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Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2025 winner

Super Bowl 2025
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl 2024: The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII for their fourth NFL championship in the Super Bowl era. Can Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes do what no one ever has and win three in a row? That’s only one of the major talking points as we prepare for a new season.

We have our typical Super Bowl favorites and long shots, but we also have a few surprises thrown in to impact a competitive playoff picture. Down below, we dive into our early playoff predictions for the 2024-25 football season, going division by division, complete with our predicted Super Bowl outcome.

Related: 2024 NFL mock draft

Who will be the Super Bowl 2025 winner? Check out Sportsnaut’s predictions, which are updated each week during the regular season.

Predicting Super Bowl 2024 winner, playoff teams

AFC West champions: Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After winning back-to-back Super Bowls, and so far retaining their top players, how could we pick against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes? Winners of the AFC West every year dating back to 2016, the Kansas City Chiefs will return as one of the NFL’s best teams in 2024.

As great as the Chiefs have been, the Los Angeles Chargers have a chance to take a major leap forward under Jim Harbaugh. Justin Herbert is one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the league, and he still has more room for growth. This team has shown they can be a lot better, but we haven’t seen it consistently. The hope is Jim Harbaugh can lead a quick turnaround, and if he can get Herbert back to being one of the NFL’s best QBs, why can’t the Chargers become contenders? We’ll see how the roster looks after making a few tough salary cap decisions.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers draft: Top 5 running back targets

In what’s been a competitive division for several years now, the Las Vegas Raiders shouldn’t be too upset with how their season ended. There’s no doubt that firing Josh McDaniels created a spark. The Raiders responded to getting shut out in Week 14 by putting up 63 points the following week. If Antonio Pierce can get that type of response from his locker room, we’re intrigued to see what they can do in 2024, but until a better QB than Gardner Minshew arrives in town, they’re behind most of the competition thanks to a lack of coaching experience.

Meanwhile, what are the Denver Broncos doing? They must have a better plan than Jarrett Stidham after moving on from Russell Wilson, but we’ve yet to see how they’ll pull it off. We’re comfortably predicting the Broncos to finish in last place of the AFC West, for now.

AFC West prediction

  • Kansas City Chiefs – Division winners
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Denver Broncos

AFC North champions: Baltimore Ravens

Syndication: The Enquirer
Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

As long as Lamar Jackson is healthy, the Baltimore Ravens should always be considered a threat in the AFC North. But Derrick Henry’s arrival takes this rushing offense to the next level. While he’s now 30, he’s one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL. His floor is higher than most tailbacks’ ceilings. We saw Jackson do a great job of spreading the ball around to the deepest cast of pass-catchers he’s ever had, but it still wasn’t enough to get past Mahomes. With Baltimore finishing with a top-ten defense for the seventh time in the past eight seasons, the Ravens often looked like the NFL’s best team in 2023, they’ll be fine this year too.

After a slow start, we didn’t get a fair look at the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023 after Joe Burrow was lost for the season. But all that’s in the past now. While the future of Tee Higgins is still unknown, Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase’s presence ensures the Bengals will have a potent offense, and after getting some new pieces, Lou Anarumo should have the defense playing better too.

Mix Mike Tomlin and Russell Wilson? It sounds perfect on paper. With zero losing seasons in 17 years, we wouldn’t bet on Russ crashing Tomlin and T.J. Watt’s party, in fact, we expect the Steelers to compete for a playoff spot too. Who knows, they might even win the AFC North. But first we need to see the offensive line come together, plus another weapon after the Diontae Johnson trade.

With what’s likely to return as one of the NFL’s best defenses, the Cleveland Browns once again look like a team capable of competing for another playoff spot. Yet, much of their success depends on whether Deshaun Watson can become more consistent, if so, the Browns have the potential to be a powerhouse. But we haven’t seen it yet.

AFC North prediction

  • Baltimore Ravens – Division winners
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns

Related: NFL Top 100 players in 2024

AFC South champions: Houston Texans

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
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The arrival of C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans have rapidly sparked a turnaround for the Houston Texans. Stroud becoming a superstar on a rookie contract allowed the Texans to get aggressive in free agency, signing Danielle Hunter and trading peanuts for Joe Mixon and Stefon Diggs. Now the sky’s the limit in Houston.

