NFL playoffs: 10 daring predictions plus choosing your entire bracket, 2021 home-and-away opponents for every group


Guys, after eager about it for the previous 24 hours, I feel we’ve got two choices going ahead: We both begin 2021 over or we simply quick ahead via the remainder of the 12 months and let tomorrow be the primary day of 2022. 

That second possibility might be the very best one for Browns followers, as a result of then they will not have to sit down and watch their group lose a playoff recreation that the NFL is forcing them to play despite the fact that half their teaching workers is out. Then again, if we restart 2021, that may give the Dolphins an opportunity to replay Week 17 and never embarrass themselves. There are positively professionals and cons to each side.

Anyway, since everybody most likely wants a sports activities escape proper now, I’ve packed this text with as a lot NFL playoff data as I may get my fingers on. 

You need daring predictions? They’re in immediately’s e-newsletter. 
You need somebody predicting your entire NFL postseason? In immediately’s e-newsletter. 
You wish to know who your group is taking part in subsequent 12 months? In immediately’s e-newsletter. 

With that in thoughts, let’s get to the rundown. As all the time, here is your weekly reminder to inform all your pals to join the e-newsletter. All you must do is click on right here after which share the hyperlink. In case your pet has an e-mail deal with, be at liberty to signal them up too. I’ve heard that turtles love me.  

1. At the moment’s Present: Daring predictions for the playoffs

I wasn’t planning on being on any extra podcasts till the playoff video games kicked off this weekend, however then Will Brinson referred to as me with a proposal I could not refuse: He stated, “Hey Breech, let’s drink some beer and make some daring predictions for the playoffs.” I’ve identified Brinson for almost 10 years, so that you’d suppose that he’d know by now that I favor wine, so I ought to have turned down his request on precept alone, however I like making daring predictions, so I jumped on the podcast with him and Ryan Wilson. 

Through the present, all of us made one daring prediction for the AFC wild-card spherical, one for the NFC wild-card video games and one for the general playoffs. You guys can decide who obtained the craziest. 

AFC wild-card daring prediction

Brinson: Colts beat Payments. In case you’ve ever watched the podcast on YouTube (which you are able to do by clicking right here), you will have seen that Brinson has a Philip Rivers doll on his desk, so nobody needs to be shocked by this choose. 

Wilson: Titans beat Ravens. These two groups have performed twice over the previous 12 months and Wilson picked the Ravens each occasions, so I am guessing he lastly flipped right here as a result of he is been burnt by Baltimore twice (Then again, I picked the Titans to win each occasions and can as soon as once more be choosing them this weekend). 

Breech: Each dwelling group covers the unfold. This won’t appear daring, however for those who’re a gambler, then you definately may notice how daring it’s. Solely as soon as since 2013 has there been a season the place each AFC dwelling group coated and that was when there have been solely TWO video games within the wild-card spherical. For me to nail this, the Steelers and Payments must win by seven and the Titans must win (or lose by three or much less).  

NFC wild-card daring prediction

Brinson: John Wolford leads all NFC gamers in dashing in the course of the wild-card spherical. Choosing a backup QB to guide all NFC rushers may appear loopy, nevertheless it’s a minimum of believable. Wolford rushed for greater than 50 yards in Week 17 and he’ll have to make use of his legs if the Rams are going to beat Seattle. Plus, for those who take a look at the very best working backs taking part in this weekend within the NFC (Alvin Kamara, David Montgomery, Antonio Gibson), they’re all going up towards high dashing defenses. 

Wilson: Washington upsets Tampa Bay. If you wish to beat Tom Brady within the playoffs, you must have a powerful defensive position and Washington has that. Additionally, Brady could be very beatable on the highway as his profession postseason document away from house is simply 4-4. Oh, and let’s not neglect that this recreation will mark the primary time Brady has ever performed on the highway within the wild-card spherical. 

Breech: Bears beat Saints. The wild-card spherical usually provides us one or two loopy upsets per 12 months and I am banking on this being that loopy upset. 

Postseason daring prediction

Wilson: Colts play Steelers in AFC title recreation. Wilson is a Steelers homer, so though this choose is considerably daring, it is not stunning in any respect. 

Brinson: Colts get to AFC title recreation, Tom Brady to the Tremendous Bowl. Wilson stole Brinson’s daring prediction (Colts to AFC title recreation), so Brinson needed to provide you with one thing else and that one thing else is the Buccaneers within the Tremendous Bowl. If the Bucs pull it off, they’d turn into the primary group ever to play the Tremendous Bowl of their dwelling stadium. 

Breech: Seahawks get to Tremendous Bowl. You do not normally see a 12-4 group get slept on within the playoffs, however I really feel like we’re all sleeping on Seattle. (Guys, I will be sincere, I actually wished to work a “Sleepless in Seattle” pun in there, however that is the very best I may do).

