TSN football analyst Chris Schultz has broken down all the teams in each division in the NFL leading up to the regular season. Now he's taking a crack at predicting the post-season.
Okay, let's talk playoffs.
In the AFC my divisional winners are New England for obvious reasons, Baltimore as a major bounce back team, the Colts because of Andrew Luck and, of course, Denver as nobody can produce points like the Broncos.
The wild card teams are difficult to pick but San Diego for sure and the sixth seed is a decision between the Bengals and the Titans. The Bengals are the safe and logical choice but I think Tennessee could surprise as they are in a weaker division and Ken Wisenhunt has done excellent work with quarterbacks and I anticipating he will do excellent work with Jake Locker.
As far as first to sixth in the AFC I will take the obvious choice of Denver with the best record followed by New England. I think the Colts will win 11 games and the Ravens 10 as well as the Chargers and Titans in that 10 area too.
In the NFC I like New Orleans to win the South and have the best record in the NFC. Green Bay with Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers together for the entire year win the North and in a surprise pick the 49ers win the NFC West over Seattle. The 49ers are a tough football team and I saw them respond in the head-to-head games with Seattle. The Eagles win the NFC East as I don't think the Giants will have a great year and Dallas has big problems on defence. The Redskins have offensive talent but can RG3 stay healthy and start 16 games?
The wild card picks in the NFC are very close. Chicago, Carolina, Seattle, Arizona and Atlanta are all playoff-calibre teams, but I will go with Seattle for again obvious reasons again and of the four remaining I like Carolina's defence to just edge out Atlanta's offence. Just an edge.
The Saints end up with the best record going 8-0 at home and the Packers end up with second best record as they too go 8-0 at home. The 49ers and Seahawks both have 11 wins but the 49ers win the division in a complex tiebreaker. Eagles win 10 but no more and Carolina wins 10 but no more.
Back in the AFC the wild card round begins with the sixth-seeded Tennessee playing the third-seeded Indianapolis and fourth-place Baltimore hosting fifth-place San Diego. At home, the Colts take care of the Titans easily and at Baltimore Philip Rivers plays a great game and upsets the Ravens just like they did against the Bengals last year.
In the NFC it is Carolina at number six that plays number-three the 49ers in new Levi Stadium while number-five Seattle plays the Eagles in Philadelphia. Seattle destroys Philadelphia and the 49ers win by three against Carolina.
Divisional playoff football is considered the best week of the entire season and in January of 2015 it does not disappoint. San Diego at the lowest seed has to play the Broncos in Denver in the AFC while the Colts go to New England to play the Patriots as Andrew Luck gets another shot at Tom Brady. In a big upset the Broncos are over confident and it is the Chargers that win in overtime. In the other divisional final what happened in January of 2014 happens in January of 2015, Brady over Luck and New England moves on to the AFC Championship again, this time at home.
In the NFC, Seattle as the lower non-division winning team goes to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and plays the Saints. While San Francisco plays Green Bay in minus-10 Celsius. The Saints are ready but Seattle shuts down all of Drew Brees' receivers and wins easily. In Green Bay, it's Aaron Rodgers' day with Jordy Nelson catching 10 passes for 200 yards and Green bay wins by seven.
So, January, 2014 has Seattle playing the same team they opened up with on Thursday Sept. 5: the Green Bay Packers, but this time in Green Bay. The weather is brutal. In the AFC New England is at home to San Diego and the Chargers are 10-point underdogs.
In the NFC the field does not allow the Seahawks defensive backs to recover with footwork and Green Bay wins in a fourth quarter drive of magnificence. In the AFC it is systematic and precise: New England slowly takes control over the Chargers and wins by 10.
Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix: The AFC (Denver) had the home jerseys last year so it is New England at Green Bay. Rodgers and Brady … Belichick and McCarthy. The Patriots try to slow the game down and Green Bay speeds it up. In the fourth quarter it is tied and the Packers have last possession. With two minutes to go it is Aaron Rodgers that tries to hit the one pass that has the tightest window and instead of finding John Khune on a simple check down it is Jamie Collins at linebacker that picks off the pass as the New England Patriots beat the Green Bay Packers 27-24 at University of Phoenix Stadium.