Thursday, September 4, 2014

Moose's NFL Preview

Gather round children; the NFL season and the promise of many wings is nigh!  A lot of crazy things happened last year: Peyton Manning broke the record for touchdown passes in a season, the Seahawks took the league by storm and won the Super Bowl in a blowout, and craziest of all the Browns fired coach Rob Chudzinski.  Nobody could have seen that coming.  The 2014 NFL season looks to have a few Super Bowl favorites right out of the gate, but let's try to predict the unpredictable once again in our yearly preview.

AFC EAST:
NEP (12-4) - Gotta like the NEP again this year.  The AFC East is slowly improving, but nobody is ready to challenge the Pats yet.   Consider this: the Patriots made the AFC Championship last year without Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski & Sebastian Vollmer.  Those guys are all healthy, and the Pats have added Darrelle Revis (pronounced Dare-ull) and Brandon Browner on defense.  Me likey.  Tommy Football should be fine on offense, and the defense will be the best BB has seen in about 10 years.

NYJ (9-7) - I was very low on the Jets last year, but was impressed with what Big Fat Rex was able to do with them.  Their defense will keep games close, and the offense has added a few weapons in CJ2K and Eric Decker.  It is all going to come down to the quarterback though, and the Jets don't have a good one.  They just miss the playoffs.

Miami Dolphins (7-9) - Joe "don't call me Regis" Philbin has created a pretty toxic environment in Miami in only two years.  They drafted lineman Ja'Wuan (file that under "new ways to spell Juwon") James and signed Brandon Albert from the Chiefs, but I still think this offense will sputter.  The defense will be a question mark as well.  The real question on this team is; who will step into the crucial roles of bully and bullied for a team that lost Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin?

Buffalo Bills (5-11) - Sammy Watkins is on this team, but the defense lost their two generals in Jairus Byrd and Kiko Alonso (injury).  They only have scrubs replacing them.  They are all scrubs and have a weird coach whose name eludes me at present.

AFC NORTH:
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) - This team will probably be the same as last year.  Good defense, bland but effective offense, early playoff exit.  They will only go as far as the Red Rocket takes them.

Baltimore Ravens (10-6) - I like the Ravens this year.  The Smith & Smith wide receiving corps is going to give defensive backs and announcers nightmares, and Ray Rice should have a bounce back season after he returns from his suspension.  I also see the Ravens using him on defense with the way he hits (had to).  They will be a challenger for a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-10) - The Steelers just refuse to help Big Ben out.  His pump fake is easily the best move in the game though.  Tough year for the black and gold.

Cleveland Browns (1-15) - The Browns don't deserve to win one game after they fired Chudzinski like that.  But I have them winning 1.

AFC SOUTH:
Indianapolis Colts (13-3) - With Chudzinski in the fold and Reggie Wayne back, I expect a big year in Indianapolis.  We stopped in Indianapolis on our road trip last summer and the hotel was giving away bud light.  GIVING AWAY BUD LIGHT.  Somewhere a famous tech blogger is having an aneurysm.  The Colts offense should be stout, but the defense will face some trouble without star pass rusher Robert Mathis for four games.  In this easy division it will not matter though.

Houston Texans (7-9) - Bill O'Brien will immediately inherit a solid defense that will only get better with Jadeveon Clowney.  The offense needs a little work, but will be revitalized with a new scheme.  A nice bounce back year from Houston.

Tennessee Titans (6-10) - This year they decide Jake Locker is not the answer on offense.  Is their coach still Norm Chow?  Was he ever their coach?  Not sure.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - Will Rackley is the best player on this team.

AFC WEST:
Denver Broncos (14-2) - Wild Wild Wes is right!  Welker's career looks all but over, but the Broncos will keep rolling along this season.  John Elway apparently started his own mint in Mile High Stadium (don't care what it is really called) to pay for all these high-priced free agents they brought in: Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, Demarcus Ware and TJ Ward.  Apparently I don't understand how the salary cap works, because the Broncos should be a billion dollars over it.  Regardless, they will be better on both offense and defense this year.

San Diego Chargers (11-5) - Big Phil Rivers will take this team to the playoffs with the help of his skinny-faced coach.  The Bolts defense will be what limits them from being a Super Bowl threat.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) - Fat Andy and co. lost some big pieces in the offseason, and I think last season was kind of an anomaly anyway.  Look for them to fall back in the pack this year.

Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Wide receiver Rod Streater just sounds like somebody that would play for a fake football team in a movie.  I miss the silver and black from the 90s.  Power team.

