The 2019 NFL playoffs are upon us, and it could be one of the more interesting postseasons we have had in some time. If you ask me, there isn't a team in this group of 12 that does not deserve to be in the postseason, and each has potential to win a game or two.
We saw two No. 1 seeds make it to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2017 season, but last season a pair of No. 2 seeds upset No. 1 seeds in the Conference Championship games. This year, the odds are on either the Baltimore Ravens or Kansas City Chiefs making it to Super Bowl LIV representing the AFC, while the San Francisco 49ers or Green Bay Packers will represent the NFC -- but is there a lower seed that has a chance to go all the way?
Below, we will break down each playoff team, and attempt to rank them from No. 12 to No. 1.
No. 12: Philadelphia Eagles
I don't want to explicitly say that the Eagles are the worst team in the playoffs, but that's basically where I landed. Despite the fact that they are decimated at the wide receiver position, Carson Wentz was able to will this team to the postseason -- which means that they definitely have a chance against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend. Wentz threw for 4,039 yards this year, which is the most passing yards an Eagles quarterback has ever recorded in a single season. The Eagles might be the one team I think I'd want to face in the postseason, but they won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback a couple of years ago, so maybe I'll have to eat crow next month.
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No. 11: Houston Texans
The Texans have all the pieces necessary to make a deep postseason run, but they have been notoriously inconsistent all season. Deshaun Watson and Co. can take down the New England Patriots in primetime one weekend and then get blown out by a rookie quarterback on a losing team the next. They face an underrated Buffalo Bills team in the first round, and I actually have Buffalo upsetting the Texans in Houston. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are both incredible wide receivers and Carlos Hyde recorded his first 1,000-yard season. However, Fuller might miss this game with an injury and that's a big blow for the Houston offense. I think they might be a year away from making a deep run in the postseason.
No. 10 Minnesota Vikings
Back in August, I wrote a Kirk Cousins finally began to look like the quarterback of the future for Minnesota, Dalvin Cook remained relatively healthy and was one of the best backs in the league and the defense played up to its potential for the majority of the season. The offense is still inconsistent at times, and that was very apparent during the Week 16, 23-10 loss the Vikings suffered at home to the Packers. The Vikings are a good team, but face the red-hot Saints in New Orleans this weekend. The Minnesota defense is going to have to play out of its mind for the Vikings to register an upset win., and a couple of the predictions came true. The final bold prediction was that the Vikings make the Super Bowl, and while I'm not sure that will end up happening, the Vikings accomplished a lot in 2019.
No. 9: Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen set career highs in passing yards, touchdown passes, completion percentage and passer rating. He led all quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns, and yes, that includes probable NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. The Bills also have one of the best defenses in the league, and lost by double digits just once this season. Tre'Davious White is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, and I think people start learning his name this postseason.
No. 8: Tennessee Titans
People are going to be surprised to see the Titans this high on the list, but if they beat the Patriots, public perception of this team is going to soar. The Titans are the only AFC club that plays on Wild Card Weekend entering on a winning streak, and they are one of the hottest teams in the league. Ryan Tannehill ended the 2019 season with the best passer rating in the NFL, Derrick Henry rushed for more yards than anyone in the league and A.J. Brown is an emerging superstar at the wideout position. Tennessee is a bit shorthanded in the secondary, but they still have Kevin Byard, who leads the team with five interceptions. Tannehill has completely changed the Titans for the better, and while , I'm not sure they are a team that can make a deep postseason run.
No. 7: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks would be higher on this list if they weren't dealing with several injuries on the offensive line and at running back. They were forced to sign 33-year-old free agent Marshawn Lynch -- which isn't a bad addition -- but it certainly doesn't make them a Super Bowl contender. Russell Wilson was in the MVP discussion for the majority of the season and has 94 career wins, including the postseason, since 2012. That's the second-most by any player in his first eight seasons in NFL history. Tyler Lockett is one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL and rookie wideout D.K. Metcalf has been coming on lately as well. They also have a stout defense, which includes guys like Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and Jadeveon Clowney.
