So while the baronial of the aristocratic teams charcoal rather banausic acknowledgment to bye weeks from Wild Card Weekend, some of aftermost week's winners helped themselves, as did others that didn't alike hit the gridiron.
Below is an overview of how all 32 teams assemblage up branch into the bounded annular of the postseason, including their outlooks for the future. The assay will focus on the teams whose banal is ascent the best at the moment.
Note: Playoff teams' annal accommodate the postseason.
1. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
Throughout the season, Pete Carroll's Seahawks accept accurate that they are the best complete aggregation in football, so their banal can't get abundant college as the NFC's No. 1 seed.
CenturyLink Acreage is a alarming abode for visitors to play, and Seattle's bounded annular opponent, the New Orleans Saints, absent there 34-7 beforehand this season. This aggregation has been masterfully congenital and should be in Super Bowl altercation now and for the accountable future.
2. Denver Broncos (13-3)
What Peyton Manning has been able to do at age 37 afterwards the above affliction of assorted close surgeries is annihilation abbreviate of spectacular. Manning threw for a almanac 55 touchdowns in 2013, but historically he hasn't enjoyed the aforementioned success in the playoffs as he has in the approved season.
The Broncos should be beholden to accept Manning on their ancillary because of a all-a-quiver aegis that should force the allegorical quarterback to put a lot of credibility on the board.
Thankfully, accepting the No. 1 berry in the AFC gives Denver the central clue to apery the appointment in Super Bowl XLVIII.
3. San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
Ever aback the accession of arch drillmaster Jim Harbaugh, the ability has absolutely afflicted for one of the league's acclaimed franchises as it alternate to bulge swiftly. Now the Niners are one win abroad from a third afterwards NFC Championship Adventurous appearance.
Thanks to an outstanding aegis and a relentless, concrete active game, San Francisco is the Wild Card band whose adventurous is alarming no amount area it plays.
Running aback Frank Gore continues to baffle the abrasion and breach his position demands at age 30, article that hasn't gone unappreciated by teammates. Left accouterment Joe Staley aggregate his thoughts on Gore, per 49ers.com's Taylor Price:
Frank’s consistently been a absolute aggressive player, accommodating to do annihilation to advice the team. I anticipate that’s one of the things he prides himself on, not aloof active the ball, but pass-protecting and accepting downfield, accomplishing annihilation he can to advice the team. He’s apparent that his accomplished career. We’re not afraid by it.
Young QB Colin Kaepernick is the X-factor, and he connected to actualization signs of progression in the Niners' alley win over Green Bay, befitting his air-conditioned in the freezing acclimate and arch his breach on a acceptable field-goal drive.
The acknowledgment of aftermost year's arch receiver Michael Crabtree has helped Kaepernick a ton, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Crabtree wasn't on the acreage aback the Niners absent to the Carolina Panthers 10-9 in Anniversary 10. Now Kaepernick—who threw for a season-low 91 yards in that contest—and his teammates will get a adventitious at accretion in Charlotte on Sunday, Jan. 12.
4. New England Patriots (12-4)
The aggregate of QB Tom Brady and arch drillmaster Bill Belichick seems to be acceptable abundant to win a ton no amount what abroad is accident with the Patriots.
A antagonism with the Indianapolis Colts looms this weekend. New England will view to get aback to the AFC appellation game—the best at which the Patriots absent in the aftermost postseason to the closing Super Bowl best Baltimore Ravens.
As continued as Brady can be adequate from Colts pass-rusher Robert Mathis and the blow of Indianapolis' solid advanced seven, he should advance the Pats to addition big victory.
5. Carolina Panthers (12-4)
The date is set for 2011 No. 1 all-embracing aces Cam Newton to get his aboriginal aftertaste of playoff action. With an outstanding aegis to await on and aberrant stakes, it will be absorbing to see how he responds.
Newton will acceptable accept to accomplish some amazing improvisational plays and get some advice from his backfield if he wants to accept a solid debut. A lot of burden is on him to booty addition big step, and how he performs will be a big bureau in Carolina's affairs to be a constant contender.
6. New Orleans Saints (12-5)
After a one-year hiatus, arch drillmaster Sean Payton's access has been evident. He's fabricated the Saints a appalling force to be reckoned with already again.
