On Thursday, September 5th, the 2013-14 NFL Season kicks off. I cannot tell you how I happy I am to write those words, considering the roller coaster NFL off-season that has just been completed.
Even during training camp battles, and pre-season games, there was drama. I have never heard so much talk about a third string QB in my life, a one Tim Tebow.
I am sure my readers are tired of hearing about Mr. Tim Tebow also. Well, Skip Bayless is going to have to find a new man-crush, because the Patriots mercifully released Tebow.
Rolling Stone, which I have boycotted for years, had to put the focus on Aaron Hernandez. Let’s say from the discussions of the article, I have no interest in breaking my boycott.
The Jets’ mess at QB, the drama with the Buffalo Bills at QB, and the issues with the Steelers not winning any of their pre-season games were all subjects talked about by the talking heads on various sports stations, and networks.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Fortunately, all of that is behind us, as at 8:30pm (ET) on NBC, at Sports Authority at Mile High, on September 8, the Denver Broncos host the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
When it is time for kick for off, the season will be underway.
Of course, the talking heads, and the bloggers are making their seasonal, and post-seasonal predictions for the 2013-14 NFL Season, so I will go ahead and make mine.
I will say that I wish this was as easy as playing the ponies. You never know when a team that looks “good” on paper, or in pre-season, turns out to be bad, or vice versa.
Anyway, here are my Season and Post Season picks for the 2013-2014 NFL Season.
I will give an overview of the teams in the division, than I will give the projected records in parentheses.
American Football Conference:
Overall view: This hard hitting, tough division could send three representatives to the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens: The Super Bowl champion Ravens are in the division. They have lost quite a few players to other teams (Ed Reed), and to injury (Pitta). Team GM Ozzie Newsome knows what he is doing though. QB Joe Flacco who got his contract, needs to show that he has earned it. (11-5)
The Cleveland Browns looked pretty decent in the pre-season. They should be in some games, but then again, they’re the Browns. (6-10)
The Steelers: The way the Steelers play at times make me want to throw my hands up. They have a 100 million dollar QB in Ben Roethlisberger behind a Swiss Cheese Offensive Line.
Coach Tomlin, for some reason, has a hard time having this team prepared for games. Running game is a question mark.
I do think the defense will be good, and if Ben can make plays, and stay healthy, this team could get a wild card.(10-6)
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Marvin Lewis has done a great job in getting this team to the playoffs in the past two seasons. I am not so sure about their QB Andy Dalton in big games. (10-6)
Overview: This is the worst division in the NFL. Period. It is a one horse stable.
The New York Jets: The Jets are not just a circus. They’re a “Psycho Circus.” However, I’m not sure you’d be “welcomed to this show.” Yes, I had to throw a KISS reference in there.
Their Head Coach threw Sanchez into the 4th quarter of a meaningless pre-season game, and now Sanchez is not going to be ready for Week 1? Their offense is a pop gun offense, even though their defense will keep them in games. (5-11)
The Miami Dolphins: Getting Mike Wallace will help their offense, and QB Ryan Tannehill.The question for me is, “How improved is Tannehill?” I didn’t like what I saw from Tannehill, OR the entire team in pre-season.
This team is the “wise guy” (term meaning a team that appears to be improving that the experts join in on the bandwagon)team of the NFL. (7-9)
The Buffalo Bills: The Bills looked alright in pre-season. The defense may be decent. That E.J. Manuel looks like he might be a good QB, if he can stay healthy. It is now known that EJ Manuel will start the season against the Patriots.
I still don’t look for much from the Bills, even though they will be a bit better.
They do have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, though. Stevie Johnson is a good receiver, if at times, undisciplined. C.J. Spliller is a very good running back, and the defense can be decent. (8-8)
The New England Patriots: Here is the one horse in the stable. They had a very wild off-season, to say the least. The talking heads were wringing their hands over QB Tom Brady not have 90% of his offensive weapons, etc.
Outside of the walloping in Detroit(they got whooped a couple of years ago by Detroit, so no big deal), Brady and the team looked to be in pretty good shape.
The defense, especially the pass rush looks to be much improved. I think the offense will be very good. Tom Brady will be leading this young receiving corp. TE Rob Gronkowski is back at practice, and once he returns, I think the offense will definitely start humming.
The team will have to start depending on their running game more for a balance offense. (12-4)
Overview: This is another terrible division.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs got Andy Reid to be their new coach. Alex Smith became their new QB. They have some nice pieces, like Dwayne Bowe, but looking at them during pre-season, I am not sold on them.
I think they will improve some, but I don’t think they will challenge in the AFC this year. (7-9)
The Oakland Raiders: What has happened to this once great and feared franchise. They were fierce when they played during the 70’s, 80’s, and into the early part of the 00’s.
Now, I don’t even recognize them. That’s how bad they have become. I don’t have much to say. It doesn’t matter if Matt Flynn, or Errol Flynn is the QB, I don’t see the Raiders doing much this year. (4-12)
The San Diego Chargers: After FINALLY dumping Norv Turner, it is about time to see if new coach, Mike McCoy can get this team back to its winning ways.
