By Conor Perrett, Tom Green and David McDonnell
The NFL Playoffs are a time of chaos and upsets and with them right round the corner, here at Smashmouthing football we’ve created brackets to what we think will happen.
Using a bracket predictor, starting with the wild-card matchups, each one of us has predicted the outcome to each game until there’s one team left to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
Please keep in mind, we are predicting the future here, which will always look terrible in retrospect unless one of us manages to get it right.
David: “To quickly guide you through my bracket, I think the three best teams are in the AFC. What sets them apart in my book, compared to say the 49ers, is at quarterback and I can see Joe Burrow and the Bengals beating the Chiefs as they did earlier in the season.
What I like about the Bengals is the high level consistency of Burrow with an array of weapons, coupled with a competitive and smart defence.
On the NFC side of the draw, I expect the 49ers and Eagles to make the NFC championship game and I believe the 49ers have the D-line that can stand up and stop the Eagles’ O-line, the best in football.
Looking at Jalen Hurts last weekend, I believe his injury could be worse than Philadelphia are letting on and it was notable that he didn’t run into contact against the Giants in Week 18.
I do worry about the recent loss of two offensive linemen in Cincinnati, especially if they were to face a 49ers defence in the big show. But saying that, I’ll go with the Bengals because they are the most balanced team with a top-three QB in the league.”
Conor: “The NFL playoffs are always difficult to predict and I find that’s because of the uncertainty that happens when it gets to the month of January. For that reason I’ve gone a bit outside of the box and selected the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.
Currently the Niners have the fourth best odds to be victorious, but I think there’s many reasons why they will overcome these odds.
For starters San Francisco has the best defence out of everybody. There’s an old saying that goes “offence wins you games but defence wins you championships.”
What that entails is when you get to the final stages, everyone is going to have great offences, but the ones with the better defences will stop them. There are things that worry me about this team – mainly seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy at QB – but so far he’s looked calm and collective and I trust Kyle Shanahan to put him in the right situations.
That leaves me to my last point, the 49ers have made the long journey to the Super Bowl before, but fell short. When you taste defeat at the last hurdle, it makes certain characters want that success even more. To me, San Fran has those characters all over the team and won’t stop at nothing in order to achieve them.
For the rest of my bracket, I have the Bills getting out of the stacked AFC. The three best teams in the league right now may be on that AFC side, and when they are all so closely matched it feels like a coin toss. Buffalo will need to use everything they’ve got to get past the Bengals and Chiefs, but I think they’re talented enough to do so.
To finish things off, yes I have the No. 5 seed Dallas Cowboys making the NFC Championship. Like I said, there’s always upsets and I think Dallas will surprise a few. Philly have regressed over the last month due to injuries and that will hurt them in an NFC East clash.”
Tom: “So I’ve got the Cincinnati Bengals going one step better this year, taking home the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy with a victory over Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles.
On the AFC side, it was a hard exercise to pick between the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and the aforementioned Cincinnati. Based on their regular season performances, all would be worthy Super Bowl champions, but titles aren’t won from Week 1 to 18.
It’s a likely scenario that the winner of the conference will have to beat at least one of these teams. Well in my prediction, I have Cincinnati beating both, and on the road in back-to-back weeks. Maybe it’s the confidence in which they carry themselves that has influenced my guesses, but when the lights are brightest this postseason, I think we will see Joe Burrow shine just as bright.
The Bengals are built for playoff football and 2022 will be their year.
The NFC in itself is entirely more open to me, while I have the Philadelphia Eagles making the Super Bowl. I can’t say a one and done loss at home in the Divisional round would be a shocking turn of events.
But in my prediction I have Philly going to the dance, narrowly beating the San Francisco 49ers at home in the NFC Championship game.
I feel like we are more likely to encounter upsets on the NFC side and look out for the Giants @ Vikings being an example of this.”
Interesting side note
Interesting side note, every game of Super Wildcard Weekend is a rematch from the 2022 regular season.
49ers def. Seahawks 27-7 & 21-13 in Week 2 & 15
Jaguars def. Chargers 38-10 in Week 3
Vikings def. Giants 27-24 in Week 16
Buccaneers def. Cowboys 19-3 in Week 1
Dolphins & Bills split wins 21-9 & 32-29 in Week 3 & 15
Ravens & Bengals split wins 19-17 & 27-16 in Week 5 & 18
As you can see all of our predictions are set as we get ever closer to the Playoffs. In the end, none of us chose either No. 1 seed to be Super Bowl Champions, as it shows how competitive the league is right now.
May the best man win in their bracket predictions, and let us know who you think is going to be the Super Bowl winner in a month’s time.