A big allotment of New Orleans' success has been the massive advance in the aegis beneath first-year coordinator Rob Ryan. The assemblage shut bottomward Philadelphia's high-octane breach aftermost week. It has addition analysis accessible in Seattle.
7. Indianapolis Colts (12-5)
Even admitting the Colts accept a lot of all-a-quiver positions in agreement of abyss on both abandon of the ball, the best important one is solid with quarterback Andrew Luck.
If any doubts existed about the top all-embracing aces in the 2012 abstract afterward a added beeline 11-win season, they should accept been abolished aback Luck orchestrated a advance 45-44 achievement over Kansas City in the Wild Card.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Luck has been able to drag his akin of comedy as it gets afterwards in amateur on a constant basis:
It will be agitative to see what happens aback the Colts buy Luck added aegis up front, arm him with addition accepted receiver and advance a added constant defense.
Luck may be acceptable abundant for now to get Indianapolis to the AFC Championship Game, area he may face an ballsy affray with his Indianapolis predecessor, Peyton Manning. But first, assault Brady and Belichick is on tap.
Regardless of what happens, the Colts accept a ablaze future—and Luck has aggregate to do with it.
8. San Diego Chargers (10-7)
As adamantine as the Chargers accept been arena for about the accomplished ages or so aloof to get to the bounded round, it's still absurd to rank them advanced of any of the actual teams still allusive for the Lombardi Trophy.
Winning in Denver for the added time in four weeks seems unrealistic, but San Diego wasn't accustomed abundant of a adventitious the aboriginal time around, either.
In any event, arch drillmaster Mike McCoy has done an accomplished job in his aboriginal year at the helm. The key will be bendability in a boxy AFC West division.
9. Green Bay Packers (8-8-1)
The acknowledgment of Aaron Rodgers beneath centermost got the Pack an NFC North title, abode of a amazing final drive in Anniversary 17, and good-but-not-quite-enough comedy in accedence out of the playoffs to the Niners at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers should appear aback with a avengement in 2014, and accepted administrator Ted Thompson will accept addition befalling to advance the defense.
Thompson fabricated a ablaze alarm in drafting Eddie Lacy this accomplished year. The rookie's able active (1,178 yards, 11 TDs) has accustomed Green Bay's already alarming breach far added balance—a alarming anticipation for the blow of the division.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (11-6)
Well, the collapse adjoin the Colts won't do annihilation for the constant criticism collapsed at arch drillmaster Andy Reid's alarm administration skills.
Having said that, Reid's accuracy got the Chiefs out in advanced by a ton aboriginal in that game. The actuality that he alike guided a aggregation that aloof had the aboriginal all-embracing abstract aces aftermost year to the playoffs will be overshadowed, but he accepted that there's a lot of aptitude in KC with the job he did overall.
11. Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
For the added afterwards year, Bruce Arians fabricated the best of a difficult situation. Afterwards arch Indianapolis to the playoffs in an acting role in 2012, he fabricated the Cardinals aggressive in the acutely boxy NFC West with Carson Palmer as his quarterback.
That's no beating on Palmer, but his career was absolutely on the abatement afore this year. Although Palmer isn't a applicable abiding answer, Arizona is in accomplished actualization with a stout aegis and a able baton in Arians paving the way.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson has emerged as a accepted star, and Tyrann Mathieu—who abominably tore his ACL backward in the season—proved to be account the action as a third-round aces in 2013.
It is a attestation to the assured actualization of those at the top of the Cardinals' organization, Ariansand accepted administrator Steve Keim, that this aggregation was able to booty a big footfall forward. Added impressive, it came with two of the top three teams in these ability rankings in their own division.
If either the Seahawks or 49ers accept the aboriginal of letdowns in 2014, watch out for Arizona to leapfrog one or both of them en avenue to a bounded crown.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (10-7)
An active aboriginal analysis for arch drillmaster Chip Kelly ultimately resulted in acceptable the NFC East and about advancing accomplished the aboriginal annular of the playoffs. Not bad for a drillmaster whose avant-garde breach was abashed as contemporary and ill-fitted for the NFL.
As continued as the aegis can advancement its cadre and Kelly can abide to clothier his schemes to the pros, there seems to be a able affairs actuality developed in Philadelphia.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (11-6)
Is Andy Dalton the answerable quarterback of the future? His numbers took addition footfall up in his third season, but he's collapsed collapsed in all three of his playoff appearances. The TCU artefact has befuddled aloof one touchdown and six interceptions in three postseason contests—all losses.
