Jun. 21, 2020
Way-Too-Early NFL Playoff Predictions
Earlier this offseason, the NFL decided to allow a seventh team in the NFL Playoffs. Because seven teams will now make the playoffs in each conference, there's will only be one first-round bye per conference. Using my final record predictions from earlier in the month, I decided to predict the NFL Playoffs. Because the season is so uncertain it's all subject to change, but from where we stand right now, this is how I see the NFL Playoffs playing out.
1. Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
3. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
4. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
5. Pittsburg Steelers ( 10-6)
6. Tennesse Titans (9-7)
7. New England Patriots (8-8)
1. New Orleans Saints (14-2)
2. San Franciso 49ers (13-3)
3. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
4. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
6. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
Wild Card Round
5. Steelers vs. 4. Colts
The Steelers will win this one by way of the defense. The elite secondary and the strong pass rush for the Steelers will force Philip Rivers into some major mistakes. Ultimately, the Steelers will pull through in a close one.
6. Titans vs. 3. Bills
The Titans run game against the Bills run defense will be fun to watch. The Titans will end up winning off a couple big throws from Ryan Tannehill. I'm not sure I trust Josh Allen in the big game just yet.
7. Patriots vs. 2. Chiefs
This isn't quite the same as the 2019 AFC Championship. In that battle, we saw Brady vs. Mahomes. Without Brady involved, the Chiefs should win this one pretty handily. The Patriots' defense will offer some resistance, but it won't be enough.
5. Buccaneers vs. 4. Packers
A Tom Brady led team will play its best football when it matters most. I firmly expect the playoff magic to continue, even if it's in Tampa Bay. The Packers got a rough wild card matchup.
6. Seahawks vs. 3. Cowboys
The Cowboys have had one of the deepest rosters in the NFC the past few seasons. With so little roster holes, it's a surprise they don't have more playoff success to show for it. Meanwhile, the Seahawks go how far Russell Wilson takes them. A weak offensive line and questionable defensive talent doesn't mean anything if you have Wilson at the helm. Which means I'm going against my gut by picking the Cowboys to win this one. It's finally time the Cowboys make a move in the playoffs. The roster is just flat out better than the Seahawks.
7. Eagles vs. 2. 49ers
Just like last season, the Eagles will fall in the Wild Card Round. The 49ers defense will take advantage of the lack of weapons Carson Wentz has to work with. It won't be a blowout, but the 49ers will take care of the Eagles in convincing fashion.
5. Steelers vs. 2. Chiefs
Considering the Steelers have one of the best defenses in the league, this would be a fun chess match. Andy Reid will need an elite gameplan against this defense. I think he'll do just that and the Chiefs win this one. It's a closer game than some might think, but the Steelers can't hang with the Chiefs on offense.
6. Titans vs. 1. Ravens
A revenge game for the Ravens. Last year's matchup ended in a shocking victory for the Titans. This year, everything will change. The Ravens are stacked. You won't find any significant weakness at any spot on the roster. The Ravens will take this one in a statement victory.
3. Cowboys vs. 2. 49ers
The playoff run ends here for the Cowboys. The 49ers are on a mission after losing the Super Bowl a year ago. The talent across the board is pretty equal, but the difference will be made through coaching. I'm a big Kyle Shanahan fan. The 49ers will head to the NFC Championship Game.
5. Buccaneers vs. 1. Saints
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees for a chance at an NFC Championship Game? Sign me up. The Saints' recent playoff struggles will continue when the Buccaneers pull off a shocking upset. I've seen cracks in the Drew Brees armor at the end of the past two seasons. Some might think Brady has fallen off, but I would argue Brees is in more danger of falling off. A Brady to Gronk pass will seal the win.
2. Chiefs vs. 1. Ravens
To pick between the Chiefs and Ravens is extremely tough. I think the Ravens have more talent as a whole, but the Chiefs have the best quarterback in the NFL. If there are fans allowed in the stadium having the game in Baltimore will play a huge factor. The run game will win the Ravens this football game. The best way to stop Patrick Mahomes is to keep him off the field. The Ravens are built perfectly for that style of football.
5. Buccaneers vs. 2. 49ers
The Tom Brady led Cinderella run ends here. The 49ers are too talented. Shanahan will exploit this young Buccaneers secondary. Sometimes it just comes down to talent. Even with the Brady magic, the 49ers flat out have a more dynamic and talented roster. The 49ers, once again, will win the NFC Championship.
2. 49ers vs. 1. Ravens
A rematch of Super Bowl 47 would be a treat to football fans everywhere. The 49ers would be ecstatic at the chance to not only avenge the Super Bowl 47 loss but also the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs last season. Just like last year's Super Bowl, the game will come down to one or two plays by each quarterback. Unfortunately for the 49ers, I think Lamar Jackson makes those plays while Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't. After a strong free agency and a strong draft, the Ravens seems destined for a Super Bowl run. For the 49ers, heartbreak will reign once again as they lose their second Super Bowl in a row.
Who's your way-too-early pick for Super Bowl Champion?