Around the NFL

Midseason report: Bold second-half predictions

The Around the NFL writers will look at some big questions as we hit midseason. Our final roundtable: What's your bold prediction for the second half of the season?

Seattle Seahawks will miss the playoffs

My preseason Super Bowl pick sits in a precarious position. The loss to the St. Louis Rams put the champs behind the eight ball in a bunched NFC. Playing in the tough West, the Seahawks back end schedule is stacked. They have zero wiggle room in catching and passing the Cardinals and 49ers. With two teams in both the NFC East and North already compiling five or more wins, the competition for the final two Wild Card spots will be fierce. A 10-win team could be on the outside looking in. The Super Bowl champs aren't playing perfect football and they need to from here on out to avoid watching the playoff on their couch. -- Kevin Patra

JFF leads Browns back to playoffs

The Browns are 4-3 and in the thick of the race in the AFC. That's already cause for celebration for a team that's lost at least 11 games for six years running. But the horizon is even brighter in Ohio. The Browns will finish 9-7 and in possession of the second Wild Card in the AFC. And it will be possible because of -- you guessed it -- Johnny Manziel, who will replace a slumping Brian Hoyer before Thanksgiving. Take a backseat, LeBron. -- Dan Hanzus

Dallas won't make the playoffs

It's not quite as bold as you think because the NFC playoff picture is wildly crowded. Ten wins might not be enough to make the playoffs, and this is a rare season year where an eleven win team could be left out. I still see the Eagles as the best team in the NFC East and will take their chances of exposing the soft spots in the Cowboys' defense. If Philadelphia wins the NFC East, two of the following teams miss the tournament: Green Bay, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, and Arizona. It's not that crazy to imagine the Cowboys being one of those two teams, especially with a top-heavy roster with very little pass rush. -- Gregg Rosenthal

Pittsburgh wins Super Bowl XLIX

The Steelers were my Super Bowl pick, but Pittsburgh looked better suited for 8-8 after their 31-10 loss to the Browns. Still, the Steelers have a collage of weapons on offense and a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who gives the Black and Gold a chance to win every week. After finding their groove against the Colts, look for the Steelers to emerge as the class of the AFC North before knocking off Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the playoffs en route to victory in Super Bowl XLIX. -- Marc Sessler

Mark Ingram leads the NFL in rushing the rest of the way

It's no coincidence that the Saints' best performance of the season came when they finally saddled up Ingram and allowed him to do what he's been doing since last December -- tearing through defenses. Going back to Week 15 of last season, Ingram is averaging an eye-popping 5.7 yards per carry. He forced twice as many missed tackles of any NFL running back in Week 8. He leads all starters in yards after contact per attempt, according to Pro Football Focus. Ingram's game film has been among the most impressive in the league going back to the preseason. He's a legitimate stud. After Sunday's dominance, coach Sean Payton can no longer deny that he has been holding back one of the league's premier runners. -- Chris Wesseling.

The Giants make the playoffs

Jerry Reese said it on Monday and it's hard to disagree: You can't bet against Tom Coughlin. The Giants will eventually get Geoff Schwartz back from injured reserve and Rashad Jennings won't be too far behind. Add in the development of Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham as a tandem, and watch as the Giants surprise the field in one of football's toughest divisions. Remember: Eli Manning and Coughlin both have a lot riding on these final few games. -- Conor Orr.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 9 game and recaps the Saints' one-sided *TNF win over the Panthers. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.*

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