The 2017 season edition of the NFL Playoffs brings about an interesting and unique set of circumstances. Of the 12 slots, eight teams are fresh faces. ESNY breaks it down with its annual preview and predictions. 

Look around. You see it? Between the familiar towering faces of Tom or a Ben with a Bill and Drew sprinkled in, there’s uncertainty to see—to ultimately witness.

The 2017 version of the NFL Playoffs is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before. Or, at the very least, in recent memory.

Eight of the 12 teams tourney bound are fresh faces—squads that didn’t qualify for the field a year ago.

Name ’em:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Carolina Panthers

That’s the list of the unknown, but, perhaps, it brings us even more complication and freshness when drilling it down a bit further.


The Chiefs, Saints and Panthers have enjoyed a bit of tournament success recently. They’ve at least shown face via January football. The other guys, though … who are they?

NFL

The Bills haven’t experienced this in 17 years. The Jags have longed for the days of Tom Coughlin on the sideline with Mark Brunell leading the charge on the field. It’ll be their first trip since 2007 and only third since 1999. The Vikings and Eagles have been miss more than hit while the Los Angeles Rams are finally bringing playoff football back to the city for the first time since 1989 (for Rams fans) and 1993 (when Jim Kelly’s K-gun took out the Raiders in the Divisional Round).

Two years ago, we hit the nail on Peyton Manning going-out-big head by taking the Denver Broncos to win it all in Super Bowl 50. In 2016, since we chose the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs to meet in the big game back during the regular ESNY NFL Preview back in August, we had to stick with them. It didn’t turn out well for us as the Pats knocked off the Falcons in epic style.

Welcome to the 2017 NFL Postseason, the place a bundle of uncertainty meets a dash of mighty. Here is the official ESNY 2017 NFL Playoffs preview and predictions with staff picks as the capper:

Andy Reid
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

NFL Wild Card Round

AFC

6 Buffalo Bills (9-7) vs. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

  • Sunday, Jan. 7, 2017, 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS
  • EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville JaguarsWho versus who? In the words and same exact manner as the great Vince Lombardi, “What the hell’s going on out here?”

When the Buffalo Bills travel south to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, fans may perform a double-take, thinking it’s August. But alas, it’s not. It’s January.

When the tournament bracket was first released, Buffalo turned into Wild Card weekend darlings. Many are picking them as the hot upset during weekend No. 1.

Not for us. Yes, it’ll be a tight one and yes, the Bills will have every opportunity to take it, but this Jaguars defense will make just one more crucial big play late in the fourth quarter as we’ll take the Jags in a win-by-default sort of scenario.

Sacksonville, as they’re known with their 55 sacks, good enough for second in the NFL this season, will blend well with that solid secondary in shutting down Tyrod Taylor, a man we firmly believe cannot 100 percent operate from the pocket during those critical playoff moments. If Shady McCoy doesn’t play, then forget about it completely.

FINAL: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Buffalo Bills 12


5 Tennessee Titans (9-7) vs. 4 Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

  • Saturday, Jan. 6, 2017, 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City ChiefsWe understand Andy Reid’s snakebitten NFL Playoff ways, but his team will get it done on Saturday in the first playoff game of the season against the Tennessee Titans.

Think about the strengths of the Titans. A strong defense led by mastermind Dick LeBeau. Moreover, the Chiefs don’t worry about scoring a bunch of points. With Alex Smith leading the charge, all they’re worried about his time of possession and dinking and dunking with Reid’s famous crossing-patterns that slowly kill aggressive or ultra-conservative defenses.

The biggest issue the Titans will face is offensively. Bob Sutton and Kansas City—even without the services of all-world safety Eric Berry—will load the box at home and do everything they can to shut down the Titans potent rushing attack, minus DeMarco Murray. Sure, Derrick Henry may be the better back, but two are needed in this day and age, especially for an offense that relies so heavily on a powerful ground-and-pound.

The top narrative that’ll come from this one surrounds the young QB playing on the road. Marcus Mariota is still (and probably will never be) ready for primetime. Those NFL tweaked to mix in spread principles that Tennessee uses for Mariota via the passing game just don’t work against the big boys of the league—this means during January.

FINAL: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Tennessee Titans 14

Drew Brees
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NFC

6 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) vs. 3 Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

  • Saturday, Jan. 6, 2017, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles Rams“Waiting all day for … Saturday night.”

That’s right. It’s Saturday night that brings us the most electric wild-card round matchup with the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons taking on the surprising and lovable Los Angeles Rams.

