The NFL regular season is reaching its climax and that means the playoffs are edging closer and closer.
The 2020 postseason was full of twists and turns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eventually triumphing.
This campaign’s playoffs are set to bring us more of the same. Here is everything you need to know about the 2021 postseason.
When are the NFL Playoffs?
The NFL Playoffs will kick off on with the Wild Card Round, which is set to be played over three days (September, 15-17, 2022) for the first time ever.
Next up in the Divisional Round, where the top seed in each conference takes on the lowest-remaining seed, and the other two remaining teams will also square off. These games will take place on January 22-23, 2022.
The winners of the Divisional Round will progress to the Conference Championships. These will be played on January 30, 2022. 13 days later, these two victors will face each other in Super Bowl LVI.
Where is the Super Bowl this year?
The 56th iteration of the Super Bowl game will take place on Sunday, February 13, 2021 The two teams lucky enough to be facing off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy this year will be traveling to the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California – home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.
The halftime show is set to be a belter this year with hip hop legends Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar set to perform at the game.
Before any NFL franchise can dream about the Super Bowl though, they will need to navigate the choppy waters of the postseason. Many people are getting ready to bet on this year’s playoffs and if you are thinking of giving this a try you will need to have a full, working knowledge of the playoff picture this year.
The Playoff Picture – AFC
The AFC is looking tight this season with those at the top of the seedings and those at the bottom jostling for position as the campaign draws to a close.
Of course, there is still plenty of football to be played, and the picture could be turned on its head at any moment. Saying that, it would take a brave person to bet against the New England Patriots being in the Playoffs come the end of the season.
The Pats have been leading the way in the AFC for the entire season, powered by the tandem offense of Mac Jones (QB) and Damien Harris (RB). Although Jones and Harris are among the best young talents in the league, the Patriots real success is largely built on a rock-solid defense.
After 13 NFL games, a staggering 18.7% of their opponents’ drives ended in an offensive turnover. Bill Belichick’s team has also ranked among the best teams in the league for denying passing and rushing yards. As always, the six-time Super Bowl champions – they won in 2016 and 2018 – will be dangerous when the Playoffs come around.
Aside from the Pats, the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs are also safe bets to reach the postseason. The Chiefs’ standout player is QB Patrick Mahomes, who continues to rank among the best in the NFL in his position. Titans RB Derrick Henry is a scary prospect for Tennessee’s potential postseason opponents’ too.
Elsewhere in the conference, things look more open for the final Playoff spots. It looks like being a scrap between the Chargers, Bengals, Bills, Steelers, Colts and perhaps even the Raiders, Browns and Broncos.
The Playoff Picture – NFC
Mercifully, things are a lot more clear-cut in the NFC, though that is not to say that everything has been decided already. One thing we can say with some certainty is that the Arizona Cardinals will be competing in the postseason.
Much like the Pats, Arizona largely has their terrific defense to thank for their superb season so far. Kliff Kingsbury is a talented coach and under his tutelage his team has consistently recorded impressive numbers for interceptions and forcing turnovers.
Following closely behind the Cardinals as the NFC’s top team is the Green Bay Packers. One of the main reasons for their strong chances is the form of all-star wide receiver Davante Adams. Now 29, Adams is at his peak and he will be desperate to impress in this season’s playoffs to add to his legend.
The Cardinals and Packers have spent the majority of the year in the company of the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers atop the NFC. Many expected veteran quarterback Tom Brady to slow down somewhat this year after helping the Bucs to the championship last time out.
It has not happened with Brady once again leading the league for passing stats. How do you stop a player like this, particularly as he always seems to raise his game for the postseason? The Cowboys and Rams are also going well and should qualify without too much hassle. The remaining two places are most likely to be occupied by Washington and San Francisco, but the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings cannot be ruled out.
The Playoff Picture – Prediction
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Buffalo Bills
- Indianapolis Colts
- Baltimore Ravens
- Tennessee Titans
- Los Angeles Chargers
- New England Patriots
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Washington Football Team
- Arizona Cardinals
- San Francisco 49ers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Los Angeles Rams
- Green Bay Packers