- Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
I would love to tell you that there are spoilers below for the 2020 NFL playoffs, but I know that’s not true. It’s incredibly difficult to predict how 13 NFL games will go. Last season, three of the four teams that were favored to win in the wild-card round lost. The world was waiting for a Ravens-Chiefs battle in the AFC Championship Game, but Baltimore was easily dispatched by Tennessee in the divisional round. If you had a perfect playoff bracket by the time the Chiefs beat the 49ers in Miami, well, you earned it.
This year as my preview for the playoffs, I’m going to lay out the 13-game bracket and predict the winners, all the way to Super Bowl LV. It will almost definitely be wrong and ruined by the time we get through the three opening games on Saturday, which is fine. Hopefully, there’s insight in here that will give you stuff to look for in advance of the games, regardless of how the results actually go.
Let’s start with the NFC and the first 7-seed in playoff history:
NFC wild-card weekend
(7) Chicago Bears at (2) New Orleans Saints
The four-game stretch from Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky that set the hearts of NFL executives aflutter in December came against the teams ranked 14th (Vikings), 29th (Texans), 31st (Jaguars), and 32nd (Lions) in defensive DVOA. In the game against the Vikings, Trubisky was 15-of-21 passing for 202 yards with a touchdown and a pick. A late Trubisky fumble cost Chicago the game against the Lions. The fourth-year passer started and ended his run with games against the Packers, a team with a competent pass defense that requires the other team to throw to stay in the game. Trubisky averaged 5.6 yards per attempt, threw three interceptions and fumbled three times in those two games.
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