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NFL team of the decade? Ranking top 10 organizations of 2010s

It's that time of year -- and that time of the decade.

Lists. All manners of rundowns advertising the highs and lows of the past 10 years as we encounter the dawn of 2020.

I'm here to offer my ranking of the NFL's Top 10 Franchises of the 20-Teens. Unless you dozed through a decade's worth of gridiron fare, it's crystal clear who sits atop the heap. Frankly, the New England Patriots have produced a once-on-earth run of dominance. The rankings grow hazier from there amid a smattering of Super Bowl winners and regular-season heavies with streaks of imperfection.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: To guide my research, I cooked up a bird's-eye-view metric -- the SesslerPowerScore! -- awarding teams (a) one point for regular-season wins; (b) three points for playoff wins; (c) five points for division titles; (d) 10 points for Super Bowl losses; and (e) 25 points for Super Bowl wins. This informed my rankings, but not without a handful of exceptions. Math-savvy nerdlings are invited to flame my accounting skills via Twitter.

Let's dig in as you stave off that New Year's hangover, shall we?

1) New England Patriots

Regular-season record: 125-35-0 (.781)
Postseason record: 16-6 (.727)
Division titles: 10
Super Bowl losses: 2
Super Bowl wins: 3
SesslerPowerScore: 318

I could steer this quasi-think-piece into stormy clickbait seas by suggesting another front-runner, but let's remain anchored in reality. Public exhaustion with the Patriots is tangible, but only the daft fail to appreciate what Bill Belichick has authored during a century of greatness. While large chunks of the NFL struggle to keep afloat, the Pats are viewed as a disappointment after a 12-win campaign shuttled them into the Wild Card Round following nine straight first-round byes in the AFC. Whisper campaigns suggested New England was cooked after back-to-back conference title game losses in 2012 and 2013, only to see Tom Brady and friends roar back to nab three more Super Bowl crowns. In a league that bangs you over the head with parity, it's New England and everyone else.

2) Seattle Seahawks

Regular-season record: 100-59-1 (.628)
Postseason record: 9-6 (.600)
Division titles: 4
Super Bowl losses: 1
Super Bowl wins: 1
SesslerPowerScore: 182

Seattle earned a slightly lower SesslerPowerScore than Green Bay, but I see a squad forced to tangle with Jim Harbaugh's Niners for a large chunk of the decade inside a rough-and-tumble NFC West. Since drafting Russell Wilson, the Seahawks have yet to sink below second place in the division. Pete Carroll's high-energy cadre of maulers dropped a dirty bomb on the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and came one crushing Malcolm Butler pick away from topping New England in Super Bowl XLIX. General manager John Schneider earns extra points for finding waves of new talent in a post-"Legion of Boom" world. Carroll has his critics, but the Seahawks emit unquestioned identity under his watch: They can never be counted out.

3) Green Bay Packers

Regular-season record: 102-56-2 (.644)
Postseason record: 9-6 (.600)
Division titles: 6
Super Bowl losses: 0
Super Bowl wins: 1
SesslerPowerScore: 184

The decade launched with a juicy Super Bowl win suggesting many more to come in Green Bay. It never happened for Mike McCarthy's bunch. The regular-season win count and six division titles stand out, but a weak NFC North rarely put up a fight. Do the Packers earn points for a brilliant 15-1 campaign in 2011 -- or lose points for getting whacked at home in the playoffs by the G-Men? Aaron Rodgers spent most of the decade as the finest quarterback on Earth, but his Packers were postseason fodder. Back-to-back playoff losses to the Niners agitated the faithful, while a 28-22 overtime loss to Seattle in the NFC title game cut short a brilliant 2014 campaign. The future appears bright with first-year coach Matt LaFleur authoring a 13-3 season, but it's impossible to survey this decade of Packers football without wondering what could have been.

4) Baltimore Ravens

Regular-season record: 98-62-0 (.613)
Postseason record: 7-4 (.636)
Division titles: 4
Super Bowl losses: 0
Super Bowl wins: 1
SesslerPowerScore: 164

Let's start right here: The Ravens shoot up this list if coach John Harbaugh raises another Lombardi come February. Few teams are run with more confidence and consistency, with Baltimore seamlessly shifting from Ozzie Newsome to Eric DeCosta in the front office and boldly transitioning from an aging Joe Flacco to a league-altering supernova in Lamar Jackson -- a shooting star the rest of the NFL completely whiffed on. Baltimore's top-to-bottom belief in the Lamar experience flipped the switch on the league's most exciting offense, giving fans an entirely different type of Ravens squad from the defensive-oriented, Flacco-led outfit that bumped off the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII. A few shaky seasons under Harbaugh factor in, but he's silenced the doubters and currently rolls into January as clear-cut Coach of the Year material.

