NFL playoff selections, predictions for AFC, NFC and Super Bowl 54


We can only hope that our predictions for the NFL playoffs in 2020, throughout Super Bowl 54, will be better than our preseason selections. The team we plan to win failed to reach the postseason, but many of the other teams we liked when they entered the season are alive and in the NFL playoff group.

One of the teams we predicted to reach the Super Bowl this season, Kansas City, is sitting with a first-round goodbye in the AFC group. The Chiefs, however, have the second best odds of winning the Super Bowl behind the Ravens.

The NFC is even more a messy and loaded mess, which makes predictions for that side of the support more challenging. The 49ers and the Saints, two of the first three seeds, enter the playoffs with the same odds of winning the Super Bowl. And the Packers and the Seahawks are not far behind.

Taking into account what we have learned about the 12 NFL playoff teams over the course of the season, and considering how everyone encounters injuries, etc., as the postseason begins, here are the Sporting News predictions. for the NFL playoffs. NFL writers Vinnie Iyer, Bill Bender and Tadd Haislop consider:

AFC and NFC support | TV schedule | Wild Card Game Predictions

NFL playoff support

NFL playoff selections, 2020 predictions

Which team playing the wild card weekend is the biggest threat to win it all?

Yesterday: Saints. They put a dominant performance in week 17 to prove that they are a complete team. Drew Brees is sizzling and Alvin Kamara is hot again. Michael Thomas is unstoppable. The defense stays well against the race and has many game creators against the pass.

Spree: Saints. I'm in a bad mood to go with New England here, but New Orleans is playing better now. The Saints have been close for the past two years, and have lost only two regular season tour games in the last two seasons. New Orleans is equipped to make another deep postseason race.

Haislop: Patriots. With all due respect to the Saints, who may or may not be the best NFL team to enter the postseason, they have an absurdly difficult path to navigate in the NFC. New England also does, of course, since it fell to seed number 3 and will have to play in Kansas City (and maybe in Baltimore) if it comes out of the wild card round. But despite all the conversations about the Patriots' offensive fights this season, they still finished seventh in the NFL in points per game. We simply refuse to tell Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Which of the four week rest teams is the best for a nuisance?

Yesterday: Packers. They will play against the Saints, Seahawks or Eagles in the divisional round. The Saints are an extremely tough draw at Lambeau Field, with the same 13-3 record and a more prolific offense that won't be affected by the outdoors, as everyone still wants to think. The Seahawks have been an enemy of the Packers in the last playoffs. The Eagles were able to win a game Thursday night at Green Bay in Week 4. Aaron Rodgers will need to be Aaron Rodgers at his best to survive and advance against anyone.

Spree: Bosses. A popular choice here will be the Packers (probably against the Saints in a pitching game), so let's shake it. How many times have we seen this movie? The Patriots' actions are at their lowest point of all time, they don't look good on the offensive, and the controversy surrounds the team. Kansas City won six in a row to close the regular season. The Patriots are still good enough to escape the wild card round, and they will prove it when Bill Belichick surpasses Andy Reid on the big stage once again.

Haislop: Packers. This is about his possible confrontation with the Saints in the divisional round. Although that game would be played in Green Bay, New Orleans is capable of winning a defensive fight in adverse weather conditions. The Saints have also been the most consistent team this season, although their pass defense could be a problem against Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers

Who is your choice for the MVP of the playoffs?

Yesterday: Lamar Jackson, QB, Crows. The NFL regular season MVP has not won a Super Bowl in 20 years. The last to do so was Kurt Warner for the Rams in Super Bowl 34 after the 1999 season. Jackson will be well rested and ready to run at full speed for the best offense in the league. The Chiefs were the only team in the playoffs that more or less slowed him down and the offense decreased. Don't expect that to happen for the second time in Baltimore.

Spree: Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees will have to earn it. The Vikings, the Packers and the 49ers, the projected path that the Saints would need to navigate, all allow less than 20 points per game. Brees threw 16 touchdowns and no interception in the last five games of New Orleans. He will turn 41 on January 15. Is that the week I took New Orleans back to the Super Bowl?

Haislop: Lamar Jackson, QB, Crows. If Jackson simply does in the playoffs what he did in the regular season, or something similar, it will be an easy decision. Baltimore will face a valuable defensive challenge from Houston, Buffalo or Tennessee in the divisional round, but there is no reason to believe that any of those teams can stop the fugitive MVP of the regular season.

Which player under the radar will become a star in the playoffs?

Yesterday: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers. He was mistakenly labeled as a team keeper with an effective career offense and a strong comprehensive defense early in the season. But as they have had more trouble running and the defense has been injured by injuries, they have turned to become more explosive in the air game with Garoppolo locked in his two boys, rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel and the heavenly wing George Kittle . Jimmy G scored 102.0 this season and threw for 8.4 yards per attempt and now has a professional record of 21-5. Think that you still need a great first playoff race to convince more that you have already arrived as a top-notch quarterback.

Spree: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Crows. Earl Thomas occupies the headlines, but Humphrey ranks second in the team in tackles (65), and leads the team with 15 passes defended. In a postseason where the Ravens could see Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, someone has to make the big play in high school. We like Humphrey to be that guy.

