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Where do the Ravens stack up in 14-team field? – Boston Herald

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With the playoffs kicking off this weekend, it’s time for a special edition of the weekly NFL power rankings.

Before the wild-card round begins, here’s a look at how the 14 playoff teams measure up as Super Bowl contenders, taking into account weekly performance, injuries and roster depth.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Regular-season finish: 14-3, AFC West champions, No. 1 seed

DVOA profile (via Football Outsiders): 1st offense, 17th defense, 19th special teams, 4th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl (via FanDuel): +330

The Chiefs have the best quarterback, the best play-caller and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That sounds like a recipe for another Super Bowl title. Kansas City won 10 of its last 11 games to end the regular season, and even when it did lose, it was never by more than four points. While the Chiefs have been prone to turnovers and have struggled to find a consistent kicking game, quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been nearly unstoppable, recording the most offensive yards (5,614) in a single season in NFL history.

2. Buffalo Bills

Regular-season finish: 13-3, AFC East champions, No. 2 seed

DVOA profile: 2nd offense, 4th defense, 1st special teams, 1st overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +420

Nobody knew how the Bills would respond after they saw teammate Damar Hamlin collapse on the field from cardiac arrest. All it took was one play to find out. Less than a week after Hamlin’s injury, Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in Sunday’s 35-23 win over the Patriots, setting off a raucous celebration both in the Buffalo stands and around the league. It’s hard to overlook a potential storybook ending for the Bills, who have dealt with so much grief in their community this season. On the field, they’ve been led by star quarterback Josh Allen and a stout defense that’s forced 27 turnovers, including 17 interceptions.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Regular-season finish: 14-3, NFC East champions, No. 1 seed

DVOA profile: 3rd offense, 6th defense, 13th special teams, 3rd overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +500

Quarterback Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury was just about the only thing that slowed down the Eagles this season. Hurts took a massive leap forward in his second year as the starter, producing one of the best dual-threat seasons in NFL history to lead one of the league’s best offenses. The addition of star wide receiver A.J. Brown helped open up the passing game, allowing Hurts and second-year receiver DeVonta Smith to thrive. The defense also delivered a league-leading 70 sacks, including 16 from free-agent addition Haason Reddick. Just about every move general manager Howie Roseman made this offseason paid off, making Philadelphia a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Regular-season finish: 13-4, NFC West champions, No. 2 seed

DVOA profile: 6th offense, 1st defense, 15th special teams, 2nd overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +550

Things didn’t go quite as planned for the 49ers, but they ended up exactly where they wanted to be. After second-year quarterback Trey Lance was lost for the season in Week 1, veteran Jimmy Garoppolo made an improbable return to help guide San Francisco to a 7-4 start. Then he suffered a broken foot in Week 13, thrusting rookie Brock Purdy — the last pick in the 2022 draft — into the spotlight. All Purdy has done since then is win, posting the second-highest passer rating (119.0) through a quarterback’s first five starts in the Super Bowl era. We know the Niners’ defense is good enough to carry the team to a title. If Purdy can continue that hot streak into the postseason, coach Kyle Shanahan might finally win that elusive ring.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Regular-season finish: 12-4, AFC North champions, No. 3 seed

DVOA profile: 4th offense, 11th defense, 18th special teams, 5th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +750

The Bengals’ Super Bowl hangover lasted two games. After losing to Pittsburgh and Dallas to open 2022, Cincinnati won 12 of its next 14 games, including an eight-game winning streak to end the regular season. Quarterback Joe Burrow took his game to another level, showing an elite command of the offense to finish fifth in passing yards (4,475) and second in passing touchdowns (35). The Burrow-to-Ja’Marr Chase connection remains unstoppable, and the defense has been among the league’s best at keeping opponents out of the end zone (20.1 points allowed per game). Injuries to right tackle La’el Collins and right guard Alex Cappa loom large, but Burrow was able to overcome poor offensive line play last postseason.

6. Baltimore Ravens

Regular-season finish: 10-7, AFC North runner-up, No. 6 seed

DVOA profile: 12th offense, 7th defense, 3rd special teams, 7th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +3400

The only reason the Ravens rank this high is the potential return of quarterback Lamar Jackson. It feels like an eternity ago, but with Jackson healthy and thriving during the first month of the season, the Ravens looked like world-beaters. If they managed to hold onto double-digit leads against the Dolphins and Bills, they would have started 5-0 against some of the best teams in the AFC. It’s foolish to play the “what if?” game, but it’s hard not to with this team. Although Jackson struggled before suffering a knee injury that could keep him out for a sixth straight game, he’s still, at his best, an MVP-caliber player. The Ravens’ defense recovered from an early slump to become an elite unit, one that’s capable of shutting down some of the league’s best offenses when at full strength. There’s no certainty the Ravens ever find their top form this season, but the possibility of it all falling into place with Jackson healthy makes them a dangerous team.

7. Dallas Cowboys

Regular-season finish: 12-5, NFC East runner-up, No. 5 seed

DVOA profile: 15th offense, 2nd defense, 10th special teams, 6th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +1300

Don’t be fooled by the Cowboys’ uninspiring finish to the regular season. Yes, those losses to the Jaguars and Commanders were ugly, but this is still a team that beat Philadelphia, Minnesota and Cincinnati and has averaged a league-leading 32.5 points per game since quarterback Dak Prescott returned from his thumb injury in Week 7. Prescott has also been part of the problem, however, throwing at least one interception in all but two of his starts this season. Dallas’ strength lies in its defense, which ranks second in DVOA and should get back linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins for the postseason. If Prescott can cut down on his turnovers, the Cowboys have a puncher’s chance in the NFC.

