NFL Playoff Predictions

by Gabriel Ritter, age 13
NFL Playoff Predictions Gabriel likes Soccer, has a 105 lb dog, has aspirations to become investment banker, has a Tae Kwon Doe black belt, and has a scuba diving license.

“This year the Super Bowl was the most watched event on American television ever. The same thing happened last year and the year before that. On top of that, football is the most popular sport to bet on. This makes for an eager mass of football-lovers wishing for a crystal ball that would see into the 2016 NFL playoffs.”

This year the Super Bowl was the most watched event on American television ever. The same thing happened last year and the year before that. On top of that, football is the most popular sport to bet on. This makes for an eager mass of football-lovers wishing for a crystal ball that would see into the 2016 NFL playoffs. Fear not, dear gamblers, for I am hear to alleviate your worries with probably the best NFL playoff predictions you’re ever going to get.

 

Teams Making It

Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, only 12 will make it to the playoffs. 4 divisional champions from each league and 2 wild card teams who make it in too. The following are my predictions and a short blurb about why.

 

AFC EAST:

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

 

Divisional Champion: Patriots

The patriots have Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount and Malcolm Butler. Enough said.

Seed: 1

 

AFC NORTH:

Cincinnati Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Baltimore Ravens

 

Divisional Champion: Steelers

The Steelers have a good offense with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and they shouldn’t have a problem locking up a good seed.

Seed: 4

 

AFC SOUTH:

Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

 

Divisional Champion: Colts

The colts have Andrew Luck and now Frank Gore which should be enough to handle the rest of the teams in the AFC South.

Seed: 3

 

AFC WEST:

 

Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers

Oakland Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Divisional Champion: Broncos

The Broncos have repeatedly proven themselves to be a great team with Peyton Manning at QB, Demaryius Thomas at wide receiver and TJ Ward at safety. They should beat out everyone pretty easily.

Seed: 2

 

NFC EAST:

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

 

Divisional Champion: Cowboys

The Cowboys will have a way easier time making it to the playoffs this year than last year, because Chip Kelly ravaged the Eagles in this year’s draft and the Redskins and Giants won’t bother anyone.

Seed: 3

 

NFC NORTH:

Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

 

Divisional Champions: Packers

The Packers are an unbelievable team that, in my opinion, should have made it to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are great together and Clay Matthews ties it up on defense. All they have to do is keep Brandon Bostick on the bench and you have my 100% assurance that the Packers will make it to the playoffs.

Seed: 1

 

NFC SOUTH:

Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Divisional Champion: Saints

This may seem like an odd choice but Drew Brees on offense and now Stephone Anthony on defense (stopping big running and short passing plays from developing) will propel the Saints to something like a 9-7 record which should give them the road in. The odds of them making it to the Super Bowl are 25/1 so they should at least do semi-well in the playoffs.

Seed: 4

 

NFC WEST:
Seattle Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

 

Divisional Champion: Seahawks

6 words: Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch

Seed: 2

 

Next we go to the secondary champions, the ones who haven’t made it as a divisional champion, but are good seconds. Here are my predictions and a short blurb about why.

 

Wild Cards:

Wild card teams are teams that make it into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.  They are the two best teams that haven’t made it into the playoffs yet.  There are only two wild card teams from each league. The wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. Here are my predictions for the wild card teams and a short blurb about why.

 

AFC:

Baltimore Ravens

The ravens are really a good team that can even give the Patriots or the Seahawks a run for their money. Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett work really well together. The only problem is, the Ravens are really going to have to block for Forsett once they get into the red zone, because they traded everybody who knows how to catch a football (except Steve Smith) to the 49ers. This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows betting, given that the odds of the Raven’s winning the Super Bowl are 12/1 (If you bet $1 and they win, then you get $12)

Seed: 5

 

San Diego Chargers

The chargers may not look like much right now, but when the season starts, you will see Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates work together constantly. Keenan Allen should also be a good option for Rivers, and since last regular season he got 783 total yards on 77 catches he should be a good option on long throws.This is also what the betting market says, with the Chargers’ futures (the prediction that they will win/lose) of making it to the Super Bowl 20/1; so making it into the playoffs shouldn’t be too hard.

Seed: 6

 

NFC:

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are a pretty good team lead by Colin Kaepernick and having a new defensive lineman will really boost them. They are a good team and if they can make sure not to make too many stupid mistakes, then they should go far. Their odds of winning the Super Bowl are 45/1 and their odds of making it to the playoffs are 25/1, so the market is kinda skeptical for now, but if the 49ers play hard they should go far this season

Seed: 6

 

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have some good players and some bad players. Devin Hester and Roddy White are both examples of players who really get out there and work hard to get that extra yard. They are both assets to the Falcons. A player on the Falcons who I don’t like is Vic Beasley. He may be the best pass rusher in the draft, but he will be stopped easily by people like Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis. He might mature into a very good player, but he played for Clemson, and their defense isn’t pro-style so he’ll need to learn a lot. And by the time that he does, the Falcons’ season might be over. The odds agree with me. Vegas Insider, the website where I got all my betting odds from, says that the Falcons have 40/1 odds of winning the Super Bowl.

Seed: 5

 

Playoffs

The playoffs are the way for the NFL to determine which teams have the skill to beat out other teams in single game elimination. Here is a short blurb about each game.

 

Note: I am not doing gambling predictions until the AFC and NFC conference championships because of the multitude of factors

 

1st Round:

This is where the playoffs start. The top two teams in each league get a bye (automatic win) to the next round; here is a diagram of how the playoffs work.