It can go either way, but give us the new kids on the block.

Los Angeles carries the greatest X-factor into the playoffs and it’s not a skill, play or gameplan. Instead, it’s Wade Phillips. One of the best defensive minds of this generation will find a way to hold Matt Ryan and company to one fewer point that Jared Goff and his boys on the other side of the ball.

FINAL: Los Angeles Rams 31, Atlanta Falcons 30


5 Carolina Panthers (11-5) vs. 4 New Orleans Saints (11-5)

  • Sunday, Jan. 7, 2017, 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX
  • Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans SaintsThe second most electric matchup also comes from the NFC and more specifically, the NFC South, the division that hosted three 10-win teams.

New Orleans is home. This is the absolute key to the entire afternoon on Sunday. Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara will do their usual thing. Cam Newton, as great as he is during the regular season, will struggle mightily on the road.

Either way, it’ll be a close one as we’ll take the Saints by three in overtime.

Should all four of these wild-card round matchups hold true, that would mean all home teams advance. Rarely does that happen during any round and never would a pick-maker want to pick it this way. But hey, you can only take each matchup as it comes.

FINAL: New Orleans Saints 27, Carolina Panthers 24, OT

Ben Roethlisberger
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

NFL Divisional Round

AFC

4 Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) vs. 1 New England Patriots (13-3)

  • Saturday, Jan. 13, 2017, 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

New England PatriotsAfter the first several weeks of the 2017 regular season, this matchup looked a lot more enticing. Now, in early January, even the most optimistic Kansas City Chiefs supporter would have to think twice.

It’s amazing. Forget about the insane non-catch replay reversals. The New England Patriots found a way, yet again, to snatch home-field advantage throughout the AFC side of the bracket.

Reported trouble from within—regarding Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft—or not, there’s just no way the Pats are losing to the Chiefs in this spot.

Besides, Andy Reid is snakebitten. It’s such a chore to choose Reid at this stage of the playoffs considering his January past.

FINAL: New England Patriots 30, Kansas City Chiefs 21


3 Jacksonville Jaguars (10-7) vs. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

  • Sunday, Jan. 14, 2017, 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS
  • Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

PIttsburgh SteelersIt’s a blowout, folks. The killer B’s of Pittsburgh will rout the upstart Jags.

Blake Bortles will become undone and look exposed. That aggressive Jags D will find itself burnt by Big Ben’s tough pocket presence and sneaky mobility. Heinz Field will be wound up by the time we get to the divisional round and Mike Tomlin’s squad will take full advantage.

Expect big points by the potent Steelers against a quality young defense.

FINAL: Pittsburgh Steelers 38, Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Nick Foles
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

NFC

3 Los Angeles Rams (12-5) vs. 2 Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

  • Sunday, Jan. 14, 2017, 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Los Angeles RamsSo far, we’ve gone through six games and so far, the home team has won all six. Usually, that’s a direct recipe for disaster and a major spat in the eyes of recent football playoff history.

This is where that trend ends.

At this point, it’s an obvious trend heading into the tournament. The No. 1 and 2 seeds in the NFC appear to resemble more of the wild-card seed variety. For the Philadelphia Eagles, it comes down to simple injury (via Carson Wentz). For the Minnesota Vikings, nobody believes in Case Keenum.

We do believe in Case Keenum. Unfortunately, we believe in this nasty Rams defense a ton more and the Vikes won’t find themselves anywhere near a home-field Super Bowl which would be the first of its kind.

FINAL: Los Angeles Rams 28, Minnesota Vikings 13


4 New Orleans Saints (12-5) vs. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

  • Saturday, Jan. 13, 2017, 4:35 p.m. ET, FOX
  • Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

New Orleans SaintsAnd again, the other NFC bye squad goes down.

Listen, it’s just bad luck. This league—thanks to its insistence on forcing the offense issue to the absolute extreme—is all about the quarterback. While Nick Foles is a serviceable backup, these Eagles cannot with the chip without Carson Wentz. It’s that simple and that unfortunate.

Even on the road, Drew Brees and a more solidified Saints roster pulls off the upset in Philly.

FINAL: New Orleans Saints 31, Philadelphia Eagles 25

Bill Belichick
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

ESNY's 2017 NFL Preview, Predictions: Can Tom Brady Be Stopped? 21

2 Pittsburgh Steelers (14-3) vs. 1 New England Patriots (14-3)

  • Sunday, Jan. 21, 2017, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

New England PatriotsIt’s the game of the year, part two. It’s the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers at Foxborough for the right to go to Super Bowl 52.

