NFL Playoffs To Be A Wild One

NFL Playoffs To Be A Wild One

Ben Grieco, Staff Writer

Ah, the NFL Playoffs – a wonderful time of year for most fans. Despite many Week 16 and Week 17 upsets (look at the Patriots and Dolphins), the upcoming Super Bowl looks to be promising, no matter what teams are representing the AFC and the NFC.


This year, you’re looking at strong AFC contenders, such as the Denver Broncos (with Peyton Manning now starting again), and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are a strong AFC Wildcard team. With the NFC, there aren’t that many hopeful options, other than the obvious Carolina Panthers, who went 15-1 on the season to claim the best regular season record in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals also could be contenders behind Carson Palmer, after going 13-3 on the season (who would have thought?).


For the first round of the AFC Playoffs, the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs are playing, while the Cincinnati Bengals face Pittsburgh. The Broncos and New England Patriots both have first round byes. My prediction for the first round is that Kansas City will be able to hold off the all-powerful J.J Watt of the Texans, to move onto the second round. The Steelers will also just be too powerful for the Bengals to handle, to also move on.


In the NFC’s first round, the Panthers and Cardinals both have first round byes. The Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers face each other, and the Minnesota Vikings will host the Seattle Seahawks. My prediction for the NFC is that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will just have too much of an offense for the Redskins’ little-to-no defense, to move on and face Carolina. Seattle will also defeat Minnesota, who, I think, are just lucky to make the playoffs.


Now, we move onto my predictions for the second round of the AFC. I predict the Broncos will face the Steelers. However, the despite the offensive style with Ben Roethlisberger, the offense with the dynamic passing of Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders, with some Ronnie Hillman, will just be too much for the Steelers’ defense. Then comes on the Chiefs and the Patriots – an unhealthy New England squad at that. With Julian Edelman, and basically no offensive line to protect Tom Brady, things could be shaken up quickly and fast (especially if they screw up the coin toss again). However, even with an injured O-Line, a good portion of the Chiefs’ defense is still a little banged up. Mike DeVito and Tamba Hali were both injured in Week 17, and things could change going into this game.


The second round of the NFC is a hard one. Despite Carolina’s 15-1 record, it can be inferred that they had a decently easy schedule this year. The only true fights that the Panthers had were the Colts in Week 8 (when they won in overtime), the Packers in Week 9 (who they defeated, not too easily), the Giants in Week 15 (where they only be merely a field goal), and the Falcons in Week 16 (their first and only loss this season). With my predictions, the Panthers will face the Seattle. Cam Newton has a lot of weapons on offense, and a very strong defense, allowing an average of 19.25 points per game, while putting up 28.9 points per game. However, Seattle is just as good. The Seahawks will move on to the NFC Championship. With Arizona and Green Bay playing, the Packers are also going to be too offensive for a strong Arizona team. Nothing will stop Aaron Rodgers from taking down Arizona to go onto the championship.

Finally, we get to the AFC Championships. While the Broncos and the Patriots are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds of the AFC, both teams have older, experienced quarterbacks. Both have been to the Super Bowl, and won. Both quarterbacks have strong weapons receiving – Manning with Sanders and Brady with Gronkowski. I predict this game to go one of two ways: either high scoring, or a super low scoring game. Both offenses are extremely strong, but so are both defenses. However, I predict, if Manning is still playing, that the Broncos will defeat the Patriots, and move onto the Super Bowl as the AFC Champions.


Then, we have the unique NFC Championship – between the prediction of the Seattle Seahawks against the Packers. Both teams, with again, very strong quarterbacks, and very strong defenses. Aaron Rodgers has Randall Cobb, while Wilson has Doug Baldwin. Again, this game could go one of two ways: high scoring, or low scoring. However, I believe the Panthers’ fantastic run will end, and the Seahawks will move on to the Super Bowl, behind a strong defense, and strong offense of passing.


Finally! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Super Bowl 50! With my predictions, the Denver Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks. This, in my opinion, would be one of the best Super Bowls ever played (or, at least since I’ve been watching them). My guess is that the Super Bowl will be very low scoring (even if Manning has a repeat and loses a touchdown quickly into the game). However, when the clock hits zero, and the fourth quarter ends, I believe Peyton Manning will be holding his second Lombardi Trophy, to show the Denver Broncos are the champions of Super Bowl 50.