Breaking Down the Playoff Picture for each Division

Let’s be honest, the fun part of the season is Thanksgiving week onward, by this point we have at least a semblance of what these teams are, and now it’s time to get some playoff talk going on. Let’s break down really not only the playoff picture, but the future that rests for all of these teams.


The records represented are roughly estimated, the math will not be perfect but that’s ok, again it’s just an estimate.


AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills 10-6

The Bills are a strong team, probably not ready to make a deep playoff run but Josh Allen could probably lead this team to a strong divisional round push, until they end up getting beaten by a team much better than them.

  • Miami Dolphins 9-7

The Dolphins look pretty directionless, but luckily they have had some strong play from both sides of the ball. Tua Tagovailoa looks like a very good rookie quarterback, and the Dolphins have found good talent in players like Myles Gaskin, Preston Williams, and Mike Gesicki.

  • New England Patriots 7-9

I think there is a decent argument today that the Pats don’t reach 7 wins, but I have faith in Bill Belichick’s ability to lead the Patriots to a strong end to the season. Although I will say that the Pats nearly losing to the Jets is not a pleasant development.

  • New York Jets 1-15

OK, I don’t think the people yapping about the Jets going 0-16 really know exactly how hard it is to lose all 16 games in a season, there’s a reason that there have only been two NFL teams to do it. I’d give the Jets a chance against a team like the Browns or the Patriots, but I don’t believe in them not winning any games


AFC North

  • Pittsburgh Steelers 14-2

In the same way that it is hard to lose 16 straight games, it is equally difficult to win 16 straight games and win the Super bowl, the only team to do it being the ‘72 Dolphins. The Steelers are a dominant team that will likely be competing in the conference championship, but they will not be ready to knock off the Chiefs just yet and make the big game. The Steelers need another year but they are very very close.

  • Cleveland Browns 11-5

The Browns are finally going to do it! They are not only going to have a winning record, but they are going to make the playoffs, that is incredible. Kevin Stefanski should definitely get some rightful praise, and the Browns have room to improve. They should not be considered a Super Bowl team by any stretch, but I think their ceiling has been marginally raised.

  • Baltimore Ravens 10-6

The Ravens are getting some generous praise, I don’t think they deserve 10 games. The Ravens have not only recessed in play, but they have shown that they cannot beat any good teams. Whether it is an issue with Lamar or a coaching issue, there is a problem with this organization that will keep them from making the Super Bowl.

  • Cincinnati Bengals 6-9-1

There is of course no chance that the Bengals make the Super Bowl, but the Bengals got an excellent player in rookie quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. The Bengals could be staring down a 9 win season or better in 2021 with Burrow, but nothing is likely to happen this year.


AFC South

  • Tennessee Titans 11-5

The Titans have been very up and down this year, but their upside is just so damn good that I have no problems giving them 11 wins and thinking they can make a deep playoff run. While I am coming around on being ready to admit that Derrick Henry is carrying this offense, I still fully believe in Tannehill and I think he can lead this team far into the playoffs.

  • Indianapolis Colts 9-7

Phil Rivers is not a Super Bowl caliber quarterback at all, and the Colts should not be considered a dominant team in the running game. They cannot consistently perform and they have no running game to speak of. If the Colts upgraded at quarterback and running back, I would be willing to consider them for a playoff favorite.

  • Houston Texans 6-10

I expected the Texans would be hurt by the loss of DeAndre Hopkins, but I had no idea that it would be this bad. Watson has had a difficult time building a connection with Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks, and it has shown. The Texans need time to build a good team

  • Jacksonville Jaguars 3-13

Remember when we all thought the Jaguars were safe, and that they were not tanking for a quarterback in week 1? Yeah, that was cute. The Jaguars have a laundry list of problems that they need to address in the offseason, and they are a multi-year project.


AFC West

  • Kansas City Chiefs 14-2

The Chiefs are the best team in the NFL, they are my lock to win the Super Bowl, and I trust Patrick Mahomes in any spot. The Chiefs are poised to be the next dominant dynasty in the NFL, now that the Pats are a non-factor.

  • Las Vegas Raiders 8-8

I actually think the Raiders ceiling could be 10 to 12 wins, but they are not going to get there because of a man named Derek Carr. Let me say while I do not see Carr as the future, I do not see him as a bad quarterback in the least, I feel like he could be a slightly below average to average starter, and a very high level backup. The problem is that Carr is a progress starter, he is not going to help your team reach a Super Bowl, and he needs gobs of surrounding talent. The Raiders are close, but I would like to see an improved defense, and competition for Carr.

