1.) The Kansas City Chiefs will win the AFC West. The Chiefs are an overlooked 9-3 this year and 19-3 in their last 22 regular season games, but that’s because they have the AFC-leading Oakland Raiders in their division. The Chiefs however have a much better defense than the Raiders and although their offense is somewhat weak, it doesn’t make mistakes. Alex Smith is an elite game manager, who won’t go out and win a ton of games by himself, but he certainly won’t lose a ton of games by himself either. Due to the time-sensitivity of The Gatepost, by the time this prints, this prediction might already be wrong, because in order for the Chiefs to win the West, they have to win on Thursday night against the Raiders, a game I think they win on the back of their defense and experience. Oakland will still win a wild card spot.
2.) The Seahawks will be the NFC-representative. There are very few defenses that are as good as Seattle’s, if any. Sure the Seahawks lost safety Earl Thomas and sure they’ll be affected, but their so deep and so talented that they’ll still be able to put out an elite defense with people like Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman patching up the holes that Thomas’ absence will leave. The Seahawks are allowing a league-best 16.2 points per game and are only allowing 330 yards per game. Their offense is weak but it gets the job done and Russell Wilson is another proven game manager who always seems to make the right play. Don’t be surprised to see Seattle playing as the NFC champion in the Super Bowl.
3.) Green Bay will not make the playoffs. The NFC Wild Card is a tight race this year. The Giants, Redskins, Bucs and Vikings are all competing with the Packers for two spots. Couple that with the fact that the Cardinals are still hanging around and there isn’t much room for error for Green Bay. The Pack aren’t going to win the NFC North because that will be secured by one of the more underrated teams in the league, the Lions. The Packers defense just isn’t good enough to get the job done this year and Aaron Rodgers, as good as he is, can’t do everything himself. The Packers aren’t going to beat the Lions in Week 17 and that means every game from here is must win, I just don’t see it happening.
4.) The Cowboys will find a way to be the Cowboys. The Cowboys have been the best team this year. Their defense has answered the bell, their offensive line has been by far the best in the league, Ezekiel Elliott is running like an MVP and Dak Prescott has been the most impressive rookie quarterback this year, but don’t forget he’s young. Dallas always finds a way to lose when it really counts. I’m not arguing that they won’t get into the playoffs because they’ve all but clinched at this point, but Dallas will not win the Super Bowl. Prescott will eventually make a rookie mistake and he’s running out of time to make it in a spot that doesn’t matter. The Cowboys could get to the NFC Championship but don’t count on booking them a ticket to Houston.