Prediction: Bills will win Super Bowl

Ross Litscher, Sports Editor

On Sept. 8, the Buffalo Bills opened the NFL season by throttling the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, 31-10. Just over 270 games later and we have our 14-team playoff field, all leading up to the 2023 Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.
This year’s playoffs come with many intriguing storylines.
While last year’s defending champs missed the playoffs, the defending runners-up Cincinnati Bengals are the third seed in the AFC and join the Chiefs, Bills, Eagles, 49ers, Buccaneers and Cowboys as teams returning to the playoffs for a second year in a row. The Giants, Chargers, Dolphins, Jaguars and Vikings are back after a multiple-year absence. Quarterbacks Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence and Daniel Jones make their first appearance in the postseason. Tagovailoa and Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson are questionable to play in the wild card round due to injuries.
Geno Smith and the Seahawks are one of the league’s best stories this year. Everyone counted them out after star quarterback Russell Wilson was traded to Denver. But the combo of Geno redeeming himself as a starter and Pete Carroll’s outstanding coaching got them the last spot in the NFC.
The league MVP will likely go to Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes or Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, who are the quarterbacks of the two teams that have first-round byes. One difference this postseason happened because of the scary cardiac arrest of Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin on the field during the Week 16 Monday Night Football game against the Bengals. The game was canceled completely because of this. Thankfully, Hamlin is recovering and has been released from the Cincinnati hospital as of Jan. 9. The cancellation put the NFL in a very tough position as far as playoff seeding goes.
The Bills and Bengals were both vying for a first-round bye, plus the Bengals were trying to hold off the Ravens for the AFC North title. Thankfully, the Bengals beat the Ravens in Week 17 to clinch the AFC North, which avoided a messy situation of the host stadium of the Bengals-Ravens first round playoff game being decided by a coin toss.
The last implication of all of this is that the Bills finished a half game back of the Chiefs even though they beat the Chiefs in Kansas City earlier this year. The NFL decided that if the Bills and Chiefs were to meet in the AFC title game, a likely scenario, then the game would be at a neutral site.
My prediction for the Super Bowl is the Bills over the Eagles. I’ve felt for a while that these are the two most complete teams in football and if they remain healthy, I don’t see anyone stopping them, especially since neither have to play a true road game to get to the big game. The Bills are clearly playing the rest of this season for Hamlin. And as they proved in Week 18’s beatdown of the Patriots, they’re a team playing full of heart and are beginning to play their best football of the year at the right time.