  • Los Angeles Chargers 6-10

The Chargers quarterback position is no longer in doubt, their offense is humming and their defense isn’t the worst ever, it is at least above average. So why are the Chargers not winning games? Well uh, it’s um.. Well you see it’s because.. Yeah ok it’s kind of a mystery. You can point to different areas with this team that are weak, but you can point to other teams with 12 wins that have weak areas, this is something teams need to be aware of and get past. The Chargers need new coaching, and some clutch ability from all positions.

  • Denver Broncos 4-12

The Broncos to me are the most disappointing team in the NFL this year. That is not to say that they cannot improve, but the Broncos could totally lose out this year and I would not be surprised one bit.


NFC East

  • New York Giants 6-10

The Giants may be boring, and terrible, and mistake prone, but hey they can still squeeze into the playoffs with 6 wins. All NFC East jokes aside, this is the best team in that division, to the disgust of everyone watching, but the ceiling of Daniel Jones, Saquon, and Sterling Shepard is pretty decently high, and I believe the Giants could have a strong finish and make a splash next year.

  • Philadelphia Eagles 5-10-1

The Eagles have no clutch ability whatsoever, and for whatever reason Carson Wentz has not been able to carry his team in the same way as years past. The Eagles would get murdered in the playoffs, and I believe it is time to reevaluate that talent at every position, starting at quarterback.

  • Washington Football Team 3-13

Washington is not a complete team, and I am not sold on their coaching, but their biggest problem is that they have three backup quarterbacks on their roster. Once again, Washington needs to blow up the roster and start over.

  • Dallas Cowboys 3-13

The Cowboys are not a bad team, but Dak is injured, Dalton is in and out, Zeke is underperforming, Coop and Gallup have been deemed useless, Jarwin is out, Frederick retired, Zack Martin is injured, Tyron Smith is injured, and La’el Collins is injured. That is all just offense. If you want to talk about unlucky, this is it right here.


NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers 13-3

The Packers may have a mediocre defense, they may have an injured running back core, and they may be lacking at WR, but Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks of all time. The Packers will get 13 wins and then lose in the Conference Championship, have a nice life.

  • Minnesota Vikings 8-8

The Vikings are a bit of a disappointment, but we would be flaming Cousins and the Vikings even more if they had kept playing like they had been in the beginning of the season. Cousins needs to be replaced at quarterback, and I am not excited for the end of the season for Minnesota.

  • Chicago Bears 6-10

We all called the Bears fluke, and I think it is likely that the Bears could lose out. The offense has never gotten themselves going, even in the 2018 year with the dominant defense. Let us all clasp our hands and pray that Mitch Trubisky is worth something, because if he isn’t then the Bears are in trouble in the most important position in professional sports.

  • Detroit Lions 4-12

The Lions have the talent to go 8-8 or better. Do you know why they are only winning 4 games? Because Matt Patricia is, in my book, the hands down worst quarterback in the NFL right now, and it isn’t even a contest. Get Patricia out of there and get Stafford some help to make the playoffs.


NFC South

  • New Orleans Saints 10-6

The Saints are on their final breath with Drew Brees, and as someone who has watched Taysom Hill play at BYU I am not 100% sold on the experience or the durability. I would not lock up the Saints for any success in the near future.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7

I have floated the Bucs out as a Super Bowl candidate in the recent past, but they just are not consistent enough for my liking. Maybe if they got Evans and Godwin to reach their potential I could believe, but they just are not there yet.

  • Atlanta Falcons 9-7

Why are the Falcons here? What are they doing with a winning record? Well you know what, i’m a Falcons fan, AND I BELIEVE IT DAMN IT. They have shown that they can NOT blow a game, and I am hungry to see more. This would require them to win out (not counting a loss to the Chiefs), and let’s be honest that is totally within their grasp. They have shown growth on all levels, and I believe that Matt Ryan can be a quarterback to inspire hope in that offense.

  • Carolina Panthers 7-9

I like what Matt Rhule has begun to build in Carolina, but CmC’s constant injury issues are very concerning. In addition, Teddy Bridgewater is not a team that is going to rally a team to the Super Bowl. He won’t kill them by any means, but I do not believe he will be the direct reason for their success.



