My 2015 NFL Playoff Bracket

By JakeElman
Jan. 04, 2016

With 20 teams down and preparing for the offseason, which of the 12 NFL teams still in the hunt will take home a Super Bowl title next month?

The sheriff is back in action and helped Denver secure the number one seed in the AFC, but will the return of quarterback Peyton Manning prove detrimental to the Broncos' Super Bowl hopes? (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Written by Jake Elman


...nope. I have nothing to say about the Jets missing the playoffs. I just want to talk about the playoffs today while I continue to ask myself how the Jets could blow that game. 

As I recover, it's time for the annual SportsMix NFL playoff bracket. Believe it or not, I'm actually not going to make this too long, so if you were expecting a long post from me about why the New England Patriots could be a one-and-done for the first time since 2012, that's not on tap for today. Believe me, I'll have plenty of playoff coverage, but this is just a brief post showing my picks. 

And, as always, I'll add some incentive to my picks. If I get the two teams in the Super Bowl right and also the winner, I will donate money to MHA, better known as Mental Health America.  

For a visual look at how the bracket looks entering this weekend, let's take a quick glance. 

Wild Card Weekend (home team in bold):

AFC: (6) Pittsburgh Steelers defeat (3) Cincinnati Bengals(4) Houston Texans defeat (5) Kansas City Chiefs

NFC: (6) Seattle Seahawks defeat (3) Minnesota Vikings; (4) Washington Redskins defeat (5) Green Bay Packers

Divisional Round (home team in bold):

AFC: (6) Pittsburgh Steelers defeat (1) Denver Broncos; (2) New England Patriots beat (4) Houston Texans

NFC: (6) Seattle Seahawks defeat (1) Carolina Panthers; (2) Arizona Cardinals beat (4) Washington Redskins

Championship Weekend

AFC: (2) New England Patriots defeat (6) Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC: (2) Arizona Cardinals defeat (6) Seattle Seahawks

Super Bowl 50:

Arizona Cardinals defeat New England Patriots 

I'm dead serious here, Patriot fans. Come February 7th in beautiful Santa Clara, California, former USC quarterback Carson Palmer will be holding his first Lombardi Trophy while Tom Brady walks off the field with his third Super Bowl loss in his last four tries. Though the Patriots are getting some key players (wideout Julian Edleman, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, defensive end Chandler Jones, etc) back for the playoffs, I just can't bet against this Arizona team; not against a rejuvenated and reborn Larry Fitzgerald, not against rookie stud David Johnson, not against a fantastic defense that, if they played the Patriots, could give Brady some major fits. 

No, I'm not picking against the Patriots because I'm a Jet fan -- remember, -- but I just was not impressed with this team in the final month and a half of the season. I know injuries played a big part in the Patriots' dismal 2-4 finish to the regular season, yet the team just did not scream "WE WANT IT" to me the way that they have in years past. Of course, recent years have shown that when that happens, New England is about to go on a serious tear and blow people out in the playoffs, so we'll just have to see how it turns out. 

Also, I really want Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer to win their first career Super Bowl rings -- and, in Palmer's case, make his first Super Bowl. Even if Carson Palmer was a bit of a child at the end of his career with the Bengals, these are two of the most deserving veteran players in the league to win their first rings and I'm rooting for them (seeing as my team happened to implode when we needed a win most). 

Damn you, Ryan Fitztragic. Why couldn't Ryan Fitzmagic or even Ryan Fitzpatrick show on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills??

If you're someone who prefers visuals or wants to take a picture of this to laugh at me when the Redskins defeat the Texans in the Super Bowl, here's my bracket.

Damn you, whoever made this bracket, for misspelling Patriots as Patroits. The perfectionist in me does not like that at all. 

Who do you have winning the Super Bowl this year? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by leaving a comment or tweeting me, and if you want to properly join the Mix, give me a follow on Twitter at @

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