NFL playoff rankings

Now that the college football season is over and it's just the University of Tennessee who's looking for a new coach after Lane "Weasel" Kiffin took on the job at the USC and Skip Holtz is now the new coach at USF (good hire, by the way, USF), a few points about the NFL.

In my article for Sky Sports about the next round of the NFL playoffs, I thought it would be high-time to rank the strongest teams, quarterbacks, defenses, home fields, and, of course, cheerleaders.

We hope you like it.


1. Indianapolis Colts - The two end-of-season losses mean nothing: Peyton Manning & Co is the best football team in the league right now

2. San Diego Chargers - Er, the winner of the Indy vs Baltimore game will be nervous.
3. Arizona Cardinals - Great, a double team on Larry Fitzgerald. So then Kurt Warner has a choice of three more receivers (or hand it off to quick rookie Beanie Wells).
4. Dallas Cowboys - People are talking good things about Big D's 'D', but has anyone talked about the weakness of Tony Romo?
5. Baltimore Ravens - Tom Brady will tell you: the Ravens 'D' is nasty, people.

6. New Orleans Saints - A late season skid helped the Saints to shoot themselves slightly in the foot. Can they find some form?
7. Minnesota Vikings - Brett Favre may be good, but Adrian Peterson has gone from 'All Day' to "All Inconsistent".
8. New York Jets - While Darrelle Revis is a revelation in the secondary, there are still question marks about the Jets' offense - good running backs or not.


1. Arizona - Frightening.
2. Indianpolis - Great balance
3. New Orleans - Great all year long
4. San Diego - PR and LT, and a little bit of VJ. You get me?
5. Baltimore - The blow-out of the Patriots was marked by a couple of great runs from Ray Rice. Rookie Michael Oher is dominating as an offensive linesman.
6.  Minnesota - The Brett Favre/Adrian Peterson double act makes the Vikings a worry.
7. Dallas - As we said, the defense is a lot better than the offense.
8. New York - Great running-based attack. We're not so sure throwing the ball.


1. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis) - Enough said, really.
2. Drew Brees (New Orleans) - It isn't his fault his defense sucks.
3. Kurt Warner (Arizona) - Please, please don't retire.
4. Philip Rivers (San Diego) - San Diego's charging, and this kid's good.
5. Joe Flacco (Baltimore) - He's backed by a great defense, and his arm's pretty good, too.
6. Brett Favre (Minnesota) -Was pretty good on interceptions this year. But can it last?
7. Mark Sanchez (Jets) - Hey rookie! You're good, but you're not that good.
8. Tony Romo (Dallas) - As I said, I think he sucks.

Best Defenses

1. Baltimore - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed still frighten the beejesus out of quarterbacks, don't they? Oh, and that Terrell Suggs kid ain't bad, either.
2. Indianapolis - Opportunistic, and good in short yardage positions. Just ask Tom Brady.
3. Dallas - The key to the Cowboys' recent climb has been the 'D', who may well get a NFC title ring this year.
4. New York Jets - Brilliant job at stopping Cincinnati last week. As we said, the kid Revis will be key.
5. Minnesota - The fact that they give up 20 points a game ain't lovely.

6. San Diego - It's still suspect, kids.
7. New Orleans - Very good at throwing away their offense's big leads.
8. Arizona - Ditto.

Home Fields (Not That We're Going To See All Of Them This Year)

1. Dallas - JerryWorld is a thing of beauty. As is the monster TV screen. Everything's bigger in Texas, after all.
2. Arizona - Lovely weather, lovely people, lovely stadium.
3. New Orleans - Historic because of Hurricane Katrina, but the atmosphere is unbeatable.
4. Minnesota - Cold outside, warm inside. Could be frightening for Romo & Co.
5. Indianapolis - Will host the first cold weather Super Bowl since Detroit in 2012. Can't wait to freeze my butt off lining up to get into the ESPN party!
6. Baltimore - Not a bad stadium in a bad-but-improving city.
7. San Diego - Like the City of San Diego itself, it lacks a little bit of character. Sorry guys - but it does!
8. New York Jets - Sorry to say this guys, but I'm pretty glad they are tearing down Giants stadium. It was the Newark of the North-East in terms of stadiums. And I'm not joking.

And finally.....Cheerleaders

1. Dallas - When we said "Everything's bigger in Texas", we also meant....
2. San Diego - While San Diego itself is a little dull, you can't criticize the cheers. USC Song Girls - your future lies here!
3. Indianapolis - Something to warm the crowd up as they get into the field on a cold November/December/January night.
4. Arizona - Compared to the Arizona and Arizona State cheerleaders, they come a distinct third. But they still are as smoking as the summer heat.
5. New Orleans  - Absolutely Saint-sational! (That's enough puns - Ed)

6.Baltimore Ravens - It's not only the defense that's hot in Baltimore

7. New York Jets - The 'Flight Crew' will make you fly high
8. Minnesota Vikings - Good, but not good enough to break the Top 8.