If you need a complete breakdown of our predictions — and belief me, you do — you can hearken to your entire episode of the podcast

2. Predicting your entire postseason

As an alternative of simply choosing the wild-card spherical, Jordan Dajani obtained a bit loopy immediately and determined to run via your entire postseason and make a choose for each recreation. Can we even know who’s going to play who within the divisional spherical? No, we do not, however that is what makes this train much more enjoyable.

Right here are Dajani’s picks (I am going to offer you my ideas on his picks on the finish).   

Tremendous Wild Card Weekend
Payments 31-24 over Colts
Seahawks 24-10 over Rams
Buccaneers 27-21 over Washington
Ravens 34-27 over Titans
Saints 30-24 over Bears
Steelers 35-25 over Browns

Divisional Spherical
Steelers 28-27 over Payments
Saints 31-24 over Seahawks
Chiefs 35-28 over Ravens
Packers 24-21 over Buccaneers

Championship Spherical
Packers 30-23 over Saints
Chiefs 31-21 over Steelers

Tremendous Bowl LV
Chiefs 30-28 over Packers

Man, I boldly predict the Seahawks to go to the Tremendous Bowl and Jordan simply tosses them out within the Divisional Spherical like he DOESN’T EVEN CARE about my daring predictions. Additionally, Jordan goes heavy on the favorites right here. By my depend, he picked the favored group in 12 of the 13 video games. Based mostly on the percentages in Vegas, the one upset could be Steelers over Payments within the divisional spherical. The factor about underdogs although is that they have been fairly harmful over the previous three years. In 2019, they went 4-7, which got here on the heels of a 5-6 12 months in 2018. In 2017, underdogs really had a profitable document, going 6-5. Why do you HATE underdogs Jordan?

You’ll be able to learn Jordan’s whole prediction by clicking right here

3. Rating the 14 playoff teaching staffs

In case you’re making your playoff picks based mostly on who has the very best teaching workers, then you definately’re positively going to wish to learn Jared Dubin’s newest piece that ranks each teaching workers within the postseason. First, I ought to word that Dubin got here up along with his personal standards. After that, he ran his rankings by a few of the different NFL writers right here at after which he got here up with the rankings under. 

Listed below are the top-five teaching staffs based on Dubin:

1. Chiefs: HC Andy Reid, OC Eric Bieniemy, DC Steve Spagnuolo
2. Ravens: HC John Harbaugh, OC Greg Roman, DC Don Martindale
3. Payments: HC Sean McDermott, OC Brian Daboll, DC Leslie Frazier
4. Saints: HC Sean Payton, OC Pete Carmichael, DC Dennis Allen
5. Rams: HC Sean McVay, OC Kevin O’Connell, DC Brandon Staley

I am unsure if individuals named Sean obtained bonus factors for being named Sean, nevertheless it type of appears that method based mostly on the top-five right here. In case you’re questioning the place the Steelers are ranked on this record or why the Packers teaching workers did not make the top-five, you will should learn Dubin’s whole story and you are able to do that by clicking right here

Getty Pictures

4. Lamar Jackson may be a part of Andy Dalton a listing no QB desires to be on

Lamar Jackson already has an MVP award beneath his belt, however one factor he does not have is a playoff win. As somebody who grew up a Bengals fan, nobody is aware of greater than me what it is wish to be a fan of a group who has a quarterback who cannot win within the playoffs. 

Jackson does not fairly have the “cannot win within the playoffs” label but, however he may quickly. If he cannot win on Sunday towards the Titans, he’ll drop to 0-3 in his profession and at that time, he’ll positively have the label, and that is largely as a result of he’ll be a part of Andy Dalton on the one record nobody desires to be on. 

Dalton is the one quarterback within the Tremendous Bowl period to start out a playoff recreation in every of his first three seasons and go 0-3. Jackson will match that document if he loses this weekend and he appears nicely conscious of that. 

“Positively attempting to erase that narrative proper there,” Jackson stated Wednesday. “That is the No. 1 [goal] proper there on my thoughts.” 

The truth that he is conscious of that narrative signifies that the narrative may add some strain. If the Ravens fall behind early, they could begin considering, “oh no, right here we go once more.” On the brilliant aspect, perhaps Dalton will name and console him after the sport if the Ravens lose. 

5. 2021 Residence-and-away opponents for each group

With your entire 2020 common season within the bag, meaning each group within the NFL now is aware of who they’re going to be taking part in in 2021. Certain, the precise schedule will not be launched till later this spring, however each groups does know the id of the 16 opponents they’re going to be going through, so let’s take a fast take a look at that. 

The NFL scheduling components lets you determine all of these items out prematurely and the premise of that components is that each group in every division performs 14 frequent video games.

Let’s take the AFC East for instance: The Patriots, Jets, Dolphins and Payments will all play six divisional video games plus 4 video games towards the AFC South plus 4 video games towards the NFC South. The opposite two video games on the schedule might be towards groups that completed in the identical spot as you in the identical convention division you are not scheduled to play. Within the case of the AFC East, the Payments might be taking part in the primary place group from the AFC North (Steelers) and AFC West (Chiefs). The Dolphins will play the second place group from these divisions and so forth. 

