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Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2024 winner

Super Bowl 2023: The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII for their third NFL championship in the Super Bowl era. Can Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes do what they couldn’t accomplish in 2020 and repeat as champions? That’s only one of the major talking points as the NFL season continues.

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 2023-24 football season, going division by division, complete with our predicted Super Bowl outcome.

Also Read: The Best Tailgating Recipes for Your Next Big Game Day – Includes The Best Chili Ever

Who will be the Super Bowl 2024 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

While they’ve experienced some early growing pains with dropped passes and turnovers, the Chiefs are back to being one of the AFC’s best. But no one should have expected a Chiefs team that has won the AFC West division every year since 2016 to suddenly fall flat. They still need to learn which receivers they can rely on before returning to being one of the best teams in the NFL, but there’s plenty of time to get things straightened out. Winning in Germany, the Chiefs have shown they can win anywhere, which will serve them well in the playoffs.

It’s been a rough start for the Los Angeles Chargers, but they’re just a play or two away from being in playoff contention. The scoring isn’t a problem. It never has been with Justin Herbert at the helm. Instead, it’s Brandon Staley’s defense that isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. This team has shown they can be a lot better. Whether they will be remains to be seen.

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Denver hoped a reinforced offensive line would also lead to a better running game while buying Russ more time to cook. The ‘worst coached team in football’ from a season ago has taken a long time to get going under Sean Payton, yet we’re finally seeing progress on both sides of the ball with a win against the Chiefs seemingly galvanizing the locker room With this defense creating multiple turnovers per game, plus Wilson taking care of the football, the Broncos look like a much different team.

In what’s been to be a competitive division, even though they’re not there now, we predict the Las Vegas Raiders to finish in last place. They decided to move on from Derek Carr, but is Jimmy Garoppolo an improvement at QB? After allowing 38 points in Week 2, maybe we should have bigger concerns on defense. Either way, the Raiders haven’t been sharp early on, and Garoppolo hasn’t helped. Firing Coach McDaniels created a spark, but will it last?

Related: Las Vegas Raiders players have reportedly taken over organization, and ownership is cool with it

AFC West prediction

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

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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. Jackson’s done a good job of spreading the ball around to the deepest cast of pass-catchers he’s ever had, but now he won’t have Mark Andrews for the rest of the season. With Baltimore tracking to have a top-ten defense for the seventh time in the past eight seasons, the Ravens should still be okay.

Here we get to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are never terrible under Mike Tomlin, with zero losing seasons in 16 years. While Kenny Pickett is in his second season, he hasn’t shown much growth behind a crumbling offensive line. Or at least not until a coaching change was made on offense. Luckily, they’re boosted by a top-15 defense featuring game-wrecker T.J. Watt. Somehow, the Steelers have a 7-4 record, but with a negative point differential, we’re not sold on their early success unless the offense improves drastically, yet the rest of the AFC North is losing QBs at a rapid rate, so the Steelers may have a better chance.

Heading into the season, the Cleveland Browns once again looked like a team that could easily become one of the better teams in the NFL. But Nick Chubb and Deshaun Watson’s injuries have drastically lowered their ceiling to that of a team just fighting for a Wild Card spot, if they’re lucky. Yet, the presence of Myles Garrett and an aggressive defense that ranks as one of the NFL’s best gives the Browns a fighting chance, especially if they can keep beating good teams like Baltimore. At this point, it’s all about how well Dorian Thompson-Robinson can lead this group as a rookie and his first chance against Denver didn’t go according to plan.

The Cincinnati Bengals are in danger after a 5-6 start, especially with Joe Burrow ruled out for the season. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo gives opponents weekly headaches thanks to his schemes that are tough to beat, but without a competent passing offense, we can stick a fork in these Bengals in 2023.

AFC North prediction

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

Related: NFL Top 100 players in 2023

AFC South champions: Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson are proving to be a dangerous duo. The Jaguars not only reached the postseason a year ago, but they also got their first playoff win since 2017. Boasting a roster loaded with youth, the Jaguars are well on their way to improving upon their nine wins from 2022. A more balanced offensive attack has been on display all season long, leading to one of the best records in the NFL, but what happened against San Francisco? Getting dominated in every aspect while turning the ball over four times is a great way to lose, and the Jaguars learned that the hard way against the 49ers. But it may have been the wake-up call this team needed because they quickly dismantled the Titans the very next week before winning a close battle against Houston in Week 12.

