2014 NFL Season Preview

The 2014 NFL season kicks off tonight, so what better way to celebrate than to get up my 2014 NFL Season Preview?

This post is more about my general record projections and my thoughts on how the playoffs will shake out, but if you want to read more about each team individually, please click through to my divisional previews. Otherwise, let’s get started with this season! It’s been too long…

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

lgo_nfl_new_england_patriots Projected Finish: 11-5

Tom Brady and company remain the class of the AFC East and should be able to make their way through the divisional slate without much contest. Divisional foes tend to be the most difficult tests as they know as much about each other as anyone, courtesy of multiple matchups a year, so I see the Patriots slipping up somewhere, but for the most part, the AFC East remains New England’s to lose…[Read More…]

2. New York Jets

jets_50t Projected Finish: 7-9

New York is always a bit of a conundrum. You look at their roster and you question the secondary. You may question if the additions on offense are really enough to help second-year quarterback Geno Smith. Heck, you may question Smith as the starter. All of that said, the Jets will probably be in the playoff picture by the very end. Head coach Rex Ryan can be infuriating, but he always seems to get more out of his teams than you think he will at first glance. I imagine it will be one of those seasons…[Read More…]

3. Miami Dolphins

miami_dolphins Projected Finish: 7-9

Miami has improved over the past couple years, but they can’t seem to do enough to compete with New England or push for a playoff appearance. I think this year will follow suit…[Read More…]

4. Buffalo Bills

bills_50t Projected Finish: 5-11

I was a big fan of quarterback E.J. Manuel when he was drafted last year and after a decent rookie season, there was a lot to like going into year two. Throw in the addition of rookie receiver Sammy Watkins and the Bills look like a talented team poised to surprise people. Then the preseason hit and now there may be more questions than answers in Buffalo…[Read More…]

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals

Projected Finish: 10-6

Cincinnati enters the season looking for their fourth consecutive playoff appearance in the rugged AFC North. The issue in Cincinnati is the lack of playoff wins though with their last coming in 1990. While concerns persist about quarterback Andy Dalton, the Cincinnati Bengals remain stacked on both sides of the ball and are one of the most talented teams in the NFL…[Read More…]

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected Finish: 10-6

I have Pittsburgh at number two in these predictions, but we all know how that can change. The Steelers used an off-year last season to draft well this offseason and develop some key players. They look poised to return to the top of the AFC North in some capacity with a more youthful defense and an offense that should be surprisingly explosive…[Read More…]

3. Baltimore Ravens

Projected Finish: 9-7

Baltimore will, once again, take part in the push to the top of the AFC North with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, but in my 2014 AFC North Predictions, I have them finishing behind both teams at 9-7. Baltimore should still be able to make the playoffs though with a talented roster and a Super Bowl winning quarterback at the helm…[Read More…]

4. Cleveland Browns

Projected Finish: 6-10

Cleveland always seems to be a team up river without a paddle. They have something “good” happen to them and suddenly things fall apart in the most unimaginable way possible. Unfortunately, I don’t see them finding the direction they are looking for this season…[Read More…]

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts

Projected Finish: 10-6

Indianapolis appears to be a team to stay with Andrew Luck at the helm. The question this season is if they can go to the next level and be considered a strong contender for a Super Bowl appearance. While I think they can take the division, greater than that may still be beyond their grasp…[Read More…]

2. Tennessee Titans

Projected Finish: 8-8

I like Tennessee this season as I think their offense will be much improved and their defense will be good enough to keep them in games. Tennessee is currently sitting on a number of young guys who could be stars by the end of the season…[Read More…]

3. Houston Texans

Projected Finish: 6-10

I was torn with Houston. On one hand, they really earned the first overall pick in this spring’s draft and they still don’t have a real quarterback solution, but on the other hand, Houston had a sudden fall into the worst record, meaning the talent is still there for a quick revival…[Read More…]

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected Finish: 4-12

I love what rookie quarterback Blake Bortles brings to the Jaguars and I continue to believe he will be playing pretty early in the season, but I can’t trust Jacksonville to make a run, even with the promising quarterback at the helm…[Read More…]

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos

Projected Finish: 10-6

Why do I like Denver? Peyton Manning. I don’t need to explain much there. Now, the record prediction… I could explain that a bit further…[Read More…]

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Projected Finish: 8-8

A fast 9-0 start to the 2013 season fizzled out to a 2-6 finish and an early exit in the playoffs after building a huge lead on Indianapolis on the road. This season, Kansas City seeks another strong season with a stronger finish. I don’t know if they can do it…[Read More…]

3. San Diego Chargers

Projected Finish: 7-9

I honestly didn’t think San Diego would do much last season, but they surprised me on their way to a playoff appearance and win over Cincinnati on the road. Now, I think they can replicate that success, but may be victims of their schedule…[Read More…]

4. Oakland Raiders

Projected Finish: 5-11

For the first time in a long time, the Raiders are intriguing and there is actually something to be excited about this season. Oh… their potential record? No, not that, but there are other things…[Read More…]

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Projected Finish: 9-7

Philadelphia is the team to beat this year in the NFC East. Their offense is dynamic and their defense is improving just enough to make them factors for a deep playoff run. It will be fun to see what Chip Kelly does in his second season as head coach…[Read More…]

