NFL Predictions, The Home Stretch

We have just four weeks left in the regular season, and the playoffs are starting to take shape. It's time to revisit my pre-season predictions and make my revised predictions for the final four weeks of the season. Let's see if I can nail all 12 playoff teams this time.

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

AFC Playoffs:
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

Where it went wrong: That Super Bowl prediction is never going to happen. I think we all realize it. But that's hardly the biggest faux paux here. First off, the Cardinals' season went in the toilet. Rather than being the No. 1 seed in the NFC, they won't even make the playoff field. The Green Bay Packers are also not likely to make the playoffs. IN the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals have come off the rails. But I still think many of those teams will make the final playoff field. I also under estimated the Raiders and Lions.

Final Predictions:
NFC Playoffs:
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Detroit Lions
5. New York Giants
6. Washington Redskins

Wild Card Round: Lions Over Giants; Falcons Over Redskins
Divisional Round: Cowboys Over Lions; Seahawks Over Falcons
NFC Championship: Seahawks Over Cowboys

About: I think three come out of the NFC East. The Packers and Vikings are looming, as are the Buccaneers. But I think the Bucs have a tough schedule to end the season, and they just miss along with the Vikings and Packers. That week 17 match up between the Packers and Lions in Detroit will tell us a lot about the playoffs. In the playoffs, I like this Dallas team, but I think they fall just short to the more experienced Seahawks.

AFC Playoffs:
1. New England Patriots
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Oakland Raiders
6. Denver Broncos

Wild Card Round: Steelers Over Broncos; Raiders Over Colts
Divisional Round: Patriots Over Raiders; Steelers Over Chiefs
AFC Championship: Steelers Over Patriots

Super Bowl: Steelers Over Seahawks

About: So, I'm not abandoning my Super Bowl pick entirely. I still like the Steelers' offense, and their defense is rounding into shape. That makes them a super dangerous team, barring injury. The Colts get the automatic bid from the AFC South. The Texans are fading, and the Titans have too tough a closing schedule. I think the Colts make it to 8-8, maybe 9-7, and squeak in. But I think the Raiders take them out in the first round. That is quite a victory for Oakland to go from doormat of the AFC to second round of the playoffs this season. But I think they do it. You can't count out the Patriots, but I think the loss of Gronk makes them mortal.


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