The 2020 NFL playoffs are set to be wild and fun. Join me as I predict how the bracket will play out, and who will eventually be crowned the winner […]
The 2020 NFL playoffs are set to be wild and fun. Join me as I predict how the bracket will play out, and who will eventually be crowned the winner of Super Bowl LIV. To set the stage for the Divisional Round and further, I laid out my Wildcard Weekend picks here.
Using the winners from those games, I’ll fill in the rest of the bracket accordingly, setting up the Super Bowl LIV matchup and winner.
#3 New England Patriots at #2 Kansas City Chiefs
In last year’s playoffs, the Chiefs took the eventual Super Bowl champions to the absolute brink, losing 37-31 in overtime, in Foxborough. A year later, Patrick Mahommes has a regular season win over Brady under his belt, and Kansas City has home-field advantage in the matchup.
The Patriots aren’t as good as they were last year, but they’re still a tough out in the playoffs under any circumstances. They’re so used to hosting this divisional round game, coming off a bye every time they’ve been in the playoffs for the past decade. It will be interesting to see how they respond in a true underdog role.
The Chiefs, my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl, overcame some mid-season struggles in order to earn the AFC’s #2 seed. Mahommes outduels Brady in what could be considered a potential passing of the torch in the AFC.
Chiefs win 30-26
#5 Buffalo Bills at #1 Baltimore Ravens
On December 8, the Bills lost 24-17 to the Ravens, in a much closer game than many of us expected. With the defense already getting a chance at live game action against Lamar Jackson, could Buffalo fare better a second time around?
Maybe, but I don’t see Jackson and the Ravens falling short in the first round as the AFC’s top seed. Baltimore’s Week 17 win over a desperate Pittsburgh Steelers team, with Robert Griffin III under center, was a testament to how this team is bigger than just Lamar Jackson.
Getting to the second round of the playoffs would be huge for the Bills, but I wouldn’t bet on them to beat the Ravens.
Ravens win 27-17
#3 New Orleans Saints at #2 Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees for a shot at the NFC title game. This would be must-see NFL playoff TV.
The Packers finished the season on a five-game win streak, and earned the 2nd seed in the NFC with a strong 13-3 record. Green Bay’s three losses came against the Eagles, Chargers, and 49ers.
Throughout the NFL Power Rankings I penned over the season, I don’t think I ever had the Packers higher than #5. They’re a good team, with a 2-2 record against eventual playoff teams. But they feel just a step below the likes of the Saints, 49ers, and Seahawks, and that’s just in the NFC alone.
I would hope this is a great game, and with home-field advantage, I would expect the Packers to show out. But I think I pick the Saints in what amounts to basically a toss-up in Lambeau.
Saints win 26-23
#5 Seattle Seahawks at #1 San Francisco 49ers
The winner of the NFC West was destined to be one of the best teams in the NFC, and the San Francisco 49ers earned that right by fending off the Seahawks until the final seconds and final inches of their Week 17 meeting. Seattle took the first meeting between the two teams, winning 27-24 in overtime.
The third and decisive meeting between these two NFC powerhouses in the 2019-20 NFL season would be not only poetic, but necessary. It’s just a shame that in this case, it wouldn’t be in the NFC Championship.
In the regular season, the road team won each game by a single score. These two teams are about as even as you can get, which would make for some incredible playoff football.
It’s hard to really put one team over the other, but I’m going to go with Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll leading the Seattle Seahawks to the NFC Championship. While the Seahawks haven’t enjoyed as much playoff success as say, the Patriots, they’ve made the second-most deep playoff runs over the past decade. Experience really does make a difference, and this is not the same 49ers team that reached the Super Bowl in 2012 with Colin Kaepernick. While the Seahawks have also experienced a lot of roster turnover, they still have key players and coaches with playoff pedigree.
Seahawks win 26-25
AFC: #2 Kansas City Chiefs at #1 Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Mahommes and Lamar Jackson trading shots with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. This one would be fun.
There’s not much I can say about these things that hasn’t been said. Both quarterbacks are electrifying with the ability to score or gain huge yardage with their arms or legs at any give moment. Jackson is coming off a historic regular season that will earn him the NFL MVP award. Mahommes has also been playing at an other-worldly pace for the past two seasons.
With two seemingly unstoppable forces, I would bet on whoever has the ball last to win the game. The Chiefs won 33-28 when the two teams met in Week 3, but I would hardly count that against a Ravens team that only lost one other game all season.
The chalk will definitely say Ravens, and Baltimore will definitely be favored at home. But in yet another case where it would otherwise be a toss-up, I think the Chiefs coming so close last year in the playoffs against the Patriots will prove to be valuable experience.
Chiefs win 33-30
NFC: #5 Seattle Seahawks at #2 Green Bay Packers
This would be a rematch of the 2014-15 NFL playoffs, where Russell Wilson bounced back from an abysmal first half to come back in overtime and reach his 2nd straight Super Bowl.
Though Wilson hasn’t been back to the Super Bowl since then, he’s since solidified himself as an NFL veteran with playoff success. While he aims for his 3rd Super Bowl trip, Aaron Rodgers will be searching for his 2nd. Since winning the Super Bowl to end the 2010-11 NFL season, the Packers have gone 5-6 in the postseason.
With neither quarterback nor team being a stranger to the postseason, this would just be a pure football test of who has the better team, players, and guts.
Green Bay would likely be a decent home favorite according to Vegas, but personally, I would go with the Seahawks.
Seahawks win 24-17
#2 Kansas City Chiefs vs. #5 Seattle Seahawks
Patrick Mahommes and Russell Wilson squaring off for Super Bowl LIV. For the Chiefs, a storied franchise, it would be a return to the NFL’s biggest stage. For the Seahawks, in their third appearance since 2014, it would be a chance to throw around the d-word: dynasty.
Just like the championship round before it, this would be another great game with two incredibly talented football teams duking it out, this time with the Lombardi Trophy on the line.
You could analyze this potential matchup from a dozen different angles, but I’m going to go with my gut. Though Mahommes and the Chiefs score early and often, the Seahawks hang in it until the fourth quarter, and emerge with a last-second victory.
I picked the Chiefs in my preseason NFL predictions to win it all, and while I still have them playing in February, I think the Seahawks will take the ripe opportunity at another Super Bowl trophy.
Seahawks win 33-31
- Preseason Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, Super Bowl Matchup
- Weekly Picks: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
- Power Rankings: Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9, Post-Week 10, Post-Week 11
- Halfway Point Updated NFL Predictions: Standings, Playoffs, and Super Bowl
- 13th in the AFC, the New York Jets Have a Clear Path to the Playoffs
- NFL Wildcard Predictions
- Washington QB Jacob Eason Declares for 2020 NFL Draft
- #3 Clemson Comes Back to Defeat #2 Ohio State 29-23, Advance to National Championship
- 2019-20 NBA Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, MVP and Finals Matchup
- NBA Season-Opening Power Rankings, Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2
- Lakers Down Spurs, LeBron James Gets 83rd Career Triple Double
- Lakers Beat Bulls for 6th Straight Win, LeBron James 3rd Straight Triple Double
- Davis and James Handle Heat for Lakers 7th Straight Win
Header photo: Via New York Post