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NFL Playoff Bracket 2019: Ranking the Eight Teams in the Divisional Round

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is traditionally when the regular season heavyweights step into the ring and this year is no different.

This weekend, the two teams with the best regular season record will make their playoff debut, along with one of the most exciting offensive units in the NFL and one of football’s biggest juggernauts in the modern era.

Read more: NFL playoff picture—Updated divisional NFC and AFC matchups 

Here’s how the eight teams left in the playoffs rank.

New Orleans Saints (13-3)

The Saints might have slowed down the stretch, going 3-2 in their final five regular season games but remain arguably the best team in football. They are a brilliantly balanced team, boasting one of the greatest quarterbacks in football and have the third-best offense and sixth-best defense of the teams left in the playoff.

Crucially, the Saints have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and are undefeated at the Superdome in the playoffs in the Drew Brees and Sean Payton era.

Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

The Rams’ offense steamrolled opponents at will in the first half of the season but they limped down the stretch, as Jared Goff no longer seemed to be as infallible as in the first eight weeks. Add to that the fact the Rams haven’t won a playoff game since 2004 and their matchup against the Cowboys looks even harder.

At the same time, the Rams led the NFC in total offense – at an astonishing 421.1 yards per game – and points – 32.9 points per game – this season and in Todd Gurley they will welcome back the best running back in football on Saturday night.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

The Chiefs have torched defenses for fun during the regular season and in Patrick Mahomes they have only the second player in NFL history to have accumulated at least 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

Kansas City is 7-1-0 at home this season and has won the AFC but question remains over its playoff pedigree. The Chiefs have lost six consecutive playoff games at Arrowhead and each of their four postseason meetings against the Colts, their opponents on Sunday.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

The Chargers might have come through the playoff through the back door of a wild-card spot, but they remain one of the most complete teams in the league and have pushed the Chiefs all the way in the AFC.

The Chargers ranked in the top-10 both offensively and defensively in the regular season and won in Baltimore in the AFC Wild Card game, exacting revenge for losing at home to the Ravens in Week 16.

A trip to New England on Sunday might seem prohibitive given the Patriots haven’t lost at home in the playoffs in six years but the Chargers are 8-1 on the road this season. Can Philip Rivers win his first postseason meeting win Tom Brady at the third time of asking?

New England Patriots (11-5)

The Patriots have never looked at their vintage best this season but still finished 11-5 and secured the AFC East title for the 10th consecutive season.

The five-time Super Bowl winners might not be at their best, but betting against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs is never easy, particularly given the Patriots have won each of their four playoffs meetings against the Chargers and haven’t lost a postseason game in Foxborough since January 2013.

New England’s pass rush isn’t as good as the Chargers’ and Brady’s supporting cast has not shone, but underestimating the Patriots is an exercise loaded with risks.

Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Having won their last four regular season games, the Colts then dominated the Texans in Houston and can create plenty of problems on both sides of the ball.

Andrew Luck is a candidate for comeback player of the year, while Marlon Mack averages 110 yards per game and five yards per carry over the last three games. The Chiefs, however, will provide a formidable test for the Colts’ defense, who came up against relatively mediocre offensive units down the stretch.

Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

Like the Colts, Dallas has resurrected its season in thrilling fashion and has arguably the best defense out of the teams left in the playoffs.

However, as is the case for Indianapolis, Dallas has not faced an elite offense this season, with the exception of the Saints in Week 14, when admittedly it kept New Orleans to just 10 points.

Offensively, Ezekiel Elliott averages 99.4 rushing yards per game over his last five games and Dak Prescott come through in clutch moments against Seattle and down the stretch.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

The Eagles won their last three regular season game to snatch the wild-card spot at the last possible moment and then shocked the Bears in Chicago on Sunday. With Nick Foles under center the defending Super Bowl champions have repeatedly upset the odds but winning against the Saints in New Orleans might be too much even for Saint Nick.

At the same time, the Eagles travel to the Superdome with nothing to lose, which should make for a thrilling game. 

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 23, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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