With the NFL season rapidly approaching the Hard Foul Sports staff shares their picks for the AFC and NFC playoffs, which teams make the Super Bowl, their Super Bowl Champion, league MVP and a few other picks sprinkled in. FOOTBALL IS HERE!
AFC EAST: New England Patriots
My heart says otherwise, however Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will have something to prove this year. In a division that will be much more competitive than previous seasons, the Patriots will still find a way to win despite the division beating up on one another.
AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers defense may end up being the worst in the league, and may end up rivaling the Cowboys defense from 2013 as the worst defenses I have personally seen. However, it’s hard to overlook how good this offense should be. With Le’Veon Bell as a top RB, Big Ben and his receiving corps should have no problem being prolific enough to help mask some deficiencies on the defensive side.
AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are the only team coming into this season that appears to be good enough to make it to the playoffs. Luck will continue to show that he is the best QB in the AFC, however without a consistent running game Luck may struggle at points to carry his team. Without a serious threat in the division, making the playoffs shouldn’t be too hard for this team.
AFC WEST: Denver Broncos
Phillip Rivers may end up being the best QB in this division by the end of the season, however I think Peyton has something to prove after looking like a shell of his former self down the stretch in 2014. The Denver offense will presumably run the ball more often, and Peyton should perform well with a great offensive mind in Gary Kubiak at the helms of the Broncos.
AFC Wildcard: 1 Buffalo Bills 2 San Diego Chargers
Obviously the Bills hopes are going to hinge on Tyrod Taylor. The health of LeSean McCoy is also important, but without steady QB play the Bills defense will be wasted for another season, and all the offseason additions on the offense will be for naught. In the end I think Taylor can add enough consistency to the position to help the Bills claim their first playoff since Bill Clinton was in office. As for the Chargers, I think Rivers and company will be good enough to compete with the Broncos for the division throughout the year. Melvin Gordon is a talented player and should help to open up a great passing attack that has added weapons since last season.
NFC EAST: Dallas Cowboys
I have been an avid Tony Romo fan since he took over for Drew Bledsoe and I am still dumbfounded as to why he doesn’t get more respect. This team, even without Demarco Murray, should have no problem outscoring opponents, especially if their defense performs as well as it did last year.
NFC NORTH: Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, and even sans Jordy Nelson the cheese heads will still have one of the most efficiently great offenses in the league. This team is a perennial Super Bowl contender and that shouldn’t change this year.
NFC SOUTH: Carolina Panthers
It seems like no team in this division is able to be good for an extended period, and it’s been quite confounding. Since 2002 Carolina is the only team to win the NFC South back to back, and that has come in the last two seasons. Following with this trend, I think Cam Newton and company will end up on top once again.
NFC WEST: Seattle Seahawks
Because they’re really good.
NFC WILDCARD: 1 Philadelphia Eagles 2 Arizona Cardinals
As far as Philly goes, their hopes hinge on Sam Bradford’s health. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to thrive in Chip Kelly’s offense. I pick the Cardinals not only because of their breakout last year, but also because it’s hard for me not have a soft spot in my heart for Carson Palmer. After finally playing well and getting an extension last season he tore his ACL which was heart breaking to see as a fan. I am cheering for Carson and the Cardinals.
League MVP: JJ Watt
Watt is an unstoppable defensive force, and he is just simply so exciting to watch on the field. He makes the Texans worth watching and I think he gets the award to go with the admiration he already has from fans around the league.
Super Bowl Matchup: Steelers vs Cowboys
Two great offenses pitted against each other on the biggest stage. This is the type of game every fan wants to see and I think it would be fun to watch these two teams go back and forth. In the winding seconds Tony Romo will throw a TD to finally shake his stigma as a choker. Or not, my guess is as good as any I suppose.
Wild Cards: Ravens, Bills
Wild Cards: Lions, Cowboys
Super Bowl: Packers 34 Patriots 31
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Wild Cards: Colts, Patriots
Wild Cards: Cowboys, Packers
Super Bowl: Seahawks beat Ravens
MVP: Russell Wilson
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Amari Cooper
Coach of the Year: Chip Kelly
Wild Cards: Texans, Patriots
Bills miss playoffs with a 9-7 or 10-6 record
Wild Cards: Rams, Giants
AFC Championship Game: Dolphins over Texans
NFC Championship Game: Seahawks over Cowboys
Super Bowl Champion: Seahawks over Dolphins
MVP: JJ Watt
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Marcus Mariota
Defensive Rookie of Year: Vic Beasley
Wild Cards: Chargers, Bills
Wild Cards: Eagles, Vikings
AFC Championship Game: Ravens over Chargers
NFC Championship Game: Cowboys over Seahawks
Super Bowl: Cowboys 28 Ravens 24
MVP: Tony Romo
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack
Offensive Player of the Year: Julio Jones
Wild Cards: Patriots, Chargers
Wild Cards: Eagles, Lions
Super Bowl: Cowboys over Patriots
MVP: Tony Romo
– The Hard Foul Staff