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Here are the teams you think will be playing at the business end of the NFL season

The NFL kicks off tonight and it looks like you’re ready to give the Patriots back-to-back titles.

The Patriots and Falcons served up a classic last year, but who'll make the Super Bowl in 2018.
The Patriots and Falcons served up a classic last year, but who'll make the Super Bowl in 2018.
Image: Bob Andres/PA Images

YESTERDAY, WE MADE a case for which NFL teams we think will have a chance to make the postseason and which teams will be more concerned with the number one overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

But, over the course of the past week, we’ve also run a series of Twitter polls asking for your thoughts on how this season might play out.

For the most part, our thoughts and yours are broadly similar which brings to mind the idiom ‘great minds think alike.’

With that in mind, here are the results, alongside our own picks:

AFC East – New England Patriots (83%)

NFL Preseason 2017 - Houston Texans vs New England Patriots Rex Burkhead could be a breakout star this year. Source: Erik Williams/PA Images

It’s not really a huge shock that the Patriots took more than four-fifths of the vote here as they could very easily go 6-0 in divisional games.

What was surprising is that the Jets, probably the worst team in football, picked up 8% of the vote. Who are you people?

Our pick: New England Patriots and it’s the surest pick we’ll ever make. 

AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers (76%)

Given the strength of their offence and the question marks over the other three teams in the division, it’s understandable the Steelers were such a popular pick.

While a lot of pundits are high on the Bengals this season, you’re less convinced as Cincinnati picked up less than 10% of the vote.

Our pick: The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the only team to make the postseason here. 

AFC North – Houston Texans (43%)

NFL 2014: Texans vs Giants JJ Watt is a lock for 'Comeback Player of the Year' Source: Duncan Williams/PA Images

This was the closest race in the AFC and the first division on which readers and The42 differed.

That said, there’s absolutely a case to be made for Houston having a deep postseason run this year, especially with JJ Watt returning to what was an elite defence last year.

Your votes also suggested that the Titans would claim a Wildcard spot.

Our pick: The Tennessee Titans will just pip the Texans to the divisional title.

AFC West – Oakland Raiders (56%)

While we think the Chiefs will retain their title in this division, 56% of you are sure the Raiders will come out on top out west.

Any one of three teams (sorry Broncos) could claim the title, but the Raiders do have a lot of questions to answer before we’re convinced they can challenge for Super Bowl honours.

According to your votes, the Chiefs will pick up the second Wildcard spot.

Our pick: Kansas City Chiefs, with the Raiders and Chargers picking up the Wildcards, but it could finish in any order. 

NFC East – Dallas Cowboys (37%)

You're much more convinced by the Cowboys than we are. Source: Brad Loper/PA Images

This was by far the closest division in terms of votes with America’s Team finishing just 1% above the New York Giants.

This vote did take place before news that Zeke Elliott’s appeal against his six-game suspension had failed but, even still, this is probably the toughest division in football to call.

Our pick: We have the New York Giants as the only team coming out of the division.

NFC North – Green Bay Packers (82%)

The NFC North was almost as conclusive as the AFC East with the Packers and Vikings the only teams getting double-digit votes.

While the Packers will likely win the division, the Lions are an outside playoff shot this year and could keep it interesting.

Our pick: It’s hard to look past any team with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback.

NFC South – Atlanta Falcons (49%)

Will Julio Jones get another chance to make a stunning Super Bowl catch? Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

You’re convinced there’ll be no Super Bowl hangover in Georgia with nearly half of you backing the Falcons to become just the second team in the 15 years the division has existed to win back-to-back titles.

The Carolina Panthers polled nearly 25% of the vote which is enough to secure them the second Wildcard spot in your eyes.

Our pick: We have the Falcons failing to make the playoffs with Carolina taking the division and the Bucs with enough wins for a Wildcard.  

NFC West – Seattle Seahawks (67%)

The Seahawks are the smart pick here, even if they might have to win every game 6-3 because of their league-best defence and league-worst offensive line.

You also think the Cardinals will be there or thereabouts when it comes to playoffs but just miss out.

Our pick: Like you, we also think the Seahawks are the only team from the West playing in the postseason. 

Now we just need the football to start to prove that fools seldom differ.

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Steve O'Rourke

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