Surprises! Competitiveness! Upsets!
If you like these things then the 2014 NFL season will probably disappoint you.
Never has the line between great, mediocre, and awful teams been so clearly divided. It’s so obvious that predictions are redundant practically to the degree of pointlessness.
But people actually read football articles so here’s Rambling On’s 2014 NFL predictions.
New England Patriots
New York Jets
With a healthy offense and bolstered defense the New England Patriots should have this division wrapped up easily. The Jets are overrated – Geno Smith still needs to prove himself – but they’ll still be competitive.
The team to watch in the East is the Dolphins. If Tannehill can improve and their defense can repeat their performance of last year then they could surprise some people.
2014 is probably the weakest the AFC North has been in a long time. Big Ben is old and the Steelers defense is suspect, the Browns are still years away from being competitive, and there’s little that jumps off the page to make you think that the Bengals will improve over last years okay team. Flacco will have a bounce-back year but it’ll be defense that propels the Ravens.
That I think a depleted Texans team will take second in the AFC South shows how weak the division is. Andrew Luck is good but he doesn’t have a whole lot of weapons. Houston, Tennessee, and Jacksonville are all rebuilding so they’re essentially irrelevant. Fun to pay attention to, though. If Mallett, Locker, or Bortles succeed the divisional race could get interesting.
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos have only bolstered their 2013 Super Bowl team, especially their suspect defense, so they’ll obviously be the team to beat. If they can be beaten it’ll be by an improved, surging Phillip Rivers-led Chargers. I picked the Raiders to finish ahead of the Chiefs because I love Al Davis (RIP), I am rooting for underdog Matt Schaub, and my favorite ’80s West Coast rappers all wore Raiders apparel (even if they were in LA at the time).
New York Giants
Every team in the NFC East has an uphill battle. Tony Romo is underrated but the Cowboys can never seem to pull it together, Eli Manning has looked awful, and RGIII hasn’t looked much better. The Eagles are overrated – there’s no way they’ll be as good as people are saying with a young, unproven Foles at the helm – but they’ll still be good enough to win this division.
Green Bay Packers
Yes, you read that right. People are blindly choosing the Packers to do well when their defense is not very good at all (and by far the worst in the NFC North). The Bears and the Lions are both far more well-balanced, especially defensively. It’ll be a fun year for this division, though, as even the Vikings have the makings to be competitive.
On paper the Lions are one of the better teams in the league. They have a good running attack, an above-average quarterback, one of the best receiving cores in the game, and a solid defense. The bumps and bruises of a new coaching staff are the only thing that could hold them back.
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like the NFC North I see the South as being pretty competitive. The Saints have one of their best teams in years but the rest of the division also has the potential to be competitive. It’s sketchy, though, as the Falcons have never seemed to be able to get it together, the Bucs are at the mercy of the performance of Josh McCown, and the Panthers, though improved, still need to prove that they can take it to the next level.
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams
Le sigh. I hate to admit it but the Seahawks are far and away the best team in the NFL. The 49ers have looked dreadful but they have the talent to work through their issues and bounce back. The Rams won’t hurt too much from the loss of Sam Bradford but they’ll have a tough time excelling in such a strong division.
AFC Wild Cards Jets, Chargers
AFC Championship Broncos vs. Patriots
NFC Wild Cards Falcons, 49ers
NFC Championship Seahawks vs. Saints
Super Bowl Seahawks vs. Broncos
See what I mean by vanilla? Same Super Bowl as last year! Also like last year the AFC and NFC Championship games are going to be far better than the Super Bowl. You might as well just hand it to the Seahawks. The only AFC team that could possibly beat them is the defensively strong San Diego Chargers but I don’t see them getting past the Patriots or Broncos.
Prediction Seahawks 34-Broncos 27