The 12 NFL teams that you’ll see in the playoffs this season

After 17 weeks of the regular season, who will be the final 12 teams to chase the Lombardi trophy? Though some teams are a lock for postseason play, others are on the rise and will surprise many spectators with their success on the field this season.

With the NFL season less than 10 days away, fans are anxious to see their favorite team hit the field. For the first few weeks of the season, every team and their supporters have dreams of playoff success that will end in a Super Bowl Championship.

AFC West

The AFC West will be one of the top divisions in football this season. Nearly every team in this division has upgraded exponentially. Though last year was exciting, the AFC West will be even more competitive this season.

The Raiders may be the hottest team in the NFL in terms of talk and expectations, especially with the addition of “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch, but will their defense be able to remain consistent and make stops? Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the league, but will the Raiders be able to overcome extra attention on their defensive star?

My pick for the AFC West is the Denver Broncos. With an upgraded running game and attaining much-needed help throughout the offensive line, this team looks similar if not better than it did when they won Super Bowl 50.

: Denver Broncos

AFC South

This division is up for grabs. All four teams have youth that shows potential. The Houston Texans figure to be the favorite in this division, with an experienced coach, solid running game, and the return of two-time defensive MVP J.J. Watt.

Though Houston has a strong chance, this division belongs to the Tennessee Titans. That may come as a shock to most of you, but with two top tier running backs, a quarterback who is ready to prove he’s elite, and a defensive front seven that can flat out play ball, look for the Titans to return to the playoffs.

: Tennessee Titans

AFC North

Whether the talent in this division is the best or not, the AFC North always happen to create intense battles between division rivals.

Expect the Browns to ruin a game or two for their division opponents, but they are not yet ready to compete with the top of the division. The AFC North was won by the Pittsburg Steelers in 2016, and that’s where the title will stay in 2017.

The Ravens and Bengals will make a push for the playoffs, but their best chance will be nabbing a wild card spot. With the return of Martavis Bryant, the recent addition of tight end Vance McDonald and what’s expected of rookie T.J. Watt, look for the Steelers to be one of the league bests in 2017.

: Pittsburg Steelers

AFC East

Really, do I have to say it? The New England Patriots will win this division. I know it, you know it, and they know it.

: New England Patriots

AFC Wild Card Teams

The wild card will come down to the wire for the latter spot in 2017. The top wild card spot will be obtained by the Oakland Raiders after they nearly miss the opportunity to win the AFC West. The second spot will be won by the Houston Texans. The Baltimore Ravens will be close behind with the Kansas City Chiefs not far off. The Bengals will also be close but won’t quite make it, which might spell the end of the tenure for Marvin Lewis.

: Oakland Raiders; Houston Texans

The 2016 division winners in the NFC consisted of the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and the Green Bay Packers. All but one of these teams will be able to say they won their division again in 2017.

NFC East

This will possibly be the most entertaining division in football this season. Eagles upgraded theirs receiving crop, as well as their running game. Cowboys reign atop the division as last years champs.

However, the Giants will upset this division and the NFL by having a consistent offense under Eli Manning, supported by one of the most talented defenses in the NFL this season. Oh, and the addition of a future Hall of Fame receiver in Brandon Marshall doesn’t hurt either.

Cowboy fans may hate to see this, but with the Ezekiel Elliot suspended for six games, and the NFL has a year worth of tape to game plan against Dak Prescott, the Cowboys won’t be exactly what they were last year.

: New York Giants

NFC West

I think many of us have gotten used to seeing Pete Carrol control a dynasty. Though the Seahawks fall short of what Carroll was able to accomplish ruling the college game at USC, they have been consistent threats make the Super Bowl year after year, but not after last year. The Seahawks won the NFC West in 2016, but this year the division belongs to David Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals.

Many in Arizona are still scratching their heads on how the team imploded last season, but don’t expect that to be the case this season. With the writing on the wall spelling the last season for both Carson Palmer and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, the team realizes this is it. If it doesn’t happen this year, look forward to the Cardinals rebuilding the team next season.

: Arizona Cardinals

NFC South

The Atlanta Falcons were on fire for the 2016 season, all the way up to halftime at the Super Bowl. History will tell the story as the Falcons blowing the championship, and history will say the same for this team winning the division in 2017. This is not to say they won’t be playing this postseason, but the division winner in the South will be led by Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A loaded backfield, a stout defense and two receivers who will give defensive coordinators nightmares, look for Tampa Bay to make some noise deep into the 2017 postseason. The Saints will have a good offense, and Cam Newton may have a few more celebrations this year than last. However, this division is stacked and I see the Buccaneers coming out on top.

: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC North

There are only two teams that can realistically compete to win this division, and those teams are the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings running game should be better than last years, but I don’t think that will be able to stop the Green Bay Packers. With the emergence of Ty Montgomery and the addition of tight end Martellus Bennett, this offense will be even more unstoppable than in previous years; and that’s scary to say.

: Green Bay Packers

Wild Card Teams 

Though this season won’t be as spectacular as 2016 for the Dallas Cowboys, they will still find a way to make it into the playoffs, which will give their fans something to talk about. I don’t think they have what it takes to win a super bowl this year, but their fans should be happy with back to back playoff appearances.

The other wild card spot will be held by the Atlanta Falcons, who will be able to snap out of their Super Bowl hangover and realize that Devanta Freeman and Julio Jones are to touch the ball the majority of the time.

: Dallas Cowboys; Atlanta Falcons

This season will be filled with endless entertainment as every season is, but these will be the teams that will make things the most entertaining.

I predict the Super Bowl will consist of the Denver Broncos in the AFC, versus the Green Bay Packers in the NFC. Though that can easily change to the New England Patriots, versus the New York Giants. That’s the beauty of sports. We’ll all have to wait and see.