The 2024 NFL playoffs have advanced to the divisional round. With the wild-card weekend in the rearview mirror, the teams still alive to win Super Bowl 58 has gone from a full 14 to an extravagant 8.
While six of the teams will be trying to win a second playoff game, the two top seeds will be in action for the first time, trying to live up to their statuses as conference championship favorites.
Does being No. 1 put them on top of everyone else? The answer is half yes.
Sporting News has re-ranked the remaining playoff teams below, including the teams at rest and the teams in motion:
NFL power rankings 2024
1. San Francisco 49ers (previous week: 1)
The 49ers went in as the favorites for having the best combination of offense (No. 2 total, No. 3 scoring) and defense (No. 8 total, No. 3 scoring) to make a deep run with complete performances. This is Kyle Shanahan's ideal team witch to finally breakthrough for a ring, barring another big injury with Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and Trent Williams being the most irreplaceable.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3)
The Chiefs' defense set the tone for a potential dominant run with its loaded, versatile pass rush and deep coverage group working behind the pressure generated by Steve Spagnuolo. Patrick Mahomes is now streamlining the passing game, too, to the two guys he trusts, knowing the running game also will remain a key asset to try to return to the Super Bowl.
3. Buffalo Bills (5)
The Bills also protected Josh Allen and the ball well by letting him loose as a runner and also leaning a lot on the power rushing attack. The trickle-down effect was putting the defense in better position to slam the door on the Steelers. For them to get past the Chiefs, Allen will need to have another clean game to match or outduel Mahomes in the latter's first road playoff start.
4. Baltimore Ravens (2)
The Ravens can't look past the red-hot Texans in the divisional round in Baltimore, despite blowing them out to start the regular season at home. Lamar Jackson needs to be confident in his passing but also not eschew explosive running, much like Allen. The pass rush with former Texans Jadeveon Clowney needs to deliver as the ultimate defensive calling card.
5. Detroit Lions (7)
The Lions got Jared Goff to play confident and well at home, avoiding critical mistakes. They also ran hard and well at key times in a tough spot vs. the Rams. Getting the pass rush and red zone prowess from the young defense will be key again. The good news for Goff is staying at home to get the Buccaneers, whom the Lions beat 20-6 in Tampa during the regular season.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13)
The Buccaneers' offense rolled the Eagles at home at night with Baker Mayfield having his best clutch downfield passing performance yet in his breakout first season with the team. The defense also flexed all-around by shutting down the run and allowing only one passing TD to Jalen Hurts. That sets up a better shot at taking the Lions rematch on the road.
7. Green Bay Packers (12)
The Packers picked apart the Cowboys with a good blend of running and short-to-intermediate passing, which settled Jordan Love and helped him execute some big finishing plays. The maligned defense, however, was the story, being active to get important early takeaways. They won't get the same breaks against the 49ers on either side of the ball.
8. Houston Texans (10)
The Texans have been a great turnaround story for the season with rookie leaders C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans getting so much of the well-designed 49ers-like offense and defense. They face a tall order vs. the Ravens' overall experience with Jackson and John Harbaugh away from the energetic Houston faithful. The Texans are the clear party-crashers in the round but it will be too difficult for them to upset the Ravens and then the Chiefs-Bills winner, both on the road.