It’s the most wonderful time of the year for NFL fans. It’s playoff time. While most teams are sitting on the couch watching the playoffs, the teams that will be on the field in the next couple of weeks will have their minds focused on one thing, the Super Bowl. Let’s meet the teams who have made the tournament! We will start with the AFC and make our way to the NFC
Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a first place finish in the AFC this season not only with his arm, but with his legs. The Ravens are the number 2 offence in the NFL during the course of the regular season finishing behind only the Dallas Cowboys who you won’t see on this preview. They do however boast the number one rushing attack in the league largely in part to Lamar rushing for 1,206 yards on the year. The Ravens are obviously going to be a force to be reckoned with in these playoffs, but you have to wonder what happens when someone finally takes the running game away form Jackson. The Ravens also benefit from having a top 5 defence as well. Stopping the Ravens is going to take someone to play their best game of the season, and that might not even be enough. The Ravens have been fun to watch all year long, and for the sake of the fans enjoyment of the game, we can only hope the Ravens play the same way they have all season long.
A bye week fell into the open arms of the Chiefs after the Patriots choked it away by losing to the Miami Dolphins in week 17. While the Chiefs may not have much of a running game, the pass attack is something to behold. They are almost the complete opposite form the Baltimore Ravens, but they can win games just the same. Everyone knows that the Chiefs don’t mind getting into a shootout with how good their offence is, but at some point that is going to bite you in the butt. The main concern I have with the Chiefs is their defence. To put it bluntly, it’s not very good. To beat the Chiefs you need a good defensive game plan to stop Pat Mahomes. If your defence can slow the attack of the Chiefs, you stand a good chance to beat them assuming your offence can move the football. That second part shouldn’t be too difficult considering there is nothing all that special about the Chiefs defensively. If this team runs into the Ravens they could be in trouble.
Tom Brady may be old, but the old man always seem to find some way to pull a rabbit out of his hat and win the Super Bowl around this time of the year. For the first time in a long time the Patriots will be playing wildcard week. Thanks to them playing like hot garbage in week 17, they now have to host the red hot Tennessee Titans. The Patriots started the season 8-0, but have ended the season on a 4-4 run. Is this finally the year where the dynasty falls? I wouldn’t count on it. We say it every year. Just when you think it’s over the Pats find a way. I won’t give them the satisfaction of counting them out, it only fuels them. They will however have thier hands full with the Titans and Brady won’t get the extra week of rest he is accustomed to. How much of a difference will that make? No one knows, but the Pats are in uncharted territory right now.
The Texans had a real scare at the end of the season when the Titans began to close the gap on them for the number one spot in the AFC South, but they managed to hold them off and win the division. DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Deshaun Watson highlight the Texans offence, and on the defensive side the Texans are getting their most notable player back, J.J. Watt. I don’t know what it is about Houston but they don’t scare me much. I believe that we are in for a defensive battle on Saturday when they host the Buffalo Bills, and that doesn’t bode well for them. They need to have the offence going to make a run at the Super Bowl, but I can’t tell if the Texans are for real or not. The Texans have beat some good teams this season including the Chiefs and Patriots, but they were thrashed by the Ravens 41-7 midway through the season. If they Texans play their best football, they could be a dark horse team for the Super Bowl, if not, they will lose to the Bills on Saturday.
There isn’t a lot to say about Buffalo other than the defence is one of the best in the league and the offence is one of the worst in the league. Realistically, the Bills don’t have much of a chance to make it to the Super Bowl, and it would take nothing short of a miracle for them to get there. The Bills offence plays much better in the 4th quarter of games then they do for the rest of the game, and they need to play the entire game like its the 4th quarter offensively. The odds of this happening however are slim to none. There hasn’t been a game this season for the Bills where the offence looks like a cohesive unit and can continuously move the football. Luckily for the Bills, they have one of the leagues best defences that can hold them in a game just long enough for the offence to put a drive together to win the game. They won’t be playing the Bengals and the Dolphins in the playoffs, so they will need the offence to move the ball or else this run will be short lived. That being said, I am rather confident they are going to beat the Texans on Saturday.
The Titans were 2-4 to begin the year, and after Ryan Tannehill became the starting QB, the Titans have become a much better football team. For the Titans to shock the football world and beat the New England Patriots they will need Derrick Henry to have a monster game. Henry has run for 1,540 yards this year and has been one of the main reasons for the Titans finishing the season on a high note. The Patriots have the number 6 ranked run defence, so it won’t be easy for Henry to have a big game, but it needs to happen. I don’t trust Ryan Tennehill to beat one of the best defences in the NFL with his arm, he just isn’t that guy. If Henry can have a big game it will open things up for Tannehill. Tannehill is a solid QB who can make all the throws and he will burn you if you make life easy. There is a real chance the Patriots could be one and done if everything goes right for the Tennessee Titans.