No. 6: Green Bay Packers
If you ask me, the Packers haven't played up to their potential this season and they might be a year away from being a serious contender. They didn't have any noteworthy wins and the offense was inconsistent during Matt LaFleur's first season with Aaron Rodgers. Still, this team went 13-3 and earned a first-round bye. Aaron Jones emerged as one of the best running backs in the league, Jamaal Williams wasn't a bad running mate either and Davante Adams led the team in receiving yards even after missing four games due to injury. The Packers could rally to play their best football here in the playoffs, but there's a couple of other teams in the NFC I like more.
No. 5: New England Patriots
The Patriots are the Patriots. Yes, they have dropped two out of their last three at home and are 4-4 in their last eight regular-season games, but we counted this team out last year and they went on to win the Super Bowl. We joke that the season doesn't start until January for this team, but it is somewhat true. As long as they have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, it's hard to count them out -- especially with the defense they have this year. New England has won three Super Bowls in the past 10 yards and rarely lose in Foxboro in the postseason. This year hasn't been one of the Patriots' best, but they still went 12-4.
No. 4: San Francisco 49ers
We have poked and prodded the 49ers for their faults all year, but they gutted out a 26-21 win over the Seahawks last week to acquire a first-round bye and finished with a 13-3 record. They have great running backs, great wide receivers, and a great defense -- it seems like it's all going to come down to if Jimmy Garoppolo can get the job done with the stakes higher than ever. He got better as the season progressed, and he completed 74.3 percent of his passes for 349 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in the statement win over the Saints in Week 14. He also played well during the win in Seattle last week, and he completed a season-high 81.8 percent of his passes for 285 yards. It seems like he understands when to rely on his playmakers and when he needs to shoulder the load, which is important for this team if they want to make the Super Bowl. Additionally, defenses still wins championships, and the 49ers allowed just 281.8 yards per game in the regular season. That's second in the league behind the Patriots.
No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs
A fire was clearly lit under the Chiefs following their Week 10, 35-32 loss to the Titans in Tennessee, as Patrick Mahomes and Co. went on to win their last six games. This group would have likely gone to the Super Bowl last season if the overtime coin flip went their way, or if Dee Ford didn't line up offsides, and they are ready to rewrite what happened last year. We all know Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are great weapons, but keep an eye on running back Damien Williams. He's played well over the last two games since returning from injury, and he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries against the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular-season finale.
No. 2: New Orleans Saints
After a missed pass interference penalty cost them a trip to the Super Bowl last year, this team -- like the Chiefs -- is motivated to make it to the big game. Drew Brees has been on a tear since breaking the record for most career touchdown passes. Over the past four games, he has completed 75.4 percent of his passes for an average of 297 yards per contest and has thrown 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. He, of course, has an incredible weapon in Michael Thomas, who set the single-season reception record this year, but the real story is the emergence of running back Alvin Kamara. After recording just one rushing touchdown in the first 15 weeks of the season, Kamara has scored four in just the last two weeks. The Saints are going to need their Pro Bowl running back to be at his best if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs, and it's a big deal that he registered nice performances to close out the regular season. I think the Saints have a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this year, even though they won't have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Brees got a five-week break when he injured his hand earlier this season, and he has definitely looked fresh down the back half of the schedule.
No. 1: Baltimore Ravens
No matter if you think the Ravens will make it to the Super Bowl or not, you can't argue that they are the best team leaving the regular season. Jackson threw for 3,127 yards, rushed for 1,206 more and accounted for 43 total touchdowns and just eight turnovers. He's the favorite to win the MVP award for a reason, and is also why the Ravens are currently the Super Bowl favorite. It's not all about him, however. Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown had big seasons and this defense is stacked as well. For crying out loud, their backups beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by double digits in the regular-season finale -- a team that needed to win to remain the postseason race. The Ravens are the best team in the NFL at this point, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it that way through the postseason.