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NFL Playoff First-Round Predictions

Joa's Journal

By Joa Maciel

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for some, as the NFL Playoffs kick off this Saturday and let me tell you: this NFL postseason has the potential to be one of the best we’ve seen in quite some time. We still have the playoff giants (not the New York Giants), that we are known to see and fear. The Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs, the Aaron Rodgers Packers and believe it or not, Tom Brady is still under center down in Tampa Bay. There are some teams that emerged from nowhere and can make some noise. I’m not saying that those teams will win it all, but they certainly are capable of overachieving and surprising many. These are my three sleepers for the NFL playoffs.

The Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals, in my eyes, are the biggest wild card in the entire NFL playoffs. Nobody really expected them to be this good at the start of the season, but here they are and it’s scary to think that this is only the beginning for them. Joe Burrow is a legit quarterback in this league, and he’ll only get better alongside his insanely explosive receiving core, consisting of JaMar Chase (who might be having one of the best rookie campaign for a WR that we have seen for a long time), as well as up and coming receivers in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Toss in a prime Joe Mixon and the Bengals offense is one of the most dangerous in the league. The only knock on the Bengals is their defense, as there are a lot of times where they struggled. You can see that some retooling is going to happen this offseason. If they can get a couple of stops, Joe Burrow and the crew can do their thing. Regardless of the result, the Cincinnati Bengals are winners this season going 10-7 with this young core, when many had them as bottom feeders in the AFC. Bengals fans, you have a lot to be excited for.

The Arizona Cardinals

Now if the Cardinals were healthy, we would be talking about a potential Super Bowl favorite, but injuries have derailed them. Nevertheless, the Cardinals still managed to get a playoff spot with an impressive 11-6 record after losing their top receiver in Deandre Hopkins and one of their most reliable defenders in JJ Watt. The Cardinals are a resilient team, and this roster is extremely talented even with the injuries. Their defense has three beasts in Budda Baker, Chandler Jones and Isaiah Simmon, and yeah, Kyler Murray can always turn up a notch and become semi-unstoppable. The Cardinals will be a team that will fight until the clock has no time left and you will have a lot of fun watching them fight.

The Dallas Cowboys

I am going to get a lot of hate for this, and I SWEAR Vince didn’t pay me or promise me any perks to put the Cowboys on this list, but I have to give credit where credit is due (please don’t kill me die-hard Birds fans). The Cowboys are great this year, there are very few holes in this team and week-by-week they kept impressing me. The Cowboys are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL with a strong defense and one of the most talented offenses in the league. Trevon Diggs had the best season for a secondary player in the NFL this season, and Micah Parsons is the clear cut favorite for defensive rookie of the year already making the Pro Bowl team in his first year. On the other side of the ball, Dak’s comeback was real and he can still be one of the best quarterbacks in football, and they have a receiving core in which every single player is a matchup nightmare for opposing secondaries. I’m talking about Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson and CeeDee Lamb, and don’t forget about the offensive line. People can hate all they want and say what they want, but the Cowboys are a damn good football team. However, Vince if you are reading this they are still inferior to the Packers, Bucs, and Rams, but they will for sure be a tough out.

My first round predictions.

Now to end this piece with a little bit of fun I will put my predictions for the first round of the NFL playoffs.

Chiefs 31-7 Steelers

Bills 24-21 Patriots (OT)

Bengals 21-17 Raiders

Bucs 28-10 Eagles

Cowboys 17-14 49ers

Rams 14-10 Cardinals

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