Predicting the Rest of the NFL Season
Well, the NFL season has been wild, to say the least. Let’s predict the rest of it, by conference, and then through the playoffs. To see the predictions of every game, press this link: https://bit.ly/2Ara25v. To see my predictions for the whole NBA season, press here: https://bit.ly/2PZdsXR.
The AFC has definitely been crazy this year, but two teams that have stood out to me are the Chiefs and the Texans. The Chiefs are led by 2nd year quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Mahomes is in the MVP conversation, and definitely deserves it. Mahomes has the best touchdown percentage index number, coming in at an outstanding 146. Enough about Mahomes, the Chiefs have just been on the top of their game. Their two losses have come to the Patriots in New England by 3, and vs. the Rams in L.A. by 3. The Chiefs became the first team to score 50+ points and still lose the game in the Rams game. I don’t see them losing another game, besides maybe in Week 15 against the Chargers. Even then, I don’t see the Chiefs folding. The Texans are now on an 8 game winning streak, after losing the first three games of the year. They have had a lot of close games in the streak, including a 37–34 win vs. Indianapolis. In Week 14, I see Houston falling to Andrew Luck and Indy. I just don’t see the Colts keeping it up. Two weeks after that, on the road in Philadelphia, I see the Texans losing a tight one to the Eagles. With the Colts winning out, and the Texans dropping two, the Colts win the division, in a miraculous turn of events. A lot of good teams enter the playoffs with a lot of momentum on this side of the bracket.
Ah, the good ol’ NFC. The Saints and Rams have been absolutely dominating the conference. Drew Brees is right up with Patty Mahomes in the MVP race, so we’ll see how that goes. As for their teams, I just don’t see them losing. They’re just both too hot. The Bears are 8–3 as of now, but I see them losing 3 out of their last four, but still winning the division. The Vikings will sneak into the six seed, even after losing two games. I’ll get into those games later. I don’t really see anyone competing with the Cowboys in the NFC East. The Seahawks got a big win last week vs. Carolina, and I see them winning 4 out their last 5, with the loss coming to Kansas City. A team that I see maybe stealing some playoff spots is the Giants. When they’re doing well, they’re on fire. They could easily ruin the Cowboys playoff hopes or even the Titans hopes early. One trend I see in these predictions is the fact that the Falcons lose all of their AFC games, specifically the AFC North. Atlanta’s just not the team they have been in previous years.
Cowboys vs. Colts, December 16th, 2018, 1 P.M. EST: This game is key to both teams, as they are both fighting for a playoff spot. There’s not much to say, besides that the Colts are going to take this one 24–21.
Colts vs. Texans, December 9th, 2018, 1 P.M. EST: This is a crucial divisional game. I have the Colts winning, which gives them the tiebreaker over Houston based off record within division. They’re evenly matched teams, but I see the Colts having an offensive rampage. Colts 42, Texans, 35.
Packers vs. Bears, December 16th, 2018, 1 P.M. EST: This game might not be as significant considering my Week 17 predictions, but if the Bears beat the Vikings in Week 17, then the Packers can swoop a playoff spot. Not only this, but this win would be a huge confidence booster for the Packers, who have not won a road game yet this year. Packers 17, Bears 16.
Ravens vs. Chargers, December 23rd, 2018, 4:05 P.M. EST: There’s not much to say about this game. If Lamar Jackson plays, I could see the Ravens having a legitimate chance. With Joe Flacco, I just don’t see it happening. If I change the winner of this game to Baltimore, then Baltimore’s in the playoffs. It just has so many implications for the AFC. Chargers 26, Ravens, 23.
Colts vs. Titans, December 30th, 2018, 1:00 P.M./8:25 P.M. EST: The Titans do finish 9th in the predictions, but by no means were they far out from the playoffs. In fact, this Week 17 game is win-and-in. The NFL usually “flexes” win-and-in type games to Sunday Night, so I’m 50% sure that this game would get flexed in my scenario. Andrew Luck is 9–0 vs. Tennessee, and I don’t see that changing, especially if the game is in primetime. The Titans simply don’t have enough experience winning in high-pressure night games such as these. Colts 22, Titans 10.