There’s no doubt the Jacksonville Jaguars underachieved last season, and we’re not sure if they’ve improved the roster yet this offseason. We don’t blame Jacksonville for not wanting to pay $92M to Calvin Ridley but swapping him for Gabe Davis is interesting to say the least. Yet if Mitch Morse can help stabilize the interior, maybe Trevor Lawrence will have a fighting chance to make his reads. Still a talented roster on both sides of the ball, we’re curious to see what Trent Baalke has up his sleeves during the NFL Draft.

Anthony Richardson flashed signs of being a superstar before his season-ending injury. Now Joe Flacco’s been signed as the safety valve, providing arguably a higher floor than Gardner Minshew did, or at least one with a lot more experience. Jonathan Taylor getting his groove back plus Alec Pierce and Josh Downs taking the next steps in their development could make Shane Steichen’s 10th-ranked scoring offense take off in 2024, but it all rides on Richardson.

Will Levis. Is he ready to become a star, or will there be growing pains as he enters his first full season as a starter? DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley are two vets who will do their best to ensure Levis goes off, and Chig Okonkwo adds another tough weapon to bring down, but how much will Derrick Henry’s loss impact this rushing offense? Plus, it’s a whole new ballgame now that first-year coach Brian Callahan has taken over for Mike Vrabel, you never know how a locker room responds.

Related: NFL QB Rankings: From 32-1, who’s the best and worst NFL QB?

AFC South prediction

  • Houston Texans – Division winners
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans

Related: 2024 NFL Power Rankings

AFC East champions: Miami Dolphins

miami dolphins
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McDaniel, Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle make for a dangerous quartet. If Anthony Weaver can take what he learned in Baltimore and apply it to the Miami Dolphins’ defense, this could become much more than just one of the NFL’s best offenses. The Dolphins have lost a lot of players this offseason, a product of their expensive talent, but they still have the potential to be the class of the AFC.

The loss of the longtime star safety tandem could hurt the Buffalo Bills early on next season. But no loss is greater than Stefon Diggs. We assume these areas will be addressed in the draft, but until they are, it’s hard to see the Bills as division winners.

The New York Jets may or may not have had a playoff roster a season ago. We never got to find out. But Aaron Rodgers is back with a vengeance in 2024, and you can be sure Robert Saleh’s defense will be ready to take flight too. Our biggest questions revolve around the offensive line, and the weapons, does Rodgers, have enough?

Everything is different with the New England Patriots, but things can’t get any worse than they were last season. Jerod Mayo seems more than equipped to spark a quick turnaround, but does he have the roster to match? Without getting a playmaker capable of taking a game over, we’ll pause on predicting their rookie QB to perform better than his Pro Bowl peers in the AFC East.

AFC East playoff prediction

  • Miami Dolphins – Division winners
  • New York Jets
  • Buffalo Bills
  • New England Patriots

Related: Updated NFL defense rankings

AFC Wild Card spots: Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets

joe burrow
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We also can’t bet against one of the NFL’s best QBs in Joe Burrow. This is a motivated Bengals team that has already experienced what it’s like to reach a Super Bowl. Losing the big game and failing to come close to returning ever since has to eat away at these big cats, but they have the elite talent to properly use it as fuel to get back in the game in the 2024 NFL Playoffs.

Again, we’re loving the Russ/Tomlin duo. They’re far too competitive to be anything but focused on improving from their effort a season ago, and this is a roster that does have good mix of star talent and youth brimming with potential, who knows what they’re capable of with a new locker room leader.

With Aaron Rodgers set to return, we expect Robert Saleh’s defense to hold up their end of the bargain. If Rodgers can propel the New York Jets’ offense to league-average or better levels, the Jets should be able to sneak into the playoffs.

Related: Super Bowl odds: Every team’s championship futures for 2024 NFL season

NFC West champions: San Francisco 49ers

NFL: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just like in 2023, the San Francisco 49ers will be back to being one of the NFL’s best teams in 2024 too. Brock Purdy is legit and he’s here to stay. We also don’t envision the 49ers breaking up their superstar trio of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle either. Brandon Aiyuk could be a different story, and if so, his loss would hurt. But with Kyle Shanahan pressing the buttons on offense, the 49ers won’t have any issues scoring points. The same goes on defense, with one of the most fearful defensive fronts in football, even after losing Arik Armstead.

