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Predicting NFL playoff teams and Super Bowl 2022 winner

 1 day ago

Super Bowl 2022: After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV, and managed to keep their entire core of starters together in free agency, it looks like the Bucs have a legitimate chance to repeat.

Who will comprise the 14 NFL playoff teams once the 2021 season is finished? Who will be the Super Bowl 2022 winner in the next calendar year? Check out Sportsnaut’s predictions, which will be updated each week during the regular season based on the latest standings, and need a little fine-tuning after Week 1’s action.

Related: NFL games today – Full TV schedule, daily fantasy picks, best bets

NFC South champions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

Isn’t it amazing? A 43-year-old Tom Brady changes offenses for the first time in two decades, and guides his team to a Super Bowl triumph.

Because of how often Brady did it in New England, it’s easy to take for granted. Bear in mind that Drew Brees, for all the historic passing numbers he’s put up, has himself only gotten out of the NFC and secured a Super Bowl berth just once. Brady, in Year 1 with Tampa Bay, already did that.

The Bucs played most of their championship season without stud nose tackle Vita Vea, who makes their run defense almost impossible to penetrate when he’s on the field. With Brady entering his age-44 season even more comfortable in coach Bruce Arians’ vertical passing system — and not playing on a torn MCL — Tampa is a real threat to repeat. Also Read:

4 teams who should regret passing on Tom Brady the most

NFC East champions: Washington Football Team
Sep 16, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) reacts during the first half against the New York Giants at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The bar for this division isn’t very high. The Dallas Cowboys still have Mike McCarthy running things, which isn’t great in the year 2021, and their defense is unproven. Next. Until Daniel Jones proves himself as the New York Giants’ long-term answer at QB, their ceiling is limited, especially with a bad o-line in front of him.

For the Philadelphia Eagles, even if Jalen Hurts has “blown away” teammates — and this author is a big Hurts stan, by the way — the Iggles still have a long way to go to prove they can hang in their division. Their blowout win over Atlanta in Week 1 bears monitoring, though.

The Washington Football Team field a great defense, but again, that pesky quarterback position was a big question mark entering the offseason. Despite a history of inconsistent play, this is actually the best situation Ryan Fitzpatrick has ever had, by far , in all the starting opportunities he’s gotten.

Here are three key factors that point to the Washington Football Team repeating as NFC East champions

Unfortunately, it’s now up to Taylor Heinicke to take the reins while Fitzpatrick recovers from a hip injury . A deep cast of skill position players features running back Antonio Gibson and receivers Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and rookie third-round pick Dyami Brown. Tight end Logan Thomas is no slouch as a pass-catcher, either.

Washington is going to continue terrorizing the opposition with its excellent front seven, and the secondary got even better this offseason with the acquisition of William Jackson III at cornerback. As long as Heinicke protects the football well enough, the Football Team should repeat as NFC East champs.

Read our game-by-game predictions for the Washington Football Team now

NFC Wild Card predictions: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

So yes, Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona represent the NFC West along with the Rams. The buzz about a possible trade involving superstar quarterback Russell Wilson has died down, so until he posts a losing record for the Seahawks or is no longer on their roster, we have to keep putting them in the postseason.

The 49ers had so many free agents to negotiate, but managed extremely well, re-signing elite left tackle Trent Williams, which was really the move they had to make. Now, they’re starting Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, but sprinkling in Trey Lance under Kyle Shanahan’s watch after a blockbuster trade to move up to third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Here’s our fearless forecast for how the San Francisco 49ers schedule will unfold in 2021

As for the Cardinals, it’s Year 3 of the Kyler Murray -Kliff Kingsbury era, which means it’s time to take the next step. GM Steve Keim made a big splash by signing J.J. Watt to bolster the defense’s front seven, and drafting Zaven Collins 16th overall. The pressure is on, because if Arizona doesn’t deliver, Keim’s seat will be hot, and Kingsbury could be gone.

Murray is arguably the best blend of throwing and running the NFL has right now at QB, and another year with DeAndre Hopkins should help the Cardinals surge into a Wild Card berth.

  • In The Hunt: New Orleans Saints

Much of the New Orleans Saints’ fortunes hinge on how well Jameis Winston can succeed Drew Brees. If Winston cuts down on the 30 interceptions he threw in 2019 — is it possible to go anywhere but south of that total? — maybe the Saints can surprise some people. Their roster is otherwise championship-ready, and they proved that by routing Green Bay in Week 1, as Winston threw five touchdowns and zero picks. Good start! Also Read:
NFL MVP odds 2021: Race tightens after Week 1 as Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray surge

So who will win Super Bowl LVI?
Oct 25, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) and quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrate the come from behind victory in the waning seconds against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty is still to play out, and it’ll be much easier to figure out who might hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVI once rosters are more settled for the 2021 season.

As for the road to the Big Game, here are some bold predictions: The Chiefs fall to the Browns in the AFC Championship Game, and the Rams best Green Bay in the Divisional Round to set up an NFC title clash at Tampa Bay.

The Browns got a key piece of business done this offseason by extending running back Nick Chubb

It’s a legitimately tough call to figure out who’s going to meet up with Cleveland in the grand finale, but we’ll give the slight edge to the defending champs, simply because of the key defensive backs they lost to the Browns in free agency.

That’s right: Our fearless forecast as of now is that the Cleveland Browns will face the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LVI and win . The Browns’ pass-rushing duo of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, combined with their much-improved defense and the return of Odell Beckham Jr. from injury, will ultimately help Cleveland win it all.

NFL playoff bracket: Full postseason predictions for AFC and NFC

  • AFC : Kansas City Chiefs earn bye with No. 1 seed; defeat Titans in Divisional Round
    • No. 2 Buffalo Bills def. No. 7 Miami Dolphins
    • No. 3 Cleveland Browns def. No. 6 Los Angeles Chargers; beat Chiefs in AFC Championship Game
    • No. 4 Tennessee Titans def. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens
  • NFC : Tampa Bay Buccaneers earn bye with No. 1 seed; beat Rams in NFC Championship Game
    • No. 2 Los Angeles Rams def. No. 7 Arizona Cardinals; defeat Packers in Divisional Round
    • No. 3 Green Bay Packers def. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers
    • No. 4 Washington Football Team def. No. 5 Seattle Seahawks
  • Super Bowl 2022: Cleveland Browns def. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WATCH: Sportsnaut’s Carolyn Manno on the latest NFL rumors

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Comments / 94

29d ago

By reading this and looking at what comments are on here. It's 100% certain you people don't know Football smh YES BROWNS all the way. Covid really making people lose their minds

Michael Robinson

Cleveland and the Washington football team is going to the super bowl you herd it from me team!!!

Bryant Young
22d ago

The Bucs aren't going to win there division, the Saints are going to win that division again. the Bucs will make the playoffs though, and will lose in the divisional round.


Comments / 0