The first contest came at Heinz Field and was literally anybody’s game. In fact, it looked like the Steelers game when tight end Jesse James caught a late Big Ben hook at the 1-yard-line and turned into the end zone.

Obviously, we know what happened.

Traditionally, the Steelers defense struggles mightily to keep up with Tom Brady’s offense when he spreads ’em out. He looks to catch them in a base or nickel defense and spread everybody out, running backs and tight ends included. Ryan Shazier’s speed helped to counter that no-huddle strategy, but we all know he won’t be on the field.

Still, it looked as though Tomlin and Pittsburgh adjusted well to the spread ’em out situations several weeks ago.

No matter though. Something strange and out of the ordinary will happen that’ll propel New England to the big game. It’s just the way it is in this day and age of NFL football. The QB wins and despite carrying a far-from-stellar Pats defense, that sentiment almost always holds true around this time of year.

FINAL: New England Patriots 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 27

Tom Brady
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

ESNY's 2017 NFL Preview, Predictions: Can Tom Brady Be Stopped? 23

4 New Orleans Saints (13-5) vs. 3 Los Angeles Rams (13-5)

  • Sunday, Jan. 21, 2017, 6:40 p.m. ET, FOX
  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles RamsIn a stunning turn of events, the Rams will host a game in week one, head on the road for the divisional round, and then come back at home to welcome in the high-powered New Orleans Saints for the NFC title game.

Todd Gurley III will find room in this one. Look for the league’s best running back this season to eclipse 150 yards while Wade Phillips’ defense does a number against shifty Alvin Kamara and the road-traveling Saints.

Give us the Rams. They’ll continue as that feelgood story in 2017 and make for a tasty Super Bowl story for two weeks.

FINAL: Los Angeles Rams 20, New Orleans Saints 10

Tom Brady
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Super Bowl 52

3 Los Angeles Rams (14-5) vs. 1 New England Patriots (15-3)

  • Sunday, Feb. 4, 2017, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

New England PatriotsHere we go. Experience versus youth. Vets against rookies. Darth Belichick against young Jedi McVay.

Super Bowl 52 will provide us one excellent and contrasting matchup.

If the Rams attempt to overpower the Pats with Gurley, they’ll be sorry. Bill Belichick will do everything in his power to shut down that running game and force young Jared Goff to beat him over-the-top.

Can he get it done? I don’t think so.

The Rams will slow Tom Brady down a bit, but in the end, Goff just isn’t ready. This is a passing league dominated by the short timing plays built off tremendous matchups. Nobody has perfected that craft with these specific rules in NFL history than Tom Terrific.

Julian Edelman—who should have already captured one Super Bowl MVP—won’t cash in this year due to his shelf status. Instead, it’ll be Chris Hogan who runs wile through the second-level of the defense while the Pats complete the three titles in four years for the second time. One dynasty to open the run and one to end it.

FINAL: New England Patriots 23, Los Angeles Rams 16

SB MVP: Chris Hogan

New England Patriots


ESNY | Elite Sports NY

Staff Picks

Rick Weiner: Editor in Chief

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Bills
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Rams

DIVISIONAL
6 Bills vs. 1 Patriots: Pats
4 Chiefs vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers
4 Saints vs. 1 Eagles: Saints
3 Rams vs. 2 Vikings: Rams

CHAMPIONSHIP
Pats vs. Steelers: Pats
Saints vs. Rams: Rams

SUPER BOWL
Pats vs. Rams: Rams
SB MVP: Todd Gurley III

The key to stopping the Rams is stopping Todd Gurley III. There’s not a team in their path that can do that, and they’ll ride the best running back in football all the way to Disney World.

Los Angeles Rams


Geoff Magliocchetti: Giants Senior Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Jags
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Panthers
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Rams

DIVISIONAL
4 Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Pats
3 Jags vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers
5 Panthers vs. 1 Eagles: Eagles
3 Rams vs. 2 Vikings: Vikings

CHAMPIONSHIP
Pats vs. Steelers: Pats
Vikings vs. Panthers: Vikings

SUPER BOWL
Pats vs. Vikings: Vikings

This NFL season has been silly enough as is. For it to end with a Patriots team that’s apparently more divided than The Avengers against the host Minnesota Vikings (who would technically be the road team, as it’s the NFC’s turn to do so), would be an all-too-appropriate way to end it all.

