NFL Playoff Preview 2017

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Updated: January 6, 2017
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Playoffs? Yes, we’re talking about playoffs now. After a long regular season filled with headlines, underdogs, and disappointments, we’ve finally made it to the post season…

When looking at the playoff bracket for the first time, my first thought was, “woah, this is a lot closer than I thought…” and i truly had to fill in my bracket to choose a winner. This could be another year of New England or Seattle dominance, maybe an old friend in Dallas, New York, Pittsburgh or Green Bay making an appearance, or even an underdog like Detroit, Kansas City or Atlanta. Hey, and we even have to give Miami, Oakland and Houston a chance despite their handicap at the QB position. But that’s why we play the games, and this should be a action packed playoff year…

My prediction: This playoffs will be filled with high scoring games, as this is a group filled of big scorers, and less elite defenses. We have to look at the big offenses in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay and even New England to headline these playoffs, over defenses like Seattle, Houston, Kansas City and New York. This won’t be another Denver Broncos like ending, as their incredible defense led them to glory. Another aspect which really stands out to me is the playoff conditions, which are always under estimated. We must consider how the top NFC seeds are high scoring teams with the best field conditions in the league- closed stadiums. And don’t forget that the Super Bowl is at the new NRG Stadium- another weather free location…

Now to the real business- my team predictions…

Who’s Out- We truly have to leave out Miami, Houston and Oakland from competing for the title. All three teams have major trouble at the QB position. Oakland is sending out a rookie 4th rounder who hasn’t started a pro game in his career, as their opponent Houston is putting out a $72M FA bust, ‘Super Bowl Champion’, Brock Osweiller, after being benched for Tom Savage, who was concussed in Week 17. Meanwhile Miami has a veteran backup in Matt Moore (for at least 1 game) under center for Ryan Tannehill, who claims he can play soon. Even as probably the best option of the three backups in, he still can’t be trusted to lead a young Dolphins 6th seed in a playoff like this. These teams are all still young and developing, and if it weren’t for the Carr injury, the Raiders would have been a contender for me. We may leave them out this year, but watch out in the future.

Who’s in the Mix- We’re giving these underdog teams a shot at taking it all, but they’re truly not favorites to win. Detroit, New York and Seattle in my opinion need a flawless post season to take it all. Detroit is a true comeback, 4th quarter team, taking the 6th seed this year. I was truly impressed with the progress on this team after the loss of franchise WR Calvin Johnson, but they put it aside and gave themselves a new rep. It’s gonna take a lot of heart for this team, which they certainly have, but this isn’t their year yet. New York deserved to take a playoff spot this season as they made a lot of progress on D and kept their pace on offense. Eli is running out of time for a 3rd ring, and is clearly declining slowly. The big money defense looked great these past few weeks and needs to fuel this team going forward. The team took a huge step foward, but it’s gonna take a lot for them to win. Lastly, here’s a huge surprise to many of you, but Seattle is not a favorite to me. The team has pleanty of experience with most of the team playing in SB 48 and 49 and even the playoffs last season. But the losses of DB Earl Thomas, explosive WR Tyler Lockett, and RB Marshawn Lynch to retirement, will definitely take a toll on this team. They have the best chance of these 3 to make it far, but I’m not a big fan of the 12th man in 2017.

Contenders- As I said earlier- picking a favorite off the top of my head was impossible for me, as I really had to go through the bracket to choose. The big teams this year for me are Dallas, New England, red hot Green Bay and Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Kansas City. This teams are all explosive and exciting, and are focused on a Super Bowl or bust meantality. Kansas City has evolved this season from a safe, time consuming offense, to an explosive one led by TE Travis Kelce, WR Jeremy Maclin and rookie playmaker Tyreek Hill. The defense topped the league this year- which gives them a great chance to succeed going foward. New England is New England to me, same old. An inspired Tom Brady is looking for it all this year as he tore up the league this season. But there’s a bit holding him back. The defense is a bit shaky and he’s down his top target in Rob Gronkowski due to injury. But they’re the Patriots, and no matter who’s in, they’ll find a way to win. Green Bay is red hot and inspired as well this post season. Aaron Rodgers played his mind out in the end of the season as the Packers stole the NFC North and a playoff berth. Look for them to take advantage of their experience and veterans and make a run. Now Dallas. The surprise of the season led by two stud rookies in Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott who tore up the league this season. Yes, the experience on this team is concerning with two rookies at the helm of the team, but this a talented team who will surely make a run this season at it all and will be interesting to watch. My only other concern, their average defense. That will be one quiet thing to watch throughout the playoffs. Next we have Atlanta, a team that finally held it together this year, and quietly took the league by storm with their high flying offense. The offense will lead this team throughout the games in high scoring affairs, but the defense must play lights out to help them make a run, which I believe they will. The defensive backs have quietly been playing decent this season, as the unit has been forcing turnovers this season. They also have a stud in pass rusher Vic Beasley who tore it up with 15.5 sacks this season. Watch out for Atlanta. Lastly we have Pittsburgh. The offense is potentially the most explosive in the league with top 4 players at the QB, RB and WR positions. The defense has held its own this season- and will look to play big and scary this offseason. The defense may be the only thing holding them back a bit, but the experience and leadership throughout the team will boost this team.

Here’s my full bracket prediction:

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Yup, your probably surprised right now- but my bold prediction is Steelers vs Falcons in the big game. This game will be a very high scoring, put you on the ‘edge of your seat’ game and a great one to watch. My MVP prediction is Ben Roethlisberger, who will pick up his 3rd ring in a 4th appearance.

Now we can only sit back and enjoy the last games of our beloved NFL season, and hope for a finish for the ages once again…

, Coleonsports

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