07 Sep 2014
Heres your quickie I'm-not-sure-if-I've-been-paying-attention-this-offseason-or-not NFL preview for the 2014 season. Teams are listed in their predicted finish in their division.
New England Patriots On top until proven otherwise. I barely have to edit this column from year to year thanks to good quarterbacks. Unfortunately, at some point this column does have to rate the teams in the AFC South. Anyway, Tom Brady is all it'll take in this division. They actually should be better than last year.
Miami Dolphins They seem to have trouble getting over the hump and into the playoffs. Let's run with that theme again for this year. 9-7.
New York Jets It's been a relatively quiet off-season, which is usually good news for their blustery coach. Third place!
Buffalo Bills I'm hoping Kyle Orton gets to play. He was underrated as Denver's QB. Still, what's not a question mark on this team? The Bills haven't finished with 7 wins since 2008, outside of the cellar since 2007, and with a winning record since 2004. Still rooting for them to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2nd millennium. Won't get those 7 wins this year, either, though.
Pittsburgh Steelers My continuing logic on Pittsburgh is that its an every-other-year kind of team. Three years ago was their let-down year because they didn't make the Super Bowl, so two years ago should have been good, but they finished 8-8. And last year they finished 8-8 despite fielding a Halloween show of injuries and terrible-ness. They've missed the playoffs two years in a row! That means they DEFINITELY have to be better this year, despite not doing anything in the offseason to actually improve. Playoffs, here comes Pittsburgh! To summarize, no playoffs the last two years. No Super Bowl three years ago. 12-4 the year before. 9-7 the year before that. 12-4 the year before that. The best 8-8 team ever the year before that. The Super Bowl team the year before that. How long will I keep updating this text from year to year?
Baltimore Ravens You read it right here that these guys wouldn't make the playoffs last year. This year I think they're going to return. Not because I want them to, but because everyone else is so weak.
Cincinnati Bengals They've gotten better each year with Dalton at QB. Is it just me or does it seem like there weren't a lot of moves for anybody this offseason? I think this year they take a step back.
Cleveland Browns It feels like Cleveland is trying to dump on the season a la the Philadelphia 76ers. Hoyer is the quarterback for now, right? Didn't he look good last year in two games before getting hurt? Was that the guy? I'll predict 5 wins again. They had 4 last year, so apparently I think too highly of these guys.
Houston Texans A terrible year last year. Who would've seen a two-win season? They were in a lot of close games. Let's put them in first and see if they can do it.
Indianapolis Colts I'm not quite certain how they won 11 games last year or the year before. Could be a 10-win team this year without a running game.
Tennessee Titans Prolly'll be bad. Right? 5-11 seems about right.
Jacksonville Jaguars Entrenched at the bottom of this division (last year being an anomaly). They last had a winning record in 2007, and last won this division in 1999. With Blaine Gabbert at the helm, I think, I would pick up opposing defenses if you've got a fantasy football team.
Denver Broncos It's Super Bowl or bust for these guys. The offense has to be worse than last year, though the defense has to be better. 13 wins again.
San Diego Chargers I had San Diego correctly in the playoffs last year. Many folks are picking them this year as their sleeper. I have them just outside of the playoffs this year.
Kansas City Chiefs 8-8.
Oakland Raiders Bad again.
Washington Redskins This is always the toughest division to predict. Everyone seems like an 8-8 team every year. You want to root for RGIII. I want to root for RGIII. Let's put him at the top of this division and wish it so. Folks are actually saying that he's not a good quarterback. Not sure how one could draw such a conclusion. Let's go RGIII!!! 8-8.
Philadelphia Eagles Remember two years when a lot of folks predicted Philly would make the Super Bowl. Har har har! People say their offense will be awesome. 8-8.
Dallas Cowboys Not sure what they'll be trotting out there other than Romo. Exciting they are! 8-8.
New York Giants Had their first losing season last year since 2004. Can't think of anything they did to improve. 7-9.
Green Bay Packers Oh, how I root for the Detroit Lions offense to be explosive. And for Cutler and Forte and the Bears to put a full season together. And for Adrian Peterson to keep running. But Green Bay is still the class of this division. (You'll note that this is the text I used last year.)
Chicago Bears Somehow managed to avoid the playoffs two years ago despite winning 10 games. Then went 8-8 last year. Run, Forte, run! Do us all proud! It's just that competing for a wild card in the brutal NFC is going to be a feat. A feat they'll accomplish! No, j/k. But we here at DimeBrothers wish them all the best.
Detroit Lions Look around the NFL and it's tough to find teams that play defense. How can so many teams be so bad at it? Finished 7-9 last year with a plus 19 point differential. Outside of the playoffs again this year. They need more dimensions.
Minnesota Vikings People predicting improvement this year. From a 5-win team. I totally agree. 6 wins.
New Orleans Saints A solid 11-5 showing last year. I think the same will be good enough for this division.
Carolina Panthers I love me some Cam Newton. I still only see 8-8. But I also see playoffs. So my revised "seeing" is 10-6. Steve Smith is gone. I'm saddened. But Cam Newton is enough to sneak in as the sixth playoff team.
Atlanta Falcons Underwhelmingly good. 1st or 2nd in this division since Matt Ryan came to town in 2008, then a stinker 4-12 season last year. I just don't see them ahead of New Orleans or Carolina this year. Sorry guys. No playoffs for you.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Comfortably settled in at the bottom of this division. They've earned it again this year, too.
Seattle Seahawks I'm still upset about their playoff win from 4 seasons ago. Remember? When they won 7 games and hosted a playoff game?!? I think they'll finish first in this division. My spite is running out, so I'll actually list them here at the top of their division. They didn't get any worse from last year. In fact, how did they lose 3 games at all? 14-2.
San Francisco 49ers What'll they do, who'll they be, with Kaepernick at QB? How do we still not know? Second place in the division. I think 12 wins can be accomplished.
Arizona Cardinals Regression from last year's surprising 10-win team. That's just not sustainable.
St. Louis Rams Bradford has gotten seriously good at letting us all down every year. Wait--huh? They won 7 games last year!!! That should be seen as a success in the toughest division on the planet. We've heard talk about that D-line, and that's all we'll continue to hear about. Cellar dwellers.
AFC 1st Round: Denver, New England, Houston, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Baltimore.
2nd Round: Denver, New England, Indianapolis, Baltimore.
3rd Round: Denver, New England (look familiar, doesn't it?).
NFC 1st Round: Seattle, New Orleans, Green Bay, Washington, San Francisco, Carolina.
2nd Round: Seattle, New Orleans, Green Bay, Carolina.
3rd Round: Seattle, New Orleans.
Super Bowl: Denver over Seattle.
This year looks very similar to last year. I'm rooting for Denver unrealistically and hope that doing so will make a Super Bowl victory a reality. I'm one-for-four so far with predicting Super Bowl winners, having predicted Green Bay (Green Bay won), then New Orleans (the Giants of New York), then Green Bay (Baltimore), then Denver (Seattle won). Good thing I've got a day job.