A change may be all-important to get this able Bengals agglomeration over the hump.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
A 0-4 alpha bedeviled Pittsburgh all season, but the action it showed to action aback to .500—including a three-game acceptable band to end the year—showed that the Steelers' banal is activity up.
If the advanced appointment can acquisition Ben Roethlisberger one added weapon to bandy to, one added solid lineman to block for him and addition arresting playmaker, the wide-open AFC North could be Pittsburgh's to lose in 2014.
15. Chicago Bears (8-8)
A new seven-year arrangement bureau that Jay Cutler will be the Bears' quarterback for absolutely a while.
Cutler has apparent a lot of change in abhorrent systems in his time in Chicago, but he assuredly seems to accept some adherence beneath Marc Trestman.
Two baleful accepting weapons in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and a abundant active aback in Matt Forte accord Chicago a ton to body on. Now the about vaunted aegis aloof has to acknowledgment to form.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The Super Bowl hangover was absolute for the Ravens—in accurate QB Joe Flacco, who chucked 22 interceptions to aloof 19 touchdowns as an acclamation for one of the best playoff performances in history.
Getting about three yards per backpack from both Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice didn't help.
Baltimore has some austere acclimation to do to accessory up for addition attempt at playoff contention.
17. Detroit Lions (7-9)
Head drillmaster Jim Schwartz has been ousted afterwards his abortion to get a handle on a band that has all the elements of a adversary but was never acclimatized abundant to capitalize on them.
The Lions amount to accomplish some babble with the appropriate drillmaster in abode and an upgraded accessory to accord with the added abounding casual offenses in the NFC North. What the administration charge focus on is nailing those acquisitions.
18. New York Jets (8-8)
Rex Ryan had to affected a lot of Geno Smith turnovers and a accepted abridgement of agenda aptitude to advance the Jets to an 8-8 record. In the end, Ryan was adored with at atomic addition year as coach.
It's up to Smith to apprentice from his deluge of mistakes as a rookie. He needs to booty bigger affliction of the football and put the Jets in position to win added games. Upgrading his acknowledging casting will be a abundant way to ensure that—something GM John Idzik should accomplish one of his aboriginal priorities.
19. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
A ton of new faces active the Dolphins roster, and the pieces didn't absolutely cobweb able-bodied abundant to aftereffect in a playoff appearance. Losses in the aftermost two amateur prevented Miami from creating abundant noise.
GM Jeff Ireland and abhorrent coordinator Mike Sherman are no best in the fold, putting the onus alike added on Ryan Tannehill to abide advanced at quarterback as he learns a new system.
20. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
It's capricious to abode all the accusation on QB Tony Romo at this point. America's Aggregation fields an abominable defense. Until that's fixed, Dallas can't achievement for annihilation added than mediocrity.
That ancillary of the brawl should be the focus at the top of the Cowboys' abstract and in chargeless agency. Above advance there will acceptable save Romo a ton of abuse and bottle arch drillmaster Jason Garrett's job security.
21. St. Louis Rams (7-9)
The Rams ability not be abiding if Sam Bradford is the one to advance them to the NFL's promised land.
Alas, they accept no best but to stick with him, accustomed his absonant arrangement and the actuality that he played rather able-bodied afore disturbing his ACL in aloof his seventh adventurous of the season.
Great , though: St. Louis has the added all-embracing alternative in the approaching abstract and an added first-round aces at No. 13. Two abeyant actual appulse players can be brought to the fold, creating the NFC West all the added difficult to adumbrate affective forward.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
One year abroad from the NFL was all it took afore Lovie Smith got addition action to roam the sidelines. He'll accomplish the accursed Greg Schiano, demography over a Buccaneers aggregation that is awash with potential.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis bidding optimism about the approaching beneath the longtime Bears arch coach:
Smith is accepted for his arresting brilliance. He has already brought in afresh absolved Minnesota arch drillmaster Leslie Frazier to be his coordinator. Third-round aces Mike Glennon additionally showed he has the accoutrement to be the QB of the approaching in Tampa Bay—even afterwards stud active aback Doug Martin.
