The NFL Playoffs are here, and their are many storylines to watch in this years postseason. Can anybody stop the Seahawks? Can anybody stop Tom Brady? Will the below-.500 Panthers actually make some noise? What is wrong with Peyton Manning? Will the Bengals finally get a playoff win? Will Aaron Rodgers and Le’Veon Bell be healthy and ready to go? Are the Cowboys going to collapse?
In my midseason playoff predictions, I was 10-2 in predicting who would make the playoffs (Sorry Seattle Seahawks, I never should have doubted you). Now comes the revised predictions after witnessing the entire NFL Season.
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Carolina Panthers
5. Arizona Cardinals
6. Detroit Lions
1. New England Patriots
2. Denver Broncos
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Baltimore Ravens
Wild Card Round
5 Arizona Cardinals vs. 4 Carolina Panthers
The Arizona Cardinals are still not sure who will be starting at Quarterback Saturday. Frankly, you can’t compete for a Super Bowl when you don’t have a good Quarterback, even if you are above average at every other position. The Cardinals started the season off 9-1, and mostly due to the problems at QB have dropped 4 of the last 6. The Panthers have completely turned things around, they started December with a 3-8-1 record and now have won 4 straight and are firing on all cylinders. Easy win for Carolina at home.
Panthers 27-Cardinals 13
6 Baltimore Ravens vs. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell may not play Saturday, which is a big problem for the Steelers. The Ravens got in with help from the Chargers, who choked their playoff berth away. They are a dangerous team, and can put up a fight against Pittsburgh, especially with the injury to Bell. Ben Roethlisberger steps up big time down the stretch at home to seal the victory.
Steelers 34-Ravens 27
5 Cincinnati Bengals vs. 4 Indianapolis Colts
A matchup between two teams that are inconsistent, but punched their playoff berths with time to spare. Both Quarterbacks, Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck, have caused some head scratching from the coaches and fans this season. Andy Dalton has a knack for not really showing up when the playoffs start, after taking his team to the playoffs in each of his first 4 seasons. Andrew Luck can’t seem to keep his turnovers at a minimum as of late, which is becoming a problem for the offense. Everyone gets a fresh start when the playoffs start, and trust Andrew Luck over Dalton when the season is on the line.
Colts 23- Bengals 14
6 Detriot Lions vs. 3. Dallas Cowboys
This matchup features the League’s best Offensive line against one of the League’s best run defenses. This means something has got to give. Even with the broken hand, Demarco Murray should be the X-factor in this game, and his ability to get past the Defensive line will be something to watch. The Lions will not be able to keep up with the Cowboys in this one.
Cowboys 27- Lions 13
1 Seattle Seahawks vs. 4 Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are going to be a tough out in this years playoffs. They have put all of the pieces of their team together at the right time. In the last 3 matchups with the Seahawks, the Panthers have lost by a combined 13 points, which is not bad at all considering the Hawks have been Super Bowl Contenders each of the last three years. But going to Seattle and beating the Seahawks is something this team cannot do this year. They proved everybody wrong who said they shouldn’t be in by beating the Cardinals in the Wild Card Round, but the road ends here.
Seahawks 17- Panthers 13
2 Green Bay Packers vs. 3 Dallas Cowboys
In one of the more exciting games in this years playoffs, we find out just who these Cowboys are, going on the road against the Packers. There is so much to watch for in this game, especially on how each team performs offensively. Tony Romo vs. Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy vs. Demarco Murray, Randall Cobb/Jordy Nelson vs. Dez Bryant. I hate to say it, but the Cowboys lose a heartbreaker in Lameau. I just can’t see it any other way.
Packers 28- Cowboys 27
1 New England Patriots vs. 4 Indianapolis Colts
A rematch of last years Divisional playoff game but this time it features two teams going in completely different directions. The Patriots are the best team in the AFC by miles, while the Colts have declined down the stretch of the season. The Colts come nowhere close to sniffing victory in this one.
Patriots 37- Colts 17
2 Denver Broncos vs. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers
By this game Le’Veon Bell will be back and ready to play. The Steelers signed Ben Tate as insurance, and he may get the start in the Wild Card game but Bell will be hopefully be healthy for this showdown against Denver. Peyton Manning has been struggling in the last 5 or 6 games, and this is the first time we have started to see age affect him. The Steelers have been on the up and up, and I think that it is their time to make a run.
Steelers 29- Broncos 24
1 Seattle Seahawks vs. 2 Green Bay Packers
In Week 1 the Packers got embarrassed by the Seahawks in Seattle, and that will not happen again. But the Seahawks are becoming unstoppable, and the electric atmosphere at CenturyLink field will work in the Seahawks favor yet again. A good game that the Seahawks take control of in the 4th Quarter.
Seahawks 24- Packers 13
1 New England Patriots vs. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Another showdown between Big Ben and Tommy Brady. The one advantage I can see the Steelers having over the Pats is Le’Veon Bell, because the Patriots don’t have an established running back. The Patriots will take down the Steelers and advance to the Super Bowl.
Patriots 27- Steelers 20
1 New England Patriots vs. 1 Seattle Seahawks
Most people have picked this Super Bowl matchup, and it is hard to argue against because these are the two clear cut teams in the NFL that are separating themselves from the other playoff teams in their Conferences. There has been endless debate on how would win this game, and it is lined up to be an absolutely fantastic Super Bowl. The Patriots defense steps up big time to cause problems for Russell Wilson and make this a Super Bowl that is much more tough for the Seahawks. A late Seattle touchdown leaves the Patriots with just over a minute, with a touchdown needed to tie. Tom Brady marches down the field against the NFL’s toughest defense, and sends the game into Overtime. Russell Wilson wins the game in Overtime and solidifies his status as an elite NFL Quarterback, joining Peyton, Rodgers, and Brady himself. The Seattle Seahawks are the 2015 Super Bowl winners and Back-to-Back Champions.
Seahawks 43- Patriots 37 (OT)
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