NFL Playoff Predictions
Wild Card Round
Colts @ Bills
I like both of these teams. The Colts have been consistently good all season long and yet somehow how to sweat it out until the final week to know if they even made the playoffs. Their strength lies in their lack of weakness. They don’t have any individual player that a team can point to to specifically gameplan for. They get by with a very good offensive line and extremely good defensive line (and just their defense in general).
On the other hand, the Bills have just simply been dominant, especially of late, in large part due to their star QB, Josh Allen, and star WR, Stefon Diggs. That’s not to say that the rest of this team isn’t also very good. Their defense has been much improved of late and their complimentary offensive weapons have been good enough.
Rams @ Seahawks
Is Jared Goff going to play? I think so, but it’s far from definite. Regardless, this Rams team hangs their hat on their dominant defense. They allowed the fewest number of points of any team this season. Offensively, they ranked in the lower half of the league in points scored, so regardless of if Goff plays or not, I don’t expect them to light up the scoreboard.
The Seahawks have gone from looking like they’re Super Bowl ready, to extremely middle of the road due to a horrid defense, and seemingly back to Super Bowl ready. Their defense did a complete 180 in the 2nd half of the season, and if it carries that over to the postseason, this team can go far.
Buccaneers @ Football Team (Edited once Alex Smith was ruled INACTIVE)
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers found their rhythm late in the season, which is scary for the rest of the league. This is a wild card team that many pegged as Super Bowl favorites before the season due to their potential, which is finally being realized. Still, they have been largely inconsistent all season, which makes it hard to truly trust them. If they have a weakness, it would be Tom Brady’s limitations against a strong pass rush.
Enter Chase Young and company. Ron Rivera, Alex Smith and the rest of the Football Team are the Cinderella Story of the league. Sure, they’re sub-.500 and are only division winners because they played in the NFC East. But this team went 5–2 to finish the year. Their defensive line is truly one of the best in the league. And this defense as a whole allowed the 4th fewest points this season. Offensively, with Alex Smith being ruled out, it’s tough to envision them putting up many points. Here’s one fun fact for this game: in 2014, the Carolina Panthers, coached by Ron Rivera, won the NFC South with a sub-.500 record and hosted a playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, coached by Bruce Arians. The Panthers won.
Ravens @ Titans
Rematch of last season’s divisional round match between these two teams. In that one, it wasn’t particularly competitive. The Titans ran away with a convincing 28–12 victory. The Ravens rode a 5-game winning streak to finish this season to get to the playoffs. For a while, they struggled to find the offensive explosiveness that they had all of last year. Their strong finish has them feeling good about their chances to redeem their disappointing performance from a year ago.
The Titans allowed the most points of any team in the postseason. They also scored the 4th most points of any team in the league. Needless to say, they’re used to playing in shootouts. They struggle immensely at pressuring the QB, which might not hurt them as much going up against this Ravens team who pride themselves on their rushing attack, both from their backs and Lamar Jackson. Derrick Henry surpassed 2,000 yards on the ground this year, which is their formula for success. But don’t sleep on Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown and their passing attack, which is quite capable of taking over a game as well.
Bears @ Saints
The Bears snuck into the 7th seed in the NFC at 8–8. Their offense has looked completely transformed since reverting back to Mitchell Trubisky behind center. Him along with David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, and even Jimmy Graham have actually made this offense fairly intimidating, which is shocking to say considering how they looked as recently as November. Defensively, they’re certainly good enough with Kahlil Mack and Akiem Hicks being as dominant a duo as you’ll find, but statistically they’ve been very up and down on the season.
Here we are again with these Saints. A dominant regular season has them feeling great entering the playoffs as a highseed, ready to host a game in which they’re heavily favored. Let’s see if there’s another controversial call that sends them home as has been the case the past two seasons. I don’t think so though. This team dealt with so much adversity all season and still finished 12–4. Their defense has been playing lights out. Their offense finished the season hot. If this is Drew Brees’ final run, I’m sure that’s even more motivation to finish this thing right.
Browns @ Steelers
In the only game affected by Covid (so far) in this round, the Browns will be without their head coach Kevin Stefanski. They’ve barely been able to practice this week. And they’re without a few of their players, although none of their stars. Still, this team has played very good football all season long and should not be overlooked. Their ground game is as good as anyone’s. Baker Mayfield has played great. And their defense finished the season strong.
What a season for the Steelers. At 11–0, this team was looked at as a Super Bowl favorite. Then, they forgot how to play offense for a few weeks and looked like they might not even with their division. But the last quarter and a half against the Colts two weeks ago had to put a good taste in their mouth. If they can play football like that, this team can go places. If not, it may be an early exit.
Browns @ Chiefs — Pick: Chiefs
Titans @ Bills — Pick: Bills
Buccaneers @ Packers — Pick: Packers
Seahawks @ Saints — Pick: Saints
Bills @ Chiefs — Pick: Chiefs
Saints @ Packers — Pick: Packers
Chiefs vs. Packers — Pick: Packers