The Chase for the Championship has Started!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the season coming to an end. I noted the teams that were in contention for playoff spots and the players that were in the hunt for MVP honors. I also mentioned that Michael Thomas could break the all-time single season record for receptions and he did. I mentioned that Christian McCaffery could have 2500 yards from scrimmage and he came up just short. One player I left out was Drew Brees, he was able to set two records in one game. However, the regular season has ended and the playoff positions have been filled. Let’s take a look at the participants and match-ups to see what team might come out on top.

In the NFC, the 49ers won the West and locked up the one seed which would give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a bye. The Packers were able to take the North and attain the two seed which gives them at least one home game and a bye. The Saints won the South and had an identical record as the 49ers and Packers, but based on tiebreakers they were given the three seed. This means they will play the six seed wildcard winner, the Vikings. The other division winner was the Eagles and they will play the other wildcard team, the fifth seed Seahawks. The matchups for next weekend are dependent on the results from this weekend. Although, I think the Saints and Seahawks should prevail. That would set up a 49ers/Seahawks game for a third time this year and the Saints would visit the frozen tundra in Green Bay. Picking a winner from that group is pretty tough, but I would think the 49ers having home field advantage is huge and should propel them to the Super Bowl.

In the AFC, the Ravens were dominant and ended up winning the North, the one seed, and a bye. The Chiefs won 6 in a row to finish the season and that propelled them to winning the West and a two seed. Surprisingly, the Patriots fell to the third seed even though they won the East for the 11th straight year. They will have a minimum of one home game against the six seeded, wildcard winner Titans. The four seed is the winner of the South, the Texans. They will play the other wildcard participant, the fifth seeded Bills. It is nice to see the Bills back in the playoffs but I think they will get bounced early. I can’t go against the Patriots in the first round and that would set up a Patriots/Chiefs game while the Ravens would play the Texans. As mentioned before, it is hard to go against the Patriots because they always end up on top, but I think this is the year they get knocked out and do not make the Super Bowl. I think the AFC participant will be the Ravens.

If my predictions come true, we will have a 49ers/Ravens Super Bowl. I think that would be a fantastic matchup that features two very physical and talented teams. Could the 49ers slow down the Ravens dynamic running game? Could the Ravens shut down the 49ers TE, George Kittle, and make another player beat them? I am very much looking forward to the games being played and in roughly 4 weeks we will have the 53rd playing of the Super Bowl!

—Victor Mandalawi