 

The first game will be between the Seed 3 AFC team and the Seed 6 AFC team. The matchup is Colts vs Chargers.

 

Winner: Colts

The Colts have Andrew Luck who may actually have made it to the Super Bowl if not for Deflategate. In addition, the Colts now have Frank Gore at running back which should be more than enough to overwhelm Philip Rivers and the Chargers. My guess is 37-28, with the Colts pulling a last second field goal to broaden their lead.

 

The next game will be between the Seed 4 AFC and the Seed 5 AFC. My prediction is that it will be Steelers vs Ravens.

 

Winner: Ravens

The Steelers have a good team and have now drafted Bud Dupree, so they are good, but my feeling is that the Ravens will pull some kind of last-second running play, giving them a win. Predicted score: 42-38

 

After that comes the 3 Seed vs 6 Seed NFC game which will be Cowboys vs 49ers.

 

Winner: 49ers (barely)

This game will probably be the closest of any playoff in playoff #50, so hold on to your hats. At the end of regular time the score will be tied 35-35, in overtime, no one will score with both the 49ers and the Cowboys each making spectacular defensive plays to keep the other from scoring.  In double OT, though, the 49ers will have Carlos Hyde run up the middle for a touchdown from somewhere between the 10-20 yard line.

 

Finally in the first round comes the game between the NFL 4-5 Seed teams; in my prediction Saints vs Falcons.

 

Winner: Saints

This will be a good game to watch because the Falcons have no run defense and the Saints have no pass defense so Matt Ryan will either be getting sacked or throwing long, wildly inaccurate passes to a Saints defense that can’t intercept them. For the Saints offense, I can almost guarantee that 90+% of Drew Brees’ throws will be under 10 yards. Overall, just because Drew Brees is better than Matt Ryan, the Saints will win 28-24.

 

2nd Round:

Now it’s down to teams that can really handle themselves. The #1 Seed teams will play the worst surviving teams and the #2 Seed team will play the other surviving team in their league.

 

The opening match is between the Pats (Patriots) and Ravens (#1 AFC seed and worst surviving AFC team).

 

Winner: Pats

The Patriots simply outrank the Ravens in terms of the level they play on; there isn’t really a way for the Ravens to win no matter how well they play (save for Tom Brady getting injured).

 

The next game is between the Broncos and the Colts (2 Seed and 3 Seed).

 

Winner: Colts

The Colts will beat the Broncos by a very slim margin of three points in my prediction. The Colts are good enough to stop an aging Peyton Manning and CJ Anderson, and the Andrew Luck is good enough to evade the Broncos sacks. Predicted score 45-42

 

Next comes the NFC seed 1 (Packers) vs worst remaining team(49ers).

 

Winner: Packers

This is the same thing as the Pats-Ravens game, the 49ers are good, but the Packers are just better. Predicted Score: 35-20

 

Lastly in the second round comes the Seahawks-Saints game. Just like last year’s Seahawks-Panthers game, this just won’t go well for the Saints. An even bigger predicted blowout then the Packers-49ers game, I don’t even want to predict the score.

 

Third Round:

The final four. These are the teams that can play hard, and don’t have any major problems in any part of their team. I will now go back to talking about the betting odds.

 

First Patriots vs Colts. Just like last year. Except this time, the refs are gonna be looking pretty hard at the quality of the balls.

 

Winner: Colts

 

The Colts now have Frank Gore, who is far better than LeGarrette Blount and Andrew Luck is at least in the same league to Tom Brady. On defense for the Colts we’re talking Greg Toler and Mike Adams. For the Pats we’re talking about Rob Ninkovich and Malcolm Butler.  It’s going to be a tough game for sure, and my guess is that the score will be 24-21, with a late fourth quarter field goal by the Colts. The betting odds reflect this as the Colts have the best chance at 7/2 and the Pats are behind them with 4/1 odds.

 

Next we go to the NFC championship where we have the Seahawks facing the Packers for the second year in a row. This game will be even more heavily bet on then the AFC championship.

 

Winner:Packers

 

Another very close game. This time though, the Packers shouldn’t make any stupid mistakes, so they should be fine. The gambling odds aren’t sure about this. The Seahawks lead the Packers with 16/5 odds and the Packers are close behind with 7/2 odds.

 

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the culmination of the NFL season. The two teams good enough to handle everybody in their division come head to head in one game. In my prediction the teams will be the Packers vs the Colts.

 

Winner: Packers

 

The Packers and the Colts are both great teams, but the Packers just have an edge with Eddie Lacy at running back, Aaron Rodgers at QB, Jordy Nelson at wide receiver, and Clay Matthews at linebacker. The Colts are going to put up one heck of a fight, though. Andrew Luck, Frank Gore, TY Hilton and D’Qwell Jackson will give the Packers some trouble. The deciding factor will be the Colts’ lack of ability to stop Eddie Lacy. The betting on this game will be very very close. The Packers lead the odds at #2 with 13/2 odds and the Colts are close behind with 12/1 odds.

 

Season Review:

Overall, this season will be pretty unpredictable. From my predictions, Ravens pull out over the Steelers to the 49ers victory over the Cowboys to even the Colts beating the Patriots with a field goal, the season is full of great plays and stops. The one thing this round of playoffs lacks however is major failures like in last year’s playoffs. I back this up with the reasoning that this year, teams will be more careful about mistakes and will be less willing to take risks, simply accepting the level they’re on, and playing their best. This will affect the betting as the bets will, for the most part, not change. Overall, Super Bowl 50 and the playoffs before should be pretty fun.

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