2014 NFL Predictions

Boston Globe Staff Photo
Boston Globe Staff Photo

It’s finally that time of year. Football is back. A full slate of games this week starts with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks facing off against the Green Bay Packers. So without further ado, here are my 2014 NFL Predictions.

AFC

AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC West
Patriots 12 – 4 Bengals 10 – 6 Colts 11 – 5 Broncos 12 – 4
Dolphins 8 – 8 Steelers 7 – 9 Texans 9 – 7 Chargers 10 – 6
Jets 5 – 11 Ravens 7 – 9 Titans 7 – 9 Chiefs 7 – 9
Bills 4 – 12 Browns 6 – 10 Jaguars 5 – 11 Raiders 3 – 13

Wild Cards: Chargers and Texans

East: The Patriots are the class of the AFC East and with an improved defense, led by Darrelle Revis, they should run away with the division and will be battling with the Broncos for home-field advantage come December. The Dolphins are improved, and while Ryan Tannehill should take a step forward, they still don’t have enough to overtake the Patriots. The Jets overachieved last year and with holes in the secondary, their defense will be exposed, while Geno Smith will be benched midway through the season and Rex Ryan will finally be fired. The Bills have a good defense, but they’ll go only as far as E.J. Manuel will take him, which will be to another top 10 pick, which they traded to the Browns for Sammy Watkins.

North: A weak division, the Bengals will take the AFC North crown with their young defense and a decent season by Andy Dalton. The Steelers should manage to eke out a seven win season, even with a terrible offensive line and an aging defense. I expect the Ravens to take a step backward, as Flacco and company have to learn a new offense and Ray Rice continues to falter. The Browns’ defense should keep them in games, but even when Manziel takes over, without Gordon they don’t have the firepower to stop another losing season.

South: Andrew Luck leads the Colts to another division title as he takes a huge step forward and officially enters the category of elite QBs. The Texans will rebound after an abysmal season with a stauch defense and decent quarterback from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jack Locker will finally play a full season but the Titans just aren’t talented enough yet to overtake the Colts. The Jaguars stick Blake Bortles in after a few weeks of Chad Henne and he shows some promise for the future, but leads them to another losing season this year.

West: The Broncos win the best division in the AFC, with the Chargers right on their tail. Peyton Manning puts up another great season and the defense improves from last year. The Chargers are better than last year in Mike McCoy’s second year and they make the playoffs as a wild card. After benefiting from a relatively easy schedule, the Chiefs take a step backwards with a dearth of offensive play-makers after Jamaal Charles and in Oakland Derek Carr fizzles as the Raiders end up with the worst record in the NFL and fire Dennis Allen after three seasons.

NFC

NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC West
Eagles 11 – 5 Packers 10 – 6 Saints 12 – 4 Seahawks 12 – 4
Redskins 7 – 9 Bears 10 – 6 Falcons 9 – 7 49ers 9 – 7
Giants 6 – 10 Lions 8 – 8 Buccaneers 8 – 8 Cardinals 8 – 8
Cowboys 5 – 11 Vikings 6 – 10 Panthers 6 – 10 Rams 6 – 10

Wild Cards: Bears and 49ers

East: The Eagles offense unbelievably takes another step forward under Chip Kelly, becoming the best in the NFL and easily winning the NFC East. The Redskins will go as Robert Griffin III takes them and I think he suffers an injury at some point and is out for 3-4 weeks, leaving Kirk Cousins to take over and prove once and for all, he’s not an NFL starting QB. Eli Manning takes another step backwards as he continues to decline behind a bad offensive line and a poor defense as the Giants again think about firing Tom Coughlin. The Cowboys offense might put up 50 points, but their defense will give up 60 as it will be historically bad.

North: The Packers and Bears end up in a virtual tie for the division, but the Packers take the crown due to tiebreakers. Both teams should have great offenses as both Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler stay healthy for the entire season leading their teams to the playoffs. The Lions again miss the playoffs, as their weaknesses on defense, and especially their secondary come back to bite them – they’ll regret taking Eric Ebron over a cornerback in the first round. The Vikings take a step forward with the help of Teddy Bridgewater, who starts by midseason and looks like the best QB in the draft class as teams begin to regret passing on him.

South: With Sean Payton back at the helm, the Saints bounce back from last season and win the NFC South behind another great season from Drew Brees and an aggressive defense. The Falcons bounce back as well with many starters returning from injuries last season but just miss the second wild card. The Buccaneers, behind new head coach Lovie Smith, have a good season with a great defense, but McCown isn’t enough at quarterback to get them to the playoffs. And the Panthers take a few steps back as Cam Newton is bothered by injuries and has nobody to throw the ball to except two overpaid running backs.

West: The Seahawks again lead one of, if not the best division in football, as they’re just as good as last season – however, they miss out on home field advantage throughout the playoffs as the Saints win the tiebreakers. The 49ers get off to a rough start due to injuries and suspensions but are able to rebound with the return of Navarro Bowman, enough to squeak into the playoffs. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals have a rough season, but are able to finish .500. And without Sam Bradford the Rams are unable to do much more than six to seven wins.

Playoffs:

Seeding:

  • AFC: Patriots, Broncos, Colts, Bengals, Chargers, Texans.
  • NFC: Saints, Seahawks, Eagles, Packers, Bears, 49ers.

Wild Card Round:

  • AFC: Colts over Texans and Chargers over Bengals
  • NFC: Eagles over 49ers and Bears over Packers

Divisional Round:

  • AFC: Patriots over Chargers and Broncos over Colts
  • NFC: Saints over Bears and Seahawks over Eagles

Conference Championships:

  • AFC: Patriots over Broncos
  • NFC: Saints over Seahawks

Super Bowl XLIX

  • Saints over Patriots

Awards:

  • Super Bowl MVP: Drew Brees, QB, Saints.
  • Offensive MVP: Drew Brees, QB, Saints.
  • Defensive MVP: Darrelle Revis, CB, Patriots.
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers.
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Texans.
  • Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, Saints.
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots.

 

 

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