October 17, 2021

2021 NFL playoff predictions: Who will win hotly contested AFC North, NFC West? – NFL.com

https://www.nfl.com/news/2021-nfl-playoff-predictions-who-will-win-hotly-contested-afc-north-nfc-west

(27 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Carr, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Filice, Goodbread, Grant, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, O’Hara, Parr, Patra, Rank, Reuter, Rosenthal, Ross, Schein, Shook, Smith, Thomas, Zierlein)

T-2. Miami Dolphins (+340) | 1 vote: Sessler

T-2. New England Patriots (+350) | 1 vote: Pioli

Why Scott Pioli chose the Patriots: I have a LOT of respect for the Buffalo Bills, so this was a tough decision, to say the least. It comes down to this: The Bills are facing a first-place schedule for the first time in 25 years, which includes a visit to Miami in September (never fun!). The Patriots’ defense, offensive line, run game, special teams and smart situational football are the keys that will carry them a long way. Mac Jones doesn’t have to be great. Like Tom Brady early in his career, the rookie signal-caller just has to make certain he’s not the reason the team is losing games. The Pats’ passing attack will center around high-percentage throws — short and intermediate — and Jones will progress as the season does. I also have a difficult time picking against the NFL’s greatest head coach of all time.