NFL playoff predictions at the halfway point

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass during warm ups at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. James P. McCoy/Buffalo News

Potential playoff spoilers below

We are just over halfway through the 2021 NFL season, and we are starting to get an idea of what the playoffs are going to look like when it is all said and done. I will go through all the games that teams have left and pick a winner. Then I will go through every potential matchup in the playoffs with stat predictions for each game until I have crowned this season’s Superbowl champion. This could be spot on, or it could be the most inaccurate list ever. But that’s the fun in doing this. So, let’s not waste any time and get straight into it. Again, these are just my predictions.

Wildcard Round

First Round Byes — Titans and Buccaneers

2nd Seed Bills vs 7th Seed Colts

This game could end up being better than a lot of people might think. If the Colts can keep playing at a higher level than I expected them to at the beginning of the year, then this game will be fun. But it won’t be enough to beat this talented Bills team. I have Jonathan Taylor going for over 100 yards but not being able to reach the endzone, meanwhile Josh Allen goes for over 350 yards with a touchdown to take down the Colts 27-23.

3rd Seed Ravens vs 6th Seed Patriots

I have this game being a high scoring brawl all the way through. But one person in particular will take over this matchup. I have Lamar Jackson being the guy to do that. I think that Lamar Jackson will pass for 230 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns in this 37-28 win. But let’s not take away from Mac Jones’ performance. Mac Jones will end up throwing for 200 yards while throwing three touchdowns and only one interception, but again, it isn’t enough to beat this Ravens team.

4th Seed Chiefs vs 5th Seed Chargers

Despite the slow start for the Chiefs, I do think that they will end up winning the division fairly easily. Not because they are back to being the Chiefs, but because the rest of the division slows down. So, when the Chiefs play a team from their division in the playoffs, don’t be too surprised when you see Patrick Mahomes will his team to a 34-10 win. While Justin Herbert struggles from the start and can’t get his team going. Then also don’t be surprised that while playing down most of the game, Herbert ends up throwing multiple interceptions in a game he wants to forget.

2nd Seed Cowboys vs 7th Seed Saints

The Saints have done it, without Drew Brees and without Jameis Winston, they made the playoffs. If you thought I was going to say they were going to beat the Cowboys, you are badly mistaken. I have this being a big blowout. I am talking about a Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons Week 10 type blowout. This is a game where Dak Prescott will play like the early 2020 Dak Prescott and throw for 470+ yards and 5 touchdowns. Meanwhile Trevor Siemian has a meaningless game only throwing for 120 yards and no touchdowns. The only plus of this game for the Saints is that they didn’t turn the ball over despite being blown out.

3rd Seed Packers vs 6th Seed 49ers

Right now, the 49ers have a negative record and wouldn’t be in the playoffs if they ended today. But that doesn’t deter me away from what I think this team could do. And with the games they have left on their schedule, they could easily make the playoffs as a low seed. But that doesn’t mean they can beat the Packers. Despite it being a good game, the Packers win 21-20 behind Aaron Rodgers 200 yards and 2 touchdowns.

4th Seed Rams vs 5th Seed Cardinals

These two teams have very similar storylines, they both started off as some of the hottest teams in the NFL, but they both started to fall off at midseason. Despite them both falling off though, they both found themselves in the playoffs. But for one team that is where it all ends, and that team is the Cardinals. This game ends up being a defensive battle, but Stafford is able to edge out the Cardinals by throwing for 200 yards and the only touchdown for the Rams in a 19-10 win.

Divisional Round

1st Seed Titans vs 4th Seed Chiefs

I surprised myself with the Titans ending up as the No. 1 seed. But their schedule is not hard for the rest of the season. So, does that mean that they lose in the first round against real competition? No, the Chiefs defense will once again be exposed, leading to Ryan Tannehill throwing for 424 yards and three touchdowns with the help of A.J Brown’s 160 yards and two touchdown catches.

2nd Seed Bills vs 3rd Seed Ravens

Now we open the second round of the playoffs. And this is where we get some of the better matches of the playoffs, like this one. These two teams will have a back-and-forth game until one team takes the lead and won’t let go. That team is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills defense will do enough to keep Lamar Jackson under 250 total yards and hold this offense to only 17 points. Meanwhile Josh Allen and the Bills are able to keep their pace and put up 30 points in this win.

1st Seed Buccaneers vs 4th Seed Rams

The Rams are coming into this week off a win, but they were not at all dominant in that win. And when you don’t have any real steam going, it will be hard to beat a Tom Brady led team. Which is why the Rams can’t. The Rams end up losing the game 41-33 due to Tom Brady’s four touchdown passes.

2nd Seed Cowboys vs 3rd Seed Packers

This is a rematch that was long in the making. The last time these teams met in the divisional round of the playoffs it was the game of the controversial Dez Bryant catch-or-no-catch. Which is why coming out of a dominating win last week, with the added inspiration of rivalry, the Cowboys will win a very close game 21-19 behind a three-touchdown performance by CeeDee Lamb.

Conference Championship Round

1st Seed Titans vs 2nd Seed Bills

Both teams did a lot to get here, but only one will represent the whole conference in the Superbowl. And potentially without their star versus the best defense in the NFL, the Titans just don’t have enough to make it there. The Bills end up winning this game 37-27 behind another 350-yard and four-touchdown game from Josh Allen. So, the Bills are off to SoFi Stadium for the Superbowl.

1st Seed Buccaneers vs 2nd Seed Cowboys

This game has a very good story. This was the opening game for the NFL this year. And that was the last time these two teams met. When they met the first time, the Buccaneers were able to get the better of the Dallas Cowboys, but not this time. With the Cowboys defense fully settled and an offense that is near impossible to stop, the Cowboys win this game 31-24 thanks to the whole team. Every player on the roster plays better than they were expected to put Tom Brady and the Bucs down.

Superbowl – Bills vs Cowboys

The final game is upon us. The whole season has led these two teams here, but only one will walk away with the Lombardi. We all know the saying, “Defense wins championships,” and that stays true for this one. The Bills great defense is able to slow down the Cowboys offense just enough for them to outpace this offense. The final score of 34-31 will be remembered by all Bills fans as they win their first Superbowl ever.

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