NFL Playoff Predictor

Following Seattle’s win on Monday Night Football, week 11 will officially be in the books. The playoffs are on the horizon and teams are starting to see if they are in, in the hunt, or out.

Going through the final six weeks of the schedule, below are predictions for the playoff teams from each conference, including division winners and key games down the stretch that you will want to mark on your calendars. Strap in, Lion Lowdown readers, you are going to like what you read. We will save the best for last, though–kind of like Grammy’s famous Thanksgiving banana bread pudding.

AFC Playoff Prediction

Playoff teams (in order of seed):

  1. New England Patriots (13-3)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)
  6. Tennessee Titans (10-6)

Teams finishing just outside:

  1. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
  2. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
  3. Houston Texans (7-9)
  4. Oakland Raiders (7-9)

Key in-Conference Games to finish out the season:

  • New England at Pittsburgh (Week 15, winner decides home field for playoffs)
  • Houston at Baltimore (MNF of week 12)
  • Baltimore at Pittsburgh (SNF of week 13)
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (Saturday Primetime in week 15)
  • Pittsburgh at Houston (MNF of week 16, also Christmas night)
  • Jacksonville at Tennessee (week 17)
  • Oakland at Los Angeles (week 17)
  • New England at Miami (MNF of week 14)

Team to watch rise (not in the playoffs):

Baltimore Ravens. Their defense is red hot as of late, and Alex Collins is shining even though he was not on the opening season roster. They have a medium-difficulty schedule, as they still take on Houston, Detroit, and Pittsburgh to play. But they have to find a way to score points consistently as they are 32nd in passing yards and 31st in total offense.

Team to watch fall (that is in the playoffs):

Kansas City Chiefs. They are reeling. They have lost two straight, and four of their last five. The offense that was once unstoppable is averaging 20 points per game during those five losses while averaging 32.8 points per game during their 5-0 start. They can pull it together with remaining games against Buffalo,  New York Jets, Oakland, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, and Denver, who have a combined record of 24-36. This team no longer scares anybody, and after the loss to the Giants this past week, any game for them is a trap game.

NFC Playoff Prediction

Playoff Teams (in order of seed):

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-2)
  2. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  3. Detroit Lions (12-4)
  4. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
  5. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
  6. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

Teams finishing just outside:

  1. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
  3. Washington Redskins (9-7)

Key in-Conference Games to finish out the season:

  • Minnesota at Detroit (Thanksgiving game)
  • New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams (week 12)
  • Minnesota at Atlanta (week 13)
  • Detroit at Baltimore (week 13)
  • Carolina at New Orleans (week 13)
  • Philadelphia at Seattle (SNF of week 13)
  • New Orleans at Atlanta (TNF of week 14)
  • Minnesota at Carolina (week 14)
  • Philadelphia at Los Angeles Ram (week 14)
  • Los Angeles at Seattle (week 15)
  • Atlanta at New Orleans (week 16)
  • Carolina at Atlanta (week 17, may very well be for a playoff spot)

Team to watch rise (not in the playoffs):

Atlanta Falcons. Win or lose on Monday Night versus Seattle, the Falcons are starting to collect themselves. Their schedule coming in is tough, but the former NFC Champions did not lose a ton of pieces from last year and are a serious threat. They are taking on New Orleans twice, Tampa Bay twice, and Carolina once still, all divisional matchups. Do not be surprised if Atlanta finds themselves in the thick of it come season’s end.

Team to watch fall (that is in the playoffs):

Detroit Lions. Sadly this is the only way for me to defend my prediction of them running the table. The boys in Honolulu blue do have one of the easiest schedules to finish the season, but they mad a habit of starting slow and not putting bad teams away (Browns, Bears of late). Matthew Stafford is having another MVP-like season, but it won’t be recognized if they cannot win the games when they matter. This starts Thursday on Thanksgiving. This game borders must-win in the strong NFC, where 11-5 may not even get you in the playoffs.


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