Here are my NFL wild-card playoff round power rankings.
Oh, I think I actually need to explain this more. This is the first time since I took over NFL power rankings responsibilities for PressBox that the Ravens have reached the postseason. So I'll do power rankings, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of doing shtick, I'm going to rank the quarterbacks, head coaches, defenses and finally the actual teams (by their likelihood of winning the Super Bowl). I'll probably be wrong. But that's never stopped me from doing anything like this before.
For what it's worth, the quarterbacks, coaches and defenses categories should be considered to have the words "at this moment" behind the category name. While past success and track records will absolutely be considered in compiling these rankings, I'm choosing the players and coaches I would want leading my team right now.
So here goes.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
5. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
7. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
8. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
9. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
10. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
11. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Ravens fans are probably beside themselves reading this, but there's just no way to reasonably rank the rookie any higher than this … yet. Perhaps I'm showing too much deference to Wilson considering he hasn't been asked to do that much this season, but his history of coming up big in the biggest games cannot be ignored. The guys at the top of the list are the quarterbacks who have had the best 2018 seasons. And the most intriguing name on the list is Foles, who inexplicably is riding that "Big Nick Energy" into another postseason.
1. Bill Belichick, Patriots
2. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
3. Sean Payton, Saints
4. Sean McVay, Rams
5. Andy Reid, Chiefs
6. John Harbaugh, Ravens
7. Frank Reich, Colts
8. Doug Pederson, Eagles
9. Matt Nagy, Bears
10. Anthony Lynn, Chargers
11. Bill O'Brien, Texans
12. Jason Garrett, Cowboys
I'm aware that Belichick is only a few weeks removed from insanely costing his team a game by thinking Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was capable of throwing the ball even further than Kyle Boller could (from his knees), but this is still Bill Belichick we're talking about. Reich, to me, is the most fascinating name on the list. It would seem as though he could be the candidate to have done the most with the least this season, just a year after guiding the Eagles' offense to an almost impossible title run. Perhaps he's ready to make a break toward the top of this list?
The Ravens might statistically be the best defense in the NFL, but I can't put them atop this list right due to the lack of a top-notch, in-his-prime pass rusher. The Bears obviously have that guy in Khalil Mack, while the teams immediately behind the Ravens on this list have them as well (Demarcus Lawrence, J.J. Watt and Joey Bosa). But the Ravens' high-level secondary helps keep them near the top of the list, provided cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young play better than they did against the Browns. Maybe Humphrey was actually right to not accept the team MVP award?
Again, I'm ranking these teams based on their chances of winning the Super Bowl. With the Saints having the opportunity to win it all without having to leave a dome, they obviously have to be considered the most likely to win it all.
The staggering part of this list to me is how many of these teams I truly believe are capable of celebrating at the end of the playoffs in Atlanta. The Cowboys are the only team on the list that I honestly don't think can win the Super Bowl at all, and that's really only because I'm so convinced the Seahawks are going to win the wild-card round game.
And now for our surprise final bonus category.