NFL Power Rankings: Conference Championship Week

The Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers remain on target as the projected Super Bowl opponents, according to the NFL Sports Power Rankings.

The No. 1 ranked Broncos will face No. 6 New England in the AFC Championship game Sunday in Denver. The Broncos advanced to the AFC championship for the first time in eight seasons with a seven-point win over No. 11 San Diego in the divisional playoffs.

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who set NFL records for touchdown passes and passing yards during the regular season, is 4-10 against New England quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots, including 0-2 with Denver. The quarterbacks split a pair of AFC title games when Manning was the Indianapolis quarterback.

The Patriots moved up two places in the NFL Power Rankings and gained their third straight spot in the AFC title game with a 43-22 victory over the No. 12 Indianapolis Colts in the divisional playoffs, as LeGarrette Blount rushed for 166 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns.

Colin Kaepernick threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score and the No. 2 49ers advanced to their third consecutive NFC Championship Game with a 23-10 victory over the No. 8 Carolina Panthers in the divisional playoffs. The 49ers will face the No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at rowdy CenturyLink Field in Seattle next Sunday for a chance to play in their second straight Super Bowl.

The Seahawks, the NFC’s No. 1 seed, moved within one game of a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII after holding off the No. 3 New Orleans Saints with a 23-15 decision in an NFC Divisional Playoff at a stormy and soggy CenturyLink Field,¬†where the Seahawks have gone an intimidating 16-1 in Russell Wilson’s two years as the starting quarterback.

Despite the 8-point result, New Orleans and Seattle switched places in this week’s NFL Power Rankings because the Seahawks had blasted the Saints by 27 points in their previous meeting on December 2. The closer result in the playoff game resulted in a downgrade in Seattle’s ratings and an upgrade in New Orleans’s.

Here are the complete NFL Power Rankings, through games of January 12, 2014:

RANKTEAMRATINGCHANGE
1Denver.9950
2San Francisco.7750
3New Orleans.7192
4Kansas City.6130
5Seattle.599-2
6New England.5732
7Cincinnati.5200
8Carolina.486-2
9Arizona.4550
10Philadelphia.2731
11San Diego.255-1
12Indianapolis.0700
13Tennessee.0140
14Detroit-.0171
15St. Louis-.031-1
16Miami-.1030
17Pittsburgh-.1481
18Tampa Bay-.155-1
19Dallas-.1720
20Chicago-.1820
21Green Bay-.2510
22Baltimore-.3150
23Atlanta-.3471
24NY Giants-.349-1
25Buffalo-.3510
26Minnesota-.3640
27NY Jets-.5430
28Cleveland-.5850
29Washington-.6210
30Houston-.6230
31Oakland-.7100
32Jacksonville-.9460

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