NFL Power Rankings: Divisional Round results boost the stock of the Bengals and 49ers

The NFL Power Rankings settle in with the results from the Divisional Round -- who tops the league heading into the Conference Championships?

The NFL Power Rankings continue through the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Only four teams remain in the NFL after this weekend, but it’s a good exercise to see where each team stands. The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs is always the best. The lesser squads are usually sent home during Wild Card Weekend, leaving legitimate contenders to battle for a Conference Championship bid. 

NFL Conference Championship Power Rankings

The Titans lost a heartbreaker against the Bengals, and the Packers couldn’t get it done during an extreme cold-weather game at Lambeau Field. As the results trickle in from the Divisional Round games, we will add the winners to the rankings below.

4) Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are an exciting football team even when things aren’t running smoothly, and that’s exactly what we got from them against the Titans. We got exciting but sloppy football. It felt like Joe Burrow was perfect in the first half. He threw for over 236 yards and completed 17 of his 24 attempts in the first half. Yet, Cincinnati scored just 9 points.

Burrow was sacked 5 times in that first half, and despite being 4-of-9 on third downs, the Bengals could only manage one red-zone trip. Their defense played well for most of the half, but they allowed the Titans to march right down the field once in the first half as Ryan Tannehill got the ball to his star receivers at will.

Then, to begin the second half, it appeared Tennessee would run it right down Cincinnati’s throat, but a tipped interception on a slot blitz from Mike Hilton saved the Bengals on that drive.

They beat Tennessee, but they’ll need to protect Burrow better if they’re to stand a chance in the AFC Championship.

3) San Francisco 49ers

What an ugly yet oddly beautiful game the 49ers played in against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Until the final 49ers drive, it felt as though the Packers were in control. Even after the blocked punt, we all probably imagined Aaron Rodgers would walk Green Bay down the field for points.

Instead, they gained 4 yards on three plays and managed two separate 5-yard penalties, once again punting the ball away. Jimmy Garoppolo is still Jimmy Garoppolo, so it’s hard to feel good about San Francisco. But they keep winning despite his best efforts to give games away.

After being gashed early by Davante Adams, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans got the 49ers’ unit right. When the Packers immediately scored on their first drive, and the 49ers struggled to move the ball, I thought the game might get ugly. Yet, San Fran eked out a win thanks to Green Bay’s atrocious play on special teams.

2) Los Angeles Rams

Okay, so maybe the Rams can finally be the dream team to get over the hump. The Eagles tried it in the Chip Kelly era. They assembled an all-star cast of characters for the 2011 season but only managed an 8-8 record.

The Rams traded for QB Matthew Stafford in the offseason. They already had Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. With Stafford throwing him the ball, Cooper Kupp nearly broke the single-season receiving yards record. Then, LA traded for Von Miller before the trade deadline and added Odell Beckham Jr. after losing Robert Woods for the season. General Manager Les Snead was all in.

Things looked very good against Tampa Bay, all the way up until Leonard Fournette scored to make it a 7-point game with less than three minutes left. The Rams dominated the contest and still almost lost, almost exclusively because they lost all 4 of their fumbles.

Nevertheless, before the insanity of the fourth quarter, it was clear the Rams were the better team. And in the end, the potential Offensive Player of the Year and the QB Snead traded for made two massive plays to get the Rams into field-goal range to end the game.

1) Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. That’s really all that matters at this point. Mahomes played a near-perfect game against the Buffalo Bills, who had one of the best defenses in football for all of the 2021 season.

KC’s signal-caller was a magician, shaking would-be tacklers in the pocket and getting out to the edge. He finished with 378 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 75% of his passes. When Tyrann Mathieu suffered a concussion, it seemed the Bills might be able to walk away with this game.

If Mathieu returns healthy and the Chiefs play close to the level they did on Sunday night, there isn’t a team in the playoffs that can beat them. However, the Los Angeles Rams could certainly contend, given their star power.

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch.