We can only hope that our predictions of the NFL playoffs in 2020, all the way through Super Bowl 54, will prove to be better than ours. The team we planned to win all failed to make it to the postseason, but many of the other teams we liked to enter the season are alive and well in the NFL playoff.
One of the teams we predicted will reach the Super Bowl this season, Kansas City, sit well with a first round of AFC basketball. The Chiefs, however, have the second best chance of winning the Super Bowl behind the top Ravens.
NFC is even more than a tangled load of chaos, making forecasts for that side of the arm extremely difficult. The 49ers and Saints, two of the top three seeds, enter the playoffs with the same odds of winning the Super Bowl. And the Packers and Seahawks aren’t far behind.
Considering what we’ve learned about the 12 NFL playoff teams during the season and looking at how everyone stands with injuries, etc. As the season begins, here’s Sporting News’s playoff predictions -of the NFL. NFL writers Vinnie Iyer, Bill Bender and Tadd Haislop weigh in:
MORE NEW GAMES:
AFC & NFC Support TV Program Prediction of wild card games
Drew Breeshttps: //images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/44/73/drew-brees-111019-getty-ftr_oy968edldvnj1prar7jkhk7qk.jpg? T = 1485533326 & w = 500 & quality = 80
NFL playoff picks, 2020 predictions
Which team plays on a wild card weekend is the biggest threat to win it all?
Iyer: Saints. They made a dominant performance in Week 17 to show that they are a complete team. Drew Brees is anxious and Alvin Kamara is hot again. Michael Thomas is unstoppable. The defense is well held against the run and has many playmakers against the pass.
Bender: Saints. I’m willing to go with New England here, but New Orleans is playing better now. The Saints have been shut for the last two years and have lost just two octaves regular season in the last two seasons. New Orleans is well-equipped to take another deep path after the end of the season.
Haislop: Patriots. With all due respect to the Saints, who may or may not be the hottest NFL team entering the postseason, they have an unreasonable difficulty navigating the NFC. And New England, of course, since it fell to seed no. 3 and he would have to play in Kansas City (and maybe Baltimore) if he comes out of the wild card round. But for all the talk about the Patriots offensive tackle this season, they are still seventh in the NFL in points per game. We just refuse to count Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Which of the four teams that are a few weeks old are best for a disaster?
Iyer: Packers. They will play either the Saints, the Marines or the Eagles in the sectional round. The Saints are an extremely tough tie at Lambeau Field, with the same 13-3 record and a more productive offense that will not be dragged out of the open, as everyone still wants to think. The Seahawks were a Packers player in the recent playoffs of the past. The Eagles managed to win a Thursday night game at Green Bay in Week 4. Aaron Rodgers will need to be Aaron Rodgers at his best to survive and advance against anyone.
Bender: Chiefs. A popular option here would be the Packers (probably against the Saints in a hole game), so let’s move on. How many times have we seen this movie? The Patriots stock is at a low level, they don’t look good for offense and controversy surrounds the team. Kansas City won six in a row to close out the regular season. The Patriots are still pretty capable of escaping the wild card round and will prove it when Bill Belichick overtakes Andy Reid on the big stage once again.
Haislop: Packers. This is just about their possible matchup with the Saints in the round section. Although the game would be played in Green Bay, New Orleans is capable of winning a defensive game in difficult weather. The Saints were also the most consistent team this season, though their pass defense could be a subject for Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgershttps: //images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/b6/4a/aaron-rodgers-112519-getty-ftr_mhrk1f8g89pv1lt7583ynk68t.jpg? T = -1583147778 & w = 500 & quality = 80
What is your choice for the playoff MVP?
Iyer: Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. The regular season NFL MVP has not won a Super Bowl in 20 years. The last he did was Kurt Warner for the Rams in Super Bowl 34 after the 1999 season. Jackson will be rested and ready to run at full speed for the best offense in the league. The Chiefs were the only team in the playoffs that kind of slows down and the offense down. Don’t get caught up in what’s happening a second time in Baltimore.
Bender: Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees should win it. The Vikings, Packers and 49ers – the Saints’ projected path would have to travel – all allow less than 20 points per game. Brees threw 16 TDs and no interceptions in New Orleans’ last five games. He will turn 41 on January 15th. Will this week be driving New Orleans back to the Super Bowl?
Haislop: Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. If Jackson is just doing in the playoffs what he did in the regular season – or something close – that would be an easy call. Baltimore will make a worthwhile defensive challenge from Houston, Buffalo or Tennessee in the competition round, but there is no reason to believe that either of those teams can stop the losing regular-season MVP.
Which player under the radar will become a star in the playoffs?
Iyer: Jimmy Garopolo, QB, 49ers. He was wrongly called responsible for a team with effective rush offense and strong defense during the season. But as they had more problems and the defense was injured by injuries, they have turned to become more explosive in the passing game with Garoppolo locked in two go-to boys, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and celestial tight end George Kittle. Jimmy G scored 102.0 this season and threw for 8.4 yards per attempt and now has a career record of 21-5. Going into shape, you still need a big first playoff to convince you more that he has arrived as a strategy leader.
Bender: Marlon X Humphrey, CB, Ravens. Earl Thomas gets the headlines, but Humphrey takes second place in the opponents’ squad (65) and leads the team with 15 defensive passers. At a time when the Ravens could see Deshaun Watson and either Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, one has to make the big play in the secondary. We like Humphrey to be this guy.
Haislop: Za’Darius Smith, OLB, Packers. No one in Green Bay considers Smith a player under the radar, but the fact that he lost to the Pro Bowl signifies a lack of respect for one of the team’s best defenders. Smith will have the chance to ruin the sectional playoff game, especially if the Packers catch the battered Eagles or Seahawks.
Patrick Mahomeshttps: //images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/92/9f/patrick-mahomes-12222019-getty-ftrjpg_1s28qt3uoqmtb18d9o8ledgmbi.jpg? T = 821366543 & w = 500 & quality = 80
What crime do you trust the most?
Iyer: Chiefs. When it comes to confidence, let’s go with the offense with the most recent promising playoff experience, and they get the slight advantage over the Saints. The Ravens, 49ers and Packers are all new to this with their current offenses. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams under Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy are working on a high level, with extra pop music by pioneer Mecole Hardman.
Bender: Ravens. Baltimore averages 200 and 200 between the air and the ground, and this kind of balance with creativity Greg Roman has shown with Lamar Jackson is impossible to defend at times. The Ravens used Week 17 to start getting healthy and as long as Mark Ingram and Mark Andrews are full, this unit will be ready.
Haislop: Ravens. Simply put: If the Ravens click, their offense is the most complete and unstoppable force in the NFL. Even when they don’t click, Lamar Jackson has shown that he can improvise enough to generate points.
Which defense do you trust the most?
Iyer: Ravens. That’s why they are strong favorites in the Super Bowl. Let’s not let their breach get all the attention. They are incredibly anti-run, have underrated rush, pass well on the linebacker and are extremely deep and versatile on the sideline. They will stack the ball well together in Wink Martindale’s 3-4 program with plenty of understanding. These Ravens don’t have the marquee of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed days, but at this time, they are strong enough to support a champion.
Bender: 49ers. I just love the defensive front featuring Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner. All four have 6.5 sacks or more and the defensive line is a playoff winner. Robert Saleh has this team playing at a high level, and this will be necessary against players like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Haislop: Accounts. We would go with the NFL’s No. 1 defense from the regular season and not the No. 2 defense that the Patriots failed to cut from the meager dolphins in Week 17. Buffalo is stingy and stacks up at all levels of defense. If the notes get bounced off the playoffs, it won’t be because they left too many points.
What is your type to win the AFC?
Iyer: Ravens. Jackson is heading into an epic showdown with Mohammed in the upcoming AFC Championship game. But the defenses will dictate much of what happens there. The Ravens, as discussed earlier, have more confidence on this side of the ball. The Chiefs are almost as complete as the Ravens, but the game is in Baltimore, a steep slope in favor of the Ravens.
Bender: Ravens. Note that I chose the Patriots to defeat the leaders. The matchup between Jackson and Patrick Mahomes would be even better, but I have a feeling that Jackson will get the lens from Tom Brady with a focus on playing the AFC Championship. John Harbaugh has split the playoffs with New England and they were all at Foxboro. Baltimore will use this advantage to return to the Super Bowl.
Haislop: Ravens. It’s just too good. This does not mean that leaders or patriots are not worthy candidates, because they are both capable of hitting the seed of no. all you need is an effective game plan to contain Lamar Jackson. Good luck with that, though.
What is your choice to win the NFC?
Iyer: 49ers. Okay, this might seem boring to go chalk. But San Francisco was the best team at the wire-to-wire conference with a resume. There are hardly any issues and they will restore many of their defensive strength with the stakes. Also, no other band in the NFC has a guitar. How do you see Kittle not playing in the Super Bowl at this point? It’s Kithala. It’s good. It’s the best tight end in the league. Stop selling Kelce. Ή Ertz. It’s Kittle. And it’s in the 49ers. And it’s awesome. And we need him and Jimmy G to do their thing in Miami. And they will.
Bender: Saints. I like to win a big house against the Vikings. If New Orleans can get on the road and beat Green Bay, then this team will feel unbeaten in the rematch with San Francisco, who will likely have to face Seattle again. After losing to the Vikings and the Rams in the last two seasons, the Saints will break into the Super Bowl after another Niners thriller.
Haislop: 49ers. The first round is very important to be as healthy as possible against the Eagles, the sahawks or the Vikings in the division round. San Francisco, however, has proven to be the most accomplished team at the conference, even when close.
Super Bowl 54https: //images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/3f/5/super-bowl-54-111119-ftr_188clf5ksf75h16m3qiqaeniv4.jpg? T = 1543889518 & w = 500 & quality = 80
Who wins the Super Bowl 54?
Iyer: Ravens. The best game of the year was the sleepy, rainy game between the Ravens and the 49ers in Week 13. It was a perfect combination of early offense and defense and went down to the wire, with the Ravens winning the battle of decay, 17, in the end. a goal by Justin Tucker. The rematch of the game will be more like Super Bowl 47, when the Ravens beat the 49ers, 34-31. Let’s call it Ravens 27, 49ers 24 in an instant classic, shall we? Already put John Harbaugh in the Hall of Fame, shall we?
Bender: Saints. If you’re going to push New Orleans by now, you might be taking the final step. Sean Payton has learned from the heartbreaks of the last two seasons and the offense continues to hug along with the current game and Michael Thomas is leading the way. The defense is good enough to win on the road. The Saints will win an exciting shootout with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. This comes a few weeks after LSU wins the national championship. This leads to the largest Mardi Gras in the Bayou.
Haislop: 49ers. With a sporting defense to challenge Lamar Jackson and a different offense to keep Baltimore defended, San Francisco is uniquely equipped to handle the Ravens should these teams meet again in the Super Bowl. Such a mapping will have immediate classic written all over it.