NFL Predictions, the Quarter Pole


We're through four weeks of the NFL season, which means it's time for a quarterly check in to see how the division predictions are doing. Judging by the fact that the Eagles, a team I thought would vie for the No. 1 draft pick, are undefeated, I'm thinking I was off a little.

Pre-Season Predictions:
NFC Playoffs:
1. Arizona Cardinals
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Minnesota Vikings

Wild Card Round: Seahawks over Cowboys; Panthers over Vikings
Divisional Round: Cardinals over Seahawks; Packers over Panthers
NFC Championship: Packers over Cardinals

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. New England Patriots
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Denver Broncos

Wild Card Round: Patriots over Broncos; Bengals over Colts
Divisional Round: Patriots over Chiefs; Steelers over Bengals
AFC Championship: Steelers over Patriots

Super Bowl LI: Steelers over Packers

What went right: The Packers, Patriots, Steelers and Broncos all look like strong playoff choices. So do the Seahawks and Vikings.

What went wrong: I misjudged the Vikings, which are a more talented and resilient team than I thought. I was also off on the Eagles, but join the club. Who knew Carson Wentz was a superstar waiting to be unleashed. On the other end, the Colts never really rebounded and the Arizona Cardinals have fallen off a cliff. The Panthers, too, have struggled while the Atlanta Falcons are red hot.

Quarter Pole Predictions:
NFC Playoffs:
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Carolina Panthers
5. Green Bay Packers
6. New York Giants

Wild Card Round: Packers over Panthers; Eagles over Giants
Divisional Round: Packers over Vikings; Seahawks over Eagles
NFC Championship: Packers over Seahawks

Thoughts: I know the Falcons are 3-1 right now and ahead in that division, but September and early October are always their time. I see the Falcons fading, and I think the Panthers can do just enough to squeak into the playoffs. In the NFC East, I like the Eagles' defense, though I think they come back to the pack a bit. I think the Vikings can hold on to a top seed, but I don't think they make it past the Packers in the rubber match. I am still going Packers for the Super Bowl, but I don't feel as good about it. I also think the Cardinals will continue to struggle and won't make it back into the playoff picture.

AFC Playoffs:
1. New England Patriots
2. Denver Broncos
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Houston Texans
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Oakland Raiders

Wild Card Round: Steelers over Raiders; Ravens over Texans
Divisional Round: Steelers over Broncos, Patriots over Ravens
AFC Championship: Steelers over Patriots

Super Bowl: Steelers over Packers

Thoughts: I am keeping my Super Bowl pick the same, for now. A part of me wanted to make the Broncos a No. 1 seed, but the Gronk You Tour seems like it will be too stout. I have really shaken things up with this playoff field. I think the Chiefs, Bengals and Colts are all weaker than I'd imagined. I don't love the Texans, either, and I really root for Brock Osweiler to falter, but the Colts just look so bad, and the Jaguars and Titans are really flawed teams. The Texans get in by default (like 8-8 default). I still like the Bengals, but I think the Ravens have a decent team and, thanks to a hot start, could squeak in ahead. I also like the Raiders, and their ability to win on the road. The Chiefs, meanwhile, look like a team with holes.

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