My philosophy on life is one with a distinct deterministic bent, so making productions could be seen as counterintuitive; luckily my fatalistic viewpoint is on heavily underpinned on a foundation of hypocrisy so here goes nothing! The only correct answer to the question “who will make the playoffs?” is “your guess is as good as mine”, but I enjoy being wrong so I’m gonna commit myself to picking 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams (obviously);
The Seahawks are probably still the strongest team in the NFC, but that doesn’t mean some of the smarter coaches in the league won’t figure them out, I personally expect the Packers to push them all the way in the season opener (I mean who wants to see a healthy Clay Matthews racing Julius Peppers to their Quarterback this season? Not Pete Carroll that’s for sure).
I expect the Saints to run the Seahawks close for the NFC title this time out though, there’s just something about 2 maverick coaches in Rob Ryan & Sean Payton and the steady hand of Drew Brees at Quarterback that make me smile.
There’s not really much between the rest of the NFC challengers and apart from the traditional battle between the Panthers and the Falcons to squeeze into the Playoffs it should be much the same as last year with the 49ers and the Packers both making the post season. It’s tough to call between the Panthers and the Falcons but if (admittedly it’s a BIG if) the Falcons offense can stay healthy they should beat the Panthers mighty defence to the playoffs) but only by the odd win. The final NFC playoff team will obviously be the winner of the NFC East and while that seems to be least competitive division in the conference Chip Kelly’s high octane Eagles are the clear favourites with the bookmakers and they’re never wrong, right?
The AFC is a somewhat different picture and after their representatives in the last Super Bowl receiving a jolly good thrashing at the hands of a merciless Seahawks (who could have been beaten by 3 different NFC) teams it shows just how far behind they’re lagging in terms of conference bragging rights. Predictably the Patriots are my favourites to make the postseason alongside last year’s vanquished Super Bowl challengers the Broncos because Peyton Manning can sleepwalk through a regular season, it’s just January he doesn’t like (and occasionally February).
I think the Steelers could be over the worst of their recent troubles because even though their O line is older than some religions they’ve actually got a running back who can Big Ben a hand with 16 games worth of heavy lifting, LaVeon Bell looked every inch the Steelers running back of old at Wembley last year and while Joe Flacco and his Ravens are recovering from the “coaching” the offence received from Jim Caldwell last season Ben and his offence should be on the same page as Todd Haley.
The Colts are probably going to wind up winning the AFC South although that will mainly because somebody out of those 4 misfit teams HAS to win the division; there could be 2 teams who finish runners up in divisions with better records than the Colts.
For my money the other 2 AFC playoff spots will be filled by teams who made the postseason last year, the Bengals and the Chargers, the Bengals defence should be pretty tricky to score against this season and if the Chargers give Phillip Rivers his head as they did in the 4th quarter against the Broncos last January that Chargers offence will be too much for most defences to stop, the 17 points they scored in the 4th quarter proved that.