Predicting the 2018 NFL Playoffs

After the Whistle’s football focus continues as the playoffs are set. The main surprise story is the Buffalo Bills, who punched their ticket via the Bengals upset of the Ravens. Here are my NFL playoff predictions.

AFC wild card round

(3) Jaguars over (6) Bills

The tale will end for Buffalo. Jacksonville’s elite defense and surprisingly competent offense will carry the Jaguars through to the divisional round.

(4) Chiefs over (5) Titans

Tennessee’s defense has had trouble against multidimensional offenses, and a Chiefs attack led by Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt is a test. Marcus Mariota’s first playoff game will end in defeat.

NFC wild card round

(3) Rams over (6) Falcons

Playoff experience will keep the Falcons close, but another blown lead will end in disaster as the Rams win a high-scoring shootout.

(5) Panthers over (4) Saints

Noticing a pattern? Carolina’s elite defense will defeat the dynamic Saints offense, and the Panthers will head to the divisional round.

Divisional round

(1) Patriots over (4) Chiefs

Andy Reid’s terrible late-game management won’t come into play here, as New England is superior to Kansas City on both sides of the ball.

(3) Jaguars over (2) Steelers 

Surprised? The Jags will pull the upset, as Pittsburgh’s offensive line can’t keep out the “Sacksonville” D-line. Blake Bortles’ competent play will be enough to supplant a terrific running game.

(2) Vikings over (3) Rams

Disclaimer: I’m a die-hard Vikings fan.

We’re not far removed from the Vikings’ 24-7 blowout of the Rams, and Jared Goff is in for another’s rough outing against the league’s best defensive unit. On the other side of the ball, Case Keenum will lead the charge as Adam Thielen goes for over 100 yards.

(5) Panthers over (1) Eagles

Philly’s offense has been downright awful since Carson Wentz tore his ACL, and the Panthers have no such qualms. The Packers, Eagles, and Dolphins won’t stop complaining about their QB injury problems. Whereas the Vikings’ former third-stringer is an MVP candidate.

Conference championship games

(1) Patriots over (3) Jaguars

Tom Brady is heading back to the Super Bowl. Suspect Blake Bortles will finally get found out against the Pats’ experienced defense, and New England’s explosive offense will power them through.

(2) Vikings over (5) Panthers

Carolina won’t beat Minnesota twice, and Cam Newton has a way of folding in NFC Championship games. SKOL Vikes!

*Bashes autocorrect for autocorrecting to Sam Vokes*

SUPER BOWL!!!

Vikings over Patriots

The Vikings fan I am, of course I find reasons for Minnesota to win it all.

New England’s suspect secondary won’t be able to keep up with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, and the Patriots’ last-minute comeback will fall short. Harrison Smith picks off Tom Brady to seal a thrilling 27-24 victory.

 

So how did I do? Do you disagree? Post your picks in the comments!

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Playoff Scenarios for the Minnesota Vikings

Two weeks remain in the NFL’s regular season, and the playoffs are taking shape. After the Whistle details the Vikings’ every scenario, while not pointing out the Packers’ elimination. Whoops.

#1 seed scenarios

Just one possibility remains for Minnesota to get home-field advantage through the playoffs.

  • Eagles lose out (against the Raiders and Cowboys) AND Vikings win out (Packers, Bears)

 

#2 seed scenarios

This one seems like the Vikings’ most likely spot. A head-to-head sweep of the Rams and Saints gives Minnesota every tiebreaker if the current division winners hold, and the Falcons would lose the conference record tiebreaker. Carolina is the only team holding a tiebreaker advantage, but the Panthers are unlikely to win the South.

The follwing ensures Minnesota of at least a first round bye.

  • Vikings win out
  • Vikings win one of two AND a 12-4 Carolina doesn’t win the NFC South
  • Rams and Saints lose one of two AND a 12-4 Carolina doesn’t win the South

 

#3 seed

A finish depriving Minnesota of a bye would be a shock, but it could happen if one of these happens.

  • Vikings win one of two AND a 12-4 Carolina wins the NFC South
  • Vikings lose out AND Panthers win out
  • Vikings lose out AND Saints win out
  • Vikings lose out AND Rams win out
  • Vikings lose out AND an 11-5 Falcons win the South AND Rams finish 11-5 to give us weird tiebreakers that aren’t clear yet.