but now has 10 turnovers in his last eight games.

Trevor Lawrence

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Doug Pederson probably deserves the coach of the year award for the way he’s helped reestablish Trevor Lawrence as a rising star under center, and his guys have played some miserable football during their five-game hitting streak to end the year; Dating back to Philadelphia, Pederson’s teams have always come out with a fight. But they’re a young group whose defensive holes have likely been masked a bit by going up against the Jets, Texans and Titans down the stretch.

Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones

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Winning meaningful games in the year 2023 usually means winning consistently through the air, which isn’t necessarily something they’ve been able to do with a makeshift receiving corps for Daniel Jones, which has otherwise seen quiet but remarkable growth under Brian Daboll. Their ceiling therefore feels quite low in contrast to more explosive teams. But as an early spoiler, they’re built to make noise thanks to the smart physicality that Daboll has rubbed off on Saquon Barkley and Co.

Justin Herbert

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Welcome to the three-team region with fun, talented teams that simply cannot be trusted. Los Angeles has all the building blocks of a title contender, from the laser-armed Justin Herbert to the extremely shifty Austin Ekeler to the QB-destroying Joey Bosa. And yet coach Brandon Staley, whose “D” has floundered against inferior opponents, too often seems to get in the way of important decisions. No matter how many splashy names they have on either side of the ball, their games find a way to go down to the wire.

Dak Prescott

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Speaking of splashy names, Dallas is the king when it comes to a product that sparkles on paper that doesn’t show up when it comes to it. When they’re firing on all cylinders, with CeeDee Lamb raking in catches and Micah Parsons terrorizing QBs off the edge, they’re a powerhouse. But their ground game has been flat lately, and more worryingly, for all the high-level distribution Dak Prescott is capable of under center, the QB has been especially risky forcing throws since returning from injury, leading the NFL with 15 picks in just 12 games. On top of that, seven years on, he is still looking for a decisive victory in the big game.

Justin Jefferson

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Kevin O’Connell has this program headed in the right direction, somehow enabling Kirk Cousins ​​to produce some of the bravest, most resilient work of his career in an otherwise ineffective year by QB standards, and somehow winning 13 of 17 games with a strain of a pass defense. The culture is on the rise, and Justin Jefferson’s steady play out wide makes it even more promising. The problem is, the few times it’s gotten tough for them, well, it gets ugly; Cousins, Dalvin Cook and the entire operation seem to unravel if Jefferson doesn’t party on the field. And then there is the infamous points difference; despite all these victories, we have yet to see Minnesota cleanly and practically take care of business.

Tom Brady

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Everything says that Tampa Bay should be one-and-done in the playoffs. Everything except, well, the man under the middle. Todd Bowles’ first run as Bruce Arians’ successor has been sloppy, slow and uninspiring, with conservative tendencies mixed poorly with injury-riddled lineups. But Tom Brady is still sending it out at 45, still saving some of his best stuff for time to go. Bowles’ “D” is generally quick and physical enough to stay in any game, so unless Brady’s setup allows him to dry out, giving him time to three-strike Mike Evans down the sideline, they can play easily. spoiler.

Lamar Jackson

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Where is Lamar Jackson right now? Physical? Mentally? The star QB hasn’t taken a practice field, let alone started a game, in a month. And his availability, as well as his athletic limitations (or lack thereof) stemming from a knee injury, could determine whether they’re even able to reach the end zone on the big stage. Baltimore’s offense was already pretty one-dimensional, with Jackson and JK Dobbins charged with running the show on the ground. Fortunately, John Harbaugh is battle-tested on the sidelines, and their “D,” headlined by Roquan Smith, is averaging more than one takeaway per game.

Regret hurts

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Not unlike their title-winning predecessors five years ago, they aren’t exactly strutting their heads into the tournament, despite at one stage looking like the clear total package. The X-factor may well be Jonathan Gannon’s defense, which leads the NFL in sacks but has been subjected to the death of a thousand paper cuts. But the bye should further help QB Jalen Hurts return to form as their steely dual-threat catalyst, and his wideout duo of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are reliably lethal. Their trenches have also traditionally been solid, helping them win very different types of games.

Joe Burrow

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Although they have an MVP candidate under center in Joe Burrow, they haven’t been terrible, topping 30 points just once in their last six games. What they have been, however, is reliable in the clutch, and Burrows’ fairly accurate throwing is the biggest reason. Ja’Marr Chase’s electricity certainly helps, as does an opportunistic “D.” You worry a bit about Burrow’s protection, and their health in general, but as long as Burrow is out there, it’s hard to count them out.

Kyle Shanahan

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There was a time when injuries could destroy Kyle Shanahan’s highly prized scoring system, as 2018 and 2020 proved. That time now appears to be over, as Shanahan’s first offense flourishes with its third starting QB of the year, with rookie Brock Purdy somehow providing even more balance and touch than Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance before him. The weapons are elite, with Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel as utility men and George Kittle working the middle, and DeMeco Ryan’s defense is nasty, with Nick Bosa off the edge and next-level ball magnets. They are just so well rounded. The only big question mark is whether Purdy, 23, will look different under the brightest lights.

Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs

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If fate rests with any challenger, it could be them. Galvanized by the hospitalization and recovery of Damar Hamlin, Buffalo was already best equipped to compete with the Chiefs, their playoff nemesis, largely thanks to the fireworks of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. Allen, of course, is so much of a gunslinger that he’s prone to giving the ball away, but so much else works in the Bills’ favor to cancel out the occasional miscue: their ground game is underrated with rookie James Cook, the defense is littered . with experienced playmakers without Von Miller, and coach Sean McDermott is as steady a leader as any.

1. Chiefs (14-3)

Patrick Mahomes

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They have advanced to the AFC Championship in each of the four seasons Andy Reid’s had Patrick Mahomes as their starting QB, and the two times they didn’t make the Super Bowl, they went to overtime for the conference title. Simply put, there is no safer bet to deliver when it matters most. Nor is history the only thing on their side. Despite a vulnerable defense, Reid unlocks the shifty Kadarius Toney at the right time, Travis Kelce remains an unstoppable safety valve, and Mahomes — always the clutch trickster — still makes MVP games look fortuitous. Like the Patriots of old, when the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick pairing alone demanded trust, they are today’s most consistent NFL standard.

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