For this week's power rankings, I'm mixing things up. What matters now are the playoff teams. Thus, I will rank only the twelve teams that made the dance. I am ranking the teams by asking the question "if a team were to play against another as they are currently constituted (injuries and all) on a neutral field, who would win?" In this way, the rankings aren't predictions of who will go to the Super Bowl - or even who is more likely to go to the Super Bowl. Just because the Seahawks are ahead of the 49ers, I don't think they are more likely to go farther in the playoffs. In fact, I think they won't. They have to go on the road and play one extra game. That's hard. I do, however, think that the Seahawks are playing better football right now. On a totally neutral field, I think they would win. Things would be different with a fully-functional Justin Smith and a working David Akers. But so goes sports.
In addition, I'm not going to bother writing about the AFC teams. We don't really need to worry about them for a while. And, what I write about the NFC teams will be bent completely to the 49ers.
Anyway, on to the rankings! Allons-y!
3) Seattle Seahawks: As I mentioned above, the Seahawks are playing great football right now - likely better than the 49ers. I'm not ready to anoint Russel Wilson the next elite QB of the league. I mean, small sample size creatures are still flying around. That said, without Justin Smith, I think their offense is particularly potent against the 49ers' defense.
4) San Francisco 49ers: Just a side note - for all those people "losing faith" in Harbaugh, just shut it. Sure he has made some mistakes. I'm still not fully convinced the mid-season switch to Colin was the right choice, but 24-7-1. 24-7-1. That is all.
5) Green Bay Packers: I actually think the 49ers can beat the Packers the same way they beat them much earlier this season. Smart ball control and a disruptive defense. The Packers are playing really well right now. I do think the 49ers are better.
6) Atlanta Falcons: I really don't want to play the Falcons at home, but I wouldn't be too frightened. I think they have been sufficiently exposed this season. At first, they were nigh unstoppable. By now, though, teams have figured out how to slow them down.
8) Washington Redskins: I'm rooting for this team to beat the Seahawks. I think they have a lot of talent, but are not playing ball as well. At the end of the day, the defense just isn't quite there. They could make huge waves in the playoffs, though, if that changes.
10) Baltimore Ravens
11) Minnesota Vikings: As good as the run game has been, that offense will live and die with their one-dimensional attack. We saw an exceptionally good Mr. Ponder earlier this year. I think we beat this team if we play them again. Our defense will just shut down their offense.
12) Cincinnati Bengals: Lol me.