Off the Cuff NFL Playoff Predictions
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the NFL playoffs are already upon us. I’ll be completely honest with you—I didn’t watch enough football this season, so maybe that’s the reason it feels like it snuck up on me. True football fans were probably begging for the finalized playoff picture weeks ago! I feel ashamed. However, I did pay enough attention to the trends throughout the season to form an opinion and come up with a solid prediction of who I think will win this thing.
Before I get too far, I think it’s important for me to note that I DO NOT have a favorite NFL team. Growing up, I was a despicable little bandwagoner. I had a real problem. I liked the teams my favorite players played for: 49ers (Jerry Rice), Vikings (Randy Moss), Bengals (Chad Ochocinco). All of those teams just happened to be in the playoffs and doing well when I was a fan. I’m not proud of my bandwagoning past. Also, looking back I find it strange that I liked wide receivers, because when I played football with my neighborhood friends I was always the running back, and I loved it. Anyway, now you know that I’m not favoring a particular team. To add to that, I was mostly rooting for the Titans, but I was heartbroken when I saw my man Mariota go down with the broken fibula. I think he is a stand-up dude who sets a great example for his teammates, and for his community. With all of that aside, let’s talk some quick playoff match-ups.
If Derek Carr hadn’t gone down with the same injury as Mariota, I feel like the Raiders could have been something special in this year’s playoffs. Without him, I think they will get eliminated in their wildcard game. The Patriots will easily get past the Texans, putting them in the AFC championship game.
Although I think it will be a close game, I think the Dolphins will get a win against the Steelers. Earlier this year, Jay Ajayi ran for over 200 yards against them, so I have a feeling they will pick the right plays at the right time. I’m going to make a risky call by saying the Dolphins will also beat the Chiefs. They went on a pretty good win streak at the end of the season, and I think some of that momentum will carry them to the AFC Championship.
Finally, the Dolphins will get their asses handed to them against the Patriots in the AFC championship game. Sorry, Dad. I know you want to see your Dolphins get to the Super Bowl, especially with a win over the Patriots, but it just won’t happen (this year).
The Giants will squeak past the Packers, only to get crushed by the Cowboys, therefore sending “dem boys” to the NFC championship game. Simple as that.
The Seahawks are going to be lucky getting the win over the Lions. After a lucky win in the wildcard, the Seahawks will be overpowered by the dynamic run-and-pass offense of the Atlanta Falcons.
The Cowboys will finally face a challenge in the playoffs when they play the Falcons. Both of these teams have powerful offenses that can run or pass on any play and be successful. I think the camaraderie and character within the Dallas Cowboys will bring them together for a hard-fought win against the Falcons in the NFC Championship.
Super Bowl LI
The question at hand in this game is whether championship experience will trump execution. Both of these things are needed for the winning team, but we all know Tom Brady and his ability to blow right past teams in the playoffs. He’s done it several times, so the pressure is different for him - he's been there before. Will that kind of experience carry the Patriots past the Cowboys, or will the two rookie Cowboys come out with some grit and execute their plays like they have all season? They can also be tough to beat. The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of American football, so there will be plenty of nerves in both locker rooms regardless. However, I think the strong, fun-loving bond the Cowboys have developed all season will be the deciding factor in Super Bowl LI.
Do you think my predictions are crazy? If so, where do you think I’ve gone wrong? Shoot me an email to let me know what you think. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the win-or-go-home tradition of the NFL playoffs. That always makes it more fun.