2022 NFL playoff predictions after Week 4 action

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Four weeks into the season and we are starting to get a sense of who the real contenders are and who the pretenders are. The contenders always lead the way, dominating their division and setting the tone for the sad-sack pretenders to follow. All roads to the playoffs go through your divisional contender, and if you are just a measly pretender, that road becomes all the more harrowing.

So this week with every contender I will add a pretender that is attempting to chase them down. Divisional winners will have to deal with a pretend divisional contender, and the wild card teams will attempt to fend off a conference pretender gunning for their spot.

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Note: These are not power rankings. These are not picks based off any analytical data or insider knowledge. These are picks based off what I have seen during the season so far. I could be wrong, just like I could be right. Either way, I will be back again next week to offer an updated projection to cover any of my past mistakes.

Check out the the projections from weeks past here:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3

AFC

1 Seed: Kansas City Chiefs (15-2) AFC West Winner
Pretender: The Chargers – I have the Chiefs losing just one divisional game, and that is Week 11 in LA to these Chargers. And as famed band Linkin Park once said, “In the end, it doesn’t even matter.”

2 Seed: Buffalo Bills (14-3) AFC East Winner
Pretender: The Dolphins – We are going to keep looking at the Dolphins Week 3 win over the Bills until the Bills return the favor in Week 15.

3 Seed: Baltimore Ravens (13-4) AFC North Winner
Pretender: The Browns – I expect the Browns and Ravens to split their season series as they both romp over what is looking like a very weak division.

4 Seed: Tennessee Titans (10-7) AFC South Winner
Pretender: The Jaguars – Don’t laugh. The Titans are just bad enough to let the Jaguars daydream about not being buried in this “division race.”

5 Seed: Miami Dolphins (11-6)
Pretender: The Patriots – I never thought I would see the day where the GREAT BILL BELECHICK is trying to chase the mighty Miami Dolphins, and yet, here we are.

6 Seed: LA Chargers (11-6)
Pretender: The Broncos – Fending off Russ will be a challenge that is dwarfed by the Chargers challenge of not having their roster turned into an injured pulp of despair.

7 Seed: Cleveland Browns (9-8)
Pretender: TBD – Someone else in the AFC has to want to make the playoffs right? No? Well then I guess the Browns get the last spot by default.

NFC

1 Seed: Tampa Bay Bucs (13-4) NFC South Winner
Pretender: The Saints – We thought the Bucs could MAYBE be challenged by the Saints, but that also required us to ignore the fact that the Saints are quarterbacked by Jameis Winston.

2 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles (13-4) NFC East Winner
Pretender: The Cowboys – The Eagles will stumble at some point (they are the Eagles after all), and when that day comes, they better hope that Cooper Rush came back down to Earth before that happens.

3 Seed: Green Bay Packers (11-6) NFC North Winner
Pretender: The Vikings – Aaron Rodgers says the way the Packers are winning is not sustainable, making it the first non-crazy thing he has said since…

4 Seed: San Francisco 49ers (11-6) NFC West Winner
Pretender: The Rams – If only regular season games were just like playoff games.

5 Seed: Dallas Cowboys (11-6)
Pretender: The Giants – The G-Men are not a laughingstock anymore, and can certainly beat a team that is not ready for them.

6 Seed: LA Rams (10-7)
Pretender: The Cardinals – Already behind the 8-ball on the 49ers, the Rams now have to hope that Arizona does not get hot behind Kyler Murray. I think they’ll be okay.

7 Seed: Minnesota Vikings (10-7)
Pretender: The Giants (again) – Could the Giants be good enough to sneak into the playoffs? Probably not, but if someone above them (like the Vikings for example) were to vomit on themselves, the Giants could be the ones to capitalize on the appearance of this fresh pile of puke.

AFC WILD CARD ROUND

(2) Bills over (7) Browns
Lord help the person who seriously puts a bet down on the Browns and expects that bet to hit.

(3) Ravens over (6) Chargers
There is a clear ceiling for the Ravens, and it is the Chiefs and Bills. The Chargers, obviously, are below that ceiling.

(5) Dolphins over (4) Titans
Mike McDaniel’s announcement that the Dolphins are no longer a door mat for the league now has to be taken seriously, at least for one more week.

NFC WILD CARD ROUND

(2) Eagles over (7) Vikings
I don’t care who the Eagles play in the first round, if it’s the 7th seeded NFC team, they will probably roll, and they will most certainly like that.

(4) 49ers over (5) Cowboys
“Garoppolo… looking, looking, throwing in the endzone… Kittle caught it! George Kittle… and it’s a madhouse at Levi’s Stadium and hold up he didn’t get both feet down. It’ll be 3rd and 8 now from the 13 yard line.”

(6) Rams over (3) Packers
This is what lack of sustainability looks like.

DIVISIONAL ROUND

(1) Chiefs over (5) Dolphins
The urge to let out a cheeky “ha-ha” to Tyreek Hill is not something Patrick Mahomes would succumb to. Britney Mahomes however…

(2) Bills over (3) Ravens
See my Ravens-Chargers comment from above or this past week’s results.

(1) Bucs over (6) Rams
No matter where the Rams go to hide, they will not be able to escape this inevitable trip to Tampa Bay for Brady’s revenge.

(4) 49ers over (2) Eagles
The 49ers defense is good enough to win at least ONE playoff game on its own, so why not this 10-9 debacle in the divisional round.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

(1) Chiefs over (2) Bills
The Chiefs lead this series now 2-1. Mahomes ability to improvise on the fly never ceases to amaze, and he will certainly be in his bag in this game.

(1) Bucs over (4) 49ers
Beating Sean McVay in the regular season does not suddenly mean you are the absolute king of the NFC.

SUPER BOWL

(1) Chiefs over (1) Bucs
Brady got his revenge, now Mahomes and Andy Reid get theirs. Also someone in the NFC has to show that they can (sustainably) beat the Bucs.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images