Panthers vs. Saints, December 30th, 2018, 1:00 P.M./8:25 P.M. EST: If the Panthers defeat the 14–1 Saints, then Carolina sneaks into the playoffs as the #6 seed, and the Saints fall to seed #2. If New Orleans wins, then the Saints clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs, while also welcoming Minnesota to the postseason as the #6 seed. I think that Drew Brees solidifies his MVP case with 450 yards and 4 touchdowns in a thriller. Saints 42, Panthers 38.
Well, the playoffs are upon us. Let’s go through them, game by game.
Wild Card Round
#5 Texans vs. #4 Steelers:
The Texans may look like a good team on paper, but this game isn’t that difficult for me to pick. Experience is crucial in the playoffs, and the Texans don’t have much. Ben Roethlisberger is able to pick apart any defense he chooses, as shown in Week 12 vs. the Broncos. Deshaun Watson won’t be able to work his magic with the Steelers’ blitz, and they’ll have to look for a ground game from Lamar Miller . In the end, Miller fumbles the game away. Steelers 28, Texans 20.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): 26/35, 285 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Lamar Miller (HOU): 18 rushes, 123 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble lost
#6 Chargers vs. #3 Colts:
To me, this game comes down to the defense, and the Chargers have a better defense than the Colts. I see Phillip Rivers getting down early, but then rebound and comeback. The Chargers defense makes a big last-minute stand, to move on to Kansas City. The X-Factor in this game to me has to be Derwin James, L.A.’s rookie standout from Florida State. In his first playoff game, can he keep the Colts’ receiving corp in check? Chargers 35, Colts, 28.
Phillip Rivers (SD): 35/42, 343 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
T.Y. Hilton (IND): 6 receptions, 120 yards, 2 TDs
#6 Vikings vs. #3 Bears:
Nothing like a good divisional game in the Wild Card Round. The Bears defeated the Vikings in Week 11, and I have the Vikings winning in Week 17 vs. Chicago. The decider in this game for me is the home-field advantage. Last year in early January in Chicago, the temperature got down to 6 degrees Fahrenheit. This is definitely going to be a lower scoring game. With the fans on their side, I see Mitch Trubisky getting up early, and Chicago’s defense holding up late. Bears, 15, Vikings, 9.
Jordan Howard (CHI): 24 rushes, 125 yards, 1 TD
Kirk Cousins (MIN): 16/29, 210 yards, 7 rushes, 48 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
#5 Seahawks vs. #4 Cowboys:
This game is in Dallas solely because they won the weak NFC East. If this game was in Seattle, this would be an easy pick for me. Dak Prescott can not do what he does best against the Seahawks’ D in Seattle. The Cowboys only scored 13 points in Seattle in Week 3. However, this game is in Arlington, Texas. With Jason Garrett fighting for his job, the Cowboys take the win, but not without a fight. Sebastian Jankowski misses to give an end to both Seattle’s season, and his career. Cowboys 26, Seahawks 23 (OT).
Jarran Reed (SEA): 5.5 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Ezekiel Elliot (DAL): 23 touches, 138 yards, 1 receiving touchdown
#4 Steelers vs. #2 Patriots:
No matter how much I dream of the day the Steelers beat the Patriots, it won’t happen. The Patriots defense is weak though, so I see the Steelers putting up a lot of points. And when I say that there are going to be a lot of points, I mean a lot. Tom Brady always prevails. Unless it’s vs. the NFC East in the Super Bowl. He’s not going to lose this game, as much as I want him to. In the fourth quarter, the Steelers don’t get the stop they need. They got those stops vs. Jacksonville, but vs. New England, in Gillette Stadium, it’s not happening. On the other side of the ball, this isn’t one of those games that James Conner can pound out. Tom Brady gets praised for his miraculous effort against a lackluster pass defense. Patriots 48, Steelers 42.
