NFL Playoff Predictions including Super Bowl XLVIII Winner (Beazley)
I truly do think that every team in the NFC playoff race would beat any AFC team in the Super Bowl outside of Denver. Let's see if it plays out that way with my predictions.
Wild Card Round
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis has definitely been a tough team to figure out this year. They have four quality wins against Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and Kansas City, but on the flip side, they have looked very bad at times (St. Louis, Arizona, Houston 1H).
The Chiefs did lose to the Colts in Arrowhead Week 16, but I think the ground game of Jamaal Charles will be the difference in this one. I like the Chiefs to win on the road with a late Succop FG. (Sorry, Steelers fans.) Chiefs, 27-24.
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
San Diego is actually 5-2 this year against teams with a winning record, so the seven-point spread in this one shocked me just a little at first, until I looked at Philip Rivers career playoff stats. His 8 TDs to 9 INTs in seven career games just does not cut it.
Andy Dalton's are even worse not recording a TD in either of his two playoff starts. I'm not sure Dalton has grown enough as a QB to win in the playoffs yet. The Bengals had a shot at the No. 2 seed and a bye with a win and a Patriots loss; and Dalton kept the Ravens in the game. Eventually that will bite him in the ass, but I think Rivers makes just one more mistake in this one. A pick-six secures the win in an ugly turnover-filled game. Bengals, 26-16.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
This is a game featuring two of the best offensive minds in the NFL, Chip Kelly and Sean Payton. The Eagles have won seven out of eight, and are definitely one of the hottest teams coming into the playoffs. They have the league's No. 1 RB LeSean McCoy, and a QB who has been lights out. Nick Foles has 27 touchdowns to just 2 Interceptions this season.
It is no secret that the Saints struggle away from home, and I think they will have a tough time at Lincoln Financial. I think the Eagles come out firing on all cylinders. Eagles, 34-20.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
The NFL clearly needs to fix how playoff seeds work in Round 1 games. There is no way an eight-win team should be hosting a 12-win team in the playoffs. This is going to be the difference in this one. The weather forecast for Lambeau on Sunday is 12 high/-11 low. Experience playing in this cold weather games is going to be crucial. Green Bay is also have the revenge factor as the 49ers lit them up last year at Candlestick. Green Bay at home, 30-24.
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Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
I'm not sure anyone can stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. What they have been doing this year is amazing. The only way you are going to beat Denver is to either beat them in a shootout or control the clock and limit Peyton's possessions.
Kansas City does have the beef up front, and one of the league's best RBs to do this, but their defense is not as good as it was in the beginning of the season, and that is the difference. Peyton's magical season continues with five passing touchdowns in a Broncos' 38-17 win.
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
Never ever ever count Tom Brady and the Patriots out. They lost a ton of key players to injury for the season, but yet finished 12-4. The Bengals beat the Patriots earlier this year in Week 5 (13-6), but I expect a different outcome this time. This is the game where the inexperience of Dalton hurts the Bengals. Dalton throws a handful of picks, and the Patriots roll at home. Patriots, 41-21.
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
Seattle's 12th man will be ready for this one, for sure. Their defense is definitely their strong suit this season. There has been some concerns as of late in regards to some erratic play out of Russell Wilson. I think those concerns become a reality as the Packers stroll into Seattle and shock the Seahawks. Wilson has a miserable game, and Eddie Lacy finds the endzone three times. Packers win, 27-20.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
It is really tough for me to buy into Carolina. They have a great defense and a great QB, which is usually a winning recipe in the NFL, but there is something about this team I just don't like. I don't think their offense is explosive enough to match the Eagles, and once the Panthers are behind it is very hard for them to dig out of the hole because this team lacks playmakers on offense. I think the hurry-up offense takes a toll on the Panthers defense and the Eagles roll into the NFC Championship. Eagles, 31-16.
Championship Game Round
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
You knew it was going to come down to Manning vs. Brady again. I will never count out Brady or Bill Belichick, but this is going to be an extremely difficult game considering what happened last time these two teams met. Just in case you don't remember, the Broncos were up 24-0 at halftime, and the Patriots came back scoring 31 points the 2nd half sending the game into overtime where they finally won it 34-31. Peyton Manning will remember this for sure. I think the Broncos get out to a big lead at half time again, but this time Peyton steps on the Patriots throat throwing another five touchdowns in the process. Broncos, 45-22.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
These two teams had a total of 7 QBs take snaps for them this season, yet they find themselves in the NFC Championship. I truly believe in momentum entering the playoffs and the Eagles as I mentioned before have been hot. As for Green Bay, there is no bigger boost in confidence than getting one of the best QBs in the league back and winning in the final seconds against your arch nemesis.
Flashback to 1999, Steve Young to Terrell Owens. One of the greatest plays ever in the playoffs in my lifetime. Packers fans get to relive the heartbreak again as Foles to Riley Cooper in a similar play leads the Eagles to the Super Bowl with you guessed it, the same score as 1999: Eagles, 30-27.
Super Bowl XLVIII
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Denver Broncos
There has been a ton of conversation about the Super Bowl being played in New York this year. It would be a lot of fun to predict a low-scoring game because of the bad weather, which is predicted to hit on Super Bowl Sunday, but I think the weather will be a non-issue.
This game features two QBs who each threw a record-tying seven touchdowns in one game this year. The most touchdowns thrown by one QB in a single postseason is 11. That record is held by Kurt Warner, Joe Montana and Joe Flacco. Manning will have 10 in two games headed into this matchup, and he gets to battle against the team with the league's worst pass defense. Manning will break Kurt Warner's record for most yards in the Super Bowl of 414, and tie Steve Young's single-game record of six passing touchdowns.
The Eagles might have been more of a team who got a good draw to get to the Super Bowl than a team of destiny. In a season about records, Peyton gets some more for his trophy case, and more importantly, another Super Bowl ring. Broncos big, 55-24.
Super Bowl Champs - Denver Broncos
MVP - Peyton Manning