Last week, we gave you our extensive thoughts on every team in the AFC, and the NFC. We also whittled 32 teams down to just 12, our picks for who will make the playoffs. Now, we are going to give our predictions for who we think will hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in February. Let’s get our NFL Playoff predictions started!
AFC Playoff Teams
1st Round Byes: Denver Broncos, New England Patriots
#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #6 Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers are back where they belong: hosting a playoff game, while the Chiefs are back in the playoff themselves hoping to put to rest the demons from their monumental collapse last year against the Colts. Unfortunately for Kansas City, they will likely be overmatched by Big Ben, Mike Tomlin, and company. Alex Smith simply doesn’t have enough weapons that aren’t Jamaal Charles to go with, and I think that despite losing Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers will still have a high octane offense on their side.
#4 Indianapolis Colts vs. #5 Baltimore Ravens
This game could become an instant classic. It could also serve as proverbial passing of the torch. The Ravens have been a powerhouse for years now, winning the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. Meanwhile, the Andrew Luck era is in full swing in Indianapolis, and he will be looking to add another playoff win to his resume after last year. This could be a defensive struggle, or a high paced shootout, but either way, I would count on the experience of Joe Flacco and Batimore to come out on top and take this one down.
#1 Denver Broncos over #5 Baltimore Ravens
Peyton will not allow a repeat of two seasons ago, when the Ravens shocked the Broncos in a virtually identical situation.
#2 New England Patriots over #3 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots will be too strong for the Steelers, assuming of course that Brady will have all of his options healthy and available, but we all know how big that assumption is.
#1 Denver Broncos over #2 New England Patriots
Surely this surprises no one. With the improvements that both teams made on the defensive side of the ball, and their capability to put up 40 in every game, it almost seems destined that there is an AFC Championship rematch. And just like last year, I like Peyton Manning and the Broncos to be a team on a mission, looking to rebound from one of the most embarrassing defeats in professional sports history. Broncos win again, making back-to-back Super Bowls.
NFC Playoff Teams
1st Round Byes: New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers
#3 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons
In a rematch of the 2013 NFC Championship game, I see the result being the same. The 49ers arguably have the most balanced team on both sides of the ball in the NFL, and I don’t see the Atlanta offense alone being enough to pull off the upset here. Combine the fact that this game will be in the Bay Area, and I can’t see San Francisco falling short.
#4 Philadelphia Eagles vs. #5 Seattle Seahawks
Will the Seahawks be able to make it out of the first round in their title defense? It’s no secret that the home field advantage was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, reason Seattle was able to make it to the Super Bowl. If our prediction that San Francisco wins the division is correct, then Seattle will have a long haul to get back there. However, we don’t think Philadelphia is the team that will knock them out. The Eagles have questions on defense, and as effective as the offense can be, they were also laughably anemic at times last year. The physicality of the Legion of Boom will be enough to get them one win, but the follow week will be a different story.
#1 New Orleans Saints over #5 Seattle Seahawks
The Saints get revenge for last year’s playoff defeat, as this time, the game is in their backyard.
#2 Green Bay Packers over #3 San Francisco 49ers
While I think the 49ers are overall a better team, and they have typically owned the Packers in recent matchups, I think the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field will prove to be too much for the west coast powerhouse to overcome.
#1 New Orleans Saints over #2 Green Bay Packers
The truth is, the NFC is so packed with talented teams that whoever ends up with home field advantage will likely have the pivotal tie breaking piece. If this game was in Green Bay, I would undoubtedly take the Packers. Since we are predicting this game will be in New Orleans, I have to pick Drew Brees and company to get back to the Super Bow, where they will be facing off against a familiar Quarterback.
SUPER BOWL XLIX
Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints
This would really be quite the poetic finish to the season. Peyton Manning, one of the greatest, and more importantly hard working QBs, of all time, motivated for revenge, not only for last year’s debacle, but also for the loss the Saints handed him four years ago when he was a member of the Colts. The Broncos surely learned alot about themselves this offseason, and I expect them to come back better than ever. I think the Broncos will complete the ultimate comeback, taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy, and adding to Peyton’s still growing legacy in this game.
Denver Wins Super Bowl XLIX 30-24!
Well that wraps up our season preview for the NFL! What do you think of our predictions for the big game? Who do you think will take home the title this year? Let us know in the comments!