Ranking the four remaining playoff teams is a hard task because each of the conference finalists has a genuine shot at winning it all and would be worthy recipients of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I don't feel so bad about where I rank the first two or three teams here, but it's hard to put anyone in last place. So, I'm not going to look at it that way – the Bucs are not my last-placed team… they are simply the fourth-best team left in this race. That doesn't really sound that much better so let's just get to my rankings!
I think the Packers resemble a well-oiled machine that has been purring along nicely all season but now appears to be kicking into a higher gear. Their shredding of the number one Los Angeles Rams’ defense to the tune of 484 yards in the Divisional Round was very impressive. Aaron Rodgers is in total control of proceedings every time he steps onto the field, his receivers are making plays, the offensive line is rock solid and the running game is clicking. Defensively, the Packers have also stiffened up and don’t resemble the unit that was bullied in the NFC title game this time last year. It’s looking good for a first Super Bowl appearance in 10 seasons for the Packers.
A rare slip off the top spot in these rankings for the Chiefs and it has to come down to uncertainty at the quarterback position. Will Patrick Mahomes be cleared from his concussion in time to play in the AFC Championship Game? If not, we will get to see if the explosive weapons around Chad Henne will be enough for a return to the Super Bowl. One thing we know for sure… Andy Reid won’t protect his backup quarterback. The Chiefs are still going to throw it all over the yard and be aggressive in attacking opposing defenses. Speaking of defense, I was impressed with how the Chiefs dug in on that side of the ball late in the divisional round win over Cleveland. It’s going to take everybody for KC to repeat but oh how they will be hoping Mahomes makes it back.
The Bills are certainly playing to their strengths at the moment and are not even pretending to be a running football team. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team ignore the run as much as Buffalo did in the first half of their divisional round win over Baltimore. It didn’t exactly become ground and pound after the break with Buffalo runners combining for nine carries for 29 yards. But when you have the electric Josh Allen at quarterback and Stefon Diggs at receiver, why keep it on the ground? Buffalo will score their share of points in the title game, but the emergence of their defense last week was also a massive plus. Can Buffalo end a 27-year Super Bowl wait? It’s entirely possible with the strong-armed, athletic and accurate Allen at the helm.
Tampa Bay had won just 17 games in three losing seasons prior to this 2020 campaign. They had recorded nine losing seasons out of the previous 11 but, of course, they were going to reach the Championship Game this year with Tom Brady on board. That seems to be the bare minimum that TB12 delivers – he will play in his 14th conference title game on Sunday. Brady’s deep ball has been a story in the second half of this season, but he took a more patient approach against New Orleans in the divisional round and Leonard Fournette has emerged in the backfield to provide some offensive balance. The defense is coming off a huge game in New Orleans, setting up three touchdowns with turnovers. That’s all great, but the big story is Tom Brady being 60 minutes from a 10th Super Bowl showing. Simply incredible.