New England Patriots


Paul Esden Jr.: Jets Boss, Staff Writer, Podcast Host

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs

The Tennessee Titans are without the services of DeMarco Murray and that’s a good thing. It’s Derrick Henry time. He’s younger, faster, stronger and a better all-around player. It’s time for the Titans to feed the beast which gives them a real chance in this game, despite losing three out of their last four games. Give me the Chiefs to squeeze this one out, 24-21.

6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Jags

The Bills haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999. The Jaguars haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007. This is awesome. I love parity in the NFL and new teams being in. Fun fact: there are eight new teams (out of a possible 12) in the postseason. We’re going to experience some interesting and fun matchups. With that being said, the Buffalo Bills chances all ride-or-die on LeSean McCoy’s health which is very much up in the air for the game on Sunday. I think the Bills give the Jaguars a scare, but ultimately fall just short with Jacksonville winning a defensive slugfest 18-16.

5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints

I love when we get trilogies in the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints swept the regular season series against the Carolina Panthers. Since the NFL-AFL merger, 20 times have we seen opponents play each other three times in a season. Thirteen times teams finished off the complete sweep, which is a little surprising, to say the least, but I think that continues. The Saints are the real dark horse to take this whole thing. I see the Saints winning this game in semi-dominant fashion. Saints take it 32 to 20.

6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Rams

This is one of the most exciting games on paper and could be high scoring. Jared Goff and this explosive Rams offense vs. the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. Experience vs. youth and I think the Rams are going to feel invincible and they should because they take out the dirty birds and move on. Rams win 35-27.

DIVISIONAL
4 Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots, 26-18
3 Jaguars vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers, 20-16
4 Saints vs. 1 Eagles: Saints, 42-6
3 Rams vs. 2 Vikings: Rams, 15-13

CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Patriots vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers, 35-34
4 Saints vs. 3 Rams: Rams, 42-41

SUPER BOWL
Steelers vs. Rams: Rams, 28-24
SB MVP: Todd Gurley III

Los Angeles Rams


Jason Leach, Giants Beat Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs 24, Titans 13: The Titans backed their way into the playoffs losing three of their last four games and now they’ll be without running back DeMarco Murray with a knee injury. Kansas City is one of the hardest places to play and the Titans will experience this Saturday afternoon. Look for Kareem Hunt to have a big game as the Chiefs win this by double-digits.

6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Jaguars 23, Bills 10: LeSean McCoy expects to play despite his ankle injury, but having your best offensive player not 100 percent against the leagues second ranked defense spells doom for the Bills. The Jaguars have the best cornerback duo in the league in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, and they’ll shut down the Bills passing game.

5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints 27, Panthers 17: They say it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, but that’s what the Saints will do on Sunday. Cam Newton has been too inaccurate to keep pace with the balanced Saints attack that features Drew Brees and their two Pro Bowl running backs Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara

6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Rams 31, Falcons 24: This is the most intriguing matchup of wild-card weekend as the defending NFC champions face the upstart Rams and the number one scoring offense in the league. Look for Todd Gurley to be the difference as he has over 150 scrimmage yards as the Rams move on to the next round

DIVISIONAL
Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots 24, Chiefs 23: The Patriots get revenge for their Week 1 loss to the Chiefs as Tom Brady leads the Pats to the winning score in the final minutes of the game

Jaguars vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers 27, 20 Jaguars: When these team met in week 5, Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions. There’s no way he’ll have another game like that. The Steelers 3 B’s (Big Ben, Brown and Bell) will be too much for the Jaguars defense to handle

Saints vs. 1 Eagles: Saints 27, Eagles 13: You can’t expect to lose your quarterback, who was playing at an MVP level, and expect to go on a long playoff run. The Eagles defense has played well this year, but they’ll be on the field for over 35 minutes due to Nick Foles being unable to sustain long drives. The Saints pull away in the second half and advance to the conference championship game

Rams vs. 2 Vikings: Vikings 21, Rams 20: The difference in this one between the Viking and their No. 1 ranked defense against the Rams No. 1 scoring offense will be the Vikings converting their red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Look for Case Keenum to connect with Kyle Rudolph for two touchdowns.

CHAMPIONSHIP
Steelers vs. Patriots: Patriots 30, Steelers 27: The Steelers are the better and more balanced team. But until they beat the Patriots, you can’t pick them to win. Somehow some way, the Patriots will win and advance to their eighth Super Bowl in the Brady-Belichick era

Saints vs. Vikings: Saints 24, Vikings 20: The Vikings won the Week 1 matchup 29-19, but that was before the Saints discovered how dynamic rookie running back Alvin Kamara was. You can’t pick Case Keenum to outduel Drew Brees with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Saints win and advance to their second Super Bowl.

