As the NFL season rolls into the home stretch, we look to the future and egg our beloved teams on and hope they have the endurance to clinch that coveted playoff spot. I’ll be giving you my playoff predictions, what I think the outcomes of these tight races will be and who I think will fall, will rise, and who will reign supreme.
NFC Playoff Picture
Philadelphia Eagles 15-1
Carolina Panthers 12-4
Minnesota Vikings 12-4
Seattle Seahawks 11-5
New Orleans Saints 11-5
Los Angeles Rams 10-6
We start with the very tight NFC, which I foresee a lot of the teams rising and falling in the ranks during the last few week of the season.
Let’s start in the NFC East, with no one in sight to stop them, I think Philly will keep their one lose streak and keep that all-important home field advantage going into the divisional round. With the Bear, Seahawks, Rams, Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys left to play, I think it’s safe to say, they will lead the NFC with a 15-1 record at the end of the regular season.
Onto the NFC West, I expect Seattle to have a resurgence and overtake the Rams to win the division. That means that Los Angeles needs to fall in the standings and I think they will. The Seahawks have a weak schedule the rest of the way and will look to take advantage. Meanwhile, the Rams have a fairly tough schedule and will suffer as a result. I predict the Seahawks only remaining loss will come at the hands of the dominant Eagles.
However, I can see the Rams losing to the Saints, Seahawks, and Eagles putting their regular season record at 10-6.
Next, the NFC South, With a tough schedule and a very competitive division, I think New Orleans will fall…HARD! The Saints will go 3-3 in their last six games losing to the Panthers and the Falcons, twice. The Panthers will look to take advantage of a plummeting Saints team and a fairly simple schedule to take control of the division. With their final game in Atlanta, I expect the Panthers to end the season on a low note and takes a loss heading into the playoffs.
Finally, we turn to the uber-competitive NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings face a pretty tough late-season run. I said in my Minnesota Vikings Season Simulation article that I expected them to lose five of their last six games. However, when I wrote that article, I expected the Lions, Packers, and Bengals to have much better teams when those games come around. I predict they will go 4-2 in their last six games of the season and keep their spot at the top.
As for the Lions, with a difficult schedule on the horizon, I expect them to do the traditionally Lions thing and fall apart towards the end, missing the chance for a wildcard spot.
Let’s hope for fan’s sake, the race for those coveted six spots only grows tighter.
AFC Playoff Picture
Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
New England Patriots 13-3
Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6
Tennessee Titans 10-6
Baltimore Ravens 9-7
Now, onto the, not as tight, AFC, where things will seem to stay the same as they are now, for the most part.
We start in the AFC North, I expect the Steelers will continue their dominance of the division and finish with a resounding 13-3 record. with a smooth road to the end of the regular season, I think the Steelers will suffer one dent in their record when they host the Patriots.
Not far behind, however, are the Baltimore Ravens, who will be happy just to clinch a playoff berth. Finishing the season 9-7, we will see them winning four in their last six.
Now to the AFC East, the Patriots will secure the top spot in the East once again. I predict them ending the regular season 13-3, falling to their division rival, Dolphins in Miami. The Bills, now in seventh place in the conference will miss that coveted spot ending the season at 7-9.
Moving on to the AFC West, where it seems things will continue as normal and the Kansas City Chiefs will become kings of the west in 2017. With upcoming games against the Bills, Jets, Raiders, Chargers, Dolphins, Broncos, all teams at.500 or lower. I foresee the Chiefs winning them all and ending the regular season on a roll.
Finally, we move to the AFC South, where the Jaguars and the Titans seem to be neck and neck for the moment. I expect this will continue and at the end of the regular season, they’ll finish with the same record, 10-6.
In my predictions, however, I have the Jags winning the division and the Titans in the wildcard slot. As of November, the Jaguars have a +92 point differential and the Titans carry a -31 differential. This will be roughly the same scenario at the end of the regular season and the Jaguars will clinch the division.
I know this tight paced action will continue throughout the entire league, for the rest of the season and we’ll see one hell of a finish.