The NFL playoffs started on Saturday, January 14. Here is your guide to every team and their chances of bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.
There are multiple teams in this year’s NFL Playoffs that will not contend for Super Bowl 57. The Jacksonville Jaguars have talent and will be a contender in the future, but this is not their year. The Baltimore Ravens will be without star quarterback Lamar Jackson. I think this will be too big of a loss for them to overcome the Bengals. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have the offensive firepower that they used to, but you never know with Tom Brady. The New York Giants, similar to the Jaguars, are a young team with a lot of talent and a great coach. Expect them to be contenders in the future, but the inexperience this year will lead to an early exit. The Seattle Seahawks came into the season with zero expectations. While their success, in my opinion, is the biggest surprise of the year, they don’t have a chance of making it out of the first round.
In my opinion, there are eight teams that have a chance to win this year’s Super Bowl. Many experts have touted the Kansas City Chiefs to win it all this year. The Chiefs are coming into the playoffs confident after winning ten of their last eleven games, ending with a 31-13 rout of the Las Vegas Raiders. Look for a pass-heavy offensive attack led by Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, and a lengthy playoff run is the expectation in Kansas City. The Buffalo Bills ended their season winning seven games in a row. They beat their division rival, the New England Patriots, in week 18 to clinch the second seed in the American Football Conference (AFC). The Bills ranked second in total yards per game, trailing only the Chiefs. Superstar quarterback Josh Allen and star receiver Stefon Diggs lead the offensive charge. I expect them to be the AFC’s representative in Super Bowl 57. The Cincinnati Bengals ended their season firing on all cylinders, winning their last 12 games, and capping it off with a week 18 win against the Ravens. Star quarterback Joe Burrow ranked top five in passing yards this year while finishing second in touchdowns. The Bengals will lean heavily on this passing attack but will run into the Bills in the second round, which I predict will result in a loss. However, many still have optimism that the Bengals can win their looming clash in Buffalo. Charlie Kellett ’24 said, “The Bills and Chiefs have been getting more attention from the media lately, but I think that the Bengals, led by Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, are poised to return to the Super Bowl this February.” The Los Angeles Chargers backed into the playoffs after losing their last game to the 5–12 Denver Broncos. They ranked ninth in the regular season in total yards per game and third in passing yards per game, but were held back by their defense who ranked 20th in yards allowed per game. Their offense is led by third year quarterback Justin Herbert, and veterans Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen. They are not a team that many expect to go far, but don’t sleep on them.
The Philadelphia Eagles finished with the best record in the NFL. Although the Eagles have talent, I do not expect them to make a deep run in the playoffs, as they’ve lost two of their last three games. The San Francisco 49ers finished their season 13–4, winning 10 games in a row to end the season. Their defense is statistically the best in the league, while their offense ranks 5th. I expect this team to make it all the way to the super bowl. The Vikings also finished the season 13–4. Their team is carried by their offense, which is ranked 7th in the league. Their explosive offense can do a lot but expect their defense to let them down in big situations. The Cowboys were narrowly bested by the Eagles for the NFC East title. Their offensive star power combined with their high-pressure defense makes them a threat to win the NFC.
I anticipate a Bills–49ers matchup on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl 57, with the Bills coming out on top.