The NFL Season has officially came to an end. There will be no more playoff predictions or confusing scenarios. We know who will play who and where they will play, so let get into it.
Really disappointed that the Ravens and Bengals allowed the Steelers to capture the AFC North after they loss to the Buccaneers, Jets, and Saints, all teams below .500, kudos to the Steelers though for getting it done. The AFC North will be represented by 3 teams in the postseason, which is a shocker to me. I didn't think this division was that strong, and I still don't. If I had to choose a team to represent the North in the Super Bowl, I would say the Ravens because of the defense. None of these teams have been consistent though, which I think will be problem for all 3 in the postseason.
The Ravens and Steelers will square off for the 3rd time this season and I can say, this is exactly what both cities and teams wanted. They split the season series, both teams winning at home by 20 points. The Ravens haven't won a playoff game in Pittsburgh during the Harbaugh era, currently 0-2 at Heinz Field. I expect this game to be closer than the previous two from this season. Points will be at a premium because both defenses are in good form right now. It will come down to which offense can create the most big plays. I'm not sure how the Ravens are going to stop Antonio Brown, arguably one of the best receivers in the league, because the secondary is still struggling. In order for the Ravens to win this game, they will need to put pressure on Big Ben, along with consistent play from Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. Steelers has the advantage just because they are on home soil plus, the 2nd best passing game in the league. It could be a long day for the Ravens.
Bengals will visit the Colts, who I think is a little overrated. Colts walk through a sub-par AFC South, which has two of the worst teams in the NFL . This will be the Bengals 3rd trip to the playoffs with Andy Dalton as QB, and they are still waiting for that 1st playoff win. Both Dalton and Luck are the future of the NFL when it comes to QBs, but the questions remain, who will get that first ring? I like the Colts in the game because of the home-field advantage. The Bengals defense is not a bad, but I don't know which Bengals team is going to show up. If its the one that forced Peyton Manning to throw 4 INTs, then it will be a long day for Mr. Luck. If its the Bengals squad that was swept by the Steelers, then Luck and T.Y. Hilton might put some numbers on the boards.
The NFC has been a season long game of musical chairs. The Seahawks hold the #1 seed, which I don't think no one seen happening when they were 3-3 in their first 6 games, Since then, they've only lost one game which was to the Kansas City. The Packers victory over the Lions Sunday helped them claim the #2 spot, forcing everyone but the Seahawks to come to Lambeau Field before reaching the playoffs. It will be hard to win in both Seattle and Green Bay because combined they have a home record of 15-1 this season.
The Lions will have to make a trip down to Dallas as the #6 seed. This game will be interesting because the Cowboys are 2nd in the league in rushing, while the Lions 1st in rushing defense, only allowing 69 yards a game. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they are more balanced then they have ever been in recent years. The Lions on the other hand, has a lackluster running game, something that has been an issue for them for some time now. I expect Dez to have a big game because he is on fire right now. Romo to Dez might be the best connection in football right now and the Lions have no one that could stop him. I want to say this will be a defensive game but both teams can score a lot of points. In the end I see the Cowboys walking out with the W.
The NFC South will be represented by the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers, who won the division after defeating the Falcons 34-3 Sunday. They will host the Arizona Cardinals, who are 11-5. People are mad that the Panthers, who are below .500, can have a home game but they did what they were supposed to do, win their division. If a teams win their division, regardless of the record, they deserve a home game and at this point every one is 0-0. Don't be surprised if the Panthers beat the Cardinals, we seen something like this happened back in 2010. I am actually going to go with the Panthers for one simple reason; Cardinals are down to their 3rd string QB.