Every year, I offer up my NFL preseason predictions – and it seems like every year, I am horribly wrong.
The past two years, three of my four picks to make the Super Bowl haven’t even reached the playoffs (NYJ and Philly in 2011, Chicago in 2012). Horrible Super Bowl pick aside, I did predict six of the eight division winners, so that was a plus.
So how bad can my picks be this year? If I pick the Bears to go to the Super Bowl again, the answer is probably “horrible.” Thankfully I didn’t do that – though these predictions are still guaranteed to be awful.
1. NY Giants: Everyone seems to forget about the Giants, but that is always when they are the most dangerous.
2. Dallas (WC): A three-game win streak to end the year gets the Cowboys the final wild card spot.
3. Washington: RGIII takes a few weeks to get going, putting the Redskins in an early hole.
4. Philadelphia: Injuries, poor QB play, lead to a rough season in Chip Kelly’s debut.
1. Chicago: Yes, I’m a homer. However, I’m cautiously optimistic based on the Bears’ talent and schedule. Based on what I’ve seen from the starters in the preseason, I don’t think it is going out on a limb to predict them to win the division.
2. Green Bay: The loss of Charles Woodson turns out to be a lot more impactful than originally thought. Plus, I think a Rodgers injury is coming this year after getting beat up behind the Packers’ crappy offensive line.
3. Detroit: They’ll be better than last year, but the run game will still doom them in the end.
4. Minnesota: Christian Ponder remembers he is Christian Ponder.
1. Atlanta: Despite a shaky defense, the Falcons still win the South by two games.
2. Carolina: The Panthers get their first winning season since 2008 and are in the playoff chase in December.
3. New Orleans: The Saints defense is brutal, which costs them several key games.
4. Tampa Bay: Josh Freeman’s inconsistency puts the Bucs in the South cellar.
1. San Francisco: The class of the NFC rolls to the No. 1 seed with relative ease. Also, I still continue to suck up to Colin Kaepernick after predicting he would become a horrific QB bust.
2. Seattle (WC): Three wins against the AFC South prove to be difference to getting Seahawks a playoff berth.
3. Arizona: Carson Palmer and new coach Bruce Arians make the Cardinals a sneaky good team.
4. St. Louis: The end of the Sam Bradford era.
1. New England: The Pats grind their way to another division title, but the AFC elite smells the blood in the water heading into the playoffs.
2. Miami (WC): Ryan Tannehill turns a corner and the Dolphins prove to be one of the biggest surprises in the league.
3. Buffalo: Shows enough potential to be considered a dark horse in 2014.
4. NY Jets: The defense keeps the Jets in most games, but the dismal offense is the death of the team.
1. Cincinnati: The Bengals surprisingly roll through the division, nearly claiming a first-round bye.
2. Baltimore: Too many personnel losses for the defending champs equals watching the playoffs at home.
3. Pittsburgh: Jarvis Jones is the DPOY, but too many issues offensively lead to a disappointing season.
4. Cleveland: They are improved, but sporadic quarterback play keeps them in fourth place.
1. Houston: An easy schedule leads to another big season and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
2. Tennessee: They prove to be a pesky team, but Jake Locker’s mistakes keep the Titans out of the playoff race.
3. Indianapolis: People suddenly realize that it was acting head coach Bruce Arians that made the Colts a playoff team the previous year. Luck has a good season, but the team’s flaws are exposed badly.
4. Jacksonville: Tough choice for the Jags – Jadeveon Clowney or one of the top QBs with the No. 1 pick?
1. Denver: The struggling pass rush costs the Broncos a couple of games, but they still win the division comfortably.
2. Kansas City (WC): Andy Reid wins Coach of the Year, as he leads the Chiefs to one of the best turnarounds in NFL history.
3. San Diego: They are running out of receivers and their shaky defense leads to a rough season.
4. Oakland: I mean…it’s the Raiders.
MVP: Peyton Manning, Denver
Offensive POY: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Defensive POY: Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Offensive ROY: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
Defensive ROY: Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh
Wild Card: NY Giants over Seattle, Chicago over Dallas
The Giants defense clamps down on the Seahawks, while the Bears steamroll over the Cowboys.
Divisional: San Francisco over Chicago, NY Giants over Atlanta
The Bears put up a good fit, but ultimately can’t stop Kaepernick in the second half. The Giants pull off an upset in Atlanta behind a stellar game from Eli.
NFC Championship: NY Giants over San Francisco
It’s a hunch, but I am thinking the Giants make another surprising run to another NFC Championship.
Wild Card: Kansas City over Cincinnati, New England over Miami
Because the Bengals always seem to lose in the first round, and the Patriots know how to beat the Dolphins.
Divisional: Houston over Kansas City, Denver over New England
The Chiefs surprisingly run comes to an end in Houston. Wes Welker scores two touchdowns, giving the Broncos a double-digit win over the Pats.
AFC Championship: Houston over Denver
The Texans defense comes up big, including a late defensive touchdown to send them to the Super Bowl.
SUPER BOWL: Houston over New York Giants
The Giants have the big-game experience and a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback in Eli Manning. They also have a physical defense and one of the best coach in the game.
So why pick the Texans? Because it seems like every few years, the better team falls to a big underdog in the Super Bowl – New Orleans in 2010, NYG in 2008 and New England in 2002 are the biggest examples.
Houston is a balanced squad that finally has good receivers not named Andre Johnson. They have the best defensive player in the NFL, one of the best defensive coordinators and two stud running backs.
The Texans are flawed and even their fans don’t trust them in critical situations. But I’ve got a hunch that this is their year.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!