Haislop: Za & # 39; Darius Smith, OLB, Packers. No one in Green Bay considers Smith a player off the radar, but the fact that he was rejected from the Pro Bowl indicates a lack of respect for one of the team's best defenders. Smith will have a chance to ruin the divisional playoff game, especially if the Packers attract the beaten Eagles or Seahawks.

Patrick Mahomes

What crime do you trust the most?

Yesterday: Bosses. When it comes to trusting, we go on the offensive with the most recent and promising playoff experience, and gain a slight advantage over the Saints. The Ravens, 49ers and Packers are new to this with their current offenses. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams, under Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy, work at a high level, with an additional creation pop by rookie Mecole Hardman.

Spree: Crows. Baltimore averaged 200 and 200 between the air and the ground, and that kind of balance with the creativity that Greg Roman has shown with Lamar Jackson is sometimes impossible to defend. The Ravens used Week 17 to begin recovering, and as long as Mark Ingram and Mark Andrews are complete, this unit will be ready.

Haislop: Crows. Simply put: if the Ravens click, their offense is the most complete and unstoppable force in the NFL. Even when they are not clicking, Lamar Jackson has shown that he can improvise enough to produce points.

What defense do you trust the most?

Yesterday: Crows. That's why they are strong Super Bowl favorites. Let's not let your offense attract all the attention. They are excellent against the race, have an underrated edge pass race, cover the linebacker well and are extremely deep and versatile in high school. They join the ball well in Wink Martindale's 3-4 scheme with great intelligence. These Ravens do not have the canopy of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed's days, but in this era, they are strong enough to support a champion.

Spree: 49ers. I love the defensive front that features Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner. The four have 6.5 or more catches, and the defensive line is a proven winner in the playoffs. Robert Saleh has this team playing at a high level, and that will be necessary against quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Haislop: Accounts. We would have gone with the No. 1 NFL scoring defense of the regular season instead of the No. 2 scoring defense if the Patriots had not been shattered by the humble Dolphins in Week 17. Buffalo is stingy and stacked in every levels defensively. If the Bills recover from the playoffs, it won't be because they gave up too many points.

Who is your choice to win the AFC?

Yesterday: Crows. Jackson is heading for an epic showdown with Mahomes in the projected AFC championship game. But defenses will also dictate much of what happens there. The Ravens, as discussed above, gain a little more confidence on that side of the ball. The Chiefs are almost as complete as the Ravens, but the game is in Baltimore, a great inclination in favor of the Ravens.

Spree: Crows. Notice that I chose the Patriots to beat the Chiefs. The confrontation between Jackson and Patrick Mahomes would be even better, but I have the feeling that Jackson will take Tom Brady's torch emphatically in the AFC championship game. John Harbaugh has divided his playoff meetings with New England, and all were in Foxboro. Baltimore will use that home advantage to return to the Super Bowl.

Haislop: Crows. They are simply too good. This does not mean that the Chiefs or Patriots are not worthy contenders, because both are capable of eliminating the No. 1 seed; all it would require is an effective game plan to contain Lamar Jackson. Good luck with that though.

Who is your choice to win the NFC?

Yesterday: 49ers. OK, this may seem boring to be chalk. But San Francisco has been the best team at the cable-to-cable conference with a loaded resume. There are almost no offensive problems and they will restore many of their strengths defensively with the bets raised. Also, no other team in the NFC has a Kittle. How can you see that Kittle is not playing in the Super Bowl right now? He is Kittle. He is so good. It is the best tight end in the league. Stop selling Kelce. Or Ertz is Kittle. And he is in the 49ers. And he is amazing. And we need him and Jimmy G to do their thing in Miami. And they will.

Spree: Saints. I like to win at home against the Vikings. If New Orleans can go on tour and beat Green Bay, then this team will feel invincible in the face of the rematch with San Francisco, who will probably have to face Seattle again. After heartbreaking defeats against the Vikings and the Rams in the last two seasons, the Saints will break into the Super Bowl after another thriller with the Niners.

Haislop: 49ers. The goodbye of the first round is crucial so that they are as healthy as possible against the Eagles, Seahawks or Vikings in the divisional round. However, San Francisco has proven to be the most complete team in the conference, even with little hand.

Super Bowl 54

Who wins Super Bowl 54?

Yesterday: Crows. The best game of the year was the sleepy and rainy game between the Ravens and the 49ers in Week 13. It was a perfect combination of offense and timely defense and got to the point, with the Ravens winning the battle of attrition, 20-17, in the end, with a field goal from Justin Tucker. The rematch of that game will be more like Super Bowl 47, when the Ravens survived the 49ers, 34-31. Let's call it Ravens 27, 49ers 24 in an instant classic, shall we? Put John Harbaugh in the Hall of Fame, okay?

Spree: Saints. If you are going to take New Orleans here, you could also take the final step. Sean Payton has learned from the harrowing losses of the past two seasons, and the offense continues to move forward along with the running game and Michael Thomas leading the way. The defense is good enough to win on the road. The Saints will win an exciting shooting with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. This happens a few weeks after LSU wins the national championship. That brings Major Mardi Gras in the swamp.

Haislop: 49ers. With an athletic defense to challenge Lamar Jackson and a diverse offensive to keep the Baltimore defense guessing, San Francisco is uniquely equipped to handle the Ravens in case these teams meet again in the Super Bowl. Such a confrontation would have an instant classic written everywhere.