Predicting the 2024 NFL Playoffs: Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow Square Off in Eagles vs. Bengals Super Bowl

Now that the 2024 NFL Draft is complete, it's time to look forward to next season's playoffs. Which teams are the favorites for the postseason?

The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, and, for the most part, the player acquisition period of the NFL offseason is complete. Trades will occur between now and the start of the season and there are some notable remaining free agents, but teams’ roster makeup won’t change significantly before Week 1. With that in mind, let’s project what the 2024 NFL playoff picture will look like.

Who will win each division, who will sneak in as Wild Card teams, and who will be holding the Lombardi Trophy in February 2025?

Predicting the 2024 NFL Playoffs | AFC

No. 1 Seed | Kansas City Chiefs

Fresh off their third Super Bowl in four years, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs brought back DT Chris Jones and added WR Hollywood Brown in free agency, then nailed the draft by adding WR Xavier Worthy and OT Kingsley Suamataia in the first two rounds.

Kansas City has won at least 11 games in every season with Mahomes under center. With the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders semi-resetting, the Chiefs should coast to a ninth consecutive AFC West title.

Rashee Rice‘s pending suspension might hurt K.C., while the club’s elite defense could take a step back thanks to simple regression. But how can you bet against Mahomes and Andy Reid?

No. 2 Seed | Houston Texans

Boasting the reigning Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year is a great place to start — and that’s not the only reason the Houston Texans might end up as a top-two seed in the AFC in 2024.

QB C.J. Stroud and pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. are the bedrock of Houston’s depth chart, but the Texans were among the NFL’s most active teams in March. General manager Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans added RB Joe Mixon, WR Stefon Diggs, EDGEs Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, and a host of others to fortify Houston’s roster.

The rest of the AFC South got better, too, so the Texans won’t have a cakewalk to the division crown. However, every arrow in Houston is pointing directly up.

No. 3 Seed | Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals nearly snuck into the playoffs with QB2 Jake Browning under center for much of the 2024 campaign. Now that Joe Burrow is back from a season-ending wrist injury, the Bengals are once again among the conference’s genuine contenders.

Cincinnati retained WR Tee Higgins via the franchise tag, hit needs in free agency by signing OT Trent Brown, DT Sheldon Rankins, and S Geno Stone, then swung for the fences in the draft with high-upside picks like OT Amarius Mims and WR Jermaine Burton.

If Burrow stays healthy, and the Bengals’ defense cuts down on explosive plays, Cincinnati should get back to the tournament in 2024.

No. 4 Seed | Buffalo Bills

Given their salary cap situation, the Buffalo Bills were forced to conduct an offseason veteran purge, so HC Sean McDermott will be counting on a bevy of younger players to support Josh Allen.

Holdovers like 2023 first-round TE Dalton Kincaid and rookies such as second-round WR Keon Coleman will be asked to take on sizable roles after Diggs’ and Gabe Davis‘ departures.

We’re trusting McDermott to keep pushing Buffalo’s defense — which ranked fourth in EPA per play from Week 11 on — in the right direction. Allen will have to carry the other side of the ball even more than in prior seasons, but he’s the second-best QB in the league.

No. 5 Seed | New York Jets

Everything came crashing down for the New York Jets after four plays in 2023. Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles injury dashed Gang Green’s playoff hopes before the season really got started. Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian couldn’t generate any offense, failing to support a Jets defense that finished third in DVOA.

Rodgers is 40, so he’s still an injury risk. But New York added reinforcements around the future Hall of Famer, including a legitimate QB2 in Tyrod Taylor, new pass catcher Mike Williams, and OL help in Tyron Smith, Morgan Moses, John Simpson, and Olu Fashanu.

While the Jets need health on their side in 2024, they don’t have many obvious holes.

No. 6 Seed | Baltimore Ravens

Sure, there are reasons to be concerned about the 2024 Baltimore Ravens. Lamar Jackson lost 60% of his starting offensive line. Defensive wunderkind Mike Macdonald left to become the Seattle Seahawks head coach, while Baltimore’s defense said goodbye to EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, LB Patrick Queen, and S Geno Stone.

However, Jackson — coming off his second MVP award — should develop a stronger connection with sophomore WR Zay Flowers, while Derrick Henry will be a bulldozer out of the Ravens’ backfield.

Baltimore also nailed the draft, adding Year 1 starters in CB Nate Wiggins and OT Roger Rosengarten in Rounds 1 and 2 before grabbing potential steals in EGDE Adisa Isaac, WR Devontez Walker, and CB T.J. Tampa.

No. 7 Seed | Indianapolis Colts

The AFC has plenty of contenders for its final playoff spot. Will the Miami Dolphins return? Could the Jacksonville Jaguars rebound? What if the Jim Harbaugh-led Los Angeles Chargers surprise?

But we’ll give the edge to the Indianapolis Colts, who almost made the 2023 tournament with Gardner Minshew at QB.

Anthony Richardson needs to take fewer hits, but last year’s No. 4 overall pick has enormous potential. If EDGE Laiatu Latu and WR Adonai Mitchell hit as rookies, Indy could explode in 2024.