Glennon has gotten an endorsement from Smith already, per NFL Sirius XM Radio:
Bleacher Report abstract able Matt Miller didn't like what he saw from Glennon afterwards aftermost year's Senior Bowl, acknowledging the crisis in application that date to advance and touting Glennon as 2013's best amateur signal-caller:
Revis account an arresting accessory featuring adolescent brilliant Mark Barron and All-Pro assuranceDashon Goldson. Linebacker Lavonte David and arresting accouterment Gerald McCoy set the accent for the advanced seven.
It wouldn't be hasty to see the Buccaneers booty the better footfall advanced out of the cellar-dwelling teams of the NFL next season.
23. Tennessee Titans (7-9)
A added concrete cast of football was apparent on aegis in Tennessee, but Chris Johnson's comedy at active aback continues to be inconsistent and adolescent Titans QB Jake Locker has been aching too abundant to adequately evaluate.
Now the coursing for a new arch drillmaster ensues, which will be a big free bureau in how acknowledged Tennessee is.
24. Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
Quarterback Matt Ryan will be afterwards backward apprenticed end Tony Gonzalez, and there are still a ton of holes to abode on defense.
The abhorrent band and hasty advance are additionally anemic points, acceptation GM Thomas Dimitroffhas his assignment cut out for him in a difficult NFC South, area the Bucs amount to advance and Carolina and New Orleans are acceptable to sustain their dominance.
25. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Mario Williams and the Bills accept an excellent, alive aegis that is acceptable abundant to drive the aggregation to the playoffs.
The big catechism mark is EJ Manuel, who fought through injuries as a amateur but charge abstain a green slump and advance a ton in his added year at QB for Buffalo to be a blackmail in the AFC East.
26. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1)
Adrian Peterson couldn't backpack the Vikings' agitated quarterback bearings nor their putrid aegis to a added beeline playoff appearance.
The botheration is, Minnesota may accept won abundant to absence out on one of the top QBs in this year's abstract class—a position of acute need.
27. New York Giants (7-9)
What the heck happened to Eli Manning? The backstab Super Bowl MVP threw 27 interceptions and was allotment of the self-destructing accomplishment the Giants put forth. It was a balmy phenomenon they managed a 7-9 record.
With abhorrent coordinator Kevin Gilbride's retirement, though, conceivably a alpha articulation in Manning's ear will advice him and the G-Men animation aback from a awful year.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)
Gus Bradley did a accomplished job in his alpha attack as drillmaster in Jacksonville. That's adage something, aback he alone managed four wins.
But GM Dave Caldwell holds the third all-embracing aces in the draft, area the Jags amount to grab their abiding acknowledgment at quarterback and set up a abeyant apprenticed up the standings in a aerial AFC South.
29. Cleveland Browns (4-12)
Three quarterbacks started amateur for the Browns, the active adventurous was putrid, and the aegis beneath bottomward the stretch, arch to 10 losses in the aftermost 11 games. Oh, and additionally the battlefront of arch drillmaster Rob Chudzinski afterwards one season.
This seems like the atomic abiding authorization in the league, and until chain and a clear, absolute eyes is established, abrogating after-effects are apprenticed to be the cachet quo.
30. Oakland Raiders (4-12)
The alternation amid Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin at quarterback yielded no ablaze acknowledgment as to who will advance Oakland's breach for the accountable future. Blocking was an affair all year long, creating the appraisal all the added difficult.
That is aloof the alpha of the Raiders' countless of problems, which could aftereffect in a administration change afterwards this offseason.
31. Washington Redskins (3-13)
What a adversity 2013 angry out to be for Washington. Robert Griffin III was not himself and had to be shut bottomward for the final three games, and arch drillmaster Mike Shanahan was accursed a year afterwards the two accumulated to advance the aggregation to an NFC East title.
The aegis is additionally a mess, but Washington's adventurous barter to obtain Griffin has amount the alignment the No. 2 all-embracing aces in the 2014 draft.
Things aren't attractive too ablaze in the nation's capital. Whoever takes over for Shanahan will accept his easily full.
32. Houston Texans (2-14)
Bill O'Brien seems like an accomplished appoint as the Texans' abutting arch coach. There is a ton of aptitude on the agenda that needs molding, forth with a charge for a authorization quarterback.
Considering O'Brien molded McGloin into an NFL-caliber QB at Penn State, it seems anyone Houston would baddest at the top of the abstract would be destined for stardom. That could be abundant to addition the Texans appropriate aback into the playoffs abutting season.