NFL Power Rankings: Super Bowl Champion Giants End Season On Top

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts in the first half while taking on the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Manning, named MVP, led the Giants to a 21-17 victory. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

SB Nation's final set of NFL power rankings for the 2011-12 season have the Super Bowl teams, Giants and Patriots, ranked at the top.

Now that the 2011-12 NFL season is officially over with the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, it's time to revisit SB Nation's NFL power rankings one last time.

Here are your final NFL power rankings of the 2011-12 season. The previous rankings are from Week 17.


More: NFL Mock Draft | Giants Parade | SI.com: 'The Reluctant Touchdown'

1. New York Giants (9-7, LW: 8): Sure, we can argue if the Giants aren't actually the best team in the league, and whether other teams could beat them on a neutral field (Vegas thinks they could). But they got hot at the perfect time (again) and won the Super Bowl. They're deserving of the top spot for finding a way to get it done, despite a less-than-perfect regular season.

2. New England Patriots (13-3, LW: 4): The Pats may move up to the No. 1 spot by the time our preseason power rankings get here. They have two first round picks and two second round picks in the 2012 NFL draft, and they have a decent amount of cap space. Per usual, the Patriots will re-load and look like one of the best teams heading into next season.

3. Green Bay Packers (15-1, LW: 1): Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had one of the best regular seasons we've ever seen. Rodgers is your season MVP and Green Bay lost just once in the regular season. Unfortunately, the regular season doesn't matter anymore once you enter the playoffs. Green Bay was one-and-done when they faced the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants.

4. Baltimore Ravens (12-4, LW: 3): I said in Week 17 that the Ravens should be the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. They were one game short after losing to the Pats in the AFC Championship game. The Ravens defense is getting older in some places but they're a good enough team that it wouldn't surprise me at all to see them in the same position next year.

5. New Orleans Saints (13-3, LW: 2): We just witnessed one of the great offensive seasons in NFL history with Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino's record. Unfortunately, that didn't translate into a win over the 49ers in the divisional round. Assuming Brees is re-signed, all is well in New Orleans. By the way, the 2013 Super Bowl is in New Orleans so the Saints will have a shot at a home Super Bowl next season.

6. San Francisco 49ers (13-3, LW: 5): Is No. 6 too low for San Francisco? I didn't think they'd beat the Saints in the divisional round and I didn't think they'd hang with the Giants in the NFC Championship game. They have a very bright future but the quarterback question will continue to follow them around, even with an NFC Championship game appearance.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, LW: 6): The Steelers, like the Ravens, will be back next year. They're the most stable franchise in the NFL so you should feel pretty confident about another 10-plus win season in 2012. They'll need to fix the offensive line and start thinking about rebuilding an aging defense, but they're still one of the league's elite teams.

8. Houston Texans (10-6, LW: 11): Entering 2011, the question was whether the Texans will finally make the playoffs. Entering 2012, the question will be whether the Texans can make a Super Bowl run. The talent is there. It's not crazy to think Houston will be one of a few favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl next year.

9. Atlanta Falcons (10-6, LW: 7): That's three one-and-dones for the Falcons, which is a bit of a concern. It's good that they're making a playoff appearance an annual thing but at some point you gotta win a postseason game, lest you get slapped with the reputation of not winning the big one.

10. Detroit Lions (10-6, LW: 9): The Lions hadn't made the postseason since 1999 before this season. With Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and others, they won't wait that long again. This is the start of Detroit's time as an annual postseason contender. Offensively, they're terrific. Defensively, they just need to shore up a few holes.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7, LW: 10): Kudos to Cincinnati and one of the best stories this season. They were considered one of the worst teams in the league before the season and finished the year with a playoff appearance. Assuming Andy Dalton and A.J. Green continue to develop, this will be a very good team down the road.

12. Tennessee Titans (9-7, LW: 12): They won nine games this year with Chris Johnson putting up his worst numbers of his career. If Chris Johnson can get back to being the old Chris Johnson, the Titans are going to make another playoff push next season.

13. Dallas Cowboys (8-8, LW: 13): Talent-wise, this team is loaded entering next season, and they should once again be competing in the NFC East. They were one game away from being in the playoffs this year and look what the team who beat them in Week 17 did.

14. New York Jets (8-8, LW: 14): Ah, the Jets. Like the Cowboys, they have the talent to be serious contenders in their conference. We saw that in 2009 and 2010 when they made an AFC Championship game appearance. It's just a matter of whether they can fix whatever the heck happened in that locker room this year and put it all together.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8, LW: 20): Vegas doesn't think the Eagles will slip again. They're among the top teams when it comes to 2013 Super Bowl odds. We'll say what we said at the start of last year: talent-wise, this team is good enough to make a Super Bowl run. But will they actually do it this time?

