Here are my predictions for the upcoming 2013/2014 NFL Season. Enjoy, and feel free to challenge my projections!
NFC West: This division should produce two playoff teams: San Francisco, and Seattle.
First: Seattle Seahawks -
There is a potential weakness on the right side of the offensive line with penalty prone J.R. Sweezy and Breno Giacomini. Other than that, this team looks solid and, dare I say, hype-proof. Expect them to rise to expectations.
Second: San Francisco 49ers -
Expect more of the same from San Francisco. This team is well coached, and well stocked. Their fans and several commentators expect them to win on tradition alone, but we all know that’s not going to happen.
Third: St. Louis Rams -
Jeff Fisher was the right man for the job. They could be a surprise team this year, with a ceiling of about ten wins.
Fourth: Arizona Cardinals -
One of the worst offensive lines I have ever seen. Carson Palmer must be a masochist to sign with Arizona.
NFC South: Like the NFC West, the top two teams should duke it out, resulting in both teams making the playoffs.
First: New Orleans Saints -
With their coach, Sean Payton, back and a chip on their shoulder, expect New Orleans to reclaim the NFC South.
Second: Atlanta Falcons -
A season sweep by New Orleans puts Atlanta in second place, but in the lead of the wild card chase.
Third: Carolina Panthers -
This team might not suck, but they could have all of their weaknesses exposed in a weak-one match up with Seattle. At the same time, an upset against the Seahawks could spark something special.
Fourth: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -
This franchise used to be as bad as the Patriots used to be. One good year under Gruden, and their expectations are still way higher than the reality of the product they put on the field season after season.
NFC North: I expect Chicago to be a surprise division champion this year.
First: Chicago Bears -
Ten wins and missing the playoffs left a bad taste in Chicago’s mouth. Expect the Bears to come out focused on their march to the NFC North title.
Second: Green Bay Packers -
They have a rock star quarterback who cashed in on the commercial scene too soon. That and both their defense and offensive line are full of as many holes as a foam cheese head.
Third: Detroit Lions -
They won’t be as bad as they were last year, won’t be as good as the year before. Expect lots of passing, and maybe some more passing on top of that. Reggie Bush may also catch some passes from the backfield.
Fourth: Minnesota Vikings -
They were the weakest team in the NFL playoffs last season. Don’t expect them to build on that. Expect Christian Ponder to make some pretty hand-offs to Adrian Peterson, but that’s about it. Greg Jennings will get his share of big plays, as long as the ball is thrown to the right team.
NFC East: This is a hard division to call, but the Giants are always in the thick of the hunt.
First: New York Giants -
If only they can survive the regular season, the Giants might have a shot to get creamed by the Seahawks or 49ers in this season’s playoffs.
Second: Washington Redskins -
They were a surprise team last season. They won’t surprise anyone this time around. Expect them to be the last team eliminated from the playoffs.
Third: Philadelphia Eagles -
Chip Kelly is planning a gimmick involving the stadium sound system to distract opponents. That strategy is not only boring, it is not even football. Strap on your helmets, and…metaphorically butt some heads while avoiding all concussions (and damage to the NFL’s reputation)!
Fourth: Dallas Cowboys -
For years, I was a Romo supporter. Can’t help but ask myself, “why?”
AFC West: Expect more domination from Denver this season.
First: Denver Broncos -
As long as Manning stays healthy, this team should win an easy division. The suspension of Von Miller might make it more interesting, but this team is clearly a cut above the rest in the West.
Second: Kansas City Chiefs -
Alex Smith proves that he is not so bad after all.
Third: San Diego Chargers -
It’s about time to fire everybody and build from the ground up again in San Diego. Phillip Rivers is and never was anything close to the quality of Drew Brees.
Fourth: Oakland Raiders -
They have so many mediocre quarterbacks, that it takes away from the rest of the sub-par guys on their roster.
AFC South: Houston will make a successful title defense of the South, while Indianapolis will take a step back in their quest to contend.
First: Houston Texans -
J.J. Watt is a long shot for MVP. Matt Schaub does just enough to keep the offense respectable.
Second: Indianapolis Colts -
This team is still a season or two from being a perennial contender. Houston still has their number.
Third: Tennessee Titans -
Tennessee will win a tough fight to stay out of the cellar.
Fourth: Jacksonville Jaguars -
Maybe they should have signed Tebow. At least then they could blame him for finishing last again.
AFC North: Who gets out alive?
First: Pittsburgh Steelers -
Pittsburgh barely missed the playoffs last year. Baltimore was an unconvincing champion, and Cincinnati capitalized on the Steeler’s mistakes. If Pittsburgh can secure a number two seed, they could be playing Denver for the AFC Championship.
Second: Cincinnati Bengals -
Andy Dalton has his worst year as a pro, but the Bengals defense keeps them above .500.
Third: Baltimore Ravens -
The Ravens try to win with offense in a league of stout defenses. They’ll miss the playoffs this season but be back soon.
Fourth: Cleveland Browns -
They could resemble the 2012 St. Louis Rams and surprise a few people with a good defense, and gutsy play.
AFC East New England still wins this division. Someday, somebody has to take it from them.
First: New England Patriots -
Not even because they are that good. Just because nobody else in their division has pushed them to get any better.
Second: Miami Dolphins -
Showed flashes of competitiveness last season. There is a strong shot that they could find themselves with increased expectations as they secure their position in the upper echelon of mediocrity.
Third: Buffalo Bills -
They make the wrong kind of history (see four straight Super Bowl Losses, and Running Back O.J. Simpson), spend money the wrong way, and either can’t draft well, or can’t develop young talent. Why expect anything more than more of the same?
Fourth: New York Jets -
This season will be brutal, without even as much as a single butt fumble on Thanksgiving Day to save them. Expect them to blow the first pick of next year’s draft, too.
NFC Wild Card Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons
AFC Wild Card Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Champion: Seattle Seahawks
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl Champions: Seattle Seahawks