NFL Power Rankings Ahead of the Super Bowl and Free Agency
Updated: Feb 15, 2021
In our final NFL Power Rankings ahead of the Super Bowl and Free Agency, we take a look at who is top of the tree at the end of the 2020 NFL season.
SEE OUR FULL NFL POWER RANKINGS HERE – ALL 32 TEAMS RANKED AHEAD OF FREE AGENCY AND SUPER BOWL LV.
By Mark Ross
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Well, here we are. The final game of the NFL season is just around the corner. Super Bowl 55 will be played between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Both teams made it through the post season in a different fashion. Tampa earned a wild card spot in the playoffs and had to overcome three road games. Kansas, on the other hand, earned the first-round bye and would host everyone at Arrowhead.
Tampa started their post season campaign away to the Washington Football Team. A sluggish start to the playoffs but Tom Brady was able to guide his team through. Patrick Mahomes didn’t feature in the wild card round and got to watch as the rest of the AFC battled for a shot at him.
In the divisional round, Tampa had to visit the New Orleans Saints. A New Orleans team that had already beaten them twice in the regular season. A game that was pitted as two of the greatest to ever do battle. Tom Brady versus Drew Brees. Brees was unable to keep up as the Tampa defense hounded him all day.
Mahomes and crew faced off against the Cleveland Browns. After getting out to a lead, Kansas saw their star quarterback leave the game with an apparent concussion. Chad Henne came in and managed to hold off a Cleveland fightback as the Chiefs advanced to the Conference Championship for the third straight year.
Both Championship Games had their own build-up stories. In the NFC it was another battle between two of the greatest to ever do it. This time: Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps the best of all-time against the most talented of all-time.
Tom Brady’s success is well documented, and this was his 14th Conference Championship game. Rodgers on the other hand has just one Super Bowl despite his ability. Green Bays’ offense started slowly as Tampa got out to a lead. They were able to fight back in the second half but despite three Tom Brady interceptions, they couldn’t get the win. A questionable call on fourth and goal by Matt Le Fleur will be rightly spoken about but the abysmal play by Kevin King is what cost the Packers in this one.
For Kansas, the AFC Championship Game was an easier battle than they would have expected. Despite going 9-0 down quickly the Chiefs then began to dominate and took control. A pair of touchdowns to Travis Kelce and countless big plays helped the Kansas offense dominate the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen did all he could but a costly interception to Tyrann Mathieu all but ended their chances.
So, there we have it, two teams battled through the regular and postseason and now face off for the greatest prize in sports, The Lombardi Trophy. Let’s see how the remaining two teams rank in our Super Bowl Rankings.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa is heading to the Super Bowl with a few injury concerns. Antonio Brown and Antoine Winfield Jr were unable to suit up against the Packers, not that they were particularly missed. The bigger concern was the fact that Jordan Whitehead went out with a shoulder injury. Missing one starting safety is bad, but two of them would be disastrous. It was no surprise that the Packers made a game of it once Whitehead was in the locker room. Luckily for the Buccaneers Whitehead seems to be fine and has already been cleared to play in Super Bowl 55.
Brown and Winfield however are still questionable. For Tom Brady, having another weapon at his disposal is huge. In a game where Tampa will need their offense to make plays in order to keep up with Patrick Mahomes, having as many weapons as possible is favourable. If Tampa has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scott Miller, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, and Antonio Brown then they have the weapons to keep up with the Chiefs.
Perhaps the biggest key to the Buccaneers getting a win is their ability to get to Mahomes. Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett pressured Aaron Rodgers all day long and helped their defense step up when it mattered. If Todd Bowles can dial up some pressures and Barrett and Pierre-Paul can get to Mahomes then it will allow their linebackers and safeties to make some plays in the secondary. The returning Vita Vea will only add to the pressure coming from the Tampa defensive line.
As much as Tom Brady will need to keep up with the Kansas offense, if his defense can force stops or even turnovers then this game could become Tampa’s to lose.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City finds itself back in the Super Bowl for the second straight year. After coming through their third straight home Conference Championship Game the Chiefs will prepare for the Buccaneers.
In last year’s Super Bowl they had to play against Tom Bradys’ former back-up. This time they get a shot at the real deal. Tom Brady is playing in his tenth Super Bowl and with that, he has vast knowledge on what to expect. Luckily for the Chiefs, they have a couple of co-ordinators capable of disrupting the Buccaneers.
There has been a lot of talk about Eric Bieniemy and why he hasn’t got a shot at being the head coach. But if you’re a Chiefs player then you have to be happy. Bieniemy has shown that with Andy Reid he is capable of running one of the most proficient offenses ever to play the game.
Yes, he has Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce at his disposal, but all that talent comes with its difficulties. Look at what happened in Pittsburgh. They had one of the best offenses on paper but with that much ego in one locker room, it crumbled. The Chiefs have gone in the opposite direction. They have got stronger as a unit and now boast a team with the best quarterback, the best tight end, and arguably the best wide receiver, as well as a multitude of others capable of making huge plays.
Then on the defensive side of the ball, they have Steve Spagnuolo and his unit. Since Mahomes came into the league all the chatter has been about the offense, but this defense continues to grow. L’Jarius Sneed has been huge in the playoffs, despite it being in his rookie year, and made a huge play in the Championship Game as he sacked Josh Allen for 15 yards. That was his fourth straight game with a sack.
Chris Jones and Frank Clark are both capable of getting into the backfield on both the run game and pass game and we all know that Tom Brady is not mobile enough to escape them. On top of that, he has Tyrann Mathieu who has been named All-Pro at safety for the second season in a row. The roaming safety, who is coming off a pick in the Championship Game, is quite brilliant at keeping an eye on the quarterback and jumping routes. After watching Tom Brady throw three interceptions last week you better believe that Mathieu is ready to get in on that action.
A game where we are all expecting the Kansas City Chiefs to rack up the points could come down to whether or not this Kansas City Chiefs defense can come up with plans to stop the current G.O.A.T.