Houston found their franchise QB. C. J. Stroud and coach DeMeco Ryans are leading a quick turnaround, providing much better results than anyone anticipated. Stroud has been incredible so far, performing as one of the best QBs in the NFL. Instead of competing for top draft picks, the Texans look like a team that could compete for a playoff spot this season, and wins against good teams like Cincinnati are the latest proof.

The Indianapolis Colts might have something special with Anthony Richardson. But he’s out for the season. How far this team goes suddenly depends entirely on Gardner Minshew’s ability to lead, but a 6-5 start is better than anyone anticipated. Despite having one of the NFL’s worst defenses, at least Shane Steichen’s new-look offense gives the Colts a chance to win each week, and he might even deserve consideration to win Coach of the Year.

After entering the year expected to compete for the division crown, the Tennessee Titans aren’t anywhere close. After Ryan Tannehill injured his ankle, we saw Will Levis make a strong case for why he should be the team’s QB of the future, but the division crown is no longer in play. Either way, there’s hope for brighter days ahead in Tennessee with Levis getting a chance to show what he can do, there’s just been a lot of growing pains so far.

AFC South prediction

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

Related: 2023 NFL Power Rankings

AFC East champions: Miami Dolphins

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No team has scored more points than the Miami Dolphins through 12 weeks. With Tua Tagovailoa returning to health, showing he can be both one of the most accurate and explosive QBs in football, few look as polished as Mike McDaniel’s crew. Leading the best offense in the NFL, there’s no way this isn’t a playoff team, but after losing to Buffalo and Kansas City and struggling against Las Vegas, they still have some refinement to do ahead of their postseason run.

Last season, the Buffalo Bills fell short of their Super Bowl dreams again, and it only serves as more fuel for Josh Allen to improve. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has been made the scapegoat for a rough patch, and at this point, it’s hard to know which version of the Bills will show up on game day. With Allen and Diggs, this team has a lot of potential. They just don’t seem to be able to reach it yet, but don’t give up on the playoffs yet.

Related: Why the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl window might be closing

Meanwhile, the New York Jets have a playoff roster, but without Aaron Rodgers in the lineup, everything changed. Yet with a rising core featuring Breece Hall plus 2023 Rookie of the Year winners Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner, Zach Wilson has plenty of help fighting for a Wild Card spot. While he showed vast improvement against the Chiefs, we’re still not sold on Wilson exorcising his demons of the past just yet, and neither is Coach Saleh after benching him in Week 11. The Jets had a chance to be fringe contenders without Rodgers, but the past few weeks have shown Wilson still needs to improve.

We may be foolish to ignore the greatest coach of all time or doubt his ability to improve upon a third-place finish in the AFC East, but this division features a lot of talent. While having a great coach is important, talent trumps coaching. We’re just not sure the Patriots have enough blue-chip athletes to finish anywhere but last place in this highly competitive division, and Mac Jones’ lack of playmaking ability doesn’t help. Right now, this looks like a team set for a long road ahead until they find a QB or a true No. 1 target in the passing game.

Related: New speculation suggests New England Patriots could trade for a current head coach with Belichick connections

AFC East playoff prediction

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

Related: Updated NFL defense rankings

AFC Wild Card spots: Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers

c.j. stroud
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’re buying stock into the Texans. Stroud isn’t your average rookie QB, and while his weapons may limit their ceiling, a competent defense keeps them in the mix. As long as the first-year QB avoids turnovers, the Texans can sneak into the postseason.

The Bills have had an inconsistent season, and the losses of Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White haven’t helped. The problem is everything rides on Josh Allen, but he’s also the biggest reason for their sustained success. Even though they might not lead the AFC East, a Wild Card slot is still possible, even with a tough road ahead.

While other teams could be considered, we’ll go with Mike Tomlin’s Steelers instead. Because even though the offense is needs work, their defense has been a top-ten unit. That could play well down the stretch when temperatures drop, especially if their new-look offense can improve.

