With the three-day, six-game Super Wild Card weekend almost over, eight teams will be left standing in the NFL playoffs. There are still clear favorites in the race to reach and win Super Bowl 56, but there’s a bit of a shakeup in their biggest challengers based on who survived and advanced, and how they played while doing so.
The playoffs have played out mostly based on how the top-ranked teams have won five of the six games so far. The No. 3 NFC Cowboys were the early exit as the No. 6 49ers extended their stay with the only upset.
Here is a ranking of the remaining playoff teams relative to updated Odds of Super Bowl 56 in FanDuelwith either Arizona or Los Angeles seeing their championship aspirations dashed or enhanced soon:
2022 NFL Power Ranking
1. Green Bay Packers (previous rank: 1)
The Packers (+370) got a break during their bye as with the Cowboys losing, they will play the No. 6 49ers instead of the two strongest teams in the NFC West. But Green Bay is also aware that San Francisco is a recent nemesis in the playoffs and becomes more dangerous as a third-place team with every big game. The Packers, however, are a stronger team overall with Matt LaFleur. They can go through big numbers with Aaron Rodgers, but are just as comfortable running efficiently with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Health and defense are a little more on his side for this race, as is the experience of coming up short twice with LaFleur.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2)
The Chiefs (+400) started off slow but outscored the Steelers easily as expected. Patrick Mahomes used the matchup against an outmatched defense to accelerate his big-play pass with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce further behind through high volume. They had a backfield twist with Jerick McKinnon who needed to see a big role with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams injured, and that worked too, providing more explosive runs and receptions. The defense was also on point, keeping Pittsburgh from going to the ground and making it feel more compressed in Ben Roethlisberger’s last-game passing game.
3. Buffalo Bills (5)
The Bills (+500) might have been satisfied winning another tight defensive-minded attrition battle over the Patriots. They should have been delighted to see Josh Allen and the offense not give New England a chance right away. Everything fitted with his pass and Devin Singletary’s career hasn’t gone anywhere since he emerged as a major factor last month. The defense is shutting out Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazer at the right time. Buffalo gets its long-awaited playoff shot at Kansas City, trying to build on the big regular-season win there.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)
The Buccaneers (+550) made quick work of the Eagles with their healthy defense making a statement at every level and the offense being more methodical than purely explosive. That was a good fit, given that Tom Brady lacks a lot of offensive skill support. Now the question is whether the Bucs will need to be without All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs as they try to finish their Super Bowl replay.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (7)
The Bengals (+1300) beat the Raiders hard with a 26-19 home decision that ended their long playoff win drought. The score was much closer than the game actually was, as there were a few short chances in the red zone that didn’t turn into touchdowns. Cincinnati didn’t need to break much of a sweat to get past Las Vegas and with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase picking up where they left off, the young and exciting team has plenty of confidence and drive to face Tennessee favorably.
6. Tennessee Titans (4)
Speaking of the Titans (+850), they slipped a bit like objects at rest because the Bills and Bengals were just as impressive in action as fellow division winners. The Titans hope to get Derrick Henry back to get the offense back to the balanced and explosive levels needed. The Titans are No. 1 in the AFC, but there are questions about how much they can gain from their physical style given they have some shortcomings defensively, especially against the pass with three strong passing teams with elite quarterbacks left on the field. to overtake Ryan Tannehill.
7. San Francisco 49ers (10)
The 49ers (+1000) became beloved dark horses at the end of the regular season and that earned them a lot of love for taking down the Cowboys as underdogs. The Rams won the division and the Cardinals finished second, but there’s no question the 49ers are the West’s best bet for a conference championship. Their defense is doing more to support what has become a complete offensive machine again for Kyle Shanahan. It’s also easier to imagine a healthy Niners team in the Super Bowl, beating Green Bay again on the road, given the streak two years ago.
8. Los Angeles Rams (8)
The Rams (+1100) win big thanks to balanced coaching from Sean McVay, Cooper Kupp always sparking the offense, and Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey anchoring the defense. They need a lot more than their superstars to last past the wild-card round, let alone feel good about their Super Bowl chances. A great place to start is Matthew Stafford reversing his trend against winning teams and shaking off his recent rotation woes to earn his long-awaited first playoff victory. A consistent prolific running game with more than Cam Akers can also be huge.