The final Power Rankings of the season are always a chance to look back at my first rankings from September.
Back then, the season was uncertain, with many wondering if any games would even be played or if the NFL would make it to the playoffs without canceling games. But the NFL managed to play them all, which is a testament to the league's owners, players and coaches.
Now it's on to the playoffs, but first let's look back and see how my final rankings compare to the first. This is when I usually embarrass myself. Only this year, that's not the case.
For once, my Week 1 Power Rankings held up pretty well. Consider eight of the top 10 teams from the first rankings are in the playoffs. The top two teams in my first rankings were the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, the top seeds in each conference.
The misses in the top 10 were having the San Francisco 49ers at No. 4 to start the season with the Philadelphia Eagles in the eighth spot. The 49ers were crippled by injuries, so they have more of an excuse. The Eagles were just bad.
The big misses the other way were the Tennessee Titans (I had them at 17), the Los Angeles Rams (21st), Cleveland Browns (22nd) and the Washington Football Team, who I had last in the league to open the season. Coach Ron Rivera did an amazing job getting Washington to the playoffs by winning the bad NFC East.
For the most part, the first rankings were pretty spot on, although there are plenty of wrongs to grumble about for some of you. See: Titans and Browns fans. But with the way the league changes from year to year, I can say for the first time in a long time that my first rankings held up in a good way.
|They will get a week off before starting their defense of their Super Bowl title. They should be well rested after sitting guys against the Chargers.||--||2-1-0|
|They locked up the top seed with an impressive offensive showing against the Bears. Aaron Rodgers is also the likely MVP.||--||2-1-0|
|They are playing the best football of any team heading into the playoffs. Josh Allen will be a tough out.||--||2-1-0|
|They found a way against the 49ers, which has them the third seed. They face a tough first-round game against the division-rival Rams, but L.A. might be without Jared Goff.||--||2-1-0|
|They played well in their finale to tune up for the playoffs. The big issue is whether they will have Alvin Kamara against the Bears.||--||2-1-0|
|They sat a bunch of guys in losing to the Browns, but those players will be back this week for the rematch in the first round. They showed well Sunday, even undermanned.||--||2-1-0|
|The offense has really cranked it up the past three games. So much for the idea that Tom Brady is washed up.||--||2-1-0|
|They head to Tennessee to play the Titans, which will be a tough, physical game. It was the Titans who knocked out the Ravens last year in the playoffs, so they will be looking for revenge.||--||2-1-0|
|They head to Buffalo for the first round of the playoffs, which will be a tough challenge. The running game with Jonathan Taylor will be the key.||1||2-1-0|
|The Browns are in the playoffs. The Browns are in the playoffs. That's a heck of a season for first-year coach Kevin Stefanski.||1||2-1-0|
|The defense has major issues, which showed up against the Texans. But this team can score. The postseason will be all about Derrick Henry.||1||1-2-0|
|They impressed in winning a game with John Wolford at quarterback. The defense showed up big, and will need to do so this week at Seattle.||1||1-2-0|
|They got blown out by the Packers, but backed into the playoffs. They face a tough first test at New Orleans.||2||0-3-0|
|Ron Rivera has this team in the playoffs, which makes him a coach-of-the-year candidate. With that defensive front, they could make life miserable for Tom Brady this week.||3||2-1-0|
|They missed out on the playoffs, but this was a good season. They do have to be concerned about Tua Tagovailoa heading into next season.||6||3-0-0|
|The injury to Kyler Murray cost them a chance to beat the Rams, but the offense got stagnant down the stretch. That cost them the playoffs.||2||1-2-0|
|Jon Gruden needs to fix the defense. That side of the ball isn't close to being good. Until they fix it, they won't win a lot of games.||1||1-2-0|
|They had a tough season with opt outs and lack of talent on the roster. This will be a challenging offseason for Bill Belichick and staff.||--||1-2-0|
|Justin Herbert is a future star. He was sensational as a rookie, which gives them - and their new coach, whoever that will be - a lot of hope.||--||1-2-0|
|They can be a sneaky good team next season. Mike Zimmer will get this team back on track.||--||0-3-0|
|The Broncos could be exciting to watch on offense next year. They have a lot of young talent, but it's all dependent on Drew Lock growing.||--||0-3-0|
|I bet they can't wait to play the Eagles next year after what happened Sunday night. Joe Judge had a solid first season as coach.||2||1-2-0|
|The biggest offseason priority is to figure out a long-term deal with Dak Prescott. They had a ton of injuries this season in addition to losing Prescott early.||1||2-1-0|
|They have to make a decision on Teddy Bridgewater. He didn't play well down the stretch.||1||0-3-0|
|Watch out for this team next year. The injuries crippled them this season, but there is still a lot of talent. They could lose defensive coordinator Robert Saleh when he likely becomes a head coach.||--||3-0-0|
|What do they do with Carson Wentz now that Doug Pederson is back as coach? There is clearly a problem there, but do they know if Jalen Hurts is the long-term answer?||--||3-0-0|
|The defense was just too bad for them to win many games this year. The new coach has a lot of work to do, but not a lot of draft picks to fix it.||--||1-2-0|
|They will hire a new coach and general manager, which means big changes are coming. They've had a lot of tough losses since making the Super Bowl a few years back.||--||2-1-0|
|Zac Taylor is coming back as coach, but he will make changes to his staff. He's probably in a win-or-else mode next season.||--||1-2-0|
|A new general manager and coach are the on the way, and they will have a lot of work to do. Will Matt Stafford be back? He should be.||--||2-1-0|
|Adam Gase is out as coach, which means it's time for a big search. They have to decide whether to keep Sam Darnold or not. With the second pick, they probably will keep him.||--||1-2-0|
|This is an attractive job for whoever gets the head-coaching position. They have the first pick, loads of draft capital and tons of cap room. Trevor Lawrence will turn this team around.||--||1-2-0|