Splash’s May Playoff Predictions

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) smiles after a victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The schedules have been released.

What does this mean?

It is time to predict the 14 playoff teams.

Check here for the April edition of these predictions. Check here for the March edition of these predictions. Check here for the February edition of these predictions.

AFC East:

New England Patriots 6-10
NY Jets 4-12
Buffalo Bills 10-6 Y
Miami Dolphins 5-11

AFC North:

Baltimore Ravens 10-6 Y
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 X
Cleveland Browns 8-8
Cincinnati Bengals  5-11

AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts 9-7 X
Tennessee Titans 9-7 Y
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-13
Houston Texans  8-8

AFC West:

Kansas City Chiefs 14-2 *
Denver Broncos 9-7 X
Los Angeles Chargers 8-8
Las Vegas Raiders 6-10

NFC East:

Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 X
Dallas Cowboys 12-4 Y
Washington Redskins 4-12
NY Giants 4-12

NFC North:

Chicago Bears 7-9
Minnesota Vikings 11-5 Y
Green Bay Packers 10-6
Detroit Lions 2-14

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons 4-12
Carolina Panthers 6-10
New Orleans Saints 13-3 *
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 X

NFC West:

LA Rams 8-8
Seattle Seahawks 12-4 Y
San Francisco 49ers 12-4 X
Arizona Cardinals 8-8

Key:

* -Home Field Advantage

Y – Division Winner

X – Wild Card 

Tiebreakers: 

AFC No. 2: The Bills posted a better record in the conference.

AFC South/No. 4: The Titans had a better strength of victory.

AFC No. 5: The Colts had a better record in the conference than the Broncos or Steelers.

AFC No. 6: The Broncos beat the Steelers head-to-head. 

NFC West: The Seahawks won both head-to-head games.

NFC No. 2: The Seahawks beat the Cowboys head-to-head.

NFC No. 6: The Eagles had the highest strength of victory of the three tied teams.

NFC No. 7: The Buccaneers beat the Packers head-to-head. 

Playoff Predictions: 

No. 2 Bills over No. 7 Steelers

No. 3 Ravens over No. 6 Broncos

No. 4 Titans over No. 5 Colts 

No. 2 Seahawks over No. 7 Buccaneers

No. 3 Cowboys over No. 6 Eagles

No. 5 49ers over No. 4 Vikings 

No. 1 Chiefs over No. 4 Titans

No. 3 Ravens over No. 2 Bills 

No. 1 Saints over No. 5 49ers

No. 3 Cowboys over No. 2 Seahawks 

No. 1 Chiefs over No. 3 Ravens 

No. 1 Saints over No. 3 Cowboys

The Chiefs defeated the Saints in Super Bowl 55. 

Extra thoughts: 

The schedule introduced a brand new dynamic. Many of the worst teams faced difficult stretches of games when wins were scarce. The NFC was slightly top-heavy, as the 10-6 Packers missed the playoffs, and the 12-4 49ers were held to a Wild Card spot. In the AFC, the AFC East had a brutal schedule with regular losses to the Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals whom all finished at or above .500.  

The Chiefs would become the first team since the 2003-2004 Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It would be tough to imagine Drew Brees going out with a loss, but he could retire after the playoffs.

In terms of parity, nine of the 12 teams from the 2019 playoffs return with the Patriots, Texans, and Packers bowing out to the Steelers, Colts, Broncos, Cowboys, and Buccaneers. Playoff parity is usually higher, but a lack of off-season infrastructure could keep the good teams sturdy while the bad teams do not have the time to mesh as they did in years past. 

The Steelers would finish seventh in the AFC for the third straight season. To see how they might have fared in the 2019 playoffs, click here. 

The numbers will certainly fluctuate throughout the off-season, so be sure to tune in for the June, July, and August editions of the playoff predictions.

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