Welcome to my 2018-19 NFL Playoff Predictions. Today, I will show you my playoff bracket alongside score predictions and analysis for each game. Next week, I will update you with Divisional Round predictions unless all of this week’s games are predicted correctly. Below is my official playoff bracket:
I have the Patriots winning it all, though I don’t see them as the most talented team here. I think a favorable schedule, including home field advantage in the AFC Championship after Kansas City’s elimination will help them to a Super Bowl victory. The Super Bowl itself will be an epic battle of two aging superstar QBs, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. It will be close, but I have the Patriots coming out on top. Check out my score predictions and in-depth analysis for all 11 games below.
Wild Card Weekend
Offensively, these two teams are pretty evenly matched. The Colts have given the Texans a hard time in the past. But on Wild Card Weekend, I expect Houston’s defense to step it up and secure the Texans a victory. While Indy struggles to get into the red zone against a strong Texans D, Houston will score on an inexperienced Colts defense with ease as WR DeAndre Hopkins puts up another huge game.
This will be a high scoring game, and it could potentially end up being a complete shootout. Both these defenses lack the experience to thrive in the playoffs. This will allow QB Dak Prescott to find his receivers and lead the Cowboys to victory. However, QB Russell Wilson and his versatile offense will make it close and come within one possession of the victory.
With TE Hunter Henry back, this Chargers offense will only get better from here. I think they’ll be able to handle the rising Ravens D this time around. You know what they say: it’s hard to beat the same team twice. This time around, the Chargers D will figure out how to shut down QB Lamar Jackson, RB Gus Edwards, and a talented Ravens offense. It won’t be easy, but I see the Chargers as the only road team to win on Wild Card Weekend.
This will be closer than most people expect. QB Nick Foles has unlocked the full potential of the Eagles offense, and it will not be easy for even a dominant Bears D to contain them. But I see QB Mitch Trubisky and his receivers stepping it up and leading a late comeback effort. They will take advantage of the banged-up Eagles secondary and eventually secure the victory in overtime.
This will not be an exciting one to watch. The banged-up Houston offense will struggle to put up points, even against a mediocre New England D. Don’t expect Brady the Pats to score much either against Houston’s strong defense. But I see the Pats getting by, as Brady and his receivers take advantage of Houston’s defensive weakness: their secondary. On the other hand, the Patriots’ well-rounded defense will stand strong.
No matter who wins in this divisional rubber match, it will be a complete shootout. The Chiefs have next to no defense, which will not serve them well against any playoff team. But will QB Patrick Mahomes II and company put up enough points to get by anyway? In the playoffs? I don’t think so. Mahomes will put up a multi-TD effort. But the Chargers’ revamped offense will dominate a weak Kansas City defense and outplay Mahomes and his squad. Even with Mahomes replacing QB Alex Smith, the Chiefs will choke in the playoffs, again, as the Chargers move on to face New England in the AFC Championship.
This will be another close one. But I don’t see this being as high-Scoring as Chicago’s Wild Card Weekend match-up with the Eagles. The Rams have one of the most star-studded defenses in the league. They will severely limit the abilities of a young Bears offense. But Chicago’s D is up there with LA’s. QB Jared Goff has had a good season in general, but he has put up a few duds here and there. After putting up a dud the last time these two teams played, I could see him doing it again. RB Todd Gurley is not at full health and WR Cooper Kupp is done for the year. Goff will find himself short of weapons and will fall short in OT, going one and done for the second year in a row.
Dallas will be able to get by in the first round, but wait till they see an elite contender. The Saints should be able to top the Cowboys with ease, even after their defeat in Dallas. This game will take place in New Orleans, and it will be easier on the Saints now that they have an idea of what they’re up against. Brees and his receivers will put up a decent game, but it’s the Saints defense that I could see stepping it up here against Prescott and his young offense.
In order for TB12 and the Patriots to take down this dominant Chargers offense, they’ll need to get their own act together offensively. But at Gillette Stadium, I have confidence in them. As long as the Chargers or somebody else dethrones the Chiefs before New England has to play them, the Pats will get the opportunity to play the AFC Championship at home, where they are undefeated on the season. Against a decent Chargers D, Brady will have to use a variety of receivers, and the Pats will have to run the ball occasionally. But I have confidence that they are capable, especially on home turf, though this will not be easy. If this was played anywhere but Gillette, the Patriots would likely fall short to LA’s overpowered offense.
Against a tough Bears D, you cannot expect a huge game out of Brees and company. But the Saints have made defensive improvements of their own throughout the season, and I could see them holding the Bears to just 1 TD of their own. The Saints will get by in the end, making the Super Bowl for the first time since 2009.
Fun fact: In 2009, the Saints went 13-3, losing to the same opponents as they did this year. They went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
Super Bowl LIII
In a battle of two star QBs in Brady and Brees, I have the Pats winning it all. But it won’t be Brady who drives the victory. The Saints have succeeded in stopping the run for most of the season, but the at times dominant Pats RB trio might overwhelm them. Meanwhile, Brees will have a strong game here, but I think the Pats’ star-studded secondary will stand strong, holding Brees and his receivers to just 2 TDs. These two things along with a vintage game by TE Rob Gronkowski will lead New England to a 6th Super Bowl victory. I think RBs James White and Sony Michel will shine in this game, and I see the future of this team depending on their success.
That’s all for today’s predictions. Stay tuned for more NFL Playoffs coverage and updates soon.