Traditionally my playoff power rankings have been a bit different than regular season rankings. Oh, who am I kidding? You of course know that. We’ll rank the 14 quarterbacks, head coaches and defenses left in the postseason before ranking the 14 teams in terms of their likelihood of winning the Super Bowl. And then for funsies, I’ll tell you how I’d vote for this year’s major NFL awards. And also, I’d like more reasons to use the term “funsies” because it is just wonderful.
A reminder that with the quarterback and head coach rankings, I attempt to somehow mesh what we’ve seen of late with their career track record. They’re the guys that I would most want to have at this moment.
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers
- Josh Allen, Bills
- Russell Wilson, Seahawks
- Lamar Jackson, Ravens
- Drew Brees, Saints
- Tom Brady, Buccaneers
- Ryan Tannehill, Titans
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
- Baker Mayfield, Browns
- Philip Rivers, Colts
- Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
- Alex Smith, Football Team
- John Wolford, Rams
If somehow Jared Goff were to play (which early reports seem to suggest is unlikely), I’d rank him between Mayfield and Rivers. I didn’t really struggle with this list much. I would hear the argument that Jackson comes into the postseason so much hotter than Wilson that he’d deserve to be ranked ahead of the Seattle signal-caller, but Wilson’s overall track record is too much for a couple of uneven weeks to dissuade me.
There’s an argument Washington should start Taylor Heinicke instead of Smith. There’s a better argument that they just shouldn’t be involved with this at all.
- Andy Reid, Chiefs
- Sean Payton, Saints
- John Harbaugh, Ravens
- Mike Tomlin, Steelers
- Matt LaFleur, Packers
- Sean McDermott, Bills
- Frank Reich, Colts
- Sean McVay, Rams
- Bruce Arians, Buccaneers
- Mike Vrabel, Titans
- Kevin Stefanski, Browns
- Pete Carroll, Seahawks
- Ron Rivera, Football Team
- Matt Nagy, Bears
I assume that what jumps out most is Carroll, a long-tenured and Super Bowl-winning coach, being so far down the list. But it is particularly difficult to justify how a team has looked so mediocre with a quarterback so spectacular. It is teetering on “Mike McCarthy-esque.” It’s also quite strange making this list again without it including the name “Bill Belichick.” I just kept thinking to myself “something is missing here.”
- Football Team
This is a very strange list to make. I’ve said a couple of times this week that I genuinely don’t believe defense will be what ultimately stops the Ravens in the postseason (if they are to be stopped). I largely feel the same way about the other top playoff teams. Having a top defense feels like far more of a luxury than a necessity going into this particular postseason.
- Football Team
The playoffs seem to break down to six teams that REALLY have a chance to win the Super Bowl, four more that have an outside chance and four that appear to have little to no business being part of this at all. The Chiefs are the team until proven otherwise, but the Packers, Bills, Ravens, Saints and Buccaneers all look like worthy contenders to win a title.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young, Football Team
There are actually a number of candidates for the honor, including Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. But Young was just too dominant.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert, Chargers
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson was outstanding, and a number of running backs (Jonathan Taylor, James Robinson, J.K. Dobbins and more) made serious impacts. But Herbert was an absolute revelation.
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt, Steelers
There’s just not really any argument for anyone to get it over him.
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry, Titans
Since MVP is essentially an “offense only” award, it feels as though the Offensive Player of the Year Award should recognize a particularly outstanding performer who won’t be winning MVP. Henry was consistently overwhelming throughout the season and would get my vote.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski, Browns
I think McDermott is the better coach and while I don’t really think much of Cleveland, Stefanski is literally the man who got the damn Browns to the playoffs. He has to get the vote.
MVP: Stefon Diggs, Bills
Look, Aaron Rodgers is going to be the MVP (unless for some reason the Supreme Court chooses to overturn the election). And that’s just fine. For some reason, we’ve decided that only quarterbacks are allowed to win MVP anymore. It is what it is.
But in 2019, the Buffalo Bills had the No. 24 overall offense and the No. 23 scoring offense. In 2020, they were SECOND in the league in both categories. In 2019, Josh Allen completed 58.8 percent of his passes with a 47.9 QBR. In 2020, he completed 69.2 percent with an 81.7 QBR.
One significant thing changed between those two seasons. A guy showed up who caught 127 balls for 1,535 yards. I don’t know how you define the term “valuable,” but I’m not sure how any player in the league could prove their value more than Diggs did this season. My vote would not be a protest vote. It would be a legitimate vote for who I believe was the most valuable player in the NFL in 2020. It would be the former Terp.
Walter Payton Man of the Year: Bradley Bozeman, Ravens
I can’t pretend I’m not biased here. I would encourage you to use “#WPMOYChallenge Bozeman” in a tweet today to vote for one of the greatest humans in franchise history.
Photo Credits: Kenya Allen/PressBox