NFL Predictions


Farhan Mohammad, Online Staff Writer

As the bright-colored leaves of fall slowly fall to the ground in the harsh cold of December, the latter weeks of National Football League (NFL) football and its 121st annual playoffs are also approaching. Due to the new NFL playoff format imposed last year, there are now two more playoff teams as one more wildcard team has been added for each conference. With the addition of a new team for each conference, only one team is awarded a bye and granted an automatic berth in the second round with home-field advantage.

Just past the midway point of the regular season in Week 12, the playoff picture looks a lot different than last year. In the AFC, the division leaders include the red-hot Tennessee Titans (8-4), much-improved New England Patriots (8-4), resurgent Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), and the resilient Baltimore Ravens (7-3). As of Week 11 for the NFC, the division leaders include the reigning champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3), the sizzling Dallas Cowboys (7-4), the powerful Green Bay Packers (8-3), along with the current best team, the Arizona Cardinals (9-2).

However, the majority of the teams in the NFL compete for their chance to secure the wildcard spot. Leading the wildcard teams in the AFC are the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4), followed by the Buffalo Bills (7-4), and Los Angeles Chargers (6-4). Junior Devan Sakaria still believes in Buffalo’s potential, noting, “The [Buffalo] Bills still have a decent chance, but I think the Arizona Cardinals is the team to beat.” The NFC’s wildcard picture is a lot murkier, with the first wild-card seed belonging to the star-studded Los Angeles Rams (7-3), then by the Minnesota Vikings (5-5) and San Francisco 49ers (5-5). Teams with similar records across both conferences still have a legitimate chance of making it to the playoffs, such as the Indianapolis Colts (6-6), Philadelphia Eagles (5-7), Las Vegas Raiders (6-5), and Atlanta Falcons (5-6).

For this NFL season, it is widely believed that there is not a single favorite to make the Super Bowl from each conference. Junior Gavin Yang, a self-proclaimed superfan of the Dallas Cowboys, said, “I believe that my [Dallas] Cowboys have a great chance of making it to the Super Bowl. That offense is very lethal and is hard to match across the league.” Disagreeing with the beloved superfan, junior Albert Zhou believes that “the [Kansas City] Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams will definitely make the Super Bowl. Both teams are just too good on offense.” Personally, I think that Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs will face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the Super Bowl. Though, who knows? Isn’t this why we all love sports?