1. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are going to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Ray Lewis-led defense is the best in football and the Jamal Lewis-led running game is scoring touchdowns.
2. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings were down, but they fought back in St. Louis. Culpepper is something special and if Sunday’s game was in the Metrodome, the outcome might have been different. With home-field advantage likely throughout the playoffs, this is the best team in the NFC.
3. Oakland Raiders – Rich Gannon is MVP. Seattle and Carolina to go. Things are looking good for Oakland.
4. Tennessee Titans – After pulling out a great win in Philly last week, the Titans returned home and crushed the Bengals as expected. Steve McNair is the key offensively, because you know Eddie George will show up to play.
5. Denver Broncos – Losing Brian Griese hurts Denver’s chances of making it far into the playoffs, but with Mike Anderson carrying the ball, the Broncos shouldn’t be counted out. Perhaps a wild card battle against Baltimore in the playoffs?
6. New York Giants – The Giants are for real. Barring a strange turn of events, New York will win the NFC East.
7. Miami Dolphins – Miami was in field goal range with a chance to tie Tampa and maybe send the game into overtime. But, Jay Fiedler got called for an intentional grounding penalty and then threw in interception. Frustrating final seconds for the Dolphins.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – It’s official, Philadelphia is in the playoffs. Don’t want to look too far ahead, but Eagles fans want the Super Bowl. They want it now. Go Sixers.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – This win is going to put the Bucs into the playoffs. Beating Miami on the road is quite a feat.
10. St. Louis Rams – Are the Rams back? Well, they stuck it to the best team in football, but their defense is still a question mark. This team should find its way into the playoffs and if Warner and Faulk do what they did today, St. Louis is still one of the best teams in the game.
11. New Orleans Saints – Great win in San Francisco. That hasn’t happened too often for New Orleans in the history of the franchise. The Saints and Rams are still on a collision course for the division title.
12. New York Jets – Jets were flat as could be against Oakland.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars – There isn’t a team hotter than the Jags in recent weeks. Unfortunately, for Jacksonville fans, their poor play in the middle of the season cost them a playoff berth.
14. Green Bay Packers – Packers will play a big role in the playoff futures for their rivals. With the Vikings and Bucs to go, it will be very interesting down the stretch.
15. Detroit Lions – Now’s not the time to forget how to win. Detroit is now on the outside looking in.
16. Buffalo Bills – Should be a good Monday night game against the Colts. Remember that Houston Oilers playoff game years ago? That’s what this team needs to make the playoffs.
17. Indianapolis Colts – Disappointing turn of events here for the Colts. They were a Super Bowl contender at the start. But, that was a while ago.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Probably not one of Pittsburgh’s better games. No, definitely not one of their better games.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is not a good football team, but they picked the right team to show up against. Emmitt Smith was great today, but that’s all the talent Dallas has. Against Washington, that’s all they needed.
20. Washington Redskins – Of all teams to embarrass Washington right now, it’s Dallas. It doesn’t matter who is coaching this team, they’re not going to the playoffs. Daniel Snyder pays millions and millions for a high-profile team, but forgets to get a decent kicker. That’s been the downfall all season.
21. Seattle Seahawks – Is Jon Kitna’s favorite candy bar the Kit-Kat? We were just wondering.
22. Kansas City Chiefs – After an embarrassing final seconds last Monday night, K.C. found a way against Carolina.
23. Carolina Panthers – They forced four first-half turnovers, but Carolina couldn’t put the Chiefs away. And, as is often the case, they lost.
24. San Francisco 49ers – San Francisco just doesn’t win the close games. At least New Orleans didn’t score a touchdown with less than a minute left to win. Oh, wait.
25. Chicago Bears – Chicago wins 1985 Super Bowl. Well, close enough.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta backwards is Atnalta.
27. New England Patriots – Fifteen years later and they still can’t beat the Bears.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Jacksonville and Philly to go for this 3-11 team. G’night.
29. Arizona Cardinals – Oh, they’re just awful. This team didn’t have a prayer. Where’s Joe Bugel?
30. Cleveland Browns – The Browns actually had a decent offensive effort against the Eagles, but Cleveland has no passing defense. As a result, they went down hard at home to Philly.
31. San Diego Chargers – Power shortage in San Diego.