NFL Preview: Playoffs
In our previous editions of NFL Preview, I gave you my thoughts on how the regular season will play out in both the NFC and the AFC. I told you who I thought would win their respective divisions, as well as, who the wild card teams would be.
In this edition, I will tell you how I think the playoffs will play out in each round. I will also give you my Super Bowl matchup, and who I think will win it all.
Without further ado, here we go:
Wild Card Round
6- New Orleans 28, 3- Green Bay 31- Putting the top two fantasy QBs head-to-head always proves to be a fun offensive shootout. I believe that Green Bay walks away with the win because their defense will be just nudge better than the Saints' defense.
5- San Francisco 24, Dallas 21- This matchup will back nostalgic memories of the classic playoff games between these two franchises from the '90s and '80s. In the end, the smothering 49er defense and strong running of Frank Gore will be the difference in this game.
6- Baltimore 20, 3- Houston 13- While I do believe that Houston is ready to take the next step, they unfortunately are forced to face the defending champs to start the postseason. Baltimore may have lost some key weapons, but you can never count out a team led by John Harbaugh. The Ravens are in the playoffs every single year for a reason.
5- Kansas City 10, 4- Cincinnati 27- The Bengals just look like a team on the brink of exploding on the rest of the league. The defense is devastating and the offense has a ton of young, explosive talent. If not for the fact that they play in the tough-as-nails AFC North, the Bengals would have a much higher seed in the playoffs.
3- Green Bay 20, 2- Seattle 24- The Packers head into Seattle looking to get revenge for last year's Monday Night Debacle with the replacement officials. However, when it is all said and done, the Seahawks will be the team heading to the conference championship game.
5- San Francisco 27, 1- Atlanta 24- In a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game, the 49ers will still come out on top and Atlanta's playoff woes will continue for at least one more year.
4- Cincinnati 28, 2- New England 17- The Bengals defense will harass Tom Brady into making crucial mistakes, and the offense will take full advantage of them.
6- Baltimore 24, 3- Denver 35- A rematch of the playoff classic of a year ago-- in the exact same round-- will go differently this year. The Broncos are far more loaded this year, and the Ravens will not be able to overcome their personnel losses against this team.
5- San Francisco 21, 2- Seattle 28- This as evenly matched a game as possible. These two will have split their games in the regular season leading up to this rubber match of a showdown. I believe that Seattle's grit and determination will outlast San Fran's in the end. The 12th Man that is the CenturyLink Field crowd will also be a huge factor in deciding the outcome.
4- Cincinnati 21, 1- Denver 17- Cincinnati's young, talented offense will do enough to control the tempo of the game, the defense will put Peyton Manning on his back several times, and the Bengals will be heading to their first Super Bowl appearance since Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.
Super Bowl Prediction
Cincinnati 24, Seattle 20- I know what you're thinking, what is he smoking? Well I don't smoke. There are several factors that led me to coming to this conclusion for both the matchup and the result. Both teams are built with extremely strong defenses, and both have young, dynamic offenses-- starting with the QBs. These two teams play in the two toughest divisions in the NFL. Let's not forget that we haven't had a repeat matchup in the Super Bowl in consecutive years since Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII in the '90s, and no team has made it to consecutive Super Bowls since New England did it in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX a decade ago. That doesn't bode well for either the 49ers or the Ravens, but it does for the two young, dynamic teams that are ready to blow up (in a very good way) on the rest of the league. In the end, the fact that Andy Dalton not only has one more year of experience than Wilson and has been to the playoffs each year in the NFL, but I also think the Bengals are ready to give their championship-starving fans a Lombardi Trophy to celebrate.