So that’s the AFC playoff picture. Let’s move on to the NFC playoff picture!
The 49ers are just one of the 13-3 teams in the playoffs on the NFC side of things, but they finished with home field advantage up until the Super Bowl. Not only does San Francisco have the fourth best offence in the NFL this season, they also have the second best defence in terms of yards per game. Nick Bosa has been the force on the defensive line the 49ers have needed collecting 9 sacks on the year. The 49ers added Emanuel Sanders at the trade deadline to give them some extra talent on the offensive side of the ball. Overall, the 49ers are going to be tough to knock off for whoever meets them in the playoffs. They have talent all over the field and when you think you have shut them down there is someone else who can do some damage coming your way. For a franchise that was as terrible as it was for as long as it was, this year was spectacular. The only way it could get better is with a trip to the Super Bowl and a parade shortly after.
Despite Aaron Rodgers not playing like himself this season, the Packers finally built a team around him that he doesn’t need to carry by himself. The Packers defense is no longer just a turnstile for opposing offences and he has weapons to work with on the offence. Those weapons include the likes of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Jimmy Graham. Rodgers threw for 4,002 yards with 26 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, so it wasn’t a terrible year by any means, just not as good as we have come to expect from A-Rod. Depending on who wins the Saints and Vikings game, the Packers should have their cheesy hands full. The Saints are a really good football team, and if I was a Packers fan, I really wouldn’t want to play New Orleans. I don’t know if I can see the Packers winning the Super Bowl or not this season, but hey, they have given themselves a chance and that’s all that matters at this time of year.
The Saints have been the victim of some events the last couple of years and I think that’s about to change. Take a trip down memory lane to two season ago when the Minneapolis miracle took place.
And then last season the Saints were the victim of some terrible ref ball that stole their chance at the Super Bowl.
Keeping this one short and sweet. Drew Brees and the Saints have all the talent in the world to go to the Super Bowl. Not only do they have the talent, but they should also have the motivation. They have a chance at revenge over the weekend for the first incident 2 seasons ago. They have been oh so close for two years in a row. They are a resilient group and a good football team. This should be the year where the Saints figure it out and get to the big game, but will they?
The Eagles don’t really deserve to be hosting a playoff game this season, but that’s how it worked out. The Eagles come out as NFC East champions in a division no one wanted to win. You can say whatever you want about the Eagles and how bad they are, but you can’t count them out of anything just yet. The Eagles have more injuries then you can shake a stick at right now, but they are in the playoffs. They are a decently well rounded football team and if they can get hot, they can make another magical run like they did with Nick Foles a few seasons ago. There was magic around that team and people counted them out before they even had a chance to play, and the same thing is happening this year. If they were on the road to Seattle I might not give them a chance in this game, but it won’t be easy for the Seahawks to go to Philly for the second time this season and win.
Seattle is set up with the easiest opponent in the NFC (in terms of record), but yet, they will need to win the game on the road. After getting some ref ball to go against them in their final game of the season, the Seahawks will be playing on the road in Philly wildcard weekend. While the Eagles are crippled with injuries right now, and the Seahawks are dealing with significant injuries to their running backs. Some old faces were brought back prior to the playoffs including Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks won’t have a reliable running game for the near future unless Wilson decides to take off himself. The Seahawks will need to throw the ball most of the game to have a chance, and if someone is having an off day, they could be blindsided by the Eagles and an 11-5 season will be all for not.
The Minnesota Vikings better hope that Kirk Cousins shakes his issues with prime time games or they will not be going far in these playoffs. Cousins has always had a hard time winning when it counts the most, and against a team like the Saints it’s only going to get harder. The only chance the Vikings have to win the Super Bowl is if Cousins changed magically overnight, and much like the Bills, there is nothing that suggests that is going to happen. The Vikings would likely need to play three 13-3 teams before getting to the Super Bowl, and I just can’t see them winning against one 13-3 team, let alone three of them.
If you come to this site often, you know I love predictions. Here’s what I’ve got. Out of the AFC, I’m taking the Kansas City Chiefs. Out of the NFC, I’m taking the New Orleans Saints. I know there are a lot of things the Chiefs are missing, but the talent on the offensive side of the football is enough to make the believe in them. As for New Orleans, it’s their time. They aren’t going to get screwed over by the referees, no miracles, and they are going to sail into the Super Bowl.
As for who wins, I’ve got the Saints by a score of 28-17. The Saints offence is going to get them out to a huge lead early in the game, and the Chiefs comeback is going to fall just short. Drew Brees will win Super Bowl MVP and possibly ride off into the sunset a champion.
If you like NFL articles, let us know on Twitter @613_sports, and be sure to follow me @FrankieVideo!