2018 NFL Playoff Predictions & Super Bowl LIII Predictions
Who’s going to win Super Bowl LIII?
Making our 2018 NFL playoff predictions, ending with our Super Bowl LIII predictions. Someone is getting the Lombardi Trophy in February, and we want to know who just as much as you do.
See our video above in which we fill out our bracket game by game. The transcript of the video is available below.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: Wild Card
These are the NFL playoff predictions for the 2018 season as brought to you by The Bracket Yard and sponsored by the number 53, as in, Super Bowl LIII which is coming up in early February. Who wins the biggest game of the year and hoists the Lombardi Trophy?
12 teams enter, but only one will leave a champion.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: IND vs. HOU
It starts with Wild Card weekend in which the eight lowest-seeded teams in their respective conferences meet for a chance to move on to the divisional round. The first game on the schedule is Indianapolis at Houston. We went back and forth on this one several times and both teams have a case. Let’s say though, generally speaking, none of the first-round games are mismatches. All have their own level of intrigue but this game is about as dead-even as it gets for a playoff game.
Indianapolis is hot, and if you saw the way the Colts dominated the line of scrimmage against Tennessee, you know that they are going to be tough in the playoffs. Houston got hot in the middle of the season and it was enough to get them a home game in the postseason. Deshaun Watson is a solid quarterback and JJ Watt continues to be a defensive force. The key here is going to be Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. Indy might not be able to get the run going against Houston the way they did against Tennessee in Week 17, but the Texans’ pass defense is generally sub-par and I expect Luck to pick it apart. This is why we are going with Indianapolis in the first game.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: SEA vs. DAL
Next on the schedule is the Dallas-Seattle game, another one that’s close. The Legion of Boom is gone for the Seahawks but they found a way, on the shoulders of Russell Wilson, to get back to the playoffs. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys also exorcised some early demons to get their season back on track, winning the NFC East. Dallas hasn’t won a playoff game since 2014 and only has two victories in the last 21 years. With the home crowd, the Cowboys are going to get fired up to build something this season and go on a run, and take note of the fact that Dallas was 7-1 at home this season. This team has a lot of forward momentum so while we like Seattle, we are taking Dallas.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: LAC vs. BAL
On to the Wild Card Sunday slate, it starts with an early game for the Los Angeles Chargers out in Baltimore. The Ravens almost had the postseason snatched out from under them again but they lived to tell the tale. As for the Chargers, this has been their best season in a long time and with Phillip Rivers running out of time to win a Super Bowl, the Bolts are thinking this is their chance. They may be right. Baltimore’s defense is going to be tough but, as we have seen in past weeks like Week 17, it’s not totally impervious to giving up big plays. They have an effective pass rush which should take some pressure off of Lamar Jackson and the offense. Our contention here is that while we think Baltimore keeps it close, the Chargers are too good a team to go home on Wild Card Weekend, so we are taking Los Angeles.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: PHI vs. CHI
The final game of the wild card round could get a little freaky out in Chicago against the Eagles. On paper, the Bears are a much better team though the Eagles, defending champions, seem to be darlings of a few sports pundits out there. Because it might be a low-scoring game, that lends itself to being close. Here’s the thing: Philadelphia does not have enough defense when Chicago passes the football, whereas the Bears have top to bottom one of the best units in the league this season. Have to go gut and logic here and take Chicago.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: Divisional
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: IND vs. KC
This leaves us with our divisional weekend games and our final eight for the 2018 NFL season. Dallas went to New Orleans, Chicago gets the Rams, Indy is off to Kansas City, and the Chargers draw the Pats. Colts-Chiefs is the first game of the second weekend. Kansas City’s defense is suspect, Indy’s is alright, but I don’t think this is going to be a story of defense. This is going to be one where Pat Mahomes and Andrew Luck are slinging it all around the ballpark. Mahomes might be the NFL MVP and you’ll see why, but the Colts are going to put up a fight. The Arrowhead advantage goes to the home team [Kansas City], who advance to the AFC title game for the first time since 1993.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: CHI vs. LAR
