NFL Playoff Picture: Week 14 Unbiased Power Rankings Keep Falcons Above Patriots And Steelers For Top Spot

Homefield advantage is in reach for the Falcons. Can they grab it?

After back-to-back primetime games saw four of the league's best teams square off, there's never been a more opportune time to refer to the Unbiased Rankings. Let the steady math of the Dr. Unbiased guide you through a sea of emotion.

Only four weeks remain in the NFL season. It's the fourth quarter, if you will. The time when contenders rise up and pretenders fade into the pack. Using the Unbiased Power Rankings (seen in their entirety below), we can put together a playoff picture that gives us a clear view of the contenders who will be a factor when the calendar turns to January. This shows how we think the playoff picture will shake out.

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are both in the driver's seat for homefield advantage in their respective conferences. Both teams are 6-0 in their place and it would take a herculean effort to prevent a Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl if that stays true through Week 17. The Pennsylvania teams - Eagles and Steelers - would enjoy a bye week before opening up at home against a wild card team.

Unbiased Playoff Picture

Regardless of a team's current record, this is how we see the playoffs shaping up.

AFC
NFC
Seed
Team
Seed
Team
1
New England Patriots
1
Atlanta Falcons
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
2
Philadelphia Eagles
3
Kansas City Chiefs
3
Green Bay Packers
4
Tennessee Titans
4
Seattle Seahawks
5
Baltimore Ravens
5
New Orleans Saints
6
New York Jets
6
Chicago Bears

 

The Biggest Games of Week 14

No. 3: Colts Vs. Titans: Both teams in a tailspin but both, surprisingly, could still easily win the division.

No. 2: Raiders Vs. Jaguars: Two teams not many people had at the beginning of the season.

No. 1: Patriots Vs. Bears:The Game of the Week. Can the Bears surprise again or will the Pats roll on?

 

AFC Breakdown

Wild Card Weekend:

Jets @ Chiefs: Todd Haley may not shake Rex Ryan's hand.

Ravens @ Titans: I can't see the Titans being here but the rankings don't lie.

Divisional Playoffs:

Ravens @ Steelers: The third time's the charm for these division rivals.

Jets @ Patriots: See above.

Championship Game:

Steelers @ Patriots: Patriots beat them down earlier this season.

 

NFC Breakdown

Wild Card Weekend:

Bears @ Packers: The bajillionth meeting between these two teams.

Saints @ Seahawks: A rematch of their Week 11 meeting, this time in Seattle.

Divisional Playoffs:

Saints @ Falcons: This would be their third meeting of the year.

Packers @ Eagles: Two NFC favorites meet in Philly.

Championship Game:

Eagles @ Falcons: Vick. Atlanta. Ratings.

Super Bowl:

Patriots vs. Falcons: Falcons remain the Super Bowl favorite.

 

The Unbiased Power Rankings

After seeing the New England Patriots destroy the New York on Monday Night Football, there are going to be a lot of power rankings with the Patriots at the top. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotion of a blowout victory and it's easy to rank Tom Brady's team the best in the NFL. The Unbiased Rankings do not get caught up in emotion. They do not take the easy way out. Which is why we have the Atlanta Falcons at the top.

Believe me, the irony of an Atlanta-based site ranking the Falcons number one is not lost on me. But the numbers, cold as they are, do not lie. The Falcons have beaten stronger opponents than the Patriots have and they've each won 10 games. Now, the Falcons may get passed over since they play the Carolina Panthers twice and you don't earn much love from the unbiased calculator for beating the the worst team in the NFL, but for right now, the Falcons reign continues.

Tier I
Rank
Team
Rating
1
Atlanta Falcons
353.5
2
New England Patriots
332.0
3
Pittsburgh Steelers
309.0
Tier II
Rank
Team
Rating
4
Philadelphia Eagles
281.8
5
Baltimore Ravens
257.8
6
New York Jets
253.7
7
New Orleans Saints
246.0
8
Green Bay Packers
242.5
9
Chicago Bears
241.3
10
New York Giants
240.8
11
Kansas City Chiefs
225.0
Tier III
Rank
Team
Rating
12
Oakland Raiders
210.3
13
Washington Redskins
200.7
14
Tennessee Titans
195.9
15
Jacksonville Jaguars
192.0
16
Indianapolis Colts
191.7
17
San Diego Chargers
182.0
18
Houston Texans
181.9
19
Miami Dolphins
178.3
20
Cleveland Browns
173.3
21
Seattle Seahawks
166.7
Tier IV
Rank
Team
Rating
22
St. Louis Rams
155.3
23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
154.2
24
Dallas Cowboys
132.0
25
Arizona Cardinals
126.2
26
San Francisco 49ers
117.1
27
Denver Broncos
116.7
28
Minnesota Vikings
113.4
Tier V
Rank
Team
Rating
29
Detroit Lions
72.2
30
Cincinnati Bengals
62.3
31
Buffalo Bills
37.9
32
Carolina Panthers
31.9


The Best of the Best

This week, there are three teams that make up the top tier. The Falcons are first followed by the Patriots and then the Steelers. All three had impressive wins last week, two of them on the road. It may not always be pretty but these three teams know how to win when the game is on the line and I, for one, would not bet against them in January.

The second group of teams runs eight deep with the "Every Falcons Nightmare" Eagles, then the Ravens follow with the Jets and Saints close behind. The Packers and Bears are next followed by the Giants and Chiefs. These eight teams are capable of making some noise come playoff time but they haven't shown yet they are on par with the big three on the top tier.

NFC South

Week 16 is going to be the biggest game in Atlanta in a long while. It's there that the Falcons will host the Saints in a game that could not only decide the NFC South crown but may also decide homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

I have not shown much love for the Buccaneers this season and it's not going to start now. Yes, I know they played the Falcons tough but you don't earn points in the unbiased rankings for playing a team tough. They are in the fourth tier followed by the Panthers who are officially the worst team in the NFL.

Methodology: The Unbiased Power Rankings are exactly that, unbiased. We take into account a team's wins, losses and a strength of schedule component to arrive at a truly unbiased rating. We have no preseason polls, no preset baselines. Only the performance on the field - this season - matters. Emotion is not welcome here. Still interested? Here's the ingredients we use to make this delicious stew of math-based power rankings.

Each team is awarded five points for a win and five points for every game a defeated opponent wins. To measure a loss, the total number of opponent wins is divided by the number of the ranked team's losses.

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