Saints News Network's Top 5 Power rankings for the NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites this season as they attempt a repeat for the Lombardi Trophy. They completed the season (14-2), earned the No. 1 seed, and have the No. 1 offense in the league. The reigning Super Bowl champs rest to prepare for another title run as the Buffalo Bills enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Saints look to be at full strength today and are poised to win it all. This could very well be the last season for Drew Brees, and he made it clear he did not return this season for himself.
Facing the Bears in the wild-card game today, the Saints will have to play their best complementary game of the season. Playoff football requires each unit offense, defense, and special teams to play at optimum levels. There is no room for error.
Fortunately, the New Orleans Saints will walk into their matchup with the Bears full throttle. The Saints have played without Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway, Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, and every other running back on the team roster. With all the adversity this season, New Orleans persevered to No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Most of the Saints’ offense should be back to face the bears, including Alvin Kamara. With the addition of Deonte Harris to the squad from injured, so the offense and special teams should benefit.
The keys to victory over the Bears will be strong first-half performances, solid offensive line performance, and impeccable defense. If all the offensive pieces play near their peak, there is no team in the league that will defeat the Saints. Here are your final regular-season NFL Top 5 Power Rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)
The Kansas City Chiefs get to rest this week and prepare for a run to defend their Super Bowl title. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense made everything look easy this year and had outstanding seasons from Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Kansas City is in complete control of its own destiny, and it will take a concerted effort to dethrone them. The Chiefs are the favorites heading into the playoffs.
2. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
The Buffalo Bills had an outstanding finish to their regular season, (13-3) and were AFC East division champions. Josh Allen concluded the season red hot and could get MVP votes as he led a scorching offense that was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season. The Bills missed out on the top spot in the AFC, but they are riding a huge fiery streak heading into the playoffs. Buffalo faces Indianapolis in the Wild Card round as we see how they hold up in the playoffs.
3. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
The Green Bay Packers outlasted the New Orleans Saints and clinched the number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win MVP after an impressive season leading his team to (13-3). It will be hard to bet against Rodgers and Green Bay in the playoffs, especially since the road to the Super Bowl will go through Lambeau Field in the winter. Green Bay can rest this week and wait to see who their unlucky opponent will be.
4. New Orleans Saints (12-4)
The New Orleans Saints battled through many injuries throughout the season, but still finished the season at (12-4) to win the NFC South division for the fourth-straight year. This could be the last run at a Super Bowl for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, which could be a little extra motivation.
The Saints will walk into their heated matchup with the Bears about as healthy as the team has been offensively since Week 1. Aside from wideout Tre’Quan Smith and guard Nick Easton, Payton and Drew Brees have as completion of an arsenal as they could ask for after one of the most grueling seasons in league history.
Brees did not disclose that this was his last year in the NFL but was candid in saying that he did not return for himself, but for his team and the city of New Orleans. The Saints will face the Chicago Bears, who they defeated earlier this year, in the Superdome. The Saints could be at full power with the return of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
5. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
The Baltimore Ravens finished the season strongly at (11-5), but ultimately handed their chance at winning the AFC North to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens haven’t been on the same level of play as last season, but Lamar Jackson has found his rhythm in time for the playoffs. Baltimore will have a tough challenge in the Tennessee Titans and Derrick Henry in the Wild Card round on Sunday.
Article Contributor Sam Lucio, Saints News Network Intern.