NFL playoff predictions - Forecasting the postseason, together with super Bowl contenders, upset picks and have an effect on gamers - ESPN

or not it's playoff time within the NFL, and 14 groups all have an opportunity to win super Bowl LVI. It begins this weekend with six wild-card games, earlier than the winners be a part of the Packers and Titans within the divisional circular subsequent weekend. anything can ensue in the NFL playoffs. just ask the Buccaneers, who received the super Bowl a 12 months in the past out of the NFC's No. 5 seed, profitable three road video games en route to their title. So how will the following few weeks play out? Will favorites reside as much as their expectations, or will underdogs pull off some not going upsets?

We asked 15 of our NFL analysts for his or her most fulfilling prediction for the postseason as an entire and what will happen in the games leading as much as the tremendous Bowl. Which group is most fulfilling set up to win all of it, and who will help them get there? Will it be Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or a person else leading the style within the NFC? and will the Titans hold off a variety of talented AFC teams? Let's predict this season's playoffs, starting with how some distance the AFC's suitable-seeded team can go.

Are the Titans the proper AFC contender?

Sam Acho, NFL analyst: i'm doubling down on my midseason choose. After three wins to end the usual season and a 12-5 record, Tennessee will attain the super Bowl. And it won't be the most effective No. 1 seed. I got the Packers and Aaron Rodgers meeting the Titans within the greatest game of the yr.

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    Stephania Bell, NFL fantasy analyst: The Titans will win the AFC Championship with a run-heavy offense behind the return of Derrick Henry. for those that may scoff on the suggestion of a latest offense that ranks close the bottom of the league in circulate-play percentage going the entire approach to the super Bowl, might also I current to you the 2018 Patriots? yes, they had this man named Tom Brady, but they also ran the ball 43.1% of the time, fifth in the league that 12 months. The 2021 Titans rushed on a league-high forty six.1% of plays, and they did it devoid of Henry for half their video games after he suffered a big foot damage. The return of Henry adds energy to their run game and a massive crimson zone hazard on the floor (10 TDs just before his harm), in order to prove to be too a whole lot for the Titans' AFC opponents.

    Jeremy Fowler, NFL author/reporter: Henry will decide upon up appropriate the place he left off and lead the playoffs in dashing. hardly does a celeb player have two months to leisure his legs before the postseason, exceptionally a 247-pound back with a 2,000-yard season on his résumé. The No. 1 seed Titans battled through accidents and are able for January football, which skill Henry will be touching the ball 20 or extra instances. i am no longer bound i'm able to put Ryan Tannehill within the super Bowl, but this group has the ingredients to get there in the back of Henry, receiver A.J. Brown and an opportunistic defense.

    Can the bills or the Chiefs get again to the AFC Championship video game?

    Dan Graziano, NFL creator/reporter: The expenses will play within the tremendous Bowl. this is a group that has been together for ages now, and they nevertheless sting from last 12 months's AFC Championship video game loss in Kansas city and crave an opportunity to avenge it. The Dec. 26 video game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, was a turning factor for his or her season. operating lower back Devin Singletary informed me, "We knew we've what it takes to get the place we want to go, but that video game just gave us much more self belief and made us extra hungry." The bills' run video game is in a much better vicinity than it was this time remaining season, which should still aid offensive coordinator Brian Daboll avoid the lure of being too one-dimensional. and that i don't suppose people basically appreciate how good their defense is below Leslie Frazier. I comprehend it became the Jets and their season changed into over (Week 18), but protecting an extra skilled soccer crew to 53 complete yards of offense in a video game is actually whatever. This team is smartly coached, believes in itself, has the league's most climate-proof quarterback and has been building toward this for just a few years now. I say they cash it in.

    Jason Reid, senior writer at the Undefeated: Kansas metropolis will improve to its third consecutive super Bowl by defeating Tennessee in the AFC Championship game at Tennessee. A 34-31 highway loss to Cincinnati in Week 17 cost Kansas metropolis the conference's No. 1 seeding and a chance to host the AFC title game for an unheard of fourth straight season. however there is nevertheless an awful lot to like about the Chiefs, beginning with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The celeb learned to operate extra patiently this season whereas teams were content to play cover 2 and barely blitz him, hoping to keep away from giving up the large plays that have described the historical start to his profession. but the Chiefs' largest turnaround happened on protection. often overmatched all the way through the crew's three-four start, Kansas city's protection provided the basis to its eight-online game winning streak. all through that span, the Chiefs allowed the fewest points per video game (12 .9) and had probably the most takeaways (21) in the NFL.



    Marcus Spears lauds Andy Reid for the job he's finished coaching the Chiefs this season.

