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Senior NFL Columnist

Playoff Power Rankings: No love for the Ravens

Our CBSSports.com Power Rankings end after the regular season, but here's an abbreviated version of the teams left playing.

As you can tell, I don't get caught up in playoff hype.

You'd think the Seattle Seahawks went 15-1 the way people are talking about them now. They are certainly the Flavor of the Week. But they aren't one of the top teams in these rankings.

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You might be ready to put them in New Orleans, but I am not.

The top two are the teams that earned that right -- on the field. They are the Denver Broncos in the No. 1 spot and the Atlanta Falcons at No. 2. The Broncos continue to get high praise around the league.

Atlanta? You'd think the Falcons snuck into the playoffs. Has any No. 1 seed ever been less respected? Yes, this coach-quarterback combo is 0-3 in the playoffs, but what's that matter now?

It's not easy to get 13 victories in the NFL. They earned their right to play at home this week against the Flavor of the Week team -- the Seahawks.

And here's an early prediction: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan will get their first playoff victories.

Here's another: They might be the Flavor of the Week next week.

1. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning vs. Ray Lewis this week. Can't wait.

2. Atlanta Falcons: The pressure is on Ryan and Smith. So what? They can handle it.

3. New England Patriots: Tom Brady in the playoffs is almost a sure thing.

4. Green Bay Packers: Yes, I like them more than the 49ers. Hint at my pick coming Tuesday?

5. San Francisco 49ers: Did Jim Harbaugh make the right decision with Colin Kaepernick? The Packers game is the decider.

6. Seattle Seahawks: I love what they are doing. They are playing with a swagger. But playing twice on the opposite coast in seven days is tough to do.

7. Houston Texans: It's all about Matt Schaub. If he plays big against the Patriots, they have a chance.

8. Baltimore Ravens: The Lewis hype is done. Now it's time to show the old guys can play against an explosive offense in Denver.

 
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