The 2022 NFL Playoffs are upon us! TheLines NFL Wild Card power rankings have three notable teams to key in on before the chase to host the Lambardi begins. Fans will get to witness a new era of playoff football highlighted by the young star quarterback play of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and if I may dare say, “Mr. Irrelevent” Brock Purdy.
Just to remind you, we do NFL power rankings differently than the rest. These aren’t Super Bowl futures opinions. Instead, we only rank based on who we’d favor on a neutral field for this week. The ranks are a composite of eight staff members.
Click on any odds below to place a bet. The price listed next to each team represents that team’s best available Super Bowl odds.
NO. 1 BUFFALO BILLS
Despite not getting the playoff bye week (through no fault of its own), Buffalo sits atop our NFL Wild Card power rankings. The Bills are the No. 2 seed in the AFC and are another team heading into the playoffs red-hot, having won seven straight games to close the season. Teams clicking at the right time is vital for potential playoff success. Buffalo will remain a heavy favorite in their first playoff matchup; no matter who their opponent the Miami Dolphins start at QB. That is because Buffalo is one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. The Bills rank second in offense DVOA rating and fourth in defense DVOA rating. Their offense has tallied at least 32 points in each of its last three games.
Wild Card Week Spread: Bills
Who’s highest on the Bills? Brett Gibbons (No. 1).
Who’s lowest on the Bills? Stephen Andress (No. 3).
NO. 3 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco is the No. 2 seed in the NFC and has its eyes set on winning it all. The 49ers are riding an incredible 10-game winning streak heading into Wild Card Weekend. The 49ers enter this week as clear home favorites as they face their division foe, the Seattle Seahawks.
All hope seemed lost for the 49ers when Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an injury. Rookie Brock Purdy has stepped in and has exceeded all expectations. San Francisco hasn’t missed a beat, while Purdy has shut the door on any possibility of Garoppolo returning as the starter in the playoffs. The Iowa State product has opened up the vertical passing attack, throwing 13 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions. Purdy threw for three touchdown passes in week 18 for his sixth straight game with multiple TD passes.
When it comes down to it, the 49ers have the defense needed to win close games in January. San Francisco has posted the best total DVOA rating in the NFL and allows just 16.3 points per game (No. 1 in NFL). The 49ers held the Seahawks to just 20 points across two head-to-head games. San Francisco is giving up only 5.0 yards per play (No. 4 in NFL) and has tallied 30 takeaways on the year (T-No. 2 in NFL). There may not be a more complete team top to bottom than the 49ers heading into the NFL Playoffs.
Wild Card Week Spread: 49ers
Who’s highest on the 49ers? Brett Gibbons (No. 3).
Who’s lowest on the 49ers? Stephen Andress (No. 4).
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NO. 4 CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Bengals enter the 2022 playoffs having won eight straight games and 10 of their last 11 outings. Cincinnati deploys the seventh-best offense (26.1 PPG). Joe Burrow remains one of football’s hottest passers, with a 17:6 TD-to-INT ratio over his last seven starts.
Cincinnati’s pass-catcher corps is as healthy as it’s been all year. With Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and now Hayden Hurst all healthy, no team will be able to dedicate specific attention to Ja’Marr Chase. Defenses playing soft zone coverage allows Burrow to rack up reasonably easy completions. Burrow has always excelled at taking what defenses give him.
Cincinnati is another dark horse to win it all with the attention in the AFC on the Chiefs and Bills. Let’s remember that the Bengals represented the AFC just a season ago.
Wild Card Week Spread: Bengals
Who’s highest on the Bengals? Stephen Andress (No. 2).
Who’s lowest on the Bengals? Nate Weitzer (No. 5).