NFL’s final 4 playoff teams, ranked by their chances of winning Super Bowl 58

Just four teams are left standing.

After a thrilling weekend of football, the Conference Championship games are set in the NFL playoffs. On the NFC side the San Francisco 49ers, after surviving an upset threat from the Green Bay Packers, will play host to the Detroit Lions.

Over in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens will host an AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history. Standing in their way of Super Bowl 58? Here’s the full schedule for the NFC Championship and AFC Championship.

So, what team has the best chance to take home the Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks? Here are the final four NFL teams, as ranked by the SB Nation staff.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

4. Detroit Lions

If last week’s win over the Los Angeles Rams was a “proof of concept game,” as my dear friend J.P. said on last week’s episode of Monday Football Monday, a critical touchdown for the Detroit Lions on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a “proof of concept play.”

With the Lions facing a 2nd and 2 at the Tampa Bay 31-yard line with just over 13 minutes remaining in a game tied at 17-17, Jared Goff turned to hand off to rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. In a flash the rookie was into the secondary, staring straight ahead at Antoine Winfield Jr., one of the NFL’s best safeties.

And with the next flash, Gibbs was gone, having skipped around Winfield and towards the end zone, with a touchdown to give Detroit a 24-17 lead.

Much was made of the Lions’ draft class last spring, as Detroit added Gibbs, the running back, with the 12th-overall selection. Then they added a linebacker, a tight end, and a safety with their next three picks, all within the first 45 selections. No, your calendar was not wrong at the time, this was their draft in the year 2023.

But it has paid off, in a big way. That tight end? Sam LaPorta, a contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. That safety? Brian Branch, who stepped into Detroit’s starting lineup and racked up seven tackles in the win over the Rams. The linebacker? Jack Campbell, who also stepped into the starting lineup for the Lions and had 95 tackles during the regular season.

And then there is Gibbs, who not only had the critical touchdown for the Lions on Sunday, but added another explosive weapon for Ben Johnson, Jared Goff, and the rest of the Lions offense.

Now, the Lions are onto the NFC Championship Game, where they will put their proof of concept up against the best team in the conference, the San Francisco 49ers.

Will it work? Given what we have seen this season — and how the 49ers looked on Saturday night — it just might.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Somehow, some way, the worst Kansas City Chiefs team of the Mahomes era is headed to the AFC title game, a game that Mahomes has never missed in his entire career. The Chiefs are headed to Baltimore, and one thing is for sure: they’ll have the best QB in the NFL on their side. Mahomes has once again been sterling in the playoffs, posting a total EPA of 33.6 across two games. He truly becomes his best in the playoffs, and that’s Kansas City’s ace in the hole. They can go into any game knowing they have the best QB in the NFL.

The Chiefs’ defense is also healthy at the right time, and that’s a major plus for Kansas City. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is also at his best in the playoffs, and saves his biggest schematic changes for the big moments. DT Chris Jones was once again fantastic, and the Chiefs’ defense made enough plays to hold off a Bills team that was hot on their tails for most of the game.

Now, the Chiefs face what is essentially the final boss of the 2023 NFL season in the Baltimore Ravens and their suffocating defense. Can Mahomes pull another magic act? Will the defense have enough stops in them to get Mahomes the ball? We’ll see on Sunday.

2. San Francisco 49ers

It was a rainy, monsoon of a game by the 49ers but they did what they do best: leaned on their starpower when things got tough. San Francisco got out of a battle with a very game Green Bay team with a 24-21 victory, but one that came with consequence. Niners star WR Deebo Samuel went out with a shoulder injury and didn’t return, but the 49ers say he’s ok and will play in the NFC Championship game. When Samuel went out, the 49ers kind of slogged through the game offensively, but when they needed it the most, they got it from their stars. A Christian McCaffrey long TD run. A Brandon Aiyuk chain mover, followed up by a good throw from Brock Purdy (who had an up and down game) to Chris Conley, then a McCaffrey TD to give the Niners the lead. Defensively, it came down to big plays by star LBs Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, and a tenacious pass rush moving Packers QB Jordan Love off his spot.

Now, they welcome the Lions to Levi’s Stadium for a battle between two strengths. The 49ers’ defensive line will be matched by Detroit’s offensive line, the corners on the outside will be tested by Detroit’s receivers. Warner and Greenlaw will have to play their best games against a team that’s going to attack them in the middle of the field. All eyes will be on Purdy, but if Samuel is going to be less than 100%, this feels like a Christian McCaffrey game. Good thing they have a guy like that though!

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Baltimore Ravens

Coming into Saturday’s game against the Houston Texans, there was a tremendous amount of pressure on the Baltimore Ravens, and quarterback Lamar Jackson. Sure, Jackson looks on the verge of his second league MVP award, and the Ravens earned the top seed in the AFC thanks to an impressive stretch run that saw them play some of the best football in the league. But the Ravens have been there before, as they were in 2019 when Jackson won his first MVP and the Ravens were also the top seed, only to be bounced in the Divisional Round by the Tennessee Titans.

But Baltimore put those concerns to rest against the Texans, led by both Jackson and the offense, and their fast, swarming defense guided by defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. That defense made life miserable for C.J. Stroud and the Houston offense, as the Texans struggled to get anything going on the ground and the rookie passer was under duress all night long. While the game was tied at the half, Baltimore’s offense broke it open in the second half, with Jackson scoring from 15 yards out and then connecting with Isaiah Likely for his second touchdown pass of the night to give the Ravens a 14-point lead.

From there, they leaned on their rushing attack to salt away the win, with Jackson picking up his second rushing touchdown of the night as the Ravens pulled out to a 31-10 lead en route to the 34-10 final.

The second half of this game was probably the best statement yeat about what makes the Ravens so dangerous. Their ability to beat teams in different ways – from what they can do on offense as well as how they can slow down both opponents’ rushing and passing games — gives them so many ways to win games.

Keeping them atop these rankings for the third week in a row.

This post was originally published on this site