A quick NFL playoffs prediction

Who will win the NFL this time around?

The National Football League (NFL) playoffs are right around the corner. It feels like only yesterday we all thought Baker Mayfield was a viable starting Quarterback and Antonio Brown wasn’t a COMPLETE lunatic (maybe just a little bit). Look at how far we’ve come. But hey, enough reminiscing. It’s time to look to the future, and boy is it looking interesting. 

It’s finally the year Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft’s reign of terror over the NFL ends. This is probably the point you’re asking, “but Mr. Morhiser, how can you be so sure? The Patriots are the Twinkies of the sports world. They’d still find a way to win a Super Bowl after a nuclear fallout.” First of all, Mr. Morhiser is my father, please call me Grand Master Matthew. Secondly, don’t speak out of turn like that. Thirdly, I can tell you with a clear conscious the Patriots won’t win Super Bowl LIV because they take an off year in between championships. They won Super Bowls in 2015, 2017 and 2019. 

I’m no math major, but 2020 does not fit that pattern. Because predicting sports results is arbitrary, and it’s impossible to account for every minute detail, I’ll do it for you guys. In fact, I’ll put it in The Captain’s Log to have it on record. That way, you can point and laugh at me when I’m wrong and say how you knew who’d win the whole time. There’ll be no paper trail. It’s the perfect crime. 

To make my Super Bowl prediction, I will use the NFL standings as of week eight to determine the Wild Card matchups and overall seedings. I want this to be as true to life as possible. You can look forward to some uncalled pass interference penalties that will send the wrong team to the Super Bowl, as is tradition. Without further ado, here’s a quick rundown on how the 2020 NFL playoffs will go down. 

Starting with the American Football Conference (AFC) on Wild Card Weekend, we have the third seeded Houston Texans versus the sixth seeded Indianapolis Colts: a rematch from last year’s Wild Card round and a matchup between division rivals. 

Earlier this season, the Texans provided a more competitive outing. The Colts still won, but not without a monster game from Luck’s replacement, Jacoby Brissett. He went for 326 yards and four touchdowns on 26 of 39 throwing. To beat the Texans in the playoffs, it looks like Brissett would have to go into videogame mode again. The only problem is Brissett has a nagging knee injury, and star receiver T.Y. Hilton is expected to miss more time due to his calf. 

Both players are expected to be back by the time the playoffs role around. Let’s get to that prediction. To me, the Colts are like the diet version of the Patriots. They keep winning, and they won’t go away. It’s about time they get some more hardware for the trophy case at Lucas Oil Stadium. I predict the Indianapolis Colts will beat the Houston Texans. I’ve learned to never bet on the Texans, so this was an easy one. 

In the other AFC Wild Card matchup, we have the fourth seeded Kansas City Chiefs versus the fifth seeded Buffalo Bills. I don’t get the hate placed on Buffalo. Frank Gore is statistically one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL. He’s fourth on the all-time rushing yards list. Who are the Chiefs starting at running back again? Exactly. I don’t know either. With that being said, Patrick Mahomes is the defending MVP of the league. The season is not over, and when he’s fully healthy, he has a legitimate shot to win it again. 

This matchup really comes down to the Kansas City offense versus the Buffalo defense. Kansas City’s offense is ranked sixth in the NFL. They share the ball, as eight different players on their team have a receiving touchdown this season. Their rushing attack is ranked towards the middle of the league, believe it or not. On the other side of the field, Buffalo’s defense is ranked third in the league. They barely give up any yards, first downs or touchdowns.

 It comes down to the intangibles in this one. In my opinion, Kansas City has a better proven coach and quarterback, so for that reason, the Kansas City Chiefs will implement the defense of scoring more touchdowns to beat the Buffalo Bills. 

As we head over to the National Football Conference (NFC), we’re greeted by the third seeded Green Bay Packers taking on the sixth seeded Minnesota Vikings. As a Washington Redskins fan, I don’t want Kirk Cousins to succeed. I know that sounds harsh, but life is cruel and unforgiving. I watched Kirk play for years. He can’t win the big game. Something in his DNA won’t let him win. His opposing Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, wins a lot. Maybe not at chugging beer, but he wins at pretty much everything else, especially football. All the other Viking players won’t make up the difference. The Green Bay Packers will steamroll the Minnesota Vikings in a very boring fashion. 

In hopefully a more competitive matchup, we’ll see the fourth seeded Dallas Cowboys matchup against the fifth seeded Seattle Seahawks. I spoke too soon. Like Kirk Cousins, I don’t want the Cowboys to win. Ever. Hail to the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks run up the score on the Dallas Cowboys. 

In the AFC Divisional round, the Kansas City Chiefs will beat the Baltimore Ravens, and the New England Patriots will beat the Indianapolis Colts. I like Lamar Jackson. In fact, he was my favorite Quarterback in his draft class, but Kansas City is a proven team. I like Baltimore a lot, but in a battle of high scoring offenses, I’ll take Mahomes and Kelce over Jackson and Andrews. 

The game between New England and Indianapolis is the real AFC Championship. It saddens me to see the Colts go, but they’ll continue their prophecy of never overcoming New England. Like I said earlier, you should never bet on the Houston Texans, and you can add don’t bet against Brady to that list. 

In the NFC divisional round, the New Orleans Saints will take out the Green Bay Packers, and the Seattle Seahawks will upset the San Francisco 49ers. New Orleans versus Green Bay is an intriguing matchup. Both have all time greats at quarterback. Both have explosive runners who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. And both have receivers who eat up a lion’s share of the team’s targets, but for good reason. I guess when the offense is too close to call, you have to go to the defense. New Orleans ranks in the top 10 of defenses, but Green Bay is just under the league average. Look for New Orleans to make a timely redzone stop. 

In the AFC Championship, the New England Patriots will eliminate the Kansas City Chiefs. This wasn’t too hard for me, despite what some experts may believe. No team in the AFC has looked like they could truly overthrow New England all season. The Patriots have too many weapons on offense, and their defense is far superior to that of Kansas City’s. Patriots win. Woah. I think I just had deja vu and chose to physically write it down. 

In the NFC Championship, the Seattle Seahawks will run the ball until New Orleans says, “fine, you win.” Seattle loves to run the ball, but New Orleans loves to stop teams from running the ball. It seems we’ve come to an impasse. To me, Russell Wilson is this year’s MVP. He just narrowly beats out Christian McCaffrey. With Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Jacob Hollister stepping up this season, as well as the addition of Josh Gordon, Seattle is the best offense in the NFL. Because windows in the NFL are short  (obviously not for New England), look for Seattle to capitalize on this rare opportunity. 

Well folks, we made it. You either read a bunch of nonsense from a kid who learns all he knows about football from Madden, or you skipped to the end to see who I picked for the Super Bowl. Either way, I respect your tenacity. Super Bowl LIV will see the New England Patriots continue their unholy sovereignty, and they will deflate the pure hearts of Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks by cheating and questionable visits to the massage parlor. I lied in the beginning. Of course New England is going to win. 

You’re really going to tell me you’re betting against definitely the best quarterback and potentially the best coach of all time? I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. I refuse to acknowledge that Philadelphia beat them in Super Bowl LII, and the Seahawks may actually have been the last team to beat them in the big game. Who’s to say they can’t do it again? Me. 

New England by a touchdown.

~Matthew Morhiser, Staff Writer~

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