The NFL world is now less that 48 hours to the launch of the first full Sunday of the regular season. I have posted all of my divisional predictions for the regular season, and now it’s time to make my playoff and Super Bowl predictions. There are some very interesting combinations available to play in the big game this season, and this has taken me a while this season to determine which teams I believe will be playing for the NFL Championship in February.
Out of the AFC East, I have the New England Patriots winning yet another division title. Questions remain regarding if they have improved their defense enough, but this team is loaded with offensive weapons and no team in their division will seriously challenge them this season. I do like the Buffalo Bills moving into the playoffs as well out the the AFC East this year. The late season collapse by the Bills last year was brought on by injury issues and they have really bolstered that defense this season.
In the AFC North, despite some injuries in the offseason and a defense which is aging a bit, Baltimore has put a new no-huddle offense in place and has the offensive weapons they need to capture the division title. The Steelers have offensive line issues along with a team which is getting long in the tooth on defense. The Bengals are not quite ready to make that next big push after reaching the playoffs last year and the Browns are……..well, the Browns.
The AFC South should see the Houston Texans defend their first ever divisional title. Indianapolis and Jacksonville are not prepared for post season competition but I do believe the Colts will be better than most people think. I do have the Titans moving on to the playoffs as the AFC’s second wildcard team.
The AFC West could be one of the most confounding divisions in football this season, each team is surrounded by a myriad of questions. Can QB Peyton Manning stay healthy for the Broncos? Is the window closing for the San Diego Chargers and postseason play? How good can the Kansas City Chiefs be under head coach Romeo Crennel? Did the Raiders give up to much for QB Carson Palmer and can that young defensive secondary come together during the regular season? I have the Chiefs moving on to the playoffs. The trendy pick is the Denver Broncos and what they did under Tim Tebow last year, but too many questions remain about Manning and the team faces a brutal schedule.
The NFC East is going to be a dogfight once again this season and determining a divisional champion will likely come down to the final few weeks of the regular season once again. I have a feeling that this prediction will come back to bite me at the end of the regular season, but I am going with the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East this season.
The NFC North features three teams which are all in contention for a playoff berth this season. The Detroit Lions finally reached the playoffs last season, but they have had a very chaotic offseason and there is no stability with their running game. Green Bay won’t post another 15-1 season but should do enough to maintain their division title as the Chicago Bears finally reach post season play.
The NFC South features some up and coming teams but given the coaching changes with the Atlanta Falcons, I believe they will return to the playoffs once again this season as the division champion. I don’t like all of the distractions which have surrounded the Saints this offseason and there is too much instability at the coaching position. I will not be shocked if the Panthers don’t reach the playoffs as the last NFC team in the wildcard race, but they just might not have enough pieces in place….yet.
The San Francisco 49ers should defend their NFC West title this season, but the Seattle Seahawks are going to make some noise. Seattle could go 6-2 at home and 5-1 in the division, a recipe for how to reach the playoffs.
AFC Playoff Seedings-
1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New England Patriots
3. Houston Texans
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Tennessee Titans
NFC Playoff Seedings-
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Chicago Bears
6. Seattle Seahawks
AFC Wildcard Weekend-
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
NFC Wildcard Weekend-
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
AFC Divisional Round Weekend-
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
NFC Division Round Weekend-
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
AFC/NFC Championship Games-
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
2012/2013 NFL Super Bowl:
Green Bay Packers 34 Baltimore Ravens 31