It is amazing we are already at the three-quarter pole of a season many believed would never happen. We all needed something positive to happen in this pandemic-plagued 2020 and the NFL hit the spot! After 13 weeks, with only four remaining, we can see the playoff picture crystalizing but there are still several teams contesting for those coveted spots.
Let’s take a look at how we believe it will shake out and know the top betting sites that are predicting the outcome of each division by dealing odds on teams to win the division, the conference, and the Super Bowl. Also, we must note that the NFL has added a third wild-card spot for each conference this season, so seven teams in each conference will make the playoffs, and only one team will be getting a first-round bye in each conference, not two, as in previous years.
Division Winner – Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen has emerged as a big-time quarterback for the Bills and all of those who doubted the talented Wyoming product now have to rethink their opinions. And while the Bills’ defense is not as good as many believed it would be, Allen and his offense have more than compensated. The Dolphins will be a close second but will narrowly miss the playoffs this year.
Division Winner – Pittsburgh Steelers – Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Pittsburgh’s unexpected romp through their schedule, suffering their first loss of the season in Week 13, is how well they are doing only a few years removed from having arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the league on the same team in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense on point but the defense has been even better.
Wild Card Entry – Cleveland Browns – You have to feel good for Browns fans after suffering through so many abysmal seasons. Baker Mayfield’s confidence is growing and the ground and pound attack led by the dynamic rushing duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is a key factor in their success.
Wild Card Entry – Baltimore Ravens – If the season ended after Week 13, last year’s team with the best record in football, would be on the outside looking in. However, the Ravens’ prospects will only improve after a pivotal clash with the Browns in Week 14 with three cupcakes on their schedule in the Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals.
Division Winner – Indianapolis Colts – This is a tossup between the Titans and Colts, two teams battling for division supremacy and having split their season series with a win apiece. In a coin flip, the Colts called heads and it comes up heads. Yes, it’s that close.
Wild Card Entry – Tennessee Titans – Maybe the Titans will make another deep postseason run as they did last year but there are too many other teams that have improved markedly from last season in the AFC that will supplant them as Cinderella stories this year.
Division Winner – Kansas City Chiefs –No surprise here. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback on the planet and his team is poised to repeat as Super Bowl champs. The Las Vegas Raiders, like the Miami Dolphins, will be close but no cigar in getting into the postseason.
Division Winner – New York Giants – Somebody has to win the NFC Least, it might as well be the Giants. They are the prettiest pig in the poke and if Big Blue resided in any other division in football they would be making vacation plans after the regular-season is finished. But instead, they will edge their competition from Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas only to lose in the opening round to whomever.
Division Winner – Green Bay Packers – When the Packers’ brass drafted Utah State QB, Jordan Love, in the first round this past April, it clearly lit a fire under the incumbent, Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ offense has been en fuego all year long with Rodgers pulling the trigger. Green Bay is ranked No. 1 in points scored, even in front of the prolific Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t doubt this team at your own peril.
Division Winner – New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees is another legend under center in the mold of Aaron Rodgers, or vice-versa depending on your perspective. The Saints are the best in class in the NFC South, despite the new arrival of another legend in Tampa Bay.
Wild Card Entry – Tampa Bay Bucs – Much was expected of Tom Brady’s arrival in Tampa but the reviews have been mixed. Clearly there is a war of words behind the scenes with TB12 and his cantankerous head coach, Bruce Arians, but the potential is there for a deep run in the postseason if the Bucs can work out the kinks.
Division Winner – Seattle Seahawks – The Hawks will battle the Rams to the bitter end and the Week 16 matchup between these teams will likely tell the tale for division supremacy. Russell Wilson is the difference-maker in this equation and he could very well lead the Seahawks to the league’s grandest stage when it is all said and done.
Wild Card Entry – Los Angeles Rams – The Rams will have to be the bridesmaid in this division race but they have the chops to not only make it to the playoffs but make noise when they get there.
Wild Card Entry – Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray has been a pleasure to watch for the Cardinals this season and he will only get better. The Redbirds are not quite cooked yet and need a bit more maturity before they become a true Super Bowl contender. But they will get a quick taste this season which will only make them better next season.