It’s time for my first season playoff predictions. We just saw a decent shakeup this weekend and even saw a few teams show that they’re not able to hang with the big boys and some that can. Some teams are already almost a lock and some not so much. I won’t beat around the bush too much though and get right to the picks. I’m going to pick the playoff picks as well as my favorites to make the Super Bowl. Here we go:
AFC NORTH: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Not much of a surprise here as the Browns are 3-6-1, the Bengals just lost by 37 points, and the Ravens are tripping up before the finish line. Big Ben is playing at a high level and his weapons are very solid. They just beat a strong Panthers team by 31 and a solid win the week before against division rival Baltimore. The rest of the season will be interesting for this division as each contending team has 2 or more teams over .500. The Bengals have an easier slate with only 2 of those teams to play while the Steelers have 4. Pittsburgh is the only team in the North that’s proven they can win against talented teams. They have beaten a handful of solid teams and just beat the previously 6-2 Panthers by 31 points. This team is ranked in the top 10 on both sides of the ball and will continue that stat trend if they can keep Connor going and keep getting to the QB on the defensive side. If they can beat or force a close game even against NO and NE, they’ll prove they can hang with the best and lock up the division.
AFC SOUTH: HOUSTON TEXANS
So this team is low key on fire right now. Granted the only solid team they’ve played was NE in week 1, but they still have the Redskins and Titans left to play. They’ve proven when they can get Watson in a rhythm, they’re pretty dangerous. Watson has been very efficient recently and the running game has finally caught up. They’re a solid defensive unit and the offense is getting better. They’ve won 5 in a row and are slowly becoming a team others don’t wanna play. They’re forcing turnovers, getting consistent pressure, and haven’t turned the ball over in 3 weeks either. Look for this team to keep rolling and tuning their game going into the playoffs.
AFC EAST: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
If you expected anybody else in this division, shame on you. The Patriots have always been a fierce and dangerous competitor and nobody wants to play them in the playoffs. They did show some vulnerability this weekend as they got pounded by the Titans. Don’t count them out because we’ve all learned by now that you don’t bet against Brady and Belicheck. Brady still looks good and the offense can put up 30 points on any night. However, the defense is very inconsistent. They can allow up to 30 points to anyone and can also hold teams under 10. This will hurt them in the playoffs when they could run into teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, who can score at will. The Pats will beat out Miami for the division though, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
AFC WEST: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
This is much of a surprise but it’s also a closer race than everyone thinks. This offense is one of the most dangerous in the NFL. Mahommes is putting up MVP numbers and breaking records left and right. Hunt, Kelce, and Hill are making sure he has enough weapons to keep rolling. They’re 2nd in points, averaging 35 per game and they’re 5th in 3rd down conversion percentage. The defense has struggling so far but they’re getting better. They allow a lot of yards as they’re 29th in total yards but they have been keeping teams from scoring a lot and have even 6th best in defensive 3rd down percentage. They force enough turnovers and that’s helped them have the 6th best turnover differential. Once they can get some more pressure on the QB, who can stop them? Now you may be saying, “Kyle what does Mahommes offer that Smith doesn’t in terms of playoffs hopes?”. Well let me tell you why that’s crazy. Smith didn’t push the ball downfield and liked the safe check downs. He wasn’t very aggressive and couldn’t make a ton of use of the powerful weapons. Mahommes is a powerhouse that isn’t afraid to push the ball downfield and loves to let it rip to his speedy reveiver, running back, and tight end. Mahommes can make the big throws and also doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. This team is a very strong playoff team and will do enough to keep the divisional crown away from the Chargers.
AFC WILD CARD: LA CHARGERS
This other AFC West team is also very dangerous. Rivers is a very capable QB that is now rolling with some powerful weapons. They’re 10th in total offense, 10th in scoring, and let’s not forget that they have this guy named Melvin Gordon and he’s pretty good. This offense is pretty damn good and any team that says they’re not worried about playing them is either lying or hasn’t done even the slightest bit of research about them. The defense is also good! They rank 14th in total defense and 8th in scoring defense. They’re tied for 1st in giveaways as well. This is a solid team on both sides of the ball and they don’t make mistakes. I look for Rivers and the Chargers to finally get that chance at making a solid run at the playoffs. This is definitely their best chance at a Super Bowl, so they better make good on it while they still can.
AFC WILD CARD: TENNESSEE TITANS
So this one was tough, as the Ravens, Bengals, and Dolphins are all in contention for this spot still. The Titans though have proved more than the other three that they are more capable of competing. They just beat the Patriots by 3 TDs and they beat the Texans also. They have lost to the Ravens and the Bills as well so it’s a tough call. The Ravens have a tougher schedule and they’re struggling to stay consistent. The Bengals just got beat by 37 points and are really struggling without AJ Green. The Dolphins have practically imploded and are really missing Tannehill. Granted Tannehill could return in 2 weeks, but at 5-5 and games coming up against Minnesota and New England they’re in trouble. Let’s not forget the Dolphins have also lost 3 of their last 4. The Titans look very good on defense and the offense is getting fairly comfortable. They have the 6th best overall defense and the best scoring defense. Look for the Titans to roll with Mariota and this stingy defense into wildcard weekend, potentially hungry for a playoff upset.
