The NFL Playoffs are the time of year everyone waits for during football season. This year's playoff field may not be as open compared to other years but then again, anything can happen in the playoffs. At the top of the standings are the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers, who both appear to be locks for the Super Bowl. Let's see if any other team could take their place.
#2 Bills over #7 Steelers
Pittsburgh was already going to have a difficult task playing the Bills on the road with Mason Rudolph starting at quarterback, but the loss of edge rusher TJ Watt might hurt even more. The Steelers are 1-10 when he doesn't play. Meanwhile, Buffalo is one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs having won five straight games. Josh Allen will have plenty of time to throw and the Bills will cruise to an easy win.
#6 Dolphins over #3 Chiefs
The Chiefs have not looked like defending champions, and even with the home field advantage, the Dolphins are going to shock people. Miami's defense may be injured, but the Chiefs also have their worst receiving core in the Patrick Mahomes era. This is also the same Dolphins team that nearly beat Buffalo last year on the road without Tua Tagovailoa. With him at full health, an upset might occur.
#5 Browns over #4 Texans
The Texans have been the league's biggest surprise this year thanks to CJ Stroud's outstanding rookie season, and DeMeco Ryans looking like the Coach of the Year. However, the Browns have also exceeded expectations even with injuries to their offense. While it remains to be seen if Joe Flacco's resurgence continues, their defense led by Myles Garrett will suffocate Houston's offense.
#1 Ravens over #5 Dolphins
Lamar Jackson will have his first career playoff game with no turnovers as he'll spread the ball around to the likes of Mark Andrews, Zay Flowers, and Odell Beckham Jr. Baltimore's star studded secondary led by Marlon Humphrey and Kyle Hamilton will do enough to neutralize Miami's playmakers. It may not be a blowout like when both teams met three weeks ago, but Baltimore will still win convincingly.
#5 Browns over #2 Bills
Great defenses show up in the playoffs, and that's what Cleveland's defense is going to do against Buffalo. The key to this game will be the matchup between Buffalo's receiving core, and Cleveland's secondary. If Denzel Ward and co. can shut down the likes of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, life for Josh Allen will be miserable. His turnover problem will hurt Buffalo as Cleveland makes its first championship game since 1989.
#1 Ravens over #5 Browns
This game would involve so many headlines from Joe Flacco facing his former protégé Lamar Jackson, to the Browns playing in the location where their original franchise relocated. It's gonna be a classic defensive slugfest, but the Ravens' offense do just enough thanks to their high powered rushing attack. As for Flacco, he will struggle with Baltimore's strong pass rush.
#3 Lions over #6 Rams
The Rams are going to give Detroit a scare in this game. Matthew Stafford will be amped up to play his former team, and if Cooper Kupp can match the production of other playmakers in Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua, the Rams will have a chance to win. However, Detroit's crowd has been waiting for a home playoff game since 1993. It will be hard seeing the Lions let such a passionate fanbase down in what will be an electric atmosphere.
#2 Cowboys over #7 Packers
The Packers have surprised a lot of people by making the playoffs in Jordan Love's first season as the starting quarterback. However, their luck will run out against a talented Cowboys team. Dak Prescott and Ceedee Lamb will be on their A game throughout the contest. The Packers will put up a decent fight, but Dallas is going to be too much for them.
#4 Buccaneers over #5 Eagles
When a team that has nothing to lose faces a team with everything to lose, chances are the team with nothing to lose prevails. The Eagles are certainly more talented against the Buccaneers, but they are really slumping. Some of their losses have came against teams with nothing to play for. Tampa Bay on the other hand, has racked up impressive wins as of late, which will continue against the defending NFC champs.
#1 49ers over #4 Buccaneers
This is not going to be a contest. I see the 49ers winning this game through the air as Brock Purdy will take advantage of Tampa Bay bottom five pass defense. Purdy will throw for three touchdowns with two of them being to George Kittle. On defense, their vaunted pass rush led by Nick Bosa will give Baker Mayfield little time to throw en route to a dominant outing.
#3 Lions over #2 Cowboys
The Lions might have lost to Dallas not long ago, but had the referees declared Taylor Decker as eligible, they would've had a statement victory. They're going to be pumped up to play the Cowboys again, and it'll show throughout the game. Detroit's ground game led by Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery will keep the Cowboys' potent offense off the field.
#1 49ers and #3 Lions
Unlike the last two years where the 49ers lost the NFC Championship game on the road, this time they will enjoy the luxury of hosting the game. Christian McCaffrey will have a big performance on the ground, wearing out the Lions' defense. Defensively, they will force Jared Goff to be one-dimensional. After the disaster in Philadelphia the previous season, San Fransisco will be eager to avenge that loss.
49ers over Ravens
Like the last time both teams met in the Super Bowl, this will be a competitive game with both teams struggling to gain ground over the other. Baltimore might have dominated the 49ers at their own stadium in front of a national audience earlier in the season, but it's hard to see head coach Kyle Shanahan get out-schemed again. Christian McCaffrey will be more of a focal point as he'll cement his legacy as one of the best running backs of his generation. As for the 49ers they finally exorcise recent playoff demons, and tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins with six.