5) Pittsburgh Steelers

Regular-season record: 102-57-1 (.641)
Postseason record: 5-6 (.455)
Division titles: 4
Super Bowl losses: 1
Super Bowl wins: 0
SesslerPowerScore: 147

Full disclosure: Lifelong Cleveland fan here. I view Pittsburgh as everything the Browns are not. Like Baltimore, the Steelers are ultra-consistent; armed with a powerful organizational vision; able to identify and nurture talent; stocked with sensible folk who ignore the impulse to fire the head coach every 400 days. This proud organization has been a constant nuisance to enemies all decade thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and a cast of starry side-pieces that -- today -- have mostly left the building. Mike Tomlin won't be swayed, though, coaching up whoever remains. For all the success, though, Pittsburgh has experienced plenty of first-world problems in January, falling to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV and turning to dust against New England roughly 47 times when it mattered most.

6) New Orleans Saints

Regular-season record: 100-60-0 (.625)
Postseason record: 4-5 (.444)
Division titles: 4
Super Bowl losses: 0
Super Bowl wins: 0
SesslerPowerScore: 132

I'm ignoring the (ignorable) SesslerPowerScore here, but it's a reminder the Saints have largely been a regular-season lovefest that leaves you cold come January. Sean Payton is a brilliant coach. Drew Brees is an instant Hall of Famer. The Saints, though, made just one conference title game all decade and waded through four 7-9 marks in five seasons. Payton also unfurled six double-digit-win campaigns, but New Orleans sports a losing playoff record. Not unlike the Packers, the Saints are a totally enjoyable, well-coached, flex-your-muscles club with a concerning lack of Super Bowl titles. One more chance remains to flip the narrative.

7) Denver Broncos

Regular-season record: 89-71-0 (.556)
Postseason record: 6-4 (.600)
Division titles: 5
Super Bowl losses: 1
Super Bowl wins: 1
SesslerPowerScore: 167

It feels like ancient times, but Denver's surge from 2012 to 2015 was special. The franchise deserves credit for bouncing back from a crushing loss to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII with an uber-confident, white-knuckle romp over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. John Elway reshaped the AFC by nabbing free-agent star quarterback Peyton Manning, but the Broncos football czar also swung and missed on a bevy of post-Peyton passers, leading Denver into a forest of forgettable autumns. The lack of consistency dropped this franchise down this list, but young Drew Lock offers promise for 2020 and beyond.

8) Kansas City Chiefs

Regular-season record: 96-64-0 (.600)
Postseason record: 2-6 (.250)
Division titles: 5
Super Bowl losses: 0
Super Bowl wins: 0
SesslerPowerScore: 127

Question for Chiefs fans: Would you trade in Kansas City's gaudy regular-season mark for Denver's Super Bowl years? Hitting the scene in 2013, coach Andy Reid has crafted six double-digit-win seasons, but just as many playoff fizzle-outs. It was understandable when the Chiefs couldn't get past the Patriots and other foes with Alex Smith under center, but the possibilities are endless with Patrick Mahomes looking like a generational talent just three years into his NFL career. Reid rests in that inner circle of difference-making coaches, but his legacy is dogged by the lack of a Super Bowl title. Mahomes has come to Earth to change all that.

9) Philadelphia Eagles

Regular-season record: 87-73-0 (.544)
Postseason record: 4-3 (.571)
Division titles: 4
Super Bowl losses: 0
Super Bowl wins: 1
SesslerPowerScore: 144

It goes beyond one of the most enticing Super Bowl wins in NFL lore, a Nick Foles/"Philly Special"-tinged classic over a super-annoyed Bill Belichick. This is still a team that finished first or second in the division eight of 10 years. The mid-decade Chip Kelly experience started hot before turning ice cold, but the Eagles emerged as one of football's top-run operations once general manager Howie Roseman was paired with analytics-embracing coach Doug Pederson.

10) San Francisco 49ers

Regular-season record: 80-79-1 (.503)
Postseason record: 5-3 (.625)
Division titles: 3
Super Bowl losses: 1
Super Bowl wins: 0
SesslerPowerScore: 120

A roller-coaster ride. Niners fans experienced ecstasy when coach Jim Harbaugh helped the club to 36 regular-season wins over a three-year stretch. The talent on those San Francisco squads -- Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith, Donte Whitner and a rising Colin Kaepernick -- feels overlooked today because of how quickly it all faded. The Super Bowl loss to Baltimore was a crusher, as were flighty post-Harbaugh campaigns with Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly guiding the club into darkness. Here they are again, though, looming as the NFC's No. 1 seed with a supremely talented coach in Kyle Shanahan and a general manager in John Lynch who altered the organization forever with a savvy swap for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

If you have any complaints about Marc Sessler's rankings, please find him on Twitter @MarcSessler or send a postcard to his personal assistant at the following address: Francesca Zhang / Estadio Futbol Club / Jiron de la Union 1047 - 1049 / Cercado de Lima 15001, Peru.

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