Playoffs? The End of the 2018 NFL Season
The Christmas holidays have passed us by and we have all been away for the holidays. Now it is time to bring in the new year, what is better than a new season of football, let the Playoffs begin.
Let us recap some of the 2018 teams that did not make it. The Pittsburgh Steelers might be the best team not in the playoffs. The tie game against the Cleveland Browns was costly. The internal fighting just got too much, and the Steelers will have to regroup next year without Le'veon Bell officially.
The Tennessee Titans will have to see how much trust they have in Marcus Mariota next year and have a suitable backup (insert Tyrod Taylor) just in case Mariota has more injury trouble next year. The upcoming teams in the AFC have to be the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills.
Cleveland Browns showed much improved in both the offence which was led by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield who had one of the best rookie quarterback seasons ever. The defence led by the likes of Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward was much improved. They will get better next year and will compete for a playoff spot.
The Buffalo Bills had the number two defence in the league, and most of that defence will not change for next year other than losing defensive tackle Kyle Williams to retirement. Tremaine Edmunds will be one year older, Edmunds was only 19 years old this season as the starting linebacker for the team. The offence was another story; the highlight was the eleven games that rookie quarterback Josh Allen played. Allen led the team in rushing for the season and also had eight rushing touchdowns which were more than Ezikel Elliott had all season, but he will have to grow in the throwing department, and hopefully, that will come next year as Buffalo tries to add some weapons for the offence.
In the NFC many teams missed the playoffs that we were surprised, everyone. The Minnesota Vikings brought in $84 Million guaranteed quarterback Kirk Cousins, and the offence struggled all year. The fire powered assault of the Atlanta Falcons could not come through and missed the playoffs. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers keep the streak going by having a bad year after a successful season. The Green Bay Packers are wasting one of the best quarterbacks of all time in Aaron Rodgers, get the man a defence that can stop the ball.
While there weren't many surprises that could be better next year, the Washington Redskins struggled after Alex Smith got injured. Alex Smith is a consistent quarterback who gets the job done year after year. Hopefully, he will come back healthy and take the Redskins to the next level.
Earlier this year I had done an article that had me picking the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, The Steelers are not in, but Rams can still win the Super Bowl as I predicted.
Now that the Playoffs are here let us see whom I pick to go through the Wild Card weekend. (Winners in Bold)
AFC Wild Card
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
NFC Wild Card
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
The Indianapolis Colts could sneak up and beat the Houston Texans as they snuck into the playoffs. This matchup might be a closer game than many think. All though I like the Colts and Andrew Luck showed how good a quarterback he can be when healthy, but I think Houston Texans squeak this one out at home. Indianapolis 21 Houston 24
The Los Angeles Chargers biggest concern is not to let Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson run freely around the defence. Lamar Jackson will destroy the Chargers defence with his feet. The Chargers defence especially Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa will have to keep him in the pocket and make him win by throwing. Philip Rivers and the Chargers offence have to keep doing what they have been doing all season, and this should be a Chargers victory. Los Angeles 28 Baltimore 13
The Seattle Seahawks are maybe the surprise of the year but do not take them lightly, or they will burn you. Russell Wilson has had a career year in the passing game, and the offensive line looks great and will give time to Russell Wilson to do his magic. The Dallas Cowboys will also have to keep in mind that the Seattle Seahawks have the number one rushing offence in the league. We will see if the Dallas Cowboys defence can stop the trio rushers of Seattle. The attack of the Dallas Cowboys will be in tough against a pretty steady defence. Seattle takes this one convincingly. Seattle 38 Dallas 20
Last Year Super Bowl winners the Philadelphia Eagles squeaked into the playoffs this year, but they will be in tough against Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears defence. Nick Foles might not have any magic left this year. The Chicago Bears offence has looked very good this year with Mitch Trubinsky looking better than last year. The tandem rushing team of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen make the Bears offence even better. Chicago takes this one easily. Philadelphia 10 Chicago 24
NEXT WEEK: NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions, Non- Playoff Team Mock Draft