Each week SB Nation NFL team sites are asked a question. This week we were asked for NFL Playoff predictions. While I’m not much of a prognosticator, I’ll offer five quick things I think I think.
- I think how Week 17 played out was the worst case scenario for Jets fans who wanted to avoid seeing another Patriots Super Bowl trip.
I was rooting for as many strong teams in the AFC Playoff field as possible. The more strong teams there are, the better the chance somebody gets hot and knocks off New England.
Would I pick the Chargers or the Ravens to go into Foxborough and win? Don’t be silly. The Patriots would be big favorites over either team. I would give those teams a puncher’s chance, though. The Ravens have a big game QB and are one of the few franchises that historically has not been intimidated by a January atmosphere in New England. The Chargers have a franchise QB and a big time pass rush. There’s a path to victory.
I don’t think Buffalo or Tennessee would have much of a chance in a game at New England. We are an upset in one of the two Wild Card games from the Pats essentially having a free trip to the AFC Championship Game.
2. I think the Jaguars are less of a threat than a lot of people.
There are some things I love about this Jaguars team, namely the talent on defense. I don’t think this team is built to go to a Super Bowl, though.
One of my key tests for legitimate contenders is at the quarterback position. I ask myself a simple question.
You’re on the road. 7 minutes are left in the fourth quarter. Your team has the ball at its own 20. The other team is up 7 points. The crowd is going nuts. How confident are you that your quarterback can put together a TD drive to tie the game?
There aren’t many quarterbacks in the Playoffs or really the NFL I would have less confidence in than Blake Bortles.
3. I think there’s a good chance the eventual NFC Champion is playing on Wild Card weekend.
If you take that same test, the NFC teams playing this weekend probably all would be very confident in their quarterback’s ability to engineer a drive. That speaks to how odd the NFC Playoffs are this year.
If you rated the six quarterbacks heading into the postseason, far and away the two weakest are the two whose teams have byes.
4. If I’m wrong and an NFC team with a bye does go to the Super Bowl, I think it will be the Vikings.
I really love the talent on the Minnesota team, and I’m not totally certain Case Keenum will turn into a pumpkin. His level of play has been high.
For the Eagles, Nick Foles inspires no faith in me. I would be floored if he could get that team to the Super Bowl.
5. I think the Steelers and the Patriots will have a rematch in the AFC Championship Game, and it will be a classic.
Even though the Patriots own the Steelers, this is not a vintage Pats defense. With Tom Brady, it still might be good enough to win a championship, but there is a path for the Steelers to win. We saw in December the difference between these teams is razor thin.