Friday, January 20, 2012

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Divisional Playoffs

I'd like to start the power ranks post by wishing a very happy birthday to....me! Yes, it's my birthday and now I officially have less than a year left in my 20s. Kind of depressing. However, I do have a chance to see my favorite team, the 49ers, make it back to the Super Bowl for the first time since I was in 6th grade this weekend!

Why do I like the 49ers, since I'm from Chicago? Well, since my dad is a south-sider, he grew like the Cardinals and hating the north side Bears. When the Cardinals moved to St. Louis, he starting liking the AFL instead and rooted for the Raiders. As a kid, he always told me bad things about the Bears so I had the freedom to pick my own team. Red was easily my favorite color, and on my 2nd birthday, 27 years ago today, the 49ers won their 2nd Super Bowl with a blowout win over the Dolphins, and I was a fan for life.

Now, I have a son of my own, and the possibility of a weird coincidence can happen. My dad's favorite team, the Raiders, won the Super Bowl at the end of the 1983 season, the year I was born, and now there is a chance that my favorite team can win the Super Bowl the year my son was born. (And if they don't do it this year but somehow win in the next year, I can still say the same fact on the technicality that our favorite teams won during the first full seasons of our son's lives, since I was born 3 days before the 1982 AFC/NFC Championship games and my son was born just before Week 4 this year).

So I guess we can move on to the ranks. The Giants shocking upset of the Packers last week knocked them down to #4, while the Giants moved into the top 5 for the first time since Week 3. The 49ers incredible win over the Saints (I rank it as the #3 most exciting playoff moment in Niners history, behind Super Bowl XXIII and the 1981 NFC Championship, and ahead of the 2002 playoff game against the Giants and the TO catch to beat the Packers in the 1998 playoffs) vaulted them over the Patriots into the #1 spot. The Ravens moved up to #3, while the Saints fell to #6.

The Niners success helped out the rest of their division as well even though their seasons are over. Thanks to strength of schedule boosts, the Seahawks and Cardinals each jumped 2 spots and the Rams climbed out of last to pass the Buccaneers, who truly deserve to be ranked last.

So lets look at the picks for this week. Last week, the Ranks went 3-1, bringing them to 5-3 overall. My son only went 2-2, but he picked the Giants upset, making him 5-3 so far. My dog is Jake the Greek. He went 3-1 again making him 6-2 for the playoffs.

My dog is going with 49ers-Ravens and my son is picking 49ers-Patriots in the Super Bowl. Here are the rank picks:

#2 Patriots over #3 Ravens - Even though they are 2-3 in the ranks, the Patriots hold a wide lead over Baltimore, who have been inconsistent while the Patriots are looking better each week. We'll see if the Ravens superior defense can slow down this offense

#1 49ers over #5 Giants - The big difference here is the fact that the 49ers have an ultra-dominant defense and the Giants are relatively week on D and the Niners went 13-3 and the Giants were only 9-7. The Giants are trying the join the 1979 Rams and the 2008 Cardinals as the worst regular season record teams to make the Super Bowl, and the worst regular season record team to win it.

Here are the full Ranks:

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