Additionally, the seventeenth recreation listed under hasn’t been formally added but, but when the NFL approves it, every group will play towards an reverse convention group that completed in the identical spot within the standings. As an illustration, the AFC East is matched up with the NFC South for the seventeenth recreation, so the 2 first place groups (Payments and Saints) will play one another subsequent season if the seventeenth recreation will get added. 

AFC East: Division (6), AFC South (4), NFC South (4), AFCN (1), AFCW (1) — seventeenth (NFC South)
AFC South: Division (6), AFC East (4), NFC West (4), AFCN (1), AFCW (1) — seventeenth (NFC West)
AFC North: Division (6), AFC West (4), NFC North (4), AFCE (1), AFCS (1) — seventeenth (NFC North)
AFC West: Division (6), AFC North (4), NFC East (4), AFCE (1), AFCS (1) — seventeenth (NFC East)

NFC East: Division (6), NFC South (4), AFC West (4), NFCN (1), NFCW (1) — seventeenth (AFC West)
NFC South: Division (6), NFC East (4), AFC East (4), NFCN (1), NFCW (1)  — seventeenth (AFC East)
NFC North: Division (6), NFC West (4), AFC North (4), NFCE (1), NFCS (1)  — seventeenth (AFC North)
NFC West: Division (6), NFC North (4), AFC South (4), NFCE (1), NFCS (1) — seventeenth (AFC South)

If none of this is sensible, really feel free to click on right here and take a look at our story that really lists out each opponent for every group

6. Residence-field benefit not likely a bonus in 2020

If you are going to be betting on the wild-card video games this 12 months, then you definately may wish to ensure that to choose a number of highway groups to win, as a result of home-field benefit has been tossed out the window. For the primary time in 52 years, highway groups gained extra video games in the course of the common season than dwelling groups (128-127-1). 

An enormous a part of home-field benefit is having a boisterous crowd cheering you on and that merely did not exist this 12 months as a result of pandemic. With that in thoughts, here is a take a look at the group conditions for every wild-card recreation: 

Followers allowed to attend
Colts at Payments: The Payments have introduced that 6,700 followers might be allowed to attend the sport on Saturday. 
Ravens at Titans: The Titans are allowed to fill their stadium as much as 21% capability, which suggests they might have almost 15,000 followers in attendance on Sunday. 
Bears at Saints: Sean Payton wished to quarantine 50,000 followers so the Saints may refill their stadium, however that will not be occurring. As an alternative, solely 3,000 followers might be allowed to attend Sunday’s recreation. 
Browns at Steelers: The Steelers are solely allowed to have 2,500 individuals within the stadium, together with gamers and group workers, which suggests the precise fan depend might be going to be nicely beneath 2,000. 

No spectators
Rams at Seahawks: The Seahawks are going to be minus the twelfth man, which ought to even issues out because you’re solely allowed to have 11 guys on the sector without delay. 
Buccaneers at Washington: If Tom Brady loses to a different NFC East group within the postseason and nobody is there to see it reside, did it really occur? 

It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how the house groups fare within the postseason after having a disastrous common season. 

7. The Kicker! 

Welcome to my first annual meltdown rankings the place I’ll rank the kickers almost definitely to soften down within the playoffs. Over the previous three years, kickers have mixed to hit simply 82.7% of their area objectives within the playoffs. To place that in perspective, kickers mixed to hit 85.6% of their area objectives in the course of the common season this 12 months. 

Probably to wrestle rankings: 

1. Any Titans kicker: The Titans had the second-worst area purpose proportion of any group within the NFL this 12 months thanks largely to the truth that Stephen Gostkowski hit simply 69.2% of his kicks (18/26). If Gostkowski cannot play this week — he is coming back from the COVID record — the Titans will flip to Sam Sloman, who’s 10 of 13 on the season, which incorporates his time with the Rams. 
2. Will Lutz: Lutz is generally some of the dependable kickers within the NFL, however he is fallen aside over the previous few weeks. Prior to now three one-score video games the Saints have performed, Lutz has gone an unpleasant 4 of 8 on area objectives. 
3. Cody Parkey: The Browns kicker is definitely having a good season, however this might be his first time within the playoffs because the double-doink and who is aware of what his frame of mind goes to be the primary time he walks out to aim a area purpose within the playoffs. If you realize a Browns fan, simply ask them how a lot religion they’ve in Parkey to hit a game-winning area purpose and you will have an thought of why Parkey is on this record. 

Rookie kickers have additionally identified to wrestle within the postseason, so the Colts-Payments recreation may very well be further fascinating since that can function two rookie kickers (Rodrigo Blankenship, Tyler Bass) and so they’ll be taking part in in ice chilly climate.

My meltdown rankings also needs to embody my nine-month outdated child, as a result of she has a minimum of one strong meltdown per weekend. On that word, see you guys Friday!



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