(5) Chiefs over (4) Texans
(6) Steelers over (3) Bengals
(4) Redskins over (5) Packers
(6) Seahawks over (3) Vikings
While the Chiefs 10-game winning streak to close out the 2015 season has been impressive, they have only beaten two teams with winning records, the Steelers (who did not have Ben Roethlisberger) and the Broncos (who played with a beat up Peyton Manning). Going against a Texans team that will be starting George Blanda at quarterback won't stop them this week but this will be the final win of the streak.
The Steelers did not look great to close the season, losing at Baltimore and struggling to defeat the Browns. I'm not buying too much stock in those performances as Pittsburgh's offense definitely has the weapons to win the AFC and with Andy Dalton not looking good to be back under center for the Bengals this weekend, I'll take the Black and Gold.
Washington has finished their season on a roll and with the Packers looking lost, I'll take the Redskins as my only higher seed to win on Wild Card Weekend. The Seahawks will not roll over the Vikings the way they did in December in a 38-7 rout but Seattle will advance.
(6) Steelers over (1) Broncos
(2) Patriots over (5) Chiefs
(1) Panthers over (6) Seahawks
(2) Cardinals over (4) Redskins
The Broncos have a championship caliber defense but I'm not sure Peyton Manning can lead that offense to enough points to beat the Steelers and the Patriots, who should be relatively healthy, will be able to beat the Chiefs at home to advance to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game.
The Panthers will survive what should be the best game of the Divisional Weekend against Seattle while Arizona's offense will be too much for the Redskins.
Conference Championship Games
(2) Patriots over (6) Steelers
(2) Cardinals over (1) Panthers
The Patriots struggled, uncharacteristically, down the stretch finishing with a 2-4 record over their last six games after a 10-0 start. However, their slow start was the result of a slew of injuries that crippled the team from Thanksgiving to New Year's. The walking wounded - like Julian Edelman, Dont'a Hightower, and Sebastian Vollmer - are expected to be healthy for the playoffs and, assuming that they remain relatively healthy, will make the Patriots the dominant team in the conference.
Arizona will advance to the second Super Bowl in franchise history due to having a defense that will be able to slow down Cam Newton's Panthers and an offense, led by Carson Palmer, that will do enough to put up points on Carolina's defense.
Super Bowl 50
Patriots over Cardinals
This pick is based on the idea that New England will remain relatively healthy over the three games that it will take to win the fifth Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick Era. Arizona's offense will be able to pass the ball against the Patriots but if Rob Gronkowski, Edelman, and Danny Amendola are healthy than Tom Brady will do what he did versus the Seahawks a year ago and get the Patriots on the score board enough to win another Lombardi Trophy.