    Seth Walder, analytics creator: The winner of the bills-Chiefs divisional-round matchup will win the tremendous Bowl. Per ESPN's soccer power Index (FPI), they may be the 2d- and third-ultimate groups within the league, respectively. The bills boast the surest element differential within the league and the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback -- either is an excellent sign for a deep playoff run. And whereas i am still a believer in Tampa Bay, and it is FPI's No. 1 team, the model does not be aware of that of the trio of exquisite large receivers the Bucs started the season with, only Mike Evans is still suit and on the roster.

    What can we predict out of the Cowboys and Bengals?

    Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Cowboys defense Jayron Kearse can be a change-maker in the playoffs. Dallas has playmakers at all three levels of Dan Quinn's protection in Demarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. but don't forget about Kearse. he's a long, rangy safety with versatile characteristics, and in Quinn's man-heavy system, Kearse is the tight end matchup player. First up for Kearse: the 49ers' George Kittle.

    Mike Clay, NFL analyst: The Cowboys and Bengals will every win dissimilar playoff video games and are legit contenders to represent their conference within the tremendous Bowl. Dallas is not any. 1 in the league in football Outsiders' DVOA, fifth in offensive ratings and sixth in touchdowns allowed. The Cowboys have one of the crucial league's deepest and most talented offenses, along with a breakout defense. And the Bengals are taking part in their optimal ball of the season, and in the event that they beat the Raiders and issues spoil right, their route to the title video game might encompass a trip to Tennessee in the divisional round and a rematch with a Chiefs squad they defeated while piling up 34 aspects just two weeks ago. With a pretty good protection and quarterback Joe Burrow taking part in at a high stage, Cincinnati would have a shot to win all three games.

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    Eric Moody, myth/sports making a bet creator: The Bengals will attain the super Bowl. all the way through Weeks 16 and 17, Burrow handed for 971 yards and eight touchdowns, helping Cincinnati to the AFC North title. With nice momentum, a QB who excels under pressure to overcome mediocre offensive line play, an offense that utilizes a trio of gifted receivers (Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd) to threaten opposing defenses vertically and a protection that can apply constant pressure with best four linemen, the Bengals have all the aspects necessary to contend for the tremendous Bowl.

    Mike Tannenbaum, NFL analyst: Dallas will go on a run and win as a minimum two -- and maybe three -- video games. The Cowboys are built for the playoffs and have three elite flow-rushers in Lawrence, Parsons and Randy Gregory. If their offensive line is match (most primarily Tyron Smith), they may be first rate on offense and elite on protection.

    Will the Packers live up to the hype?

    Doug Kezirian, activities making a bet analyst: The Packers are the making a bet favorite for first rate rationale. The NFC as soon as gave the impression of a gauntlet, but the warts have surfaced with inconsistency and accidents. And the AFC is full of questionable contenders. I predict eco-friendly Bay to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains enjoying the place flawlessly.

    container Yates, NFL analyst: The Packers will grasp serve at domestic this time around, advancing to a super Bowl championship. This is never precisely going out on a limb, but this team feels distinctive from ultimate year's new release that marched into the playoffs with grand expectations. With eco-friendly Bay's balanced offense and a defense that could return diverse key starters (together with circulate-rusher Za'Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander), count number me among these expecting the Pack to play in SoFi stadium in mid-February.

    Seth Wickersham, NFL writer/reporter: here is just a hunch, however i'm predicting that this will be the remaining playoff run for 3 future corridor of fame quarterbacks with their present teams. We be aware of that the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger will retire. but I believe Tom Brady will, too. and eventually, Aaron Rodgers will depart green Bay after a different season with out accomplishing the super Bowl.



    Domonique Foxworth outlines why he could see Aaron Rodgers retiring soon after which deciding to come again later down the road.

    Tom Brady's Bucs lower back in the tremendous Bowl?

    Anita Marks, delusion/sports having a bet analyst: It could be bill Belichick vs. Tom Brady within the super Bowl. The most effective two wild-card games that I actually have conviction in are the Bengals over the Raiders and the Chiefs over the Steelers. The closing matchups are tossups to me, so that you can steal a phrase from Jalen Rose: Let's provide the people what they want. I think the Patriots are an entire crew. they can pound the rock within the fourth quarter on Saturday nighttime towards Buffalo, after which they'd match up neatly in opposition t the Titans and Chiefs en path to the super Bowl. And within the NFC, Brady and the Buccaneers could see the Eagles, Rams and Packers of their direction to the super Bowl -- and that they have the roster to upset green Bay within the NFC Championship video game.

    Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: Brady will assist the Buccaneers become the primary returned-to-back tremendous Bowl champions considering the fact that the Patriots in 2004 and 2005 -- who also had Brady at the helm. At 44 years old, he just had arguably one of the most reliable seasons of his career with a league-excessive 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. Tampa Bay is using a three-game winning streak getting into the playoffs, and regardless of now not incomes the No. 1 seed, Brady has the crucial journey -- even in the facets may still they see the Packers at Lambeau box.

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