Next is Chicago at the Rams, which is going to have a very different feel. This game can go two ways, and probably only these two. Either the Rams are going to work their way around this Bears defense and put on an explosive offensive show, or the Bears defense we know and love will stymie Jared Goff and company and make for very tense times at the LA Coliseum. We think it’s going to be the latter, which would be a bitter pill for the Rams who had such a stellar season, but these are both 12-plus win teams. It’s hard to say the Rams deserve it and the Bears don’t, but someone is going to be a hard-luck loser. In an upset, Chicago wins.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: LAC vs. NE
On the AFC side, the Chargers have yet another early Sunday game on the East Coast as they face the Patriots. This is not the Pats team we have known in past years; they are not as scary as they used to be and Father Time has just about caught up to Tom Brady. There may yet be some playoff wins in number 12’s arm. Our key is this: New England is 8-0 in Foxboro this year, and picking against Brady and Bill Belichick at Gillette is a dangerous proposition. Of course the Chargers can win, and the Pats have lost a few home playoff games in the last 17 years, but not many. If the Bolts win this one they are a force, but the Pats just seem to always find a way. We are taking New England.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: DAL vs. NO
The last contest of the weekend is Dallas at New Orleans. Dismissing the fact that it’s been decades since the Cowboys won two playoff games in the same season, New Orleans has a big home-field advantage at the Superdome. Yes, Dallas beat them earlier in the year, but the Saints are 6-2 on their home field. Dallas is a lousy road team, going just 3-5 during the regular season. Both teams have proven to be capable on defense, but if it comes down to it, the New Orleans offense is much more productive than Dallas’s. If Drew Brees finds a way, I don’t think the Cowboys can keep up. The Saints advance.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: Conference Championships
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: NFC Championship
Conference championship weekend in our bracket scenario features some tremendous teams. We start in the NFC as the Saints host the Bears. It’s Chicago’s defense against the New Orleans offense. Either one of these teams is worthy to get to Atlanta for the big game. Mitchell Trubisky has been the quarterback Chicago was waiting for and Matt Nagy deserves a lot of credit for turning this franchise around. With what they have in place, the Bears could be around for a while. It just feels like New Orleans’s time. I would take Brees in an offensive battle over Trubisky, though I would give the nod to the Bears defense over what the Saints will throw out there. This is probably going to be an uncomfortable game for New Orleans, but I think they find a way to get back to the Super Bowl.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: AFC Championship
On the AFC side, the Chiefs host the Pats. These teams met earlier in the year in Foxboro, which the Pats won in a close game. New England is an average road team and Kansas City will have been waiting for a chance for payback for months if this game happens. The Chiefs could absolutely have won the game in Foxboro, but this time it’s at Arrowhead and you know Chiefs fans are dying to see this team get back into a Super Bowl. My concern about Kansas City is that Belichick is a better coach than Andy Reid who doesn’t make the clock management errors that Reid does. Hell, that was a problem in the October game at New England. Luckily for them, I think Kansas City makes enough plays to win their first trip to the Super Bowl in almost 50 years. Please note that no rookie quarterback has ever started in a Super Bowl. The good news is that this is Mahomes’ second year in the NFL and he’s not a rookie, making this easier for us.
2018 NFL Playoff Predictions: Super Bowl LIII Predictions
Our predicted Super Bowl LIII is the NFC champion New Orleans Saints against the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. What a fun game this would be with Mahomes and Brees slinging it. Might not be the Chiefs-Rams game earlier this year, but expect some big plays to get popped. The Kansas City offense has been more prolific but their defense is not at the same level as that of the Saints. This game could be a slugfest in one that defensive purists might want to skip, but in the end, we give this one to New Orleans, winning their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
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