2. Dallas Cowboys

Projected Finish: 8-8

Oh Dallas… Dallas has been overhyped and overrated for years now. Despite being flush with talent, they were unable to put it together to even make the playoffs finishing 8-8 in back-to-back…to-back seasons. Heck, each time it came down to a “win and get-in” game and they lost all three times to each of the other teams within their division. First, they lost in the 2011 regular season finale to New York. They lost in 2012 to Washington and last season to Philadelphia. Well, there isn’t anyone left to let into the playoffs. That’s good, right?…[Read More…]

3. New York Giants

Projected Finish: 6-10

I see a bad year in the cards for New York. A terrible preseason offensively and questions abound make for a potentially problematic combination as the regular season closes in…[Read More…]

4. Washington Redskins

Projected Finish: 4-12

New head coach Jay Gruden will help Robert Griffin III in his development after a rough season a year ago, but I just don’t see it happening this season…[Read More…]

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers

Projected Finish: 11-5

Last season, Green Bay limped into the playoffs, despite quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing a chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury. As we are in the business of making predictions and those must be made with the assumption Rodgers remains healthy this season, I have to imagine Green Bay is legitimate Super Bowl contender with Rodgers at the helm…[Read More…]

2. Chicago Bears

Projected Finish: 11-5

Chicago always seems to be on the cusp. Many accuse quarterback Jay Cutler of holding the Bears back, but entering his second season under head coach and offensive guru Marc Trestman should result in good things for the veteran out of Vanderbilt…[Read More…]

3. Detroit Lions

Projected Finish: 7-9

Detroit is all about offense. This season should be no different with their offensive attack looking better than ever. The problem still remains that they can’t seem to limit opposing teams, which – in a brutal NFC landscape – I think is just enough to push them down the NFC North totem pole…[Read More…]

4. Minnesota Vikings

Projected Finish: 7-9

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but I like Minnesota this season. I don’t think they can push for a playoff spot in the crowded NFC, but the direction is pointing up for the Vikings as they usher in a new head coach in Mike Zimmer…[Read More…]

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

Projected Finish: 12-4

You have to like New Orleans this season. Quarterback Drew Brees has looked very sharp this preseason and the weapons at his disposal are as good as they have ever been. Despite a relatively down season a year ago (if you can call a playoff season that), New Orleans will return to top of the NFC, competing for a Super Bowl appearance…[Read More…]

2. Carolina Panthers

Projected Finish: 8-8

Carolina finally broke through to the playoffs last season as a number two seed. They then fell at home to the San Francisco 49ers. After an offseason riddled with question marks, what Carolina team will we see this season?…[Read More…]

3. Atlanta Falcons

Projected Finish: 6-10

Atlanta is hard to project. Much like Houston, they earned a top draft pick this past spring, but a lot of Atlanta’s struggles a year ago stemmed from injuries, not talent. Much like Kansas City did last season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta made a run, but in my predictions, I couldn’t pick them over New Orleans or Carolina…[Read More…]

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected Finish: 6-10

Tampa Bay is on the right track, but there are still too many questions for me to like their chances in the crowded NFC and deep NFC South…[Read More…]

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks

Projected Finish: 12-4

If I was more optimistic, I might predict a 16-0 regular season record for Seattle. After all, they are that good. Alas, I must give them four losses, despite immense talent…[Read More…]

2. Arizona Cardinals

Projected Finish: 11-5

Arizona is a bit of a surprise pick here, but I really like what Arizona has going for them this season, despite some setbacks on defense. Watch out for the Cardinals in 2014…[Read More…]

3. San Francisco 49ers

Projected Finish: 11-5

San Francisco don’t look as formidable as they did entering last season – on paper at least. However, this team is still loaded with talent and is a threat to make a Super Bowl run as long as they maintain their identity as a tough, physical team…[Read More…]

4. St. Louis Rams

Projected Finish: 5-11

The injury to quarterback Sam Bradford was a crippling blow to St. Louis. Their defense is very, very good and their offense, with Bradford, showed great promise to perhaps compete in the loaded NFC West, but now it’s a much greater, uphill battle…[Read More…]

Playoff Preview

AFC

1. New England

2. Denver

3. Cincinnati

4. Indianapolis

5. Pittsburgh

6. Baltimore

NFC

1. Seattle

2. New Orleans

3. Green Bay

4. Philadelphia

5. Arizona

6. Chicago

Wild Card Round

AFC

Cincinnati over Baltimore

Pittsburgh over Indianapolis

NFC

Green Bay over Chicago

Arizona over Philadelphia

Divisional Round

AFC

Denver over Cincinnati

New England over Pittsburgh

NFC

Seattle over Arizona

New Orleans over Green Bay 

Conference Championships

AFC

Denver over New England

NFC

New Orleans over Seattle

Super Bowl

Denver over New Orleans

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are on a mission this season and if someone can beat Seattle, I don’t see any reason why Manning can’t find another Super Bowl win with the Broncos roster as is.

Awards

MVP – Peyton Manning
Offensive Player of the Year – LeSean McCoy
Defensive Player of the Year – J.J. Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Carlos Hyde
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Khalil Mack
Coach of the Year – Bruce Arians

 

Author: Blaine

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