SUPER BOWL
Saints vs. Patriots: Patriots 34, Saints 31: Just like how the Patriots won their first three Super Bowls, they win this game by a field goal. Both Brady and Brees throw for over 300 yards, but the deciding factor will be Brady and his one final drive of the game.

SB MVP: Tom Brady

New England Patriots


Robbie Stratakos, Giants Staff Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Jaguars
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Panthers
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Falcons

DIVISIONAL
Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
Jaguars vs. 2 Steelers: Jaguars
Falcons vs. 1 Eagles: Falcons
Panthers vs. 2 Vikings: Vikings

CHAMPIONSHIP
Patriots vs. Jaguars: Patriots
Vikings vs. Falcons: Vikings

SUPER BOWL
Patriots vs. Vikings: Patriots
SB MVP: James Harrison

New England Patriots


Mark Kelly: Jets Staff Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Bills
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Falcons

DIVISIONAL
6 Bills vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
4 Chiefs vs. 2 Steelers: Chiefs
6 Falcons vs. 1 Eagles: Falcons
4 Saints vs. 2 Vikings: Saints

CHAMPIONSHIP
4 Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Pats
6 Falcons vs. 4 Saints: Saints

SUPER BOWL
1 Patriots vs. 4 Saints: Pats
SB MVP: Tom Brady

New England Patriots


Nick LoPrinzi: Giants Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Jaguars
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Falcons

DIVISIONAL
4 Chiefs vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
3 Jaguars vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers
6 Falcons vs. 1 Eagles: Falcons
4 Saints vs. 2 Vikings: Saints

CHAMPIONSHIP
2 Steelers vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
6 Falcons vs. 4 Saints: Saints

SUPER BOWL
4 Saints vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
SB MVP: Tom Brady

On wild-card weekend, I only see one upset happening: the Falcons beating the Rams. The Rams are a very good team, but the playoff experience is lacking. The Falcons have not received offense like last season, but now that the playoffs are about to begin, anything can happen. Atlanta was a quarter away from being the Super Bowl champs before an epic collapse. They’ll be hungry this year and I do not think the young Rams can stop them. In the divisional round, the NFC’s No. 1 and 2 seeds will both be upset. The Falcons once again will upset the higher seed, but this time it will come much easier as the Eagles are without their MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz. The Vikings have dominated all season long, but I still do not believe in Case Keenum. The Saints defense is much improved and I believe that is what pushes them over the edge.

We will get the AFC Championship Game we are all hoping for, Big Ben vs. Tom Brady. Steelers vs. Patriots. The Patriots have owned the Steelers in the playoffs since Brady has been there. They will once again this year and advance. In the NFC Championship Game, we get a divisional matchup between New Orleans and Atlanta. The Saints really have it all this year. They are too much for Atlanta to handle.

Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady. It does not get much better than that. Two of the greatest face off in this year’s Super Bowl. The Patriots will win it for the sixth time during the Tom Brady era. Just unreal.

New England Patriots


Billy McInerney, Jets/Giants Staff Writer

WILD CARD
5 Titans vs. 4 Chiefs: Chiefs
6 Bills vs. 3 Jaguars: Bills
5 Panthers vs. 4 Saints: Saints
6 Falcons vs. 3 Rams: Rams

DIVISIONAL
6 Bills vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
4 Chiefs vs. 2 Steelers: Steelers
4 Saints vs. 1 Eagles: Saints
3 Rams vs. 2 Vikings: Vikings

CHAMPIONSHIP
2 Steelers vs. 1 Patriots: Patriots
4 Saints vs. 2 Vikings: Vikings

SUPER BOWL
Vikings vs. Patriots: Patriots
SB MVP: Tom Brady

This all comes down to the AFC Championship. The Patriots and the Steelers are the two best teams in football entering the playoffs, and they’ll have to get through one another for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy. We’ve seen Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger play each other so many times over the years, but with both getting older one has to wonder if it will be the last time they meet in the playoffs. Neither team should have a problem with their Divisional round opponents.

The Vikings have had an amazing run under Case Keenum. He’s played some amazing football, and he’s got a great defense. He’s on top of the world, but he won’t be able to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. They have too much experience and talent. The Eagles looked like a lock to make the Super Bowl until they lost Carson Wentz. Nick Foles is a solid quarterback, but he doesn’t beat Drew Brees and an improved Saints defense in the playoffs. The Vikings will become the first team to play in a Super Bowl on their home field, but won’t be able to stop the Patriots from claiming their third Super Bowl in four years.

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