Post-SuperBowl Note: These rankings are an evaluation of teams based on where they are right now, in light of the 2017 playoffs and SuperBowl 52. They are not a projection of who will win the next SuperBowl, or even who will win in Week 1 of the 2018 season, but instead reflect who I believe would win if the teams played each other on a neutral field today.
Season-End Recap: Before the last rankings of the 2016 season and the playoffs leading to SuperBowl 52, let's take a quick look back at the year in Unscripted rankings:
The first rankings of this season came out immediately following the end of last season, which had culminated in the Patriots' wild win over the Falcons in SuperBowl 51. In those initial, Post-SuperBowl rankings, the Top 10 included only 4 teams that remain in the Top 10 this week - the Chiefs, Steelers, Falcons, and Patriots -- who have a collective 2017 record of 46-18-0. The other members of the Top 10 in the first rankings of the year were a now-hilarious grouping of the Cardinals, Giants, Broncos, Seahawks, Packers, and Cowboys -- who have a collective 2017 record of 41-55-0.
That goes to show that one season is not always predictive of the next one. In fact, 8 of the 12 teams going to the playoffs this year were not in the playoffs last year. The 2017 turnover is tied for the most new playoff teams from one season to the next since the playoff format change in 1990. Such big swings in performance, combined with a rash of unexpected injuries that dramatically altered the year, proved predicting the season to be rather difficult.
In my way-too-early Season Predictions (back in July), I correctly guessed 3 of the 4 AFC division champs (Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs), but totally missed on the NFC. I didn't see the Jaguars coming, and who could have predicted the Aaron Rodgers injury, or that the Giants would implode so very badly? On the other hand, while most people were forecasting that the Cowboys would go deep into the playoffs, I left them out completely and included the Eagles. Well, the Cowboys didn't make it, but the Eagles are in, proving we all get lucky in predictions sometimes.
Overall, it's been a tough -- but very fun -- year of ranking the teams in the NFL. My early prediction of a Patriots-Steelers AFC Championship game may very well come true, but my forecasted Packers-Giants NFC Championship game looks pretty embarrassing now. If I had to guess today, I'd predict we see the Vikings beat the Saints, before losing to the Patriots in the SuperBowl. Anyway, we can wrap up the recap and get to the rankings, but first allow me to say Thank You to everyone who takes the time to look over my Unscripted Power Rankings -- these receive literally hundreds of views and it's so much fun to discuss and debate them with you. Okay, ramble over.
Playoff Note: These rankings are based on an evaluation of teams as they currently stand, in consideration of the most recent week of games, and this past season as a whole. At this point, the rankings are close to being a SuperBowl projection, but are still more accurately described as reflecting who I believe would win if the teams played each other today, on a neutral field.
Weekly Note: These rankings are based on an evaluation of teams as they currently stand, in consideration of the previous week of games and the upcoming week. They are not necessarily a projection of who will win the next SuperBowl, but instead reflect who I believe would win if the teams played each other today, on a neutral field.