NFC West

  • Seattle Seahawks 12-4

Out of all NFC teams, the Seahawks have the strongest case to make for a Super Bowl victory. Why? Their team is very consistent, and we have seen Russ do it before, I know that he can do it. Add that to Carroll’s amazing coaching, and the Seahawks are set.

  • Arizona Cardinals 10-6

The Cardinals had a somewhat slow start, but they are now establishing a dominant offensive game, however I am not trusting Kyler Murray in the playoffs until I see him do it. This is not because I believe he cannot do it, but I would really like to see him prove himself.

  • Los Angeles Rams 9-7

I cannot tell you how much I with the Rams were in another division, because their win total would be much better and I would love to see them in the playoffs. Goff is really starting to lead this team to success, and I like the look of their rotational running back system.

  • San Francisco 49ers 7-9

The 49ers have some of the worst luck in the world, and unfortunately add to the “Super Bowl Hangover” narrative. The thing that the 49ers have working for them is that Kyle Shanahan is one of the best coaches in NFL history, by all rights this team should be 4-12 or worse this year. The 49ers will have exciting years to come, I am not worried.


Seeding

AFC


  1. Kansas City Chiefs

  2. Pittsburgh Steelers

  3. Tennessee Titans

  4. Cleveland Browns

  5. Buffalo Bills

  6. Baltimore Ravens

  7. Miami Dolphins


NFC


  1. Green Bay Packers

  2. Seattle Seahawks

  3. New Orleans Saints

  4. Arizona Cardinals

  5. Los Angeles Rams

  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  7. New York Giants


Wild Card


AFC


Browns 6 - Bills 28

In classic Browns fashion, they will get poached in the Wild Card by the Bills and have to wait a whole year for another shot at greatness.


Titans 16 - Ravens 14

The Ravens will lose in the first round of the playoffs, I have not seen any evidence that Lamar can win a playoff game or any clutch game, and I see no reason to believe that he will now.


Steelers 38 - Dolphins 17

The Steelers will smack around the Dolphins who would not be in the playoffs at all if not for the grace of the 7th seed.


NFC


Cardinals 27 - Rams 24

Despite my earlier comments that I do not trust Kyler in the playoffs, I think the Cardinals are a much better team and therefore would get to the divisional round


Buccaneers 43 - Saints 20

The Brady postseason experience is about to kick in here, with the Bucs absolutely murdering the Saints in the Wild Card round. The Bucs move on, with high hopes that the Brady magic continues.


Seahawks 37 - Giants 6

No explanation necessary.


Divisional Round


AFC


Chiefs 46 - Bills 17

The Chiefs easily knock off the Bills and move on to dominate their next victim. Patrick Mahomes has a nearly flawless games and CEH shines in his first playoff game


Steelers 27 - Titans 24

This epic revenge game will end with another Stephen Gostkowski missed field goal, I am calling it.


NFC


Packers 34 - Cardinals 12

Not to say that the Cardinals will never have a chance in the playoffs, but I do not believe there is any chance that the Cardinals can knock off Aaron Rodgers, who has plenty of playoff experience.


Buccaneers 51 - Seahawks 27

After easily taking down the Giants, the Seahawks cruise over to meet Tom Brady, thinking they can pull away with the win, but ol’ playoff Tom is locked and ready to kick them out of the playoff picture.


Conference Round


AFC


Chiefs 38 - Steelers 36

The most exciting game of the playoffs will end in heartbreak for the Pittsburgh Steelers who will end up watching on the sidelines as Patrick Mahomes rallies the Chiefs to a fourth quarter victory to go to his second straight Super Bowl.


NFC


Buccaneers 20 - Packers 7

To contrast the excitement of Chiefs Steelers in the AFC, the NFC battle will be all Buccaneers defense, as the Packers lose yet another Conference Championship and honk about next year’s success


Super Bowl


Chiefs 38 - Buccaneers 21

The Bucs will not have a shred of hope against Patrick Mahomes at his peak, and Tom Brady will see his beloved team go down in smoke, along with the hopes and dreams of every Buccaneers fan that has had to endure being a laughingstock.



23 views2 comments

An Underage sports journal for students of the game

© 2020 by The Up Dawg

  • f2ea1ded4d037633f687ee389a571086-youtube
  • reddit-logo
  • discord-512
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Share Your Views on the Sports World