The Denver Broncos knocked off the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 to win their franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy and first since 1999. But with the 2015 season now complete, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season.
Let’s take a look at who will make the postseason, the ensuing match-ups, and which team will win Super Bowl 51:
NFC Wild-Card Round
The No. 1 seed Seattle Seahawks (13-3) and No. 2 seed Green Bay Packers (12-4) finish with the two best records in the NFC, and therefore receive a bye.
(3) Carolina Panthers (12-4) vs. (6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
After firing head coach Lovie Smith, the Buccaneers reward the front office’s decision by making a surprising leap into the playoffs. Jameis Winston gets his first taste of the NFL postseason, but the ride quickly ends there. The Panthers are too eager to avenge last season’s disappointing Super Bowl defeat and will make quick work of this familiar NFC South foe.
(4) Dallas Cowboys (10-6) vs. (5) Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Tony Romo guides his Cowboys back to the playoffs after an injury-ravaged 2015 season, but is forced to take on a strong Arizona Cardinals team. Carson Palmer and Co. are much better than the usual Wild Card squad, but the brutal NFC West division forces them to play their opening playoff game on the road. No problem though, as Palmer and the high-octane offense obliterate Dallas’ suspect pass defense and easily cruise to the next round.
The AFC Wild-Card round will feature…