Jan. 05, 2017
Bold NFL Playoff Predictions
With the NFL playoffs just two weeks away, America is ready for the theatrics. An exciting regular season has been filled with some dynamic play makers doing what they do. This season, we learned Tom Brady is scary when he's angry. We learned anyone can play quarterback and running back behind one of the best offensive lines on the last 20 years (looking at you, Cowboys). We learned the NFC East is not to be trifled with, and that the AFC South is the biggest laughing stock of the league. That said, much is still unknown about what will happen in the ever ambiguous NFL playoffs. Here's what I think will happen when the time finally comes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will make a deep run
Currently one game up in the AFC North, the Steelers are in a good position to make the playoffs. The reason I say they will make a deep run is because they have definitely hit their stride as of recent. At one point in the season, they lost by 31 to the Eagles, and had an ugly four game losing streak. Since then, they have rattled off five wins in a row. The difference? The return of Le'veon Bell. Bell was the spark plug that the offense was lacking. He ran wild against the Bills for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns. The offense is firing on all cylinders, and will be a tough out for whoever plays them. Obviously, there are some outstanding obstacles in their way, but they could make an AFC Championship team.
The Dallas Cowboys will not make the Super Bowl
What?! They have two Pro Bowl play makers! Eat Zeke eat! In Dak we trust! The recent influx of Cowboys fans will not appreciate this, but it's likely not going to happen. The Cowboys have had a shockingly easy schedule this year, hence their outstanding record. Who did Jerry Jones pay off to get the 49ers, Bears, Browns, and Buccaneers on the Cowboys schedule? They even played the Packers when Rodgers was slumping. They do have a dynamic offense, credit where credit is due. The offensive line is amazing, they will do their best to help the team. Dak is too young to be a Super Bowl champion. It's just that simple. I haven't seen him in crunch time yet, but it will happen soon. What happens when the Cowboys have to score every drive to keep up with a high flying offense like the Falcons? Or what happens when an elite defense like Seattle's comes to town? Too many question marks from the young play makers on the Cowboys. If they keep this core of players, they have many Super Bowl rings on the way. This year will be a good learning experience, but no ring for the 'Boys this year.
Atlanta performs better than expected
The Dirty Birds are finally looking like a playoff team again. Expectations are still relatively low for the Falcons, however. A questionable defense has others skeptical of their abilities. I, however, am a firm believer in the "offense wins championships" mentality. And, boy, do the Falcons have an offense. Matt Ryan is an MVP candidate. Julio Jones has caught for an exorbitant amount of receiving yards this season (1,253 to be exact). The one-two punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is deadly. They can move the ball down the field in a hurry. They have scored over 40 points four times this season. It will take a spirited effort to shoot down the high flying Falcons.
The Oakland Raiders will win the Super Bowl
At last, people no longer laugh at the mention of the Oakland Raiders. Gone are the days of Jamarcus Russell and Terrelle Pryor playing quarterback. Now, the Raiders are good. Scary good. Super Bowl good. Derek Carr should be the MVP. Latavius Murray is as solid as they come at running back. Amari Cooper is in outstanding receiver. The defense is solid. All of the pieces have fallen into place for the Raiders. They also managed to win what is arguably the best conference in football. They are a great team with a young core. This season should be the first of many successful ones for Jack Del Rio and his boys. The biggest challenge I see in their way is the Steelers. The Raiders are better than every NFC team, but the red hot Steelers could be a challenge. If the two do happen to meet, I predict the Raiders would squeak out a slim victory, though the teams are evenly matched. Let's hope Derek Carr can fit a ring over that injured finger of his.