NFL Playoff Contenders


Pike Temple, Sports Editor

Through twelve weeks, the playoff picture is taking shape. Outside of the obvious Super Bowl contenders, such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and Buffalo Bills, here is a deep dive into 3 playoff hopefuls that could have a chance at making the Super Bowl in February.

Miami Dolphins:

The Dolphins have a strong offense and with an 8-3 record, Miami sits atop the AFC East. The sky is the limit for the WR duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, if Tua Tagovailoa can take care of the football. Although the defense is less experienced, with young talent across the board, Miami could make a sneaky playoff run for the Lombardi Trophy. In an AFC, filled with teams that can drop 40 points if need be, the defense will be tasked with stepping up in the playoffs if the Dolphins wish to take down teams like the Chiefs and Bills. 

San Francisco 49ers:

The 49ers, year to year, are a dark horse playoff team. The addition of Christian McCafferey, via trade from the Panthers, helps their already stout rushing attack keep getting scarier. An experienced, yet limiting Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan has made it work in the past. The defense is an elite unit as well with star pass rusher Nick Bosa and MLB Fred Warner leading the way. In an NFC that appears weaker than usual, San Francisco definitely has a shot at the Super Bowl as they have shown the ability to win games in the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals: 

The Cincinnati Bengals had a rough start to the season, but coach Zac Taylor has found a way to right the ship. Joe Burrow has returned to his usual form and Ja’Marr Chase should be coming back from injury this week. Running Back Joe Mixon is also on the road to recovery. The Bengals have a solid defense and many of the impact players from last season’s Super Bowl appearance have returned. Although the Bengals aren’t guaranteed to win their division, Cincinnati’s deep playoff run last season is proof that Joe Burrow can put his team on his back and propel them to a deep playoff run. Joe Shiesty could definitely do it again come January.