NFL AFC Playoff Predictions

December 12, 2020

NFL seasons are always difficult to predict, and this is especially true for the 2020-2021 season. Already throughout the season, there have been some surprising game outcomes. When it comes to playoff predictions, you first have to know teams within each division, and once you have done that, you also need to determine who will be the division winner of each one. For the AFC East, the teams within the division, in order from first in the division and last in the division, are Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and the New York Jets. The Jets are the only team in the league that has not won a single game in this regular season so far. The Bills’ lead in the division is unconquerable at this point. Maurice Christopher Jones-Drew, a former professional football player, has some thoughts about the AFC East predictions, “It’s simple: The Bills have the most complete team in the division. They are pretty much unstoppable offensively when young quarterback Josh Allen plays at a high level, and Sean McDermott’s opportunistic defense regularly puts the team in position to win.” However, based on the standings, the Dolphins are the biggest threats to Buffalo in the division. But, the Dolphins’ upcoming games are against some of the best teams, including the Chiefs and the Raiders, making it difficult for the Dolphins to take the division champion title over the Bills. 

Unlike the AFC East, the AFC North is easier to make an accurate prediction on the division winner. The AFC North consists of teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Currently, the Steelers are undefeated this season with a record of 10-0. “The Steelers roll with a chaos-spinning defense, a bevy of weapons on offense and a COTY-worthy leader in Mike Tomlin. The Thanksgiving rematch with the Ravens shines on the horizon — and could all but seal the deal,” said NFL media personnel Marc Sessler. While many believe the Ravens are the best team in the division, Pittsburgh already has a two-game lead over Baltimore. And looking at the Ravens’ schedule, which includes a road game against the Steelers, there is practically no room for error. 

The AFC South is almost too close to call at this point, it is a toss-up between Tennessee and Indianapolis. Both teams currently have a record of 7-3. “In running back Derrick Henry and receiver A.J. Brown, the Titans possess two of the most physically imposing mismatches in the NFL. Look for that tough tandem to navigate Tennessee through a difficult remaining stretch run. The defense has left a lot to be desired thus far, but with Ryan Tannehill playing a steady brand of ball and providing one or two game-changing splash plays a week, the Titans’ offense can mask the defensive deficiencies. In a division characterized by inconsistency, Tennessee’s offense is the easiest group to trust for the balance of 2020.” said Kevin Patra, who has been writing for NFL.com since 2013. Although many people believe the Titans will be able to secure the win over the Colts, there are just as many people who believe the Colts could secure the title. Yet, there are even more people who are unable to decide who will be taking home the division championship. 

And lastly, at the conference, we have the AFC West. The AFC West consists of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Along with the Chiefs, the AFC West also consists of the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, and the Los Angeles Chargers. It seems that people are very confident that the Chiefs will be able to secure the division championship. Steven Ruiz, a columnist for a popular sports site “For The Win” states, “Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are just toying with teams now. The pass defense isn’t too bad itself (6th in DVOA). Kansas City is the best team in the league and it’s not even close.” Steven also predicted that the AFC Championship game will be against the Chiefs and Ravens, with the Chiefs winning the championship. And many seem to share the same opinion. “The Ravens may be the second-best team in the conference but the gap between them and the Chiefs is massive and Baltimore just doesn’t match-up well with the defending champs,” added Ruiz. Is it too early to call? Who knows. The NFL has never been easy to predict.

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