NFC NORTH: CHICAGO BEARS
This one was extremely tough. The Bears look very strong and are quickly finding their offensive identity and their defense is one of the best in the league right now. They’ll have to beat the Vikings twice and play the Rams on their way to the NFC North crown. Trubisky is blossoming into a very promising QB and is utilizing his weapons perfectly. He has Robinson performing well, Burton steps up when he has to, Miller is becoming a decent threat, and that tandem backfield is scary. We all have seen too that the Bears defense, anchored by Khalil Mack, is one of the best defenses in the league. They lead the league in interceptions and are 5th in sacks. They’re also 1st in turnover differential. This team is highly underestimated as a threat in this league. They will have to hold off the Vikings for the title, but the Vikings schedule is a bit tougher and I honestly believe the Bears are a stronger, more well-rounded team. Look out for the Bears, they’re getting better and better and that’s a very scary thing if they can keep going.
NFC SOUTH: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Man, now this one was really tough to pick. I’m just kidding, this was one of the easier picks of this blog post. This Saints team is arguably the best offense in the league right now. Drew Brees is a dangerous QB to start with, but he’s currently having an MVP-caliber season. He has a ton of dangerous weapons at his disposal, and this defense is beginning to take shape. Even when they can’t stand tall on defense, they have more than managed to outscore them. This team is potentially the best in the league and I’m cutting their breakdown short because there’s not much to say other than, I’m so sorry if you have to play them in the playoffs.
NFC EAST: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
This one is more of a best of the worst situation. This division doesn’t really have a powerhouse. I previously would’ve thought the Eagles would wind up in this spot, but they’ve had a ton of injuries and haven’t been able to recover. The Cowboys are good once every three games, and the Giants are playing for the first overall draft pick. The Redskins are competent and are able to beat the less than formidable teams, but have only beaten one good team and it’s the same team that just lost by 31. The Redskins are top 4th in scoring defense and are 5th in rushing defense. That could help them tremendously in the playoffs against some stand out backs. This defense could help Alex Smith do what he does best, manage the game to a close win. Smith usually does enough to run clock, move the ball, and get the close wins. They’ll definitely do enough to win their division.
NFC WEST: LOS ANGELES RAMS
This was the easiest pick, as the Rams could literally lock up the division by next week. This team almost resembles the team that had Warner, Faulk, Holt, and Bruce. They score at will and Todd Gurley could potentially be this season’s MVP. The defense also is 13th in total defense and 12th in scoring defense. The Rams are also 5th in turnover differential and are even 2-1 against teams with a winning record. The one team they lost to was the red hot Saints in New Orleans and it was very close. If this team can beat Kansas City and Chicago, then I believe only the Saints stand in their way. Hopefully the loss of Kupp won’t hurt their offense too much.
NFC WILD CARD: CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Panthers looked extremely vulnerable Thursday as they lost big. The Steelers carved them up to the tune of 52 points and 460 total yards. The Steelers defense got to Cam Newton 5 times and forced an INT. This team cruised on a solid Baltimore defense and handled the Bengals when they were still hot. This team has lost to Washington and Pittsburgh. They have their issues to work through but then the defense comes together and Christian McCaffrey gets rolling, they’re almost impossible to stop. Cam has looked like Cam again this season and this is a well rounded team that can score in a multitude of creative ways. They could show up in the playoffs and beat anybody, or they could show up and get rolled on. They’ll make the playoffs but the depth of their playoff appearance will depend on Newton.
NFC WILD CARD: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
This one was extremely tough. The Vikings currently hold the spot and have played well. Cousins has done very well and has been very efficient thus far with his solid receiving weapons. They’ve hung with some of the tougher teams but they’re remaining schedule is very tough. The rush needs to get going as they’re 28th in the league. The Packers and Falcons have easier schedules, but neither team has been able to beat anybody over .500 so the Vikings are definitely the best bet to grab up the last wildcard spot. Honestly the Cowboys are a close second because they have an easier schedule, and when They Boys’ offense is rolling they’re dangerous. However the Cowboys are too inconsistent, so the Vikings it is as they’re are better on a consistent basis.
My Super Bowl favorites are the Chiefs and the Bears. I know that Bears pick is a stretch but I just have a gut feeling. When this offense gets in rhythm, they’re deadly and Nagy has a lot of solid tricks up his sleeve. The defense have what it takes to beat the big boys and I believe they’ll surprise everyone. The Chiefs aren’t a huge surprise as they are just too damn good for the rest to stop them. The offense is a freight train and Mahommes is the real deal. I just don’t see even the best AFC teams stopping them from making the Super Bowl. I’m sorry but I won’t be picking a winner yet because I wanna keep you in suspense. Maybe in a week or two you’ll get my pick. I hope you liked my article. Please comment and let me know what you think. Keep reading for more articles and stories. Thank you for reading!!