Tom Brady (NE): 38/51, 469 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): 45/59, 480 yards, 4 TDs, 1 fumble lost
#6 Chargers vs. #1 Chiefs:
Another Divisional matchup here in the playoffs, as we have the not-San-Diego Chargers facing off vs. Kansas City in a #6 vs. #1 game. #6 seeds are 5–8 vs. #1 seeds since 2005. You may not think that that’s too bad of a record, considering a #1 seed can be 16–0 and a #6 seed could be 6–10 realistically, but possibly 0–10–6 unrealistically. However, the #6 seed hasn’t won a game vs. the #1 seed since the 2010–11 playoffs. Patrick Mahomes will cut up the Chargers’ defense like a pumpkin pie and send them home. You might think that defeating a team three times in one year is difficult, but the team that swept the season series (KC, in this case) is 11–5 in these scenarios since 1990. The Chargers won’t be prepared for the dual threat that is Kareem Hunt, and the Chiefs will win by a landslide at home. Chiefs 31, Chargers 16.
Kareem Hunt (KC): 29 touches, 178 yards, 2 rushing TDs
Phillip Rivers (LAC): 31/42, 321 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
#3 Bears vs. #2 Rams
The first thing I’m going to say is that Todd Gurley is going to run wild in this game. If the Rams can get the ground game going early, then they won’t have to put the pressure on Jared Goff ’s arm. Especially considering they’re coming off a bye week, I have to give this win to L.A.. 15–1 and I don’t see them losing this game at home to a mediocre offense. The end of Chicago will come with Mitchell Trubisky’s passing options just not getting open. Rams 27, Bears 12.
Todd Gurley II (LAR): 26 rushes, 171 yards
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI): 24/33, 257 yards, 2 rushes, 7 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
#4 Cowboys vs. #1 Saints:
This game is very similar to the last one. A 15–1 team pitted against a team with just enough weapons to pull off the upset. The Saints just have it all going for them. New Orleans is going to make Dak Prescott throw the ball to Amari Cooper on Marshon Lattimore. Cooper will make some plays, but the Saints defense will keep Dallas’ offense in check for the majority of the game. The Saints have a +153 point differential, and I don’t see this game being that close. Saints 35, Cowboys 21.
Drew Brees (NO): 25/29, 286 yards, 4 TDs
Amari Cooper (DAL): 9 rec, 109 yards, 1 TD
#2 Patriots vs. #1 Chiefs:
In this game, I see experience prevailing. The Patriots head to another Super Bowl, after Patrick Mahomes throws a crucial interception in the last three minutes. Sony Michel gets going in the first quarter, and keeps it up through the second half. Michel runs out the clock, and the Patriots head to their eleventh Super Bowl. Mahomes is going to start forcing the ball a little early, and the game slowly gets out of hand. The Chiefs had an amazing season, but they fall to the experience Brady . The downfall of Kansas City is going to be the defense. On third downs, Brady is simply going to get it done, similar to the Steelers vs. Patriots AFC Championship from two years ago. Patriots 36, Chiefs 20.
Sony Michel (NE): 28 touches, 171 total yards, 2 scrimmage TDs
Tyreek Hill (KC): 74-yard punt return TD
#2 Rams vs. #1 Saints:
Last time these teams played, the Saints took a decisive win over a Rams’ team that came back, but couldn’t finish it off. This time, Sean McVay won’t let his team get that far behind that early. Goff, Gurley, and Cooks will be on fire, and the Rams will take this one. Last year, the Saints last in the Divisional Round and only put up 24 points. I see a repeat of this lackluster performance. Rams 30, Saints 24.
Jared Goff (LAR): 23/30, 256 yards, 2 TDs
Drew Brees (NO): 30/43, 356 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Super Bowl LII: #1 Patriots vs. #2 Rams
We have arrived. The Super Bowl. The Patriots are coming off clutch wins vs. both Pittsburgh and Kansas City, while the Rams just defeated both the Bears and the Saints to clinch a Super Bowl berth. New England will struggle early, but then rebound against the Rams’ defense. In the end, Tom Brady leads another Super Bowl-winning drive, similar to the first time these two teams met in the Big Game. Todd Gurley catches a few passes out of the backfield to spark L.A.’s offense, but they can’t finish in the red zone. The Patriots are crowned champions once again, as Tom Brady solidifies his G.O.A.T. status. Patriots 33, Rams 30.
Tom Brady (NE): 31/47, 358 yards, 2 TDs, 2 rushes, 7 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
Brandin Cooks (LAR): 13 receptions, 147 yards, 1 TD