The regular season came to a close this weekend with a bunch of terrible games. These will be our last rankings until after the draft in April. Enjoy the playoffs. (* denotes playoff team)
|New England Patriots*
|The Patriots finished their season with a dominant 38-7 win over Miami at home to finish 14-2; the NFL’s best record. They won’t play again until the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
|Atlanta locked up home field advantage for as long as they are alive in the NFC playoffs by beating up on poor Carolina. There are some doubts swirling around this team after their week 16 loss at home to the Saints, but the Falcons still finished with a 13-3 record and have a week to rest up before they find out who they will play.
|Baltimore’s rival Steelers got out to an early lead against Cleveland, and you have to wonder if that demotivated the Ravens to an extent. They were very conservative in their game against Cincy, but managed to pull out a fairly meaningless win.
|The Steelers shellacked the Browns on Sunday to clinch the AFC North. They’ll have a week off to prepare for one of the winners of this weekend’s Wild Card matchups.
|New Orleans Saints*
|The Saints couldn’t have taken the top seed in the NFC regardless, but losing to the Bucs at home isn’t the way you want to head into the playoffs. No dome field advantage this time around for the Saints in the playoffs, they’ll have to prove their worth on the road.
|Chicago faced a Green Bay team who was backed into a corner and absolutely needed a win to continue so a loss here too concerning. What might be more worrisome for Bear fans is the fact that they only managed 3 points all day.
|The Eagles backed into the playoffs a little bit, losing each of their last two games. Mike Vick looks like he might be wearing down, which has to be a concern going into the playoffs.
|New York Jets*
|Despite playing backups for much of the game, New York easily handled the Bills by a final of 38-7. The Jets are the #6 Wild Card seed in the AFC and will go out on the road next weekend.
|Green Bay Packers*
|The Packers clamped down and got the win they needed to make the playoffs. They beat a very tough Bears team and will now face the Eagles in round one, a team they beat way back in week one of the season.
|Forced to play starters in Week 17 to secure a playoff berth, the Colts took home a last-minute 23-20 win over the Titans to win the AFC South and the #3 seed in the AFC. Indianapolis will host the Jets next week in the Wild Card round.
|Kansas City Chiefs*
|With the AFC West locked up, the Chiefs had only their rivalry to play for against the Raiders; unfortunately for them, they lost big 31-10 at home. Regardless, Kansas City will host a Wild Card playoff game next weekend.
|Tampa Bay Bucs
|The Bucs chalked up a big win but didn’t get the help from other teams that they needed and finished just shy of the playoffs. Finishing the season at 10-6 is bittersweet when you don’t make the playoffs, but the Bucs look like a solid team moving forward.
|New York Giants
|The Giants are one of two 10-6 teams that were left out of the playoffs in favor of the 7-9 Seahawks. Injuries hurt them a lot this season, and if Eli Manning can get his interception total under control, they’ll be just fine moving forward.
|San Diego Chargers
|The Chargers sealed a record above .500 for the season with a 33-28 win over the Broncos, but it ultimately ends in disappointment for a strong San Diego team which lost too often to begin the season to make the playoffs.
|With a 31-10 win over the Chiefs, the Raiders finished the season with a perfect record in divisional games despite only finishing 8-8 on the year. While out of the playoffs, there has to be hope for more success next year.
|Seattle came out on top of what was essentially a play-in game against the Rams. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but nothing about their season really was. They certainly won’t be favored next week with the Saints coming to town, but crazy things have happened this year.
|St. Louis Rams
|Saint Louis ended up just shy of making the playoffs which would have made Sam Bradford’s rookie season all the more impressive. Looking ahead, the Rams have some solid pieces in place and with the division competition around them, they may be considered favorites in the NFC West next year.
|In a game that meant nothing for either team, the Dolphins barely showed up in a 38-7 loss to the Patriots. One would have to expect changes to be made in the offseason after the team went 7-9.
|Detroit ended the season on a high note beating the Vikings which kept them out of last place in the division where they seemed to have resided for quite some time. The big question for next year is the health of Matthew Stafford.
|Disappointment for Jacksonville; after being in control of the AFC South race, they lost three games in a row–including a 34-17 loss to the Texans in Week 17–to drop out of playoff contention.
|The Texans’ 2010 season was a disappointment after early hopes, but at least they ended the year with a convincing 34-17 victory over the rival Jaguars. Change may be coming in the offseason as Houston continues to seek its first-ever playoff appearance.
|A loss at Detroit completed a “first to worst” turn around for the Vikings in the NFC North. They ended last year just a few plays away from the Super Bowl and this year couldn’t manage seven wins. Lots of questions for this team moving into the offseason, starting at QB.
|Jerry Jones’ Cowboys won 5 of their last 8 games, and will hope to get back in playoff contention next year with a healthy Tony Romo and added talent via the draft.
|After a misleading 4-3 start, the Redskins went 2-7. All of their wins were by less than 7 points and the McNabb/Haynesworth disasters leave the Redskins a few years away from any sort of contention.
|After barely showing up in previous games, the Titans made the Colts fight hard for the AFC South title before ultimately falling to Indianapolis by a final score of 23-20. Tennessee will be in rebuilding mode looking forward to next season.
|After some close losses and a promising 5-4 run in the middle of the season, the Browns ended the season on a 4-game losing streak. Coach Eric Mangini has been fired, and President Mike Holmgren will look to take his young talent to the next level.
|San Francisco 49ers
|The 49ers continued an NFL tradition of winning after your head coach is fired by blowing out the lowly Cardinals in the season finale. If the 49ers had fired and hired a new coach each week, they probably would have made the playoffs in this horrendous division.
|After falling behind to the Chargers early on, the Broncos at least made a game of it in a 33-28 loss to end the regular season. Denver will be looking for a new head coach in the offseason to try and improve upon a 4-12 record.
|Arizona can go into the offseason knowing that they placed last in the worst division in the NFL after getting trounced by the 49ers. They have to get their QB situation figured out or they may be headed for another disaster season next year.
|It’s hard to win a game when you have 5 turnovers, even against a team that has already clinched a playoff berth. Coach Marvin Lewis will return next year and the Bengals have some retooling to do.
|Another season comes to a close with a loss in Buffalo, as starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was inactive for the 38-7 loss to the Jets. Buffalo still has work to do to compete in the AFC East.
|Carolina, fittingly, lost their last game of the year keeping the win total at two and essentially locking up the top draft spot this year. Jimmy Clausen may lose his future QB of the Panthers title very soon.
Commentary breakdown: Alex (AFC North, NFC East), Brian (AFC East/South/West), Pat (NFC North/South/West).