Related: Super Bowl odds: Every team’s championship futures for 2023-24 NFL season

NFC West champions: San Francisco 49ers

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

Twelve weeks into the season, the San Francisco 49ers are back to being one of the NFC’s best teams. Brock Purdy returned to his best form with Deebo Samuel getting back to health after the bye, and the passing defense made life hell on Trevor Lawrence. Getting Chase Young has only made this already good defense even better, making the 49ers a tougher out in the playoffs.

The Seattle Seahawks still don’t have a defense capable of competing for the division crown. While the Seahawks started fast, suddenly getting punched in the mouth against Baltimore and San Francisco leaves a few questions. If this team has plans of returning to the postseason, they’ll have to turn things around quickly, but putting up a fight against the Cowboys provides hope.

It’s hard to ignore the group of elite players returning for the Los Angeles Rams. Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald are both top-five players at their positions and if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, too, why can’t the 2022 Super Bowl winners fight for a playoff spot? Yet, there might not be enough depth here to compete for a playoff spot.

Kyler Murray had surgery on his torn ACL in early January, but his Week 10 regular season debut reminded everyone how special the dual-threat QB can be. It could be one of the few bright spots in a season that was always going to be an uphill climb. We have to give the Cardinals some credit because this team has played their asses off. It just hasn’t resulted in wins, as expected in the first season of the new regime change without their star QB.

NFC West prediction

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

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NFC North champions: Detroit Lions

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

Dan Campbell is putting his stamp on the Detroit Lions. The Lions have become a ferocious force on both sides of the ball, with the defense continuing to improve. Suddenly, this group looks like one of the best teams in the NFL after missing the postseason a year ago, carrying over their momentum from 2022, when they won eight of their last ten games. Struggling at times against the likes of Chicago and Green Bay shows they’re not quite ready to be the class of the NFC, but winning close shootouts provides a valuable learning experience for the future.

After winning 13 games in Kevin O’Connell’s first season coaching the Minnesota Vikings, it’s only natural to expect regression. Turnovers were the problem early on, but Brian Flores suddenly has this defense giving the Vikings a chance in each contest. For a while, Joshua Dobbs looked like he’d still be able to lead an effective scoring attack, but his accuracy has fallen off the map. With Justin Jefferson set to return after the bye, the Vikings are clinging to hope, but they need to get back on track offensively.

No one knew what to expect from the Green Bay Packers this season. While two quick wins felt hopeful, Jordan Love has a ways to go before he can lead a team to the playoffs. This looks like a group closer to a full reset than one poised to hoist another Lombardi any time soon. But seeing progress from Jordan Love the past few weeks will have Packers faithful buzzing.

Boasting the most cap space in the NFL heading into the offseason, plus the ninth overall pick after trading down, we saw the Chicago Bears improve the roster in a major way. But it hasn’t led to much better results on the field. However, seeing Justin Fields make progress has been the revelation Bears fans have long waited for. While the inspired play is nice to see, we haven’t any consistency from the team yet, putting the Bears on track to finish as the worst team in the division for the second year in a row.

NFC North prediction

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

Related: Updated NFL MVP odds 2023-24

NFC South champions: New Orleans Saints

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Here we have the most unpredictable division in football with the NFC South. Only the New Orleans Saints have a proven quarterback, which only adds to the chaos.

Boasting a top-10 defensive unit for the fourth consecutive season gives the Saints a high floor. If Derek Carr finds sustained success in an offense featuring Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Chris Olave, this could be a vastly improved team that snags the division crown. We’re just not sure the Saints are ready to do that yet, but luckily no other teams in the NFC South are either.

Tom Brady has moved on from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, opening the door for Baker Mayfield’s arrival. There’s a case to be made that this is one of the best casts of pass-catchers Mayfield has had in his career, and so far, he’s been a savior in Tampa Bay, but it’s led to just a 4-7 start. The Buccaneers have given opponents tough fits, but they shouldn’t be viewed as contenders.

