NFL Playoff Predictions: Who Will Raise the Lombardi Trophy?

Dec 10, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) hugs Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) after the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, playoff football begins in the NFL.

14 teams remain and will compete over the next five weeks to complete the ultimate goal of raising a Lombardi Trophy. Prior to the action kicking off at 3:30 PM Central on Saturday afternoon, here are some predictions for how this year’s NFL playoffs will turn out.

Wild Card

NFL Playoff
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford waves at the crowd as he exits the field after the Lions’ 28-19 loss to the Rams on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Inglewood, California.


  • (5) Cleveland Browns over (4) Houston Texans
  • (3) Kansas City Chiefs over (6) Miami Dolphins
  • (2) Buffalo Bills over (7) Pittsburgh Steelers

Only one upset will occur in the AFC this weekend by my estimations, and it happens in Houston as the veteran Joe Flacco leads the Cleveland Browns over the up-and-coming C.J. Stroud’s Texans. Cleveland has found a way to rejuvenate their offense with Flacco at the helm, and their defense will find a way to rattle the rookie QB on the other side.

Meanwhile, both Buffalo and Kansas City move on, setting up a Divisional matchup between the two teams. Without T.J. Watt in the lineup, the Bills will cruise to a win while the Chiefs will be the beneficiaries of some brutal weather in Kansas City this weekend.


  • (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers over (5) Philadelphia Eagles
  • (6) Los Angeles Rams over (3) Detroit Lions
  • (2) Dallas Cowboys over (7) Green Bay Packers

Somehow, the game I feel least confident about going into this weekend is the Cowboys/Packers matchup. Green Bay has found some life over the past couple months, and Aaron Jones seems like he is finally fully healthy after struggling through some early season injuries.

For the rest of the NFC, Detroit couldn’t have drawn a worse matchup for their first home playoff game in 30 years than a red-hot Rams team led by the former face of the Lions franchise, Matthew Stafford. LA will go into Detroit and win.

Finally, it’s tough to feel worse about two playoff teams than the Eagles and Buccaneers. Neither team has looked great in recent weeks, but with playmakers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers should be able to take advantage of a porous Eagles defense and get a win.


Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


  • (1) Baltimore Ravens over (5) Cleveland Browns
  • (2) Buffalo Bills over (3) Kansas City Chiefs

It’s all chalk in the AFC for the Divisional round. The Ravens and Browns are two fierce divisional rivals, but as good as Cleveland’s offense as been under Flacco, they are still very much liable for turnovers every now and again. Baltimore will take full advantage of that, and coming off a week of rest, they win at home.

On the other side of the bracket, we get yet another matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. While Kansas City will sneak their way past Miami, it’s hard to overlook some of the offensive struggles that this team has faced all year. Buffalo gets the monkey off their backs by winning this game.


  • (1) San Francisco 49ers over (6) Los Angeles Rams
  • (2) Dallas Cowboys over (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As boring as it may seem, it’s chalk over in the NFC as well. The San Francisco 49ers will be well-rested, and I’m banking on the idea that Christian McCaffrey will be healthy enough to play by the time this game rolls around. As for Dallas and Tampa Bay, it could be a bloodbath as the Cowboys roll their way to the NFC Championship Game.

Conference Championships

Dec 3, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) walks off the field after win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • (1) Baltimore Ravens over (2) Buffalo Bills
  • (1) San Francisco 49ers over (2) Dallas Cowboys

As good as the Bills have been down the stretch of the season, Josh Allen still has a few throws per game that can be viewed as questionable. Maybe a few playoff games can sort that out, but the Bills have struggled to stop the run all season. That is Baltimore’s bread and butter for their offense, so Lamar Jackson gets his first AFC Championship.

For the NFC, we’ve already seen this matchup once. It was awhile ago, but the San Francisco 49ers absolutely rolled past the Dallas Cowboys when they met in Week 5 by a score of 42-10. Since then, we’ve largely seen the 49ers live up to the challenge against the top teams in the NFL while Dallas has fallen flat more often than not. San Francisco makes another Super Bowl appearance.

Super Bowl LVIII

Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tylan Wallace (16) and quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrate after winning in overtime against the Los Angeles Rams at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco 49ers

It’s a rematch of Week 16 in the Super Bowl. Of course, the Ravens cruised to a victory in that one because of a horrendous game from QB Brock Purdy. This meeting will certainly be more competitive if it comes to fruition, but once again, the Ravens will end up on top because of their ferocious defense, and Jackson gets to raise the Lombardi Trophy in February.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.