The NFL Playoffs are upon us! The post-season is the most exciting time of the Football year. Journeys that started in the summer with training camp and OTAs reach their crescendo in the winter, as 14 teams all vie for a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
We here at the Roundup’s sports section love football, so we want to compete for a different trophy.
Five members of the Roundup’s sports section will be predicting the winners and scores of every NFL playoff game to earn points and be declared the winner of the illustrious “Roundup Cup.”
The point system is as follows:
If the winner of a Wild-card game is predicted correctly- 1 point
If the winner of a Divisional round game is predicted correctly- 2 points
If the winner of a Conference final game is predicted correctly- 3 points
If the winner of the Superbowl is predicted correctly- 4 points
An additional 2 points are awarded if a player correctly predicts an upset. (Ex. 5th seed def. 2nd seed)
The person whose predicted score most closely resembles the actual game score will be awarded 1 point. This will be determined by finding the difference between the scores of both teams in a particular game and adding them together. The player with the lowest difference will be awarded the 2 points.
In the event of a tie:
The players will face off in a tie-breaker based on their predicted scores for the Conference finals and Superbowl. The player who has a closer score in 2 of 3 games will be declared the winner.
Good luck to all of our contestants, and we can’t wait to get this underway!
Wild Card Round Predictions:
Constantine Lambridis on Buffalo V.S. Indianapolis
While there is upset potential in this two v.s five matchup, most analysts and fans would agree the Bills are the favorites. While the Colts pass defense has exemplified some exceptional qualities, Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of Buffalo’s passing game has made a living this season picking apart sound defenses. Buffalo’s aerial attack has notched 4,786 yards this season, with impressive performances against the 49ers, Rams, and Steelers, who were all top 5 in pass defense. The Colts offense, on the other hand, is marred with inconsistency. Quarterback Phillip Rivers has posted a sub 90 passer rating in eight games this season. The Bills defense is competent enough to shut down strong opponents, meaning Rivers might get dismissed easily. Couple that with streaky and underwhelming performances from Indy’s receiving corps, and the only thing that seems like a certainty for the Colts is a loss this weekend.
All Predictions from Constantine Lambridis
BUF def. IND 46-24
SEA def. LAR 28-17
TBB def. WAS 42-17
BAL def. TEN 30-28
NO def. CHI 28-21
PIT def. CLE 28-14
Christian Sehlmeyer on Seattle V.S. Los Angeles (R)
I believe that the Seahawks will walk away with this NFC West matchup. After a somewhat shaky start to the season, Seattle’s defense has significantly improved and has what it takes to stop Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense. On the offensive front, when Russell Wilson is on the field, you know he’s gonna be a threat. Top it off with elite receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and the Seahawks receiving core can always put up numbers. Despite the threat of Seattle’s receiver core looming over the Rams, they’re actually one of the most capable defenses when it comes to stopping Seattle. Los Angeles’ defense is one of the few units that has given Russell Wilson significant trouble this season. Despite this, I don’t think that the Rams offense has what it takes to keep up with Seattle’s. Although the game will be close, I predict Russell Wilson will use all of the skills and knowledge he has acquired throughout his long career to lead his team past the Rams.
All predictions from Christian Sehlemyer
BUF def. IND 28-21
SEA def. LAR 24-20
TBB def. WAS 45-23
TEN def. BAL 30-24
CLE def. PIT 27-21
NO def. CHI 33-19
Matthew Pastier on Tampa Bay V.S. Washington
Did you know Tom Brady has more playoff wins (30) than the Washington organization as a whole (23)? The fifth seed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the fourth seed Washington Football Team, led by comeback player of the year candidate Alex Smith, face off Saturday night. The Washington defense led by rookie defensive end Chase Young has been the reason Washington was able to make a playoff run, although their offense has been quite lackluster. However, Wide Reciever Terry Mclaurin had been a stud with three different starting quarterbacks this year, and running back Antonio Gibson has been getting better with every game he’s played. On the other side, Tom Brady and his Offense have finally been connecting down the stretch with his wideouts Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin. Star running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, as well as tight Rob Gronkowski, make this team extremely deadly. Tom Brady will be looking to separate his name from Belichick by having success with another team. Being that the Bucs have a more experienced team with more skilled players, they should cruise to an easy victory over Washington.
All predictions from Matthew Pastier
BUF def. IND 27-21
LAR def. SEA 28-21
TBB def. WAS 37-7
BAL def. TEN 24-21
CHI def. NO 24-17
PIT def. CLE 35-17
Jordan Cohen on Tennesse V.S. Baltimore
This Sunday, we will get to enjoy a rematch between the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. NFL fans remember the AFC Divisional Round upset well. Derrick Henry ran all over the Ravens, even having a passing touchdown of his own. The result of the game was an underdog win, by a score of 28-12 favoring the Titans. In this year’s matchup, I’m expecting a successful revenge game. Derrick Henry will continue tearing apart the opponent’s defense, helping the Titans hang up many scores. One thing that didn’t happen last year that I’m expecting to happen this year is the Ravens keeping pace. Lamar Jackson and company will put up big scores of their own, with some big stops in some big moments from the Ravens defense. I expect a high scoring matchup with gritty defensive plays when needed, but ultimately the Titans will edge it out with a score of 38-36.
All predictions from Jordan Cohen
BUF def. IND 27-17
SEA def. LAR 35-24
TBB def. WAS 30-10
BAL def. TEN 38-36
NO def. CHI 29-2
CLE def. PIT 27-24
Tyler Wichman on New Orleans V.S. Chicago
On Sunday at 4:40, the New Orleans Saints take on the Chicago Bears. The Saints are coming into the game as the heavy favorites, with their offense and defense among some of the best in the league. With Drew Brees back now from his injury, the Saints pose a threat from the air and the ground, with Latavius Murray filling in for star running back Alvin Kamara. The Bears come into the game with both a mediocre offense and defense and no real star in any of the skill positions. I expect a blowout by the Saints and absolute domination. 35-17
All predictions from Tyler Wichman
BUF def. IND 42-27
LAR def. SEA 21-13
WAS def. TBB 23-21
BAL def. TEN 27-24
NO def. CHI 35-17
CLE def. PIT 17-10
Constantine Lambridis on Pittsburgh V.S. Cleveland
While I’m sure everyone is excited to see the Browns in the playoffs after 17 years of trying, Cleveland faces another opponent to their Super Bowl hopes. Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, which means he and other Browns coaches will not be on the sideline this weekend. Star cornerback Denzel Ward is also temporarily sidelined, as the Ohio State product must quarantine for contract tracing effort. The same goes for Pro Bowl guard Joe Bitonio, who is also in danger of missing Sunday’s contest. While Pittsburgh has faltered down the stretch, the Browns are so overmatched after this hectic week that it would take a complete collapse from the Steelers to see a Cleveland win. If the Steelers keep their heads on straight, they should cruise to a victory over a weakened Browns team.