Patrick Daugherty

The Morning After

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The Year That Was

Monday, December 30, 2013

Playoff Power Rankings

1. Denver — Peyton Manning’s past failures have nothing to do with this playoff run … but neither does his record-setting regular season. Be that as it may, if Denver’s defense can merely be competent, Manning’s odds of juggernauting the franchise to its third Super Bowl title are high.  

2. Seattle — The Seahawks have the most imposing home-field advantage in recent memory, but an offense that’s sputtering at the wrong time. Anything less than a Super Bowl appearance would be a major upset, but a win over Denver would almost certainly require more than the 19.3 points Russell Wilson’s offense averaged over its final four games.   

3. San Francisco — Peaking at the right time, San Francisco is ideally built to survive a three-game road gauntlet to maintain its NFC crown. All roads lead to Seattle?  

4. New England — New England is healthy enough to win a Divisional Round game, but a conference title via Denver? The task will be tall.  

5. Indianapolis — Back on track after a mid-season malaise befitting of the NFC North, Indy has moved past the loss of Reggie Wayne. The question is, can it neutralize the Chiefs’ pass rush for the second time in three weeks? It won’t be easy.  

6. Carolina — All season long, the Panthers had just enough offense to supplement their stifling defense. That formula will be severely tested if Steve Smith isn’t ready for the Divisional Round.   

7. New Orleans — The Saints have the same road record as the Giants and Jaguars. They’ll have a strong chance of beating the Eagles in a likely shootout in Philly, but anything beyond that would be gravy for a team that takes too many punches away from the Superdome.  

8. Cincinnati — Live by Andrew Gregory Dalton, die by Andrew Gregory Dalton. The Bengals should beat San Diego, but should can go out the window depending on which Andy Dalton shows up at Paul Brown Stadium.  

9. Kansas City — A well-rounded club with an unfortunate draw. The Chiefs went 1-5 against playoff teams this season, and would likely have to win three games away from raucous Arrowhead Stadium to reach the Super Bowl. The Chiefs have two wins since November 3, with both coming over teams picking in the top five of next May's draft. The Chiefs' 11-5 record was the worst ever for a team that started 9-0. That’s not indicative of the talent level in Kansas City, but a real run seems unlikely.

10. Green Bay — Anything can happen with Aaron Rodgers under center, but do the Pack have anything left after a draining, injury-marred 3-5-1 closing stretch? Probably not enough to beat San Francisco.  

11. Philadelphia — The Eagles are a good team playing their best football at the right time, but can they out-score Drew Brees? That’s what it’s going to take, as for all the advances Bill Davis’ defense has made, it’s still a highly-ordinary unit.  

12. San Diego — There’s backing into the playoffs, and then there’s outlasting Chase Daniel at home in overtime. The Chargers are a feel-good story — an extremely well-coached feel-good story — but by far the worst team, on paper, heading into this year’s tournament.   

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for the Wild Card playoff weekend. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Saturday at 4:35pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

Top 10 Fantasy Quarterbacks By Raw Points

1. Peyton Manning (496.8 points) — Manning CTRL+ALT+DLTed the record book and CTRL+Ved in his own new numbers.

2. Drew Brees (437.5 points) — There have been eight 5,000-yard seasons in NFL history. Half of them belong to Brees.   

3. Andy Dalton (377.1 points) — Dalton was wildly inconsistent. He was a far more rewarding proposition in points-only leagues.    

4. Matthew Stafford (367.8) — Stafford don’t need no stinkin’ QB “guru”! Ok, at least not for fantasy. Totaled only 49.9 points over his final four games.   

5. Cam Newton (359.7 points) — Cam ran less than ever, but remained as productive as ever. That’s despite throwing to one of the league’s worst receiver corps.

6. Philip Rivers (359.1 points) — Revived like no one since John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” Rivers was nevertheless much quieter over the season’s second half.

7. Andrew Luck (345.2 points) — It’s remarkable Luck finished as high as he did considering his lack of weapons and Indy’s nearly nonexistent running game.

8. Ben Roethlisberger (341.0 points) — Roethlisberger appeared in all 16 games for the first time since 2008.

9. Matt Ryan (335.3 points) — Ryan wasn’t the same without Julio Jones, but didn’t fade into oblivion. This is his fantasy floor. That’s not bad.

10. Russell Wilson (331.8 points) — Wilson averaged 20.7 points on the year, but just 14.65 over his final four games. Still a stellar campaign for a sophomore.  

Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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