COMMENTARY | Seventeen weeks of regular-season play are history, and now it's time to see who will make history in the NFL playoffs.
We've checked in with seven of the top sets of NFL power rankings across the World Wide Web to find out:
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: CBS
The 13-3 Broncos remain atop Pete Prisco's rankings and are followed by the New England Patriots (12-4), Seahawks (13-3), San Francisco 49ers (12-4) and Carolina Panthers (12-4). "It's all about Peyton Manning," Prisco writes. "Can he carry his regular-season magic into the postseason?"
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: CHFF
Despite their bevy of records and gaudy statistics, the Broncos still have found it hard to crack the top five in Cold Hard Football Facts' Quality Stats rankings. Denver actually dropped two spots, falling from fifth to seventh, while the Seahawks remained on top. The Cincinnati Bengals (11-5), Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) and 49ers round out the site's top five.
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: ESPN
The four-letter network has the Broncos at No. 2 in its final power poll of the season, falling in behind -- who else? -- the Seahawks. Coming in third through fifth are Carolina, San Fran and New England.
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: FOX
Former Baltimore Ravens coach-turned-Fox-analyst Brian Billick has Seattle and Denver ranked 1-2 in his rankings and expects the form to hold over the next three weeks. "I like the chances of both No. 1 seeds meeting in New Jersey for the Super Bowl," Billick says.
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: PFT
The Broncos and Seahawks also come in atop the Pro Football Talk rankings, only flip-flopped with Denver holding down the No. 1 spot for the second straight week. The Panthers, Patriots and Niners close out the PFT top five.
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: USA Today
The Nation's Newspaper also has the Broncos and Seahawks 1-2, and just like PFT, they are followed by the Panthers, Patriots and 49ers. "The scoring record (606 points in a season) is theirs," USA Today says of it's top-ranked team. "Now they must do what the 2007 Patriots and 1998 Vikings couldn't: Win it all."
Where the Denver Broncos stand in NFL postseason power rankings: Shutdown Corner
Yahoo Shutdown Corner blog editor Frank Schwab has Denver ranked in back of Seattle in his rundown of the top teams but also is very impressed by the Orange and Blue's record-setting season. "Denver scored 606 points," Schwab says. "Before you just chalk that up to the NFL's offensive explosion, consider that the second-highest scoring team in the NFL scored just 445 points. The Broncos were more than 10 points per game better than everyone else."
As you can see, the Broncos and Seahawks are the prohibitive favorites to punch their tickets to East Rutherford, N.J. Seattle is tops with an average ranking of 1.57, while Denver is right behind at 2.28. The Panthers (3.43) come in at No. 3 and are followed by the 49ers (4.43) and Patriots (4.71).
One thing's for certain: In three weeks, the style points and rankings will all be moot as we'll know for certain which two teams have a Groundhog Day date in Jersey.
Ken Pomponio has spent the past 25 years as a sports journalist who has been published extensively in print and online. He's been an avid follower of the Denver sports scene since early childhood, and can be found on Twitter @kenpomp.
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