With Wild Card Weekend having come and gone, the field of potential Super Bowl champions shrunk from 12 to eight. Among the eight still remaining, a clear hierarchy exists. It’s still relatively early in the postseason process, but you can already picture some of the most likely Super Bowl XLIX matchups.
Quite frankly, it’s hard to see how the Seahawks slip up between now and the Super Bowl. They have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and they’ve already a win over the one team that could potentially dethrone them—the Green Bay Packers.
Seattle’s defense is back to being the best in the NFL, while the offense is among the league’s most efficient. The team ranked ninth in yards per game (375.8), but Football Outsiders places the unit fifth in offensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average).
As the top seed in the AFC, the New England Patriots are best positioned for a trip to Glendale, Arizona. Their only home loss came against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17, by which time Bill Belichick had already packed it in in preparation for the playoffs.
Everybody knows Tom Brady delivers this time of the year. What makes the difference for the Pats this year is a defense that ranks 11th in defensive DVOA, according to FO, which is a big rise from 20th at the end of the 2013 season.
The Ravens will need to beat the Patriots next week, which is a massive hurdle to climb. Should Baltimore win, though, it would have to be considered the team to beat in the AFC. Don’t forget that when the franchise last won the Super Bowl, it beat both New England and Denver on the road en route to New Orleans. Count the Ravens out at your own peril.
The Broncos lost to the Patriots by 22 points back in November, so that is a bit of a concern for Denver should the two teams meet in the AFC Championship Game. The gulf between the two teams isn’t so great, though, that Denver would have no chance in a rematch.
Additionally, Green Bay will really hope to avoid that trip to Seattle in a couple of weeks. It was a different team on the road this year, highlighted by the Packers’ losses to the New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills.
Should somebody other than the Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl, though, it would almost certainly be the NFC North champions. Check out the following videos for more interesting news on Super Bowl predictions: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2314464-nfl-bracketology-who-will-win-super-bowl-xlix
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