16. Chicago Bears (8-8, LW: 24): Goal No. 1: Find a backup quarterback. Chicago would've been in the playoffs if they had a competent backup quarterback. This is a good team that should challenge the Lions for the second spot in the NFC North behind the Packers.

17. Carolina Panthers (6-10, LW: 22): I had them ranked 22nd at the end of the regular season but they're getting a bump from me. This is a quarterback league and Cam Newton was terrific. He gets better next season, as do his teammates, and Carolina makes like difficult on the Falcons as they both chase the Saints in the NFC South.

18. Arizona Cardinals (8-8, LW: 15): Watch out for the Cardinals next season. They were hot in the latter half of 2011 and sometimes that momentum from one season can carry into another. The big question entering next season: Who will be the quarterback?

19. San Diego Chargers (8-8, LW: 18): Is their window still open? Or is it closed? Bringing Norv Turner back again tells me the Chargers think their window is still open, and it should be as long as Philip Rivers is the quarterback. But we're talking about the pre-2011 Phillip Rivers, the one that doesn't throw 20 interceptions.

20. Denver Broncos (8-8, LW: 16): The Broncos won the division with a .500 record and I'm guessing that won't be enough next year (though who knows with the AFC West). That said, this division is still wide-open. You can make a case for any AFC West team to win the division next season.

21. Oakland Raiders (8-8, LW: 17): Dennis Allen is the new head coach in Oakland and he'll inherit a roster that should be good enough to compete for an AFC West title. Keep that running game going, give Carson Palmer a full offseason, fix the run defense and this team should be in the thick of it.

22. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9, LW: 19): The Chiefs, like every other AFC West team, should be in the mix for the division crown. KC is loaded with young talent but, like many other teams, their quarterback situation is questionable. If Matt Cassel plays more like he did in 2010, then the Chiefs could very well be in the playoffs.

23. Miami Dolphins (6-10, LW: 21): This is a hard team to rank because I don't know who the quarterback will be. Peyton Manning? Matt Flynn? First round draft pick? With the right quarterback, I'd consider them a top 10 team. Without the right quarterback, another six-win season sounds about right.

24. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, LW: 23): Similar question marks as the Dolphins: Who's the quarterback? Thanks to the 49ers, the NFC West is no longer the division you can win with seven or eight wins. Find a solution to the quarterback solution, pair him with Marshawn Lynch, and this could be a strong team next season.


Follow @sbnation on Twitter | Like SB Nation on Facebook | Sign up for our Newsletter


25. Buffalo Bills (6-10, LW: 25): So...which Bills team is the real one? The team that started 5-3 and beat the Patriots? Or the team that finished 1-7? The truth, as it usually is, is somewhere in the middle. I think the Bills are better than a 1-7 finish but I also don't see them finishing ahead of the Patriots, Jets or even Miami depending on what they do at quarterback.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11, LW: 27): Another team that comes down to the quarterback question. Let's be honest: Blaine Gabbert wasn't very good, even for a rookie. He'll now have a full offseason under his belt so a more fair assessment of him as a quarterback will come in 2012.

27. Minnesota Vikings (3-13, LW: 29): You have one of the best offensive players in Adrian Peterson and one of the best defensive players in Jared Allen. There's no excuse for this team to win just three games. None. They're better than that and they'll prove that next season.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12, LW: 30): Like Minnesota, this is a better team than their record indicates. A lot of people piled on the Greg Schiano hire so it'll be interesting to see how he does in year one.

29. Washington Redskins (5-11, LW: 28): This is a team like the Dolphins whose future largely depends on what happens this offseason. It's hard to envision the Redskins going into next season with Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback. If they don't make a quarterback change, then No. 29 is about right. If they do, they could easily jump up another 10 spots. Who they bring in will give us a better idea of type of team they'll be in 2012.

30. Cleveland Browns (4-12, LW: 26): It doesn't seem like much has changed in Cleveland in the last decade. They're still in the bottom tier of teams, they still don't have an overly promising future and they still don't know if they have a quarterback of the future. Plus, they're in a division that sent three teams to the playoffs last season. I don't see the Browns seriously competing for a playoff spot in 2012.

31. St. Louis Rams (2-14, LW: 31): How much of a difference does a coach make? The Rams hired Jeff Fisher this season and he'll be tasked with taking one of the worst rosters in the league -- but a promising future at quarterback -- and figuring out a way to make it work.

32. Indianapolis Colts (2-14, LW: 32): The Colts are last on the list, for now. They'll select Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in April and then the new Colts will be born. If Luck is as good as everyone says he will be, they shouldn't be down here for long.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.