NFL Playoff Bracket 2020: AFC, NFC Picture and Super Bowl Predictions

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, passes under pressure from Miami Dolphins defensive end Trent Harris in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

For the first time in nine years, the New England Patriots won't be starting the NFL playoffs with a first-round bye. Falling to the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 means the Patriots will host the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round.

That contest headlines the four upcoming matchups on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 postseason.

Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks hosted the San Francisco 49ers with the NFC West title at stake. San Francisco earned the victory, meaning Seattle will hit the road during Wild Card Weekend and challenge the Philadelphia Eagles.

The playoff picture is now completely settled.


AFC Playoff Picture

1. Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
3. New England Patriots (12-4)
4. Houston Texans (10-6)
5. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
6. Tennessee Titans (9-7)


NFC Playoff Picture

1. San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
5. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)


Wild Card Round

AFC: No. 5 Buffalo Bills at No. 4 Houston Texans
When: Saturday, Jan. 4, at 4:35 p.m. ET (ABC)

AFC: No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 3 New England Patriots
When: Saturday, Jan. 4, at 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

NFC: No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 New Orleans Saints
When: Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1:05 p.m. ET (NBC)

NFC: No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles
When: Sunday, Jan. 5, at 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)


Divisional-Round Scenarios

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens will host the worst remaining seed. Their potential opponents include the Titans, Bills and Texans; the Ravens wouldn't play the Patriots until the AFC Championship Game, and New England would need to win twice before then.

Kansas City will take on the better-seeded wild-card winner, so the priority goes New England, Houston and then Buffalo. The Chiefs cannot play Tennessee in the divisional round.

Later in the evening, the 49ers clinched home-field advantage in the NFC thanks to the victory in Seattle. San Francisco's possible opponents are the Vikings, Seahawks and Eagles.

Green Bay dipped to No. 2 because of the Niners' win; the Packers will playin this orderthe Saints, Eagles or Seahawks.


Super Bowl Prediction

During the regular season, Baltimore hammered the Patriots 37-20 and obliterated the Texans 41-7. The Ravens are simply a better team than New England and Houston.

Kansas City presents a major challenge, especially since Baltimore lost the head-to-head matchup 33-28. But that matchup happened several weeks before Lamar Jackson caught fire and the Ravens became one of the NFL's stingiest defensive teams.

Jamison Hensley @jamisonhensley

Despite resting six Pro Bowl players, Ravens beat the Steelers, 28-10, to finish off the best regular season in franchise history. Baltimore closes out regular season at 14-2.

Baltimore deserves the nod as the AFC's representative.

The Saints are waiting on whether they'll host a wild-card or divisional-round game, and the latter is obviously preferred. After all, New Orleans is 6-1 at home during the playoffs compared to an 0-5 road record in head coach Sean Payton's tenure.

Perhaps most importantly, New Orleans is guaranteed to miss the 49ers until the NFC Championship Game. The Saints should be able to handle a Minnesota/Green Bay combination as the No. 3 seed.

San Francisco won a 48-46 shootout in New Orleans during the regular season, but we'll take the Saints in a rematch because their offense has played so well lately.

Then in Super Bowl LIV, Baltimore would hold the edge because of its defense. The Ravens ended the regular season holding 11 straight opponents to 21 points or fewer, and New Orleans would likely struggle to contain Jackson's mobility.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.