With the playoffs upon us here are my playoff predictions. I hope you enjoy.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
It is entirely unclear whether Lesean McCoy will play or not during this Bills playoff run. At this point it seems unlikely and the Bills have very little on offense without him. However, Tyrod Taylor is a good QB and though he doesn’t have all-star weapons around him Kelvin Benjamin is good enough. The Jaguars defense is top 3 in the entire league and a nightmare to opposing teams. All that being said, I smell upset here. Blake Bortles has never performed well on a big stage. I just can’t believe in Bortles I have fallen into the trap to many times this season, in the defining games he disappoints. I believe the Bills will get a lead early, recover from a Jags touchdown and never look back. This Bills team knows how important this game is to the franchise, they are the wild card of the wild card teams and they shock the Jags in Jacksonville 23-21.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
I am very torn on the Titans. On one hand they come into the playoffs hot which is a huge factor I use in picking the playoffs. On the other they haven’t done well against good teams all year long. They have no real identity on offense, they want to be a running team but can’t be because of a constant need to feed washed up back Demarco Murray. I really didn’t need the Titans in the playoffs, now that they are though my biggest question is how does Mariota react? Do they come out pass heavy on a bad pass defense or do they pound the ground? The Titans could put up points because of this bad Chiefs offense. The flip side is that Jurell Casey is the only major player on the Titans defense. Meanwhile the Chiefs offense is incredibly hot right now, Albert Wilson has emerged as a great third target for Alex Smith. In week 17 without Smith Wilson should have cemented his spot as a guy Alex Smith can trust, putting up 147 yards against a good Denver secondary. The Chiefs have too much talent not to win this game. They start slow but recover and snag a 37-27 win over the Titans.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are the trendy young team to pick to win the Super Bowl. They have a special young team with an explosive offense and a great defense. Robert Woods has had a special season at wide out and rookie wide out Cooper Kupp has shone through as well. Todd Gurley and Jared Goff would split OPOY if it were up to me. All that being said, you don’t get anywhere picking the trendy team. There is just something about this Falcons team. It doesn’t show up in stats, or charts or through player evaluations. They just have such grit. They win the biggest games they are involved in. They have an offense that can explode at any moment as well. More importantly their defense is playing it’s best football going into the post season. The Falcons fly to the ball on defense with Desmond Trufant and defensive break out star Grady Jarrett. The playoffs are so dependent on experience and the Rams just have none of it, the Rams aren’t a bad team. I just think they need another year, next year they should be the favorite in the NFC. This year the Falcons offense shows up and beats them in a shootout. Falcons 38 Rams 35.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
The Panthers have a great defense, a fantastic young receiving back in Christian McCaffery and tons of playoff experience. On the other side of things though Cam Newton has played his worst football over the past two weeks. His turnover numbers this year are up there with 13 interceptions. The team has struggled running the ball this year as well which forces so much onto Newtons shoulders. In both of their games against Carolina this year New Orleans dominated the ground game. That doesn’t bode well for the Panthers, this game could get out of hand if Newton turns the ball over. I think the Saints are overall the better team and I think they easily win this game. I would be shocked if the Panthers won, I have lost all faith in them with the way Cam Newton is playing right now. 35-17 Saints.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
I can’t say much about this game. I don’t see any way the Bills win. Yes, they get past the Jaguars, but Tom Brady isn’t Blake Bortles. That may be the most obvious statement I have ever put in writing. That being said I think the Patriots rely heavily in their running game against Buffalo. Tom Brady historically struggles passing verse the Bills in the regular season, the playoffs are a different beast. The Bills keep it close through the first half, but the Patriots take off from there and rush for over 250 total yards. 35-17 Patriots.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
This game may be the highlight of the divisional round. When these teams met in the regular season it signified a passing of the torch from the Chiefs to the Steelers, for the second-best team in the AFC. In that game Kareem Hunt was hardly used, I would expect that to change in this game. I believe the Chiefs would use Hunt to hide a fragile defense. Assuming Antonio Brown plays in this game I would expect the Steelers passing game to wreak havoc on KC. Perhaps it’s falling into a trap but I’m falling back in love with this Chiefs team. I’m sending KC to Foxborough 37-31 Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
The Falcons are a better team than the Philadelphia Eagles at this point. If they get past the Rams, the Falcons will walk easily past the Eagles. Why? Because Nick Foles will get picked apart by the Falcons defense. This will be a weird game for the Falcons as the Eagles defense is still very good. Yet still, the Falcons will prevail in a weird scoring game. 19-10 Falcons.
New Orleans at Minnesota Vikings
I do not believe how disrespected this Vikings team is. They should be the favorite in the NFC. The Saints offense is incredibly impressive, the ground game does wonders but this Vikings team held the Rams to just 7 points. The most points I see this team giving up is 21, and I don’t think there is a chance of that happening. I trust Case Keenum I believe he is a great QB and great QB’s paired with excellent defenses win games. 27-17 Vikings.
Conference title game
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Here it is, the rematch everyone has been waiting for. The Chiefs shocked the football world when they went into Foxborough and put the hurt on a Patriots team in week one that was expected to go 16-0. A lot has changed since then, but the Chiefs have the best shot of knocking the Patriots off in the mall. The Patriots defense is better now though, the Chiefs defense is worse. People forget that was the only game of the year Eric Berry participated in for the Chiefs. While the Chiefs keep it close by far the Patriots are the best team in the AFC, they head to Minneapolis. 41-27 Patriots.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
The Falcons as stated earlier win the big games. That magical run ends in Minnesota though. This a rematch of a matchup that the Vikings offense struggled in earlier this year. That changes in this game. I can’t pick against Minnesota in their own stadium. They run over the Falcons. 37-13 Vikings.
Super Bowl 52 Minneapolis Minnesota
New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
It isn’t often that a team plays a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Throwing that aside this is the most appealing Super Bowl matchup to me and the most interesting. The Vikings high pressure defense against a lack luster Patriots offensive line. Bill Belichick Scheming against Case Keenum, how would Keenum react? As far as defense goes the Vikings have the obvious advantage, on the offensive side the Patriots have the advantage. You always take the Patriots, I know when I doubt Tom Brady he will prove me wrong. That being said, I’m taking the Vikings in a low scoring game that comes down to the fourth quarter. 24-20 Vikings.
Super Bowl Champions