The Falcons continue leaning into their top-five rushing attack, taking the stress off their young QB, but they can’t operate without an effective passing attack. While the Falcons defense is better than expected, the season rides on Desmond Ridder, which is NOT good, especially when seeing Taylor Heinicke can come in and quickly provide a spark. Without a legit QB, this Falcons team is hard to trust, but they’re still in the race.

Frank Reich is a head coach who’s never had much to work with at QB as a head coach. Now he gets another chance, this time with Bryce Young and an owner that will spare no expense in pursuit of becoming a contender. But Young is having too many growing pains, and a woeful offensive line plus his aging cast of talent hasn’t helped. At least we saw progress on both sides of the ball by getting their first win of the season over Houston, but Young’s making too many big mistakes, such as two pick-sixes against Indianapolis. The worst part about the Panthers being one of the NFL’s worst teams is that they won’t even have their first-round pick in April.

NFC South prediction

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

Related: Is Frank Reich on hot seat with Carolina Panthers? NFL insider provides convincing update on head coach’s job status

NFC East champions: Philadelphia Eagles

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

A division that was far better than expected a season ago has returned to being a feisty competition in 2023. The Philadelphia Eagles lost a few veteran free agents, but key contributors like Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are back and dominating the NFL. They’re right back where they left off as the NFC’s best a season ago.

The Dallas Cowboys expect excellence every year, but they rarely deliver. After losing to the Cardinals early on, the Cowboys have strung together some of the most convincing wins of the season. Even if the division crown will be tough to attain, a 9-3 record means the Cowboys will be back in the playoffs as a Wild Card team, where they’ll be one of the most dangerous opponents.

The Washington Commanders are a fascinating tale, starting a former fifth-round QB in Sam Howell. But he benefits from having a versatile receiving corps ready to prove they’re one of the best. Unfortunately, they don’t handle pressure well. Being in one of the toughest divisions in football makes competing for a Wild Card spot tough, especially after selling at the NFL trade deadline. This team won’t go down without a fight, but they needed to show up against the Giants and Cowboys. Now it’s going to be very difficult to climb back into the playoff picture, but at least they may have their QB of the future.

Brian Daboll worked wonders with the New York Giants in 2022, but the results haven’t been the same this season. Yet there was always a strong chance of regression for a team that overachieved a year ago, and we’ve seen plenty of evidence of that by having with the worst point differential in the NFL through 12 weeks. Their season is cooked, but what did the Giants expect without adding more pass-catchers capable of taking a game over?

NFC East prediction

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

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NFC Wild Card predictions: Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings

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

The Cowboys have an offense capable of scoring 30 points each week, thanks to Prescott and an effective rushing attack. A potent pass rush could cause issues on any given Sunday as well. Even without Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland has stepped up with five pick-sixes this season. The Cowboys are a talented bunch who we see competing until the very end.

With an offense that takes care of the football while having the ability to hit big plays, plus a defense that continues to improve, the Seahawks should snatch one of the final NFC Wild Card slots this season. But they’re also set to face playoff contenders the next two weeks. We’ll know a lot more about Seattle’s chances after facing San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Our final spot goes to the Vikings for now, but it’s not with complete confidence after the Kirk Cousins injury. However, The Passtronaut has kept them in the running for now. The biggest problem here is a lack of clarity in the NFC. We don’t trust Desmond Ridder, nor Sam Howell. The Rams have too many holes, and the Buccaneers are too inconsistent. This means the Vikings, even after an 0-3 start, could be the sleeper team that emerges instead.

Related: Ranking the best and worst NFL defenses today

Who will win Super Bowl 2024?

Who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVIII? 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 LVIII.

NFL playoff bracket: Full postseason predictions for AFC and NFC

AFC Playoffs

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

Related: How much does a Super Bowl ad cost?

NFC Playoffs

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

Sportsnaut predicts that the Philadelphia Eagles will defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, while the Miami Dolphins top the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

It will set the stage for an interesting Super Bowl LVIII between two teams with storied histories in the championship game but several tough heartbreaks. The Eagles have won one Super Bowl across four appearances, while the Dolphins have won two across five appearances.

We see that changing in February when Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel show what the NFL’s best offense can do. But first, they have to get there, which didn’t work out so well in 2023.

  • Super Bowl 2024: Miami Dolphins 31, Philadelphia Eagles 27