10 Bold NFL Playoff Predictions

TBL Staff
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams / Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

A regular season filled to the brim with surprises cedes way to a postseason full of possibilities. Twelve teams have a chance to hoist a big, shiny trophy, though only half seem to have real hope of doing so. But that's why they play the games. Here are some of our boldest, spiciest predictions for the meaningful football.

The Green Bay Packers will win the NFC

Vegas is not the end-all, be-all. But the fact that this team is 11-1 to win the Super Bowl is quite shocking for a 13-3 side with an all-time great quarterback and one of the top backs in the league in Aaron Jones. Yes, they've looked entirely beatable since a hot start and will probably need to slow Michael Thomas, Drew Brees and an offensive juggernaut in the divisional round. That's going to be outside, though. Where it's cold. Exorcizing demons in San Francisco will be a tall task, yet Kyle Shanahan's team is young and inexperienced. There's a chance the moment is too big for them. It definitely won't be for Rodgers. - Kyle Koster

Josh Allen is going to beat Deshaun Watson and scare Lamar Jackson

Allen hasn't received much credit for leading the Bills to the playoffs and perhaps he shouldn't. That all changes as he uses his legs and Cole Beasley to turn the Houston Texans' annual Saturday showcase into a funeral for the season. Then, and you can doubt if you want, he'll push the Ravens to the limit and play just as well as Jackson before losing in the final minute. On the road. Crazy, right? - Kyle Koster

The San Francisco 49ers will crash and burn

San Francisco has been one of the NFL's best all-around teams this season. But a good chunk of their offensive success is due to the creativity of Kyle Shanahan rather than any one individual, as good as George Kittle is. Jimmy Garoppolo has had only four good games all season and has a tendency to throw interceptions at bad times. The defensive line is monstrous, but the secondary is thin. Very few players on the team have playoff experience, and the last time Shanahan was calling plays in crunch time, it didn't go so well. They aren't pretenders, per se, but they aren't nearly as dominant as their No. 1 overall seed would indicate, and Levi Stadium won't play nearly as much of a factor as one expects from a team with homefield advantage-- and it'll lead to a big loss before February. - Liam McKeone

There will be no Patriots revenge tour

Just like every year, the New England Patriots are spending their week gathering all bulletin board material available to convince themselves the world does not believe in them as motivation to go on a tear to the Super Bowl. Kyle Van Noy has already started talk of a "Revenge Tour" similar to last season. But this year, any and all criticism is well-founded. This team is majorly flawed offensively and not nearly as dominant as everyone thought defensively. They'll probably get past Tennessee, but barring Tom Brady applying an anti-aging cream or N'Keal Harry turning into Dez Bryant, it's hard to envision them making it much further than the divisional round without home-field advantage.

Doubt the Patriots at your own risk, yadda-yadda-- this is the worst playoff team New England has fielded this decade, and their season will end well before they can book tickets to Miami. - Liam McKeone

49ers lose first game

The 49ers are the top seed in the NFC and the odds-on favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Too bad they'll lose in the divisional round after a first-round bye. Doesn't matter who they face. Even the Vikings can beat them. But if it's a rematch against the Seahawks, I think Seattle comes out with the win in their third matchup of the year. Pete Carrol seems to have Kyle Shanahan's number, having beaten him once this year and blowing a golden chance to do it the second time in Week 17. - Brian Giuffra

Aaron Rodgers returns to MVP form

Is it bold to believe in Aaron Rodgers? Not if you look at the totality of his career. But this season he's looked off, guiding the ball more than slinging it. But that's the thing about Rodgers-- once you think he's done, he comes back better than ever. The Packers will remain a run-first team. But Rodgers won't miss on the play-action opportunities he's afforded in the playoffs as he did in the regular season. He's a gamer and will come alive in the playoffs, performing like an MVP once again. Will that be enough for the Packers to win it all and earn him a second Super Bowl MVP award? Maybe. I'm not picking them to win it all, but Rodgers will look the part of a generational quarterback once more. - Brian Giuffra

Andy Reid shakes stigma

Andy Reid has long been known as a bad coach when it comes to clock management. He's also known as a coach whose team doesn't perform its best in big games. That ends this year. I predicted the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl before the season started and I'm sticking with them. Mahomes plays like an MVP, Ried coaches like an MVP and in the end, the Chiefs take home the title because of, not in spite of, Reid. - Brian Giuffra

Patrick Mahomes becomes NFL's torchbearer

Patrick Mahomes is my pick right now as the NFL's best player, but others can rightfully doubt it and go in other directions. After this postseason, though, there will be no more debate. There is nothing any quarterback has done that Mahomes cannot do. In these playoffs, he will prove it on the biggest of stages. Mahomes will be the one who puts the knife in the Patriots' dynasty. He may not be able to overcome the all-around dominant Ravens team, but he will show why he is, without question, better than soon-to-be 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson. This will be Mahomes' league for the next decade, and his era officially begins in a week. - Bobby Burack

Tom Brady will be the worst of the 12 quarterbacks

Yes, Tom Brady, the consensus G.O.A.T, will lay an egg as he has all season long. En route to not winning more than one playoff game, Brady will play worse than even Josh Allen. Despite a win this weekend, Patriots' fans will be jealous of the Titans' quarterback situation. The new decade will begin with Brady throwing no touchdowns and three interceptions in two games. Ugly times ahead, Boston sports fans. - Bobby Burack 

The Saints will be road warriors

So much of the legend of the Sean Payton/Drew Brees Saints teams has been built around their dominance at home in the Superdome. Not this year. New Orleans is 7-1 on the road this season and that one loss came in an early-season spanking against the Rams in a game Brees left with an injury. The Saints might be the most complete team in the NFL and getting the third seed will only motivate them, especially after getting jobbed out of a Super Bowl appearance last year. They'll face two road games against tough teams to get to the big game, and they'll ace both tests. - Ryan Phillips