NFC EAST:
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) - The Iggs will look to build on last year's surprise playoff run.  On offense, the wide receiving corps was weakened by Desean Jackson's release.  However, I believe the offense as a whole will be stronger with the emergence of Zach Ertz "so good", the addition of Darren Sproles to the backfield, and another year of immersion into the madness that is the Chip Kelly offense.  The defense was bolstered by the addition of Malcolm Jenkins and Nolan Carroll in the secondary.  It is time for pass rushers Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham to step up though.  Long live Foles.

NYG (8-8) - Everybody is calling for the Redskins to make a run this year, but I'm not buying it.  The Giants run game will be better this year, especially with the addition of the weird running Andre Williams.  I can't put my finger on it, but he just runs weird.  Dude you're getting a dell Beckham will help Eli throw it less to the other team as well.  Defense is a large question mark, but the Giants will be ok this year.

Washington Redskins (6-10) - A lot of people (and a RAT) on the REDSKINS bandwagon this year, I'm not buying it.  Every time I watch Robert Griffin, I feel like I am looking at a Vick/McNabb clone.  Just can't figure out how to be a pocket passing QB.  Also, every single throw he makes is off of his back foot.  Look for the INTs to go UP UP UP UP UP UP this year.  In typical Dan Snyder fashion, another Redskins season will go up in flames.

Dallas Cowboys (5-11) - Ick.  Talk about a dumpster bonfire. The worst defense in the NFL lost their three best players (D. Ware, Sean Lee (injured), Jason Hatcher).  That is not good.  Romo will continue to be a bumbler on offense.  Ugly year for Big D.

NFC NORTH:
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - I really don't like most of the teams in the NFC North.  This is supposed to be the black and blue division, but it is the division of pussy QBs.  Anyway, the Pack should be able to win this division with a healthy Aaron Rodgers.  An aging defense and losing B.J. Raji for the season will hurt this defense though.  Not a Super Bowl contender in my mind.

Chicago Bears (9-7) - Classic Cutler season.  The Bears coach (above) is also a total weirdo.

Detroit Lions (8-8) - New coach.  New attitude.  Looks for the Lions to be players again in a year or two.  Defense still needs work though.

Minnesota Vikings (5-11) - Theodore Bridgewater.  Would not have guessed black QB.  This team will suck.

NFC SOUTH:
  New Orleans Saints (11-5) - That right there is Rickey Jackson.  An innovator.  Dude had the most badass facemask ever when we were kids.  Anyway, the Saints offense is going to be really good again.  Brandin "COOKED" Cooks is going to run wild, and Drew Brees should be prolific as usual.  Once again it will come down to the defense, but I think the Saints are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Atlanta Falcons (8-8) - The Falcons were miserable last year.  In the offseason, they shored up both lines and got healthy.  This should be enough to get them back to at least .500.

Carolina Panthers (8-8) - Steve Smith was a huge loss for this team.  He was a leader more than Cam in my opinion.  They also lost several key pieces on defense to free agency/suspension and were only able to sign old grey mare Roman Harper.  The same Roman Harper that needed an oxygen mask after failing to outrun Sam Bradford after a fumble.  They take a step back this year.

Tampa Bay Bucs (6-10) - I really think the Bucs made a mistake letting Schiano go.  Guy got the most out of his players.  The Bucs QB is also a pipsqueak.

NFC WEST:
Seattle Seahawks (12-4) - The super bowl champs lost a few players via free agency, but Richard Sherman is still the straw that stirs the drink on defense.  They will be just as good.  Russ Wilson has been doing a lot this offseason, leading me to wonder if his head is in to repeating as champs.  Also, how much does Marshawn Lynch have left in the tank?  We will see.  I still like them to win the west though.

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) - The Cards were the best team not to make the playoffs last year.  They have arguably one of the best secondaries in football, and added to it in the draft with S Deone Buchanan and in free agency with Antonio Cromartie.  They also added a new weapon on offense for Carson Palmer in TE Troy Niklas.  I like the Cards to make the jump into the playoffs this season.

San Francisco 49ers (10-6) - For every team that steps up, another steps back.  Since losing the Super Bowl two seasons ago, the 49ers have gotten older on both sides of the ball, especially on defense.  Couple that with suspensions to several defensive lineman and the 9ers vaunted defense is now in trouble.  I also don't trust Kaepernick in such a tough division.  I'm going with my instincts on this one.  I smell a RAT.

St. Louis Rams (6-10) - The Rams defense will win them games straight up.  It is a shame that Bradford went down again, but hopefully St. Louis can now cut the chord on him without any second guessing.


AFC PLAYOFFS:
NEP
Cincy
Baltimore
Colts
Broncos
Chargers

NFC PLAYOFFS:
Eagles
Packers
Saints
Seahawks
Cardinals
49ers

Super Bowl: Patriots over Saints


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