At this time of year, it's about who is playing the best right now, and the
Chicago Bears are coming in with a ton of momentum after knocking off a division rival in Week 17. They have a great defense, which ranks first in scoring, turnovers and big plays, and a solid run game. Plus, Matt Nagy's creative offense will keep defenses off-balance like it has all season long. With all of these factors, the
Bears won't have to heavily rely on their young passer, Mitch Trubisky. That will play in their favor.
Colts have been the hottest team in the AFC over the last three months. They've won nine of 10 games since opening the season with a 1-5 record. Quarterback
Andrew Luck has found his groove again and his supporting cast has grown up in a hurry. The
Colts also have the look of a team that could win a postseason game in Kansas City, which would be their next destination if they beat the
Texans on Saturday. Indianapolis can run, pass and defend. That balance will make them especially dangerous in this postseason.
Ravens boast a defense that ranks in the top five in multiple categories -- scoring, third down and big plays, to name a few. No matter who the
Ravens play, the defense -- and the league's No. 2 rushing offense -- will keep opposing quarterbacks on the sideline. That's huge considering
Philip Rivers is first on the docket and would be followed by
Tom Brady or
Yes, they have the top rushing offense and have won six of their last seven going into the playoffs. But the reason I think the
Seahawks can make a run to the
Super Bowl is this: They had just 11 turnovers this season, fewest in the NFL, AND they led the league in turnover differential. That means they give opponents few extra possessions and that should help them bleed the clock with that powerful running attack -- especially important against explosive offenses they could face in Los Angeles and New Orleans.
I still believe having hot quarterback play and a dominant defensive line is a formula to win, and the
Eagles have both.
Nick Foles sparked the team's
Super Bowl run last season. This year feels no different with Foles heading the team's December surge. The fact that the
Eagles got into the tournament at all should scare everyone in the NFC.
We've all waited for Indy to build an offensive line that can protect
Andrew Luck. Now they have that, a healthy Luck
and a run game. This offense is firing on all cylinders and the entire team shows up to play every week.
Chargers have the best chance of the Wild Card Weekend teams to get to
Super Bowl LIII. They are 7-1 on the road. They have a complete offense, meaning they can beat you running the ball and throwing it.
Philip Rivers is playing at a high level and has shown he can bring a team from behind to win in the fourth quarter. They have beaten Kansas City, the AFC's top seed. They can rush the passer and have a decent secondary.
In the NFC, I don't see anyone going into New Orleans and beating the
Lamar Jackson has completely turned Baltimore's offense around since taking over for
Joe Flacco. He has elevated the play of everyone around him and it's resulted in winning six of the last seven games. The
Ravens are excelling in all phases of the game at the right time.
I believe in high-level defenses in the postseason, and the
Bears have allowed opponents to reach the end zone a total of TWO times in their last four games (43 drives). They rank No. 1 in points allowed and takeaways, and their four losses have been by a total of 14 points, including three by a field goal or less. Quarterback
Mitchell Trubisky is a wild card, but I like that the
Bears tend to finish drives when they get in scoring position, ranking seventh in red-zone touchdown percentage. Put it all together and you could have a deep playoff run.
Colts are playing the best complementary football right now. In what was essentially a playoff game in Week 17, they went on the road and beat the
Titans in all three phases of the game. Winning in a hostile environment is hard to do, especially in the playoffs, but the
Colts are built to do just that.
Sometimes having a rookie quarterback can work against you, but no one has figured out how to stop
Lamar Jackson. With the
Ravens' No. 2 rushing offense paired with the No. 1 overall defense, they have the ability to keep their offense on the field and control the clock. That's a combination no team wants to face.