The Los Angeles Rams are always in a good place with Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford at the helm. Les Snead always finds a few more gems, and of course, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Aaron Donald don’t hurt either. With some of the very best players in the NFL, the Rams have a very high ceiling.

The Seattle Seahawks still don’t have a defense capable of competing for the division crown, but Mike Macdonald plans on fixing that side of the ball. But the Seahawks also can’t ignore the inconsistent play from Geno Smith last season either. The scoring attack has a lot of talent at the skill positions, but they won’t be able to go off without a better offensive line.

Jonathan Gannon had the Arizona Cardinals playing inspired football last season, and now with another season to load up on talent, we’ll finally get to see Kyler Murray with an elite receiver again with the presumed arrival of Marvin Harrison Jr., or another top receiver prospect. But obviously this roster still needs a lot of work.

NFC West prediction

  • San Francisco 49ers – Division winners
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Arizona Cardinals

NFC North champions: Detroit Lions

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Now that everyone knows what the Detroit Lions are capable of, it’s all about seeing if Dan Campbell’s team can rise to the challenge of repeating it. Jared Goff showed he’s equipped to lead an explosive scoring attack, and these young Lions are only poised to keep improving. Adding beef to the defensive line and adding more reliable players in the secondary should help this defense come closer to matching the offense, if so, the Lions could be ready to maintain the roar they restored a year ago.

One of the youngest rosters in 2023 is naturally expected to take a major leap forward in 2024. Not to mention, the Green Bay Packers have also added a much-needed playmaker to the secondary by signing Xavier McKinney. With Jordan Love becoming more comfortable with leading his new locker room, the Packers could be one of the NFC’s best teams again, but there are still questions along the offensive line.

Teams who pick this high this often are usually set up for a big year. That could happen in 2024 for the Chicago Bears. Caleb Williams is labeled as a generational talent, but there are only so many C.J. Stroud types who can make a franchise-altering immediate impact. Still, the Bears have added talent in free agency and are set to reload in the draft too, meaning we’ll see a much-improved roster at Soldier Field.

How can a team with Justin Jefferson finish in last place of their division? When you have Sam Darnold at QB. There’s potential here, as Kevin O’Connell has as good of a scheme as any. Aaron Jones will jumpstart the rushing offense, and the eventual return of T.J. Hockenson plus Jordan Addison’s continued development give this offense a high floor. If the Vikings can either make magic happen with Darnold a-la Baker Mayfield, or strike gold in the NFL Draft, there’s a chance for a solid ‘retooling’ season, but the playoffs are likely out of question. On the bright side, the defense should be better, but probably not by much.

NFC North prediction

  • Detroit Lions – Division winners
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Minnesota Vikings

Related: NFL MVP odds 2024

NFC South champions: Atlanta Falcons

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
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It’s a whole new world with Kirk Cousins plugged in as the Atlanta Falcons’ starting quarterback. Suddenly this offense went from being one of the NFL’s worst to one with the potential to be one of the best. How can you not be excited about freakish talents like Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson getting a quarterback who has mastered timing and accuracy? Raheem Morris will get the defense on the right track too, and after no one really wanted to win the NFC South, the Falcons will happily steal the crown in 2024.

The gang’s back in town with the return of Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans, which gives the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a high floor. But at the same time, what are the Bucs doing to take the next step? How are they improving upon last season’s electric season? We’re curious to see what the plan is, because it appears like Atlanta has surpassed them, on paper.

While there were ebbs and flows, Derek Carr is a good quarterback, and Chris Olave is a great receiver. But the New Orleans Saints are always fighting themselves when it comes to the salary cap, and we haven’t seen any significant additions this offseason either.

The Carolina Panthers are spending big bucks in free agency, and while we commend them for getting Bryce Young more help, spending $153 million on two guards feels very dangerous. Diontae Johnson is an underrated addition, as he’s great at creating separation, but we’re not sure the Panthers have done enough to equip Dave Canales with the ammo needed for a quick turnaround. But again, trying to fix the roster now is better than slowly ruining the development of their No. 1 pick.

