NFL Power Rankings: Packers Finish 2011 Season Where They Started

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01: Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers jumps into the stands after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SB Nation's final 2011-12 NFL power rankings are out and, as usual, the Packers are the top team and the Colts are the worst team.

The 2011-12 NFL regular season is over, as are SB Nation's final 2011 NFL power rankings, and one thing hasn't changed -- the Green Bay Packers have been the No. 1 team in the NFL from Week 1. They're the defending Super Bowl champs so they were our No. 1 team early on and they didn't move from that spot all year. With little doubt, they proved in the last 16 games they're the best team in the NFL.

And in what is no longer a surprise, but would have been back in August, the Indianapolis Colts are ranked dead last. They've been battling with the St. Louis Rams for the title of worst team in the NFL and Indy finally clinched it last weekend.

Here's a look at the final regular season power rankings:


MORE: SI.com: Playoffs Primer | NFL Playoffs Schedule

1. Green Bay Packers (15-1, LW: 1): They end the season as the No. 1 team, clearly. From start to finish, they were the best and no one was really close. One of the all-time great seasons for an NFL team. Kudos to Green Bay.

2. New Orleans Saints (13-3, LW: 2): If I had to pick a team right now that could potentially beat the Packers, it'd be New Orleans. They've won eight straight and in those games Drew Brees has thrown 25 touchdown passes to three interceptions. Yeah...that's pretty good.

3. Baltimore Ravens (12-4, LW: 5): This might be the favorite for the AFC Super Bowl representative, at least if you ask me. The Ravens do everything well and don't have any glaring weaknesses. As long as they don't make silly turnovers, they can make a run.

4. New England Patriots (13-3, LW: 4): Say what you want about this Patriots defense but they're 15th in the league in points given up and this team has now won seven straight. That's not that bad for supposedly one of the all-time worst defenses.

5. San Francisco 49ers (13-3, LW: 3): I don't know what to make of the 49ers. They're the new guys so I'm slightly more pessimistic about them, despite their body of work. They're the biggest question mark entering these playoffs -- are they a one-season wonder or does Jim Harbaugh and his team make a run here?

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, LW: 6): Same old Pittsburgh. Wouldn't be surprised to see them in the Super Bowl again. They're so consistently good, year in and year out.

7. Atlanta Falcons (10-6, LW: 10): OK now, the Falcons have won three of four and they're playing the team ranked directly below them here.

8. New York Giants (9-7, LW: 11): The Giants might be the biggest sleeper in all of the playoffs. They have a quarterback who's been there, an up-and-coming receiver and a defensive line that can get to the quarterback. That's the recipe to beat some of these elite offenses in the NFC like Green Bay and New Orleans.

9. Detroit Lions (10-6, LW: 7): The Lions are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. But they got a tough draw -- at New Orleans. Now's not a good time to be playing the Saints.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7, LW: 8): They lost last Sunday, but still made the playoffs. I have them ranked above their first round opponent for a reason. I think Cincy is better than Houston and they win this game.

11. Houston Texans (10-6, LW: 9): The Texans are hosting the Bengals for their first playoff game in franchise history. Unfortunately, I'm not picking for that to last long.

12. Tennessee Titans (9-7, LW: 17): So, so close to the playoffs. Next year is a new era as they Titans open the quarterback competition.

13. Dallas Cowboys (8-8, LW: 12): The truth about the Cowboys? They're an average, ordinary team. Not great and not horrible. Just average.

14. New York Jets (8-8, LW: 13): Rex Ryan's act gets a little old when the Jets prove they're a .500 team. Super Bowl?

15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8, LW: 19): Momentum in one season can carry into the next so the NFC West could be fun next year. Arizona won seven of their last nine to close out the season.

16. Denver Broncos (8-8, LW: 14): I have all four AFC West teams ranked right in a row here. Does anyone have any idea who the best team is out of this group? I'm not sure it's Denver with a one-dimensional offense.

17. Oakland Raiders (8-8, LW: 15): I'm not sure Oakland is the best given they'll eventually kill themselves with penalties.

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8, LW: 16): The Chargers may be the most talented but they're also the most capable of playing down to the opponent's level.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9, LW: 25): The Chiefs had the division in 2010 but key injuries made them an average team, at best.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8, LW: 18): The Eagles get back to .500 on the season bu that's not much of a consolation prize. They were supposed to be making a deep playoff run this year, if not the Super Bowl.

21. Miami Dolphins (6-10, LW: 22): The Dolphins are a quarterback away from being competitive. That's it. This isn't a horrible team and the second half of this season demonstrates that.

22. Carolina Panthers (6-10, LW: 21): I'm hopping on the 2012 Panthers bandwagon now. And I don't think I'm alone.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, LW: 20): They finished strong in the second half of the season going 5-3 but, like last year, they're an average team.


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24. Chicago Bears (8-8, LW: 23): The lesson for the Bears and several other teams this year? Get a backup quarterback. A good one. It's worth the investment.

25. Buffalo Bills (6-10, LW: 24): Buffalo's collapse is disappointing. I was fooled. I thought they were for real.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-12, LW: 27): The defense finishes in the top five, so that's great. But the offense has finished 29th or worse in scoring for four straight years. In fact, Cleveland has had one top 10 offense since Marty Schottenheimer left in the late '80s.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11, LW: 29): A lot of rookie QBs struggle but Blaine Gabbert looked really bad. He'll stick in Jacksonville but their future isn't as promising as I thought after last April's draft.

28. Washington Redskins (5-11, LW: 26): The problem with the Redskins is that they don't really do anything well. They don't put fear into other teams. Maybe those linebackers will continue blossoming into the strength of the team.

29. Minnesota Vikings (3-13, LW: 28): The news is still about Adrian Peterson. He needs to be healthy by the start of the season. The Vikings were bad with him -- imagine them without Peterson.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12, LW: 30): 10 straight losses to end the season. When you're giving up that many points and losing that many games in a row, you just don't care.

31. St. Louis Rams (2-14, LW: 32): The Rams were in the last spot but they played the 49ers tough so I'm giving them some credit. The bidding for their No. 2 pick starts...now.

32. Indianapolis Colts (2-14, LW: 31): The Colts cleaned house, will hire a new GM and pick No. 1 overall. The last time this happened? 1997-98. Yeah, that Peyton Manning guy worked out OK.

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