2018 NFL Playoff Preview

playoffprevThe NFL playoffs are about to start and all of the best teams are gearing up for a run at the Super Bowl in Minnesota.

That run has seen plenty of parity in the past with a lot of teams always having a shot at the title.

This year things seem to be a little different when talking about the playoffs though as there seems to be a massive love affair with the former champions.

The New England Patriots are used to being favourites in the playoffs as they enter every single season as one of the most complete teams in the league.

Last year seemed to be a bit of a turning point for them though as they were always considered great but the way they won the Super Bowl last year seemed to give them an even bigger boost.

After going down early and seeming like they were out of it entirely but they led the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to take the win.

It was the fifth title for the organization under the ownership of Robert Kraft, the coaching of Bill Belichick and the leadership of Tom Brady.

That win was one of the best they have had in those five Super Bowl wins and for some reason that win seemed to give them a different level of success.

Brady had essentially been given the greatest of all time title while this version of the Patriots entered the conversation for greatest team of all time.

As they went through the season they were their usual selves with a few losses but far more wins and they rose to the top of the AFC.

Brady was himself and Belichick continued to be the stoic steady hand leading the entire team to more success.

They head into the playoffs as a clear favourite to win it all this year and a lot of that has to do with the way they won last year.

That type of win has everyone thinking that there is not a lot of ways to beat the Patriots and that they will come through in any situation.

As good as the Patriots have been all year and for the past decade they are still just another team in the playoffs.

They may be a team that seems more likely to go further but they are a team that can be beat should a team put on a great game.

There are plenty of teams entering this year’s playoffs that have a shot at taking their title, especially with the runs that they have seen.

The Steelers are always a challenge to the Patriots in their own conference and if they get one of their stars back they could be the challenger again.

In the NFC the Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the best teams all year after an unexpectedly great season.

The Minnesota Vikings have put their own great season together while the Atlanta Falcons are always a tough challenge.hockey-sidebar

There are a lot of great teams in the playoffs as they have all made it this far for a reason.

None are going to be an easy out in any round of the playoffs and despite the fact that most people believe that the Patriots have a clear path the playoffs are never clear.

Anything can happen at any point in time and when good teams head into games against each other the unexpected is sure to take place.

That is what makes the playoffs so entertaining, despite the best efforts to predict the results the game still need to be played.

One player or one team can have an off or on day and change everything even with the two seemingly being overmatched.

This year the Patriots are the ones that everyone is watching and they will look to handle the pressure like they do every time, in stride.

If they can they seem to have everything they need to win but the path to back-to-back championships is far from an easy one.

Every team has earned their spot and all have a real shot at the Super Bowl if they can put everything together.

They also have their holes that can be exposed to take them out of the playoffs and out of the running.

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The AFC is once again going to look to the biggest rivalry in the conference as New England and Pittsburgh are back in the playoffs. It is becoming a tradition that these teams meet in the conference championship and often it is the Patriots that come out on top. Both have all-star quarterbacks with the Steelers have a high-powered offence and the Patriots putting together a well-rounded team. Both teams found their way to the top of the conference for another year and seem to be on a collision course again. That seems to only come to fruition if the Steelers can get their top receiver back as Antonio Brown looks like he could return for their first game. Both teams doing what they have been doing this year could make it tough for the other teams in the conference. The other team in the conference that looked more like a playoff team from the start was the Chiefs who were good from Week 1. It was a bit of an up and down season but they ended on an up taking a four-game win streak into the playoffs. Their offensive power is some of the best in the league when they are all firing and that is exactly what happened at the end of the season. There were some surprises this year that will look to continue the trend in the playoffs and shock everyone by taking out these top two teams. Jacksonville was one of them as the team rode one of the league’s best defences to the top of the division and into the playoffs. They will need that defence to step up too as Blake Bortles is not the most reliable quarterback in the league. Although he has done enough the playoffs are a time for doing more than just enough. The Buffalo Bills were another surprise, earning their playoff spot in the final week of the season and breaking a 17-year playoff drought. They are likely the biggest underdog as they don’t do anything really well but they do find ways to win. It might be tougher without LeSean McCoy who might not play and might not be 100% is he does play. McCoy is a major part of their offence and without him, their weapons are lacking on either side of the ball. Another surprise, although not as big as the other two, was the Tennessee Titans who scrapped in alongside the Bills. Much like their wild card brethren, they are a team that depends heavily on the run game to drive their offence. The similarities continue as the Titans will be without one of their biggest players in DeMarco Murray who helps drive that running attack. Both the Bills and the Titans have injury concerns while the Jaguars have their own issues on the offensive side of the ball. Each team has what it takes to move on but everything needs to go right for some while others can have small mistakes. That is what leaves the top three teams as the most likely candidates to head to Minnesota this year.

afcplayoffsprediction

 

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The NFC is a conference that has been full of surprises this year with many of the usual suspects missing from action this year. It has always been an interesting conference with constant turnover and plenty of parity throughout the teams. There always seemed to be some sense of stability at the top though as a number of teams over the last few years were always in the running regardless of their standing. These were the teams that were going to make a legitimate run to the Super Bowl and potentially win it all. Teams like Green Bay, Seattle and Atlanta were a major part of the NFC playoffs for a number of years. In 2018 only one of those teams is in the playoffs at all and they aren’t even a division champion. They won’t be the major team to watch this year though as two more surprising choices have found their way to the top of the division. The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the best teams all year and they are followed closely behind by the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles did a lot of the heavy lifting at the start of the season and unfortunately, that formula is not the same with Carson Wentz sidelined late in the season. Still, with Nick Foles holding down the fort the defence has been able to lead the way giving the Eagles a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. When talking about defence though there is none better than the Vikings who have one of the league’s top-ranked groups. If defence does win championships there is little blocking them from attending the Super Bowl at home. Another big surprise was the Los Angeles Rams who had one of the greatest turnarounds under new head coach Sean McVay. They are the offensive answer to the Vikings as they can score with the best of them thanks to Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. The New Orleans Saints are not as much of a surprise but they are back with a team that is far more well-rounded than they have been in the past. They don’t do one thing great but they do everything well and could turn out to be the real sleepers with most focus on the Vikings and the Eagles. Then there are the wild card teams including the team with the most to prove this year. The Falcons were on the wrong end of the greatest comeback in NFL history and they are back to get some revenge. They aren’t the same team as last year although the talent is all there and if that offence can wake-up at the right time it is a motivated group that can make some noise. The Carolina Panthers are much like the Falcons as they aren’t as great as they once were but they are a team with a lot of talent. The Main pieces from their last two Super Bowl appearances are still around and the talent is still there as they can make a run if everything goes well. Although the top two teams are interesting picks there are issues and there are good teams right below them that can make a run. It will make everything interesting in the NFC for another year with more unpredictability in this conference than the AFC.

nfcplayoffprediction

 

Super Bowl LII:
It will be a little surprising this year as with many of the teams who made the playoffs, to begin with. The Steelers will finally take out their rivals in the conference finals with a fully healthy team and the Saints will sneak up on everyone in the NFC to earn their spot. That will make for an unexpected Super Bowl LII but the end will be a little more expected. The Saints are a good team that isn’t great at any one thing but is good at everything. The Steelers are a high-powered offence that is finally fully healthy. Pittsburgh will overwhelm a good Saints defence and leave Minnesota with a comfortable win while their defence steps up to keep the lead going throughout the game.

sbprediction

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