The 2018-19 NFL season has come and gone with plenty of intriguing story-lines. The defending champion Eagles squeaked back into the playoffs at the last moment. Can they ride that momentum back to the Super Bowl this year? Only time will tell.
Here is how I see the road to Super Bowl LIII going:
Wild Card Weekend:
Colts (6) over Texans (3): These division rivals played to a 58-58 tie over two games this season. With the season on the line, I’m taking the Colts to win a close game.
Chargers (5) over Ravens (4): In week 16, the Ravens beat the Chargers by 12 in LA. I actually think that game will help the Chargers win this game. The Ravens’ unique offense with Lamar Jackson is not new to the Chargers anymore. I think they will be able to game plan better and win this game. Plus, the Chargers are 7-1 on the road (with the only road loss being played in LA against the Rams), so traveling won’t be an issue. They have a great defense, good running game and experienced QB – all the needed pieces to win on the road in the playoffs.
Chiefs (1) over Colts (6): The Colts defense has quietly been very good lately, allowing only 16.375 points per game since their BYE week (8 games). But the Chiefs have scored 26+ points every game this season. Mahomes may be inexperienced and missing Hunt hurts, but the Chiefs have enough fire power to win this game.
Patriots (2) over Chargers (5): I really want to take the Chargers in this game, and I would not at all be surprised in the Chargers win this game, but I just can’t go against the Patriots at home in the playoffs. In 2009-10 and 2010-11, the Patriots lost at home in the playoffs. Since then, they are 11-1 at home in the playoffs.
Chiefs (1) over the Patriots (2): In Week 6, the Patriots won a close shoot-out over the Chiefs. This time, the game is in Kansas City and I think that is enough to give the Chiefs the edge. Mahomes may be inexperienced, but Andy Reid is not.
Wild Card Weekend:
Bears (3) over Eagles (6): Nick Foles has the magic touch it seems, but the Bears defense is on another level.
Seahawks (5) over Cowboys (4): It seems that Amari Cooper has been the missing link for the Cowboys offense, but just 3 weeks ago we saw the Cowboys get shut-out. The Seahawks love to run the ball, averaging 4.8 YPC. The Cowboys are tough to run against, allowing 3.8 YPC. That means this should be low scoring and come down to the QB to make a winning play. I can’t go against Wilson in that spot.
Saints (1) over Seahawks (5): The Saints are the most complete team in the NFL right now. They also have a real advantage at home. Even when there offense isn’t firing on all cylinders, their defense has shown it can win games. During the 6 game stretch from Week 10-15, the Saints didn’t allow more than 17 points in any game.
Bears (3) over Rams (2): Much like the Chargers-Patriots game above, I can see this game going either way. In Week 14, the Bears shut-down the Rams in Chicago. They have the defense for it and in the playoffs, defense travels. Goff hasn’t been himself down the stretch (I don’t put too much weight into the Week 17 game against the 49ers) and that scares me if I’m a Rams fan.
Saints (1) over Bears (3): On paper this is going to be close, hard fought, game. In Chicago, in the winter, I give the Bears this game, but this game will be in the Saints’ dome and I think that gives them the edge.
Super Bowl LIII:
Saints (1) over Chiefs (1): The Saints are the more complete and experienced team and I think that will help them win, what should be, a fun Super Bowl to watch. I think Mahomes will beat Brees for league MVP and what better way for Brees to get revenge, then by winning Super Bowl MVP against Mahomes? If the Saints win, does Drew Brees retire on top? It is possible, or does he want to try one more time for that elusive league MVP trophy?