Onside Kick: Halfway Playoff Predictions

We are nowhalfway through the 2019 NFL season and the race for the playoffs is well underway. Around 20 teams still have a realistic shot at qualifying for the postseason. So, his week we’re going to predict which of these teams will actually play in the tournament…

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AFC

New England Patriots (8-0)

Clearly the best team in the NFL right now, the Patriots boast the best defence in the league by far. Stephon Gilmore is a serious contender for Defensive Player of the Year and Devin McCourty leads the league in interceptions with five in only eight games. On offence, Tom Brady is no longer the elite quarterback he once was, but his surrounding cast has stepped up and helped them score more points than any other team this season.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)

Patrick Mahomes is currently out with a knee injury, but he should be back on the field within a couple of weeks. Once Mahomes is back under centre the Chiefs will be able to get back to being one of the NFL’s best teams. Andy Reid’s team should not have any problem locking up the division title as none of the other three AFC West teams look like true playoff teams. How far they will be able to go into the playoffs remains to be seen.

Houston Texans (5-3)

The Houston Texans are serious Super bowl contenders. Third year quarterback Deshaun Watson is an MVP candidate, throwing 16 touchdowns and only five interceptions in eight games, leading the team to a 5-3 record. Defensive end, JJ Watt was a contender to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award until his unfortunate injury ruled him out for the rest of the season. However, even without Watt the Texans are one of the best teams in the league

Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Before the season started, there was doubt about whether the Ravens would be any good. Second-year quarterback, Lamar Jackson was a huge question mark going in, but so far he’s been incredible. His dynamic style of playing the position has proven to be nearly impossible to stop. It was the victory over the Seattle Seahawks where all doubt was erased, as they controlled a game against an elite-level opponent. As well as the exiting offence, the defence is a top 10 unit in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts (5-2)

When Andrew Luck retired less than two weeks before the start of the season the Colts’ season was thought to be already over. However, Jacoby Brissett has done more than enough to fill the gap left by the four-time Pro Bowler. Tossing for 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions in seven games and helping them top the AFC South through week eight.

Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Seven games into the season, the only two teams to have beaten the Buffalo Bills this season are the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles; the last two Superbowl winners. This goes to show how much the Bills have improved since their 6-10 season last year. Second-year quarterback, Josh Allen has benefitted greatly from having an improved offensive line and defence, and the Bills could make a deep playoff run.

Go to the next page for NFC predictions

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