8. Los Angeles Chargers

Regular-season finish: 10-7, AFC West runner-up, No. 5 seed

DVOA profile: 19th offense, 16th defense, 6th special teams, 18th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +2100

The Chargers tempted fate in a meaningless Week 18 game, and it might have cost them. Defensive end Joey Bosa, wide receiver Mike Williams and linebacker Kenneth Murray all exited with injuries in a loss to the Broncos that had no bearing on Los Angeles’ playoff seeding. It’s a strange unforced error for second-year coach Brandon Staley, who has otherwise done a good job of shedding the curse that has long haunted this franchise. Week 18 blunders aside, the Chargers did well to win five of their last seven games and secure a playoff berth for the first time since 2018. If Williams is healthy and quarterback Justin Herbert has a full complement of weapons around him, Los Angeles has the firepower to keep up with some of the top offenses in the AFC.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Regular-season finish: 9-8, AFC South champions, No. 4 seed

DVOA profile: 9th offense, 26th defense, 11th special teams, 13th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +4800

After finishing with the league’s worst record in back-to-back seasons and starting 2-6 this year, there wasn’t much hope for a quick turnaround in Jacksonville. Even a free-agent spending spree, including a hotly debated four-year, $72 million deal for wide receiver Christian Kirk, elicited more criticism than confidence that the Jaguars could return to being competitive. However, Kirk, fellow wideout Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram proved to be savvy pickups, helping 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence grow into a standout quarterback in his second season. Lawrence’s hot streak to end the season — he ranks second in the NFL in completion rate (69.7%), third in passer rating (104.6) and eighth in Total QBR (63.5) since November began — has the Jaguars thinking big not only this season, but in the years to come.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Regular-season finish: 8-9, NFC South champions, No. 4 seed

DVOA profile: 16th offense, 13th defense, 31st special teams, 17th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +2800

The Buccaneers’ hope for a deep playoff run comes down to one question: How much do you trust Tom Brady? The 45-year-old quarterback is the most accomplished player in league history, but his struggles this season are hard to ignore. Over his last five full games (he was pulled early in Week 18), he’s thrown nearly as many interceptions (seven) as touchdown passes (10) while the Bucs have averaged 17.2 points per game. Injuries on both sides of the ball have depleted what’s been one of the league’s best rosters over the past three seasons, making Tampa Bay a longshot to return to the Super Bowl in what could be Brady’s final season.

11. Minnesota Vikings

Regular-season finish: 13-4, NFC North champions, No. 3 seed

DVOA profile: 20th offense, 27th defense, 30th special teams, 27th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +3000

If the Vikings can carry their luck into the postseason, they could very well come away with the Lombardi Trophy. Much has been made of Minnesota’s 11-0 record in one-score games this season, but the ability to perform under pressure and close out those victories isn’t something that can just be waved away. While the defense has been one of the league’s worst this season, it’s held up late in games, as the Vikings rank third in the NFL with a plus-9 turnover margin on drives that have started in the fourth quarter or overtime. If quarterback Kirk Cousins can get the ball to star wide receiver Justin Jefferson consistently and avoid those back-breaking mistakes, Minnesota can hang with just about any team.

12. New York Giants

Regular-season finish: 9-7-1, Third in NFC East, No. 6 seed

DVOA profile: 10th offense, 29th defense, 22nd special teams, 21st overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +5500

Now is when we see whether the Giants’ season is more than just a feel-good story. Nobody expected first-year coach Brian Daboll to orchestrate such a quick turnaround, with New York returning to the postseason for the first time since 2016. The former Bills offensive coordinator turned Daniel Jones into a potential franchise quarterback, while defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale got the most out of an inexperienced and banged-up unit. The Giants are still a season or two away from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but they can take pride in knowing they’ve found the right coach. The next step is adding the type of players Daboll wants to build around.

13. Miami Dolphins

Regular-season finish: 9-8, AFC East runner-up, No. 7 seed

DVOA profile: 7th offense, 15th defense, 28th special teams, 8th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +6000

Coach Mike McDaniel said he won’t make a decision about Tua Tagovailoa’s availability until he knows the third-year quarterback has completely recovered from his second concussion of the season, and that’s about where things stand with Miami. With Tagovailoa healthy, the offense has been one of the league’s best, averaging 25.5 points per game. With seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson or veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater under center, they’ve averaged just 16.3 points. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are capable of torching any secondary, but they need Tagovailoa’s efficiency to thrive. A midseason trade for pass rusher Bradley Chubb has not been enough to boost the defense, either, as Miami has failed to deliver a consistent pass rush.

14. Seattle Seahawks

Regular-season finish: 9-8, NFC West runner-up, No. 7 seed

DVOA profile: 14th offense, 21st defense, 4th special teams, 10th overall

Odds to win Super Bowl: +6500

For the first time since 2010, the Seahawks will play a postseason game without quarterback Russell Wilson. After trading away its franchise icon this offseason, Seattle found a more-than-capable replacement in journeyman Geno Smith, who delivered a career year to earn Pro Bowl honors for the first time. Buoyed by wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and rookie running back Kenneth Walker III, an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Smith finished eighth in passing yards (4,282) and fourth in passing touchdowns (30), helping the Seahawks secure a playoff berth in the last week of the regular season. While the defense hasn’t played to its usual high standard under coach Pete Carroll, promising rookie cornerbacks Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant provide hope for the future. It doesn’t hurt that Seattle gets the No. 5 pick in the 2023 draft from Denver as part of the Wilson trade, either.

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