Herd Hierarchy: Colin Cowherd Ranks the 8 NFL Teams in the Divisional Round


Herd Hierarchy: Colin Cowherd Ranks the Eight Remaining Teams in the NFL Divisional Round.

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8. Los Angeles Rams

“They have the best defense in my opinion. Seven straight games with multiple sacks and they’ve held opponents under 15 points the last five weeks. The problem is that they’re the weakest team at the most important position, quarterback. Jared Goff has a broken thumb, he has swelling, and the reality is that over the last six games Goff has five touchdowns and five picks. They’re not dynamic at all. Now I do LOVE Cam Akers, and I think if you can run the football against Green Bay you can make it competitive, but they’re a little slicker version of the Bears, and feel incredibly lob-sided. They have an offensive coach, a great defense, but you’re kind of a liability at quarterback.”

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“They only have one win against a team with a winning record this year, and that was the Packers in Week 6. They have beaten up on some bad teams. I do think Brady is playing well, and the emergence of Antonio Brown is something. Brady’s experience at this stage is good, and there’s almost a break – if you can call it that – getting to face a team who has routed you twice. It’s a little bit of a break getting to face the Saints again, instead of going up against a team you crushed, and AT Lambeau, which I wouldn’t like at all. Brady has 200+ passing yards in the first half of three straight games, so he is COOKING and that is good news for them.”

6. Cleveland Browns

“I have Cleveland at six because they’re the least experienced team left. They’re getting ‘smarter.’ They’re 11-0 this year when they win or tie the turnover battle. Their turnovers are being diminished, and they have the best offensive line remaining in the playoffs. Since Week 8 Baker has 14 TDs and a pick. I think they’re well-coached, I think they’re smart, but I do think this weekend feels a little bit like the end of the road. They felt like a playoff team, maybe a playoff win, they got it, but they just don’t have a ton of experience, and they’re facing the world champions next.”

5. Baltimore Ravens

“They’ve beaten Cleveland a couple of times. They outrushed the Titans 240 yards to 50, and that’s just hard to do. Lamar Jackson has always been dynamic, but last week I thought he played with a self-awareness on Sunday. It wasn’t about him trailing, it was about him leading. Ball security, he made really good decisions, and their defense held Derrick Henry to a season-low 40 rushing yards. They’ve got a lot of components for a Super Bowl team. They’re dynamic at quarterback, they can own time of possession, they have a Super Bowl-winning coach, and they play real defense and usually have a pass rush.”

4. New Orleans Saints

“They’re not going to throw the ball over the top so there are limitations there. They held the ball for 40 minutes against the Bears, the most time of possession of any team of the Wild Card Weekend, and in the last two weeks they’ve held opponents under 10 points. I worry about their inability to be more than a gadget offense with Taysom Hill, Drew Brees, and Alvin Kamara, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe they have the best roster in the National Football League, and both sides of the ball are filled with high-end Pro Bowl level players.”

3. Kansas City Chiefs

“Worst red zone defense in the NFL this year, and they ranked 24th in the NFL offensively since Week 12. Something is not right. Is it a lack of running game? Is it the injury to Mitchell Schwartz? Have some people figured out their trick plays? Is it a play-calling issue? Something doesn’t feel right. They’re the rustiest team in the league because Patrick Mahomes took off Week 17. Aaron Rodgers got a bye but he played in Week 17. I just don’t know what I’m going to get. Mahomes had five turnovers in his last three games, and a completion percentage under 60%. Something isn’t clicking.”

2. Buffalo Bills

“I’m going to move Buffalo down one spot because I am concerned about a lack of a pass rush, however, some of that is the Colts offensive line. Josh Allen has had multiple touchdowns in six straight games. They’ve won seven straight, the longest winning streak in the NFL. I think they’re explosive offensively, well-coached, and very good situationally in the red zone on defense. Their special teams is more than capable as well. But they didn’t generate much of a pass rush, and I do think that could be trouble against Baltimore this weekend. If they don’t force Lamar Jackson to be uncomfortable, you’re going to get his dynamic athletic ability AND time to throw. THAT worries me.”

1. Green Bay Packers

“I think the only choice here is Green Bay. Not only are they the number one offense, but they’ve only turned the ball over 11 times all year. They have the second highest graded offensive line to the Cleveland Browns. Their defense in four of the last five games is emerging as a top unit, holding people under 20 points. I don’t see a lot of problems. I do worry that they are at times very reliant on Davante Adams at wide receiver. If he got tweaked or if he got injured it wouldn’t feel like the same football team.”

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