I don’t think they will challenge Denver for the division, but I think they can improve. (8-8)
The Denver Broncos: This is the team that is going to win this division. This team is loaded with talent. They have Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Champ Bailey, etc. I don’t think they will go undefeated, as no one is going undefeated.
I am concerned with their running game, and they are going to miss (as of this writing) LB Von Miller for six games, due to a suspension.
During the pre-season, I am concerned about their running game. However, Peyton will lead his team to many victories. (11-5)
Overview: This is a decent division, but I think only one team comes from here.
Indianapolis Colts: Can Andrew Luck avoid the sophomore slump? That will be answered this season. He still has Reggie Wayne. I am thinking the team takes a step back . I know a lot of people are high on Luck, and I like him a lot, but I just think he will go through some growing pains this season.
The defense should be better, and the team has a pretty doable schedule. (9-7)
The Tennessee Titans: Jake Ballard was injured a lot of the time. Then backup QB Matt Hasselbeck was just serviceable.
The Titans beefed up their defense with the addition of Bernard Pollard. Pollard already has received a couple of fines due to his hard hitting ways.
I am not sold on this team. (7-9)
The Jacksonville Jaguars: I have nothing really to say about this team. QB Gabbert is terrible. They have Maurice Jones-Drew as a nice running back. I really don’t see much going for this team, to be honest. (6-10)
The Houston Texans: This team is an all-around excellent team. They did a great job last year, but there are times where Matt Schaub, the QB, just does things on the field that drive me crazy. One time he shows he can be an elite QB, and another time, I am wondering, “What on earth was that?”
Their defense is awesome, and their running game is very good. I do expect them to contend for the playoffs this year. (11-5)
Now, that I have done the AFC, I will now go over to the NFC.
THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
Overall View: The division is a hard hitting division with long lasting rivalries. I expect just one, maybe two teams from this division to make the playoffs.
The Green Bay Packers: There is not much to complain about concerning this team. Aaron Rodgers has all his offensive weapons at his disposal. Sure, he has had to deal with some criticism from former Packers, but I am sure he will use that to motivate him.
The defense should be improved.
The minor concern is the team’s running game, but other than that, I expect a very good year for the Green Bay Packers. (12-4)
The Minnesota Vikings: This team made the playoffs on the back of their super stud RB Adrian Peterson. Peterson was 9 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s record. Peterson has a goal of 2500 yards this year.
I love AP, and he’s my favorite RB currently, but due to teams stacking 8 or 9 in the box, I don’t think he will make the goal. I think he will reach 2000 yards, and possibly threaten Dickerson’s record.
However, QB Christian Ponder has to step up. He hasn’t shown that he can be that QB to lead the team to the Promised Land. Ponder has Jennings at WR. I do think the loss of Percy Harvin will hurt the offense.
Their defense should be pretty decent, but I don’t see this team making the playoffs this year. (7-9)
The Detroit Lions: This team has a ton of talent on defense, and arguably the best WR in the game in Calvin Johnson. QB Matt Stafford, when healthy, can throw the ball very well.
The problem with this team that I have is that they are not very disciplined. People banging on Johnnie Manziel for his taunting should take a look at this team. The Detroit Lions are Detroit “Taunt” City.
Their penalties and their unruliness come from coaching, period. If anyone remembers “the handshake,” between Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh (who is not exactly quiet as a church mouse), you will know what I mean.
The team shows promise during the pre-season, but then remember they are the Lions in the regular season. (6-10)
The Chicago Bears: This team could make the playoffs, even though they have a new coach. Their offensive line must protect Jay Cutler. I don’t see a lot of talent on offense, so the defense will have carry the team.
The defense lost Brian Urlacher, as the star MLB and the Bears could not come up with a deal that would satisfy both sides. However, Lance Briggs will do well in his defensive leadership.
This team COULD make the playoffs, but I think they just miss this year. (9-7)
Overview: This is the toughest division to handicap. Between injuries, talent, luck, and the fact the teams beat each other up so bad, any one of the four has a shot of coming up with winning the division.
The Philadelphia Eagles: The new offense installed by new coach, Chip Kelly, might be interesting. It appears to be a ton of hurry up offense.
That being said, even though QB Michael Vick will be the starter, how long will he stay healthy? He has only played one full season without missing a game due to injury. Both he and Nick Foles have looked good and awful at times in pre-season.
The Eagles have been bitten by the injury bug as well. WR Jeremy Maclin suffered a torn ACL, and is out for the year. Several others will also miss time.
The defense did not look all that great in pre-season, and the team had that controversy over Riley Cooper. (7-9)
The New York Giants: This team is the Jekyll and Hyde team. The first half of the season, QB Eli Manning and Big Blue are awesome. Coach Tom Coughlin is happy, and all is right with the world.
In the second half of the season, the team just turns into the Big Blues. It is maddening. I really don’t know what to do with them. Eli looks like the excellent QB he is during one series. The next, he is throwing a boneheaded interception.
I wonder how Eli wound up with two SB rings at times. Then again, Prove Out (Woodward Stakes) and Onion (Whitney Stakes) beat Secretariat, so anything can happen.
This pre-season, the G-Men have not looked all