Predicting the 2024 NFL Playoffs | NFC

No. 1 Seed | Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles overhauled their roster with new talent this offseason, but the club’s most significant changes might be in the coaching booth. New OC Kellen Moore and DC Vic Fangio should represent tremendous improvements for HC Nick Sirianni and the Eagles and help prevent the sort of late-season collapse that befell the club in 2023.

On the field, Saquon Barkley should add a jolt of dynamism to the Eagles’ backfield, while EDGE Bryce Huff and rookie defensive backs Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean should reinforce a defense that allowed 25+ points in six of its final seven games.

With the Dallas Cowboys potentially taking a step back in 2024, Philadelphia could clinch the NFC East early.

No. 2 Seed | Los Angeles Rams

Losing a future Hall of Famer like Aaron Donald will never be easy. While the Los Angeles Rams can’t hope to replace the retired DT, they did try to improve their defensive roster in the aggregate.

L.A. bolstered its secondary with veterans like Tre’Davious White, Darious Williams, and Kamren Curl before adding impact front-seven prospects Jared Verse and Braden Fiske in the draft.

On offense, we’re betting on at least one more Pro Bowl-caliber season from Matthew Stafford. Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp give the Rams one of the NFL’s best WR duos, while Kyren Williams and rookie RB Blake Corum should have space behind a Los Angeles offensive line that includes free agent signing Jonah Jackson.

No. 3 Seed | Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions went all-out in buoying their defensive backfield this offseason. After trading for veteran CB Carlton Davis in March, Lions GM Brad Holmes moved to grab Alabama corner Terrion Arnold in Round 1 before taking Missouri CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr. in the second.

Combine that revitalization of Detroit’s secondary with free agent additions like DT DJ Reader, G Kevin Zeitler, and OC Ben Johnson’s unexpected return, and the Lions are on track to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

The only potential roadblock? An improved NFC North, which we’ll get to shortly.

No. 4 Seed | Atlanta Falcons

Let’s forget about the Atlanta Falcons‘ disastrous Michael Penix Jr. selection and focus on 2024. Dropping Kirk Cousins into a readymade offense that includes RB Bijan Robinson, WRs Drake London and Darnell Mooney, and TE Kyle Pitts was an ideal solution for Atlanta after it watched Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke struggle through last season.

MORE: Sources Bury Falcons’ Michael Penix Jr. Selection

While the Falcons probably should have used their No. 8 pick on an impactful defensive player, they still have a decent shot to win their first NFC South title since 2016. First-year OC Zac Robinson’s offense should be more coherent than Atlanta’s 2023 plan, while the club’s underrated offensive line will keep it in games.

No. 5 Seed | San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers didn’t trade Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel during the draft and selected first-round WR Ricky Pearsall. They’re all-in on the 2024 campaign after narrowly losing last year’s Super Bowl, and this could be their last, best shot at a Lombardi.

Aiyuk is a free agent at season’s end, so the 49ers will likely have to choose between their veteran wideouts. Four critical defensive starters — LB Dre Greenlaw, CBs Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir, and S Talanoa Hufanga — are free agents in 2025, when San Francisco is already projected to be $23+ million over the cap.

No. 6 Seed | Green Bay Packers

Can Jordan Love continue his second-half ascension and become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in 2024?

The Green Bay Packers fielded the league’s youngest offense by snap-weighted age last season and have since added veteran RB Josh Jacobs and first-round offensive lineman Jordan Morgan.

MORE: NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker 2024

Meanwhile, the Packers fixed the spine of their defense, signing safety Xavier McKinney before adding five linebackers/safeties on Days 2 and 3 of the draft. With DC Jeff Hafley planning to deploy a more modern scheme in Green Bay, the Packers’ upside is through the roof.

No. 7 Seed | Chicago Bears

It’s a new day for the Chicago Bears, who nabbed Caleb Williams with the first pick in the draft before watching WR Rome Odunze serendipitously fall into their laps at No. 9.

Odunze joins fellow WRs DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, RBs D’Andre Swift and Khalil Herbert, and TEs Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett to surround Williams with an outstanding supporting cast.

Chicago’s defense allowed just 17.7 points per game from Week 10 on last season and will get a full season of edge rusher Montez Sweat in 2024. If Williams hits the ground running and the Bears’ defense maintains its second-half form, Chicago could outlast other No. 7-seed hopefuls like the Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and others.

Super Bowl: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals

If this is how the 2024 playoff picture shakes out, we’re projecting a Chiefs vs. Bengals title game in the AFC and an Eagles vs. Packers matchup in the NFC, followed by an Eagles vs. Bengals Super Bowl.

Philadelphia would get their second shot at a Lombardi Trophy in three years, while Cincinnati would be back in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons. Though it would be hard to top last year’s overtime thriller, Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow could provide an explosion of scoring.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Post-Draft Power Rankings

We’ll give the slight edge to the Eagles, whose wave of pass rushers might be able to give Burrow and the Bengals’ offensive line trouble. Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, and Co. have spent the last four years designing and assembling an incredible group of talent, and they’ll be rewarded with a ring.

You heard it here first: the Philadelphia Eagles are your 2024 Super Bowl champs.

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