The final weeks of the National Football League’s 2018-2019 season are almost here. It’s time to throw out my personal prediction for the NFL playoffs.
In the AFC, the playoff race is a lot closer than everyone thought it would be at the beginning of the year. People saw the NFC as the superior of the two conferences, and everyone almost guaranteed them to win the Super Bowl, but going into week 14, the AFC is looking like the stronger conference. If the season ended today, the AFC playoff picture has both the Chiefs and Patriots getting first round byes, with the Steelers and Texans winning their divisions, and the Chargers and Ravens at the wildcard. The Patriots aren’t a surprise, but starting the year, the Chargers were the clear favorites to win the Chiefs division. The Chiefs had a second-year quarterback, and a defense in shambles. But through week 14, they’re my pick to win the AFC. Patrick Mahomes should win MVP, and they have the most potent offense in the league. Their defense could use some work, but if veteran safety Eric Berry is back from injury in time for the playoffs, this team is trouble for everyone they face. The Patriots are really the only other team that could challenge the Chiefs. With the greatest coach of all time and arguably the greatest quarterback, if they can get home field advantage, the Patriots could still beat the Chiefs, but don’t count on it.
In the NFC, there’s only two teams that could really end up winning the conference, and those are arguably the two best teams in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams have put the league on watch with their dominant offenses, superb coaching and solid defense. The Rams have Defensive Player of the Year favorite Aaron Donald, and Offensive Player of the Year hopeful Todd Gurley. They’re also coached by Sean McVay, who has turned this team into an unstoppable force. On the other side the Saints are just as dominant but in a different way. Drew Brees gashes with impeccable accuracy, and the Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara led run game will break your defensive line down. They aren’t flashy, minus Michael Thomas and his flip-phone, but they are dangerous. They did drop a game to the 7-5 Dallas Cowboys on the road, but no team is perfect. The Saints have already beat the Rams once, and they are my pick to win the NFC.
If the Chiefs can overcome shoddy defense and a tougher playoff picture, I could easily see them winning the Super Bowl. However, I think the Saints have more veteran experience, and have a better coach in Sean Peyton (no offense to Andy Reid), and a better defense. The Chiefs are the sixth worst team in points allowed at 327, the Saints have allowed 269. All of these factors will add up, and it will ultimately lead to a world championship for the city of New Orleans.