NFC South prediction

  • Atlanta Falcons – Division winners
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Carolina Panthers

NFC East champions: Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Hate ’em or love ’em, the Dallas Cowboys have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL thanks to the emergence of Dak Prescott as a legit MVP candidate, and Micah Parsons as a Defensive Player of the Year finalist. Other complementary pieces like CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland are just cherries on top for Jerry Jones’ team.

Can we just say, we love the Saquon Barkley signing. Robbing a rival of a local talent who’s eager to show his former team what they’re missing out on? Sign us up. Otherwise the Philadelphia Eagles still have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, and you know Howie Roseman will just find a few more impact players in the draft. Perhaps the biggest questions: Has Nick Sirianni lost the locker room and should we be concerned about the sudden drop-off from Jalen Hurts?

Even if New York Giants fans are calling for a replacement, Daniel Jones is set for a bounceback season that will win over the hears of the locals again. He’s never had a gamebreaking receiver, and we fully expect that to be addressed at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft. Otherwise, the Giants have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, which can always lead to chaos. Still need a better spell back, and more help in the secondary, but the Giants can fix these needs in the draft. The pressure’s on for a quick turnaround, otherwise, Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll can kiss goodbye to the Big Apple.

With a new franchise quarterback set to arrive in D.C. it’s all sunshine for the Washington Commanders. Having two electric playmakers like Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson should lead to a better rookie QB experience than most, and this isn’t Dan Quinn’s first time whipping a defense into shape. But they’ll need to make sure they hit on at least a few of their picks for a quick turnaround.

NFC East prediction

  • Dallas Cowboys – Division winners
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • New York Giants
  • Washington Commanders

NFC Wild Card predictions: Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Few anticipated the Rams to be in the playoff mix as they retooled the roster last season, but Sean McVay showed he doesn’t need a roster full of superstars to compete. Boasting one of the best receiver duos in the NFL, plus an improving defense, we like the Rams’ chances to compete again in 2024.

Bringing the Packers to the playoffs in four of five seasons, Matt LaFleur, it’s hard not to heap praise on Green Bay’s stability while moving on from a Hall of Fame QB. Sure, there have been some flaws defensively and on offense at times, but overall, the Packers are a good team on both sides of the ball. With how young this roster is, expect an even better team to come out of the gates hot in 2024, leading to a playoff appearance once again.

The Eagles have shown they’re capable of playing at a very high level. But we haven’t seen coach Nick Sirianni’s team look like a Super Bowl unit since they lost to the Chiefs. A full offseason along with more changes to the coaching staff should help turn things around, and this is still one of the best rosters in the NFL.

Related: NFL Q&A: Super Bowl LIX start time, channel, date, and how to watch

Who will win Super Bowl 2025?

Who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIX? We look at our predictions for the NFL Playoff bracket.

Who is predicted to win the Super Bowl? Let’s project the path to Super Bowl LIX.

NFL playoff bracket: Full postseason predictions for AFC and NFC

AFC Playoffs

  1. Chiefs
  2. Ravens
  3. Texans
  4. Dolphins
  5. Bengals
  6. Steelers
  7. Jets
  • Wild card round: Ravens over Jets, Texans over Steelers, Bengals over Dolphins
  • Divisional round: Chiefs over Bengals, Ravens over Texans
  • AFC Championship Game: Chiefs over Ravens

Related: How much does a Super Bowl ad cost?

NFC Playoffs

  1. Cowboys
  2. 49ers
  3. Lions
  4. Falcons
  5. Rams
  6. Packers
  7. Eagles
  • Wild card round: 49ers over Eagles, Lions over Packers, Rams over Falcons
  • Divisional round: Cowboys over Rams, 49ers over Lions
  • NFC Championship Game: 49ers over Cowboys

Sportsnaut predicts that the San Francisco 49ers will defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, while the Kansas City Chiefs top the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

It will set the stage for an interesting Super Bowl LIX rematch between two teams with storied histories. The 49ers have won five Super Bowls across seven appearances, while the Chiefs have won three out of the five times they reached the final stage.

We don’t see that changing in February when Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes show what the NFL’s best QB can do.

  • Super Bowl 2025: Kansas City Chiefs 34, San Francisco 49ers 24
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