Friday, January 2, 2015

2014-2015 Complete NFL Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round

Steelers over Ravens: The Pittsburgh Steelers are an underdog to upset either the Broncos or the Patriots to win the AFC Championship Game. Big Ben and the Steelers tend to step up their game when it comes to the postseason, and even if star running back Le'Veon Bell is not healthy for Sunday's game, Antonio Brown and the passing game can carry the weight of this team. The Baltimore Ravens are also sneaky in the postseason, but Joe Flacco and the Ravens have been much too inconsistent this season.
Colts over Bengals: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is capable of creating solid teams during the regular season, yet he remains winless in five postseason appearances, where his starting quarterback Andy Dalton has 1 touchdown, 6 interceptions, and a passer rating of 56.2 in the playoffs. There is no way that Cincy can march into Indianapolis and stop Andrew Luck in the Colts this postseason.

Cowboys over Lions: Tony Romo has gained a bad rap for his performance in the playoffs, but this Dallas Cowboys team seems much more talented than Dallas teams from the past. DeMarco Murray is well deserving of the league's MVP award (1,845 yards, 13 touchdowns), seeing how he is a major reason behind this year's success. Tony Romo also had a historic month of December, with 12 touchdowns and only 1 interception on his resume. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is 0-16 when playing winning teams on the road. Dallas will likely move on to play Green Bay in the Divisional Round.

Panthers over Cardinals: Had Carson Palmer remained healthy throughout the duration of the regular season and into the playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals could have locked up home field during the postseason; however, that is not the case, and Ryan Lindley, the third string quarterback, will start against Carolina. While I don't like either team in this situation, Cam Newton and the Panthers seem like the better choice seeing how they are playing in their home stadium.

Divisional Round

Patriots over Colts: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots had a slow start to the year, but eventually went on a hot streak that included a dominant win over Indy on the road. The Pats are 3-0 against Andrew Luck, including another dominant win over the Colts in the Divisional Round. The Patriots could have the most talented New England team in recent memory, and are going to have no problem winning at home against the Colts.

Steelers over Broncos: At this point in time, Bell will be completely healthy, and thus, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense will be more than ready to upset the Denver Broncos in this divisional round game. Come January, Denver will likely be below freezing, which means Peyton Manning's struggles throughout December will continue into the playoffs.
Seahawks over Panthers: Even though the Panthers managed to make it to the second round in the playoffs, there is absolutely no chance that Cam Newton can upset the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Seahawks defense has returned to their Super Bowl winning form as of late, and the offense certainly makes this team a favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Packers over Cowboys: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers managed to win the NFC North title on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, and as the Dallas Cowboys--a team that tends to play indoors--travels into Wisconsin in January, it seems rather unlikely that the Cowboys will be able to upset the Packers on the road.

Championship Round

Patriots over Steelers: If Le'Veon Bell is entirely healthy at this point in time, the Steelers offense will certainly provide problems for the Patriots run defense. On the other hand, Big Ben will have problems finding the open receiver with Antonio Brown and Martavias Bryant being covered by Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner respectively. Plus, the Pittsburgh pass defense ranks 27th in the league, which will allow Tom Brady to consistently put up points on the scoreboard.
Seahawks over Packers: In the first game of the season, Seattle already trounced Rodgers and the Packers by a score of 36-16, and even though both teams are incredibly talented, it will be extremely difficult for Rodgers to go into Seattle and upset the Seahawks. Had this game been played in Green Bay, a different team would have been named champion of the NFC.

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