The regular season has ended and so it is time for another edition of postseason predictions. Who’s taking home the Lombardi trophy?
Wild Card Round
Kansas City Chiefs over Houston Texans: Don’t look now, but the Chiefs are on a ten-game winning streak. Their numbers may not pop out at anyone, but Alex Smith and his team are doing just enough to keep winning games. Against a Texans team that only has DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver and no one in the backfield, I don’t see how they will lose unless J.J. Watt plays all 22 positions, something he is capable of.
Cincinnati Bengals over Pittsburgh Steelers: A lot of questions surround this game. Will DeAngelo Williams be able to return for the Steelers? Will Andy Dalton be able to return for the Bengals? Only in the case that Williams returns and Dalton does not do I see the Steelers pulling off the road win. As good as Ben Roethlisberger has been this season, he has struggled against his division rival. The Steelers offense is explosive and stacked with playmakers, but their defense leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, the Bengals have been good on both sides of the ball. Home-field advantage is pretty useful too. Bengals win in a close one.
Washington Redskins over Green Bay Packers: The Packers have not looked like a playoff team in a long time while the Redskins are absolutely rolling at the right time. Kirk Cousins has played great this year and against the Packers defense, I expect much of the same. Aaron Rodgers better get his head straight and find out how to make the best use of his limited resources if he wants to have a chance to win this one.
Seattle Seahawks over Minnesota Vikings: The best player in football for the past month and a half is Russell Wilson. For a long time, people were wondering whether Seattle would be a playoff team. I guess we never had a right to question them. The Vikings are tough, but they are beatable. I think a team that has as much talent as the Seahawks should have no problem shutting them down.
New England Patriots over Cincinnati Bengals: The Patriots struggled to finish the season, but they will likely have all of their playmakers back for this one. Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Tom Brady are too much to handle. Few people may know this, but the Patriots actually have a top-ten defense this year. That’s pretty damn good. I think they will get through this one.
Kansas City Chiefs over Denver Broncos: Mile High hasn’t been as kind to the Broncos as it normally is lately. Will Brock Osweiler or Peyton Manning get the nod for this one? No one really knows. I’m a fan of momentum and I can tell you that the Chiefs have all the momentum in world right now. I think that will be enough for them to survive another week.
Arizona Cardinals over Washington Redskins: Despite a shellacking from the Seahawks yesterday, the Cardinals may be one of the best teams in football. Carson Palmer has been great, the running back situation has never been an issue, and their defense is amazing. The Redskins are playing better football right now but that will not be enough to pull off a massive upset on the road.
Seattle Seahawks over Carolina Panthers: The Panthers did pull off a big win in Seattle at the beginning of the season but this is a different Seahawks team they will be going against. Are the Panthers ready to shut down all the haters once and for all? This is the stage to do it, but I don’t think they are ready to face what Seattle truly has to offer. Seahawks survive in a close one.
New England Patriots over Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs don’t have enough to keep up with the Patriots. Alex Smith would have to play the game of his life to stand a chance.
Arizona Cardinals over Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are in the Cardinals head right now but I think their injuries are going to catch up to them in this game. A fully healthy Cardinals team is hard to slow down. Arizona wins in a shootout.
Super Bowl 50
Arizona Cardinals over New England Patriots: I almost never pick against the Patriots but I did say the Packers would beat them in the Super Bowl before the season began (also before Jordy Nelson tore his ACL). I’m going to bite the bullet and stick with that prediction. Cardinals win their first Super Bowl in franchise history as Carson Palmer takes home MVP honors.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Matt Weingarten