by Matt Fischer
The NFL Playoffs are here! This Saturday things kick off with two wildcard games and our first Monday Night Football – Playoff Edition. Here’s to hoping COVID doesn’t crash the Super Bowl this season. It’s time to predict who’s headed to LA to win Super Bowl LVI!
I’m going to rank all 14 teams in the playoffs based upon their chances to win the Super Bowl!
Ranking the Super Bowl LVI Contenders
14 – Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts has shown promise this season. They have some young skill players that might develop into a contender but asking them to go on the road and win at the defending Super Bowl Champs. It’s one and done for the Eagles in the playoffs this season.
13 – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers just aren’t very good. A tie got them in the playoffs…against the lowly Lions. They have a negative scoring margin for the season. It’s Big Ben’s last ride in Pittsburgh so I expect them to be a tough out in Kansas City Sunday Night.
12 – Las Vegas Raiders
It took a last second field goal to guarantee the Raiders a spot in the playoffs Sunday night. Now they’ve got to turn around and travel to Cincinnati for the opener this Wildcard weekend. Plus they’re looking at having to win three road games to get to the playoffs started on Saturday. This team could make a run to the AFC Championship or get blown out Saturday. They’ve been one of the most up and down teams this season so expecting them to make or win the Super Bowl is a stretch.
11 – Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is a superstar. However, he’s banged up heading into the playoffs. The young Bengals will feed off a home crowd hungry for a playoff win but I don’t think they have what it takes to win on the road.
10 – Arizona Cardinals
At one point this season, the Cardinals were considered the best team in the league. Is Kyler Murray ready to win on the road in the playoffs? Can Kliff Kingsbury coach this team to a playoff win? There’s big questions for this team. They are talented but I question if they’re ready for playoff intensity. Once the spotlight got on them this season, they seemed to wilt down the stretch.
9 – New England Patriots
It’s the playoffs and teams are going to make Mac Jones beat them. After that win in Buffalo on that Monday night a month ago, the Pats have dropped 3 of 4 with that only win over the Jaguars. While I’d hate to have to go against The Hoodie three times, I think Buffalo is going to pound the Pats out of the Playoffs.
8 – San Francisco 49ers
A hard team to figure out. They pulled off a big comeback in LA to get into the playoffs last Sunday and could make a run. This is a talented team, they’re just inconsistent. Wouldn’t shock me to see them win in Dallas and go to the NFC Championship or even the Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they’re out of the playoffs after this weekend either.
7 – Dallas Cowboys
Since Dak Prescott returned on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys have lost against both the playoff teams they faced, the AFC #5 seed Raiders and NFC #5 Cardinals. I have the Cowboys just ahead of the 49ers in these rankings but I don’t have much faith in them to win.
6 – Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl as they host the big game this season at SoFi Stadium. Cooper Kupp had one of the best seasons ever for a WR but this all comes down to Matthew Stafford. If he can prevent the backbreaking turnovers of his past, the Rams could play the Super Bowl at home.
5 – Tennessee Titans
The Titans were able to hold off the Texans Sunday to hold on to homefield advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. They’re only 4-3 in their past 7 and some of those were close victories. I just don’t like how this team’s been playing compared to their start. I think they’re ripe for a playoff upset even if Derrick Henry’s back in the lineup now for the playoffs.
4 – Green Bay Packers
They just haven’t lived up to expectations of a #1 seed in the past and not sure they will do any better this season. I think they draw a tough match-up in the first game and are at risk of going 0 for the playoffs this year but I’ll give Aaron Rodgers some credit and rank them here.
3 – Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has righted the ship after a midseason collapse that saw a humiliating loss at Jacksonville. The Bills are #3 in our final NFL power rankings of the season so they’re definite Super Bowl contenders. Next weekend I expect them to play the de facto AFC Championship game in Kansas City where they fell one game short of the Super Bowl last season. I like this team and think they’re legit Lombardi Trophy contenders.
2 – Kansas City Chiefs
The reigning, defending 2 time AFC Champions are back to the form that got them to back to back Super Bowls. The defense has been playing great the second half of the season and they look headed for another playoff run. Could there be a fourth straight AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium? I think there will be.
1 – Tampa Bay Bucs
While the Bucs are depleted and the Antonio Brown fiasco is in the rearview window, you just can’t count out the Bucs. They were able to go Green Bay and win on the road in the playoffs last year and certainly look like they could do it again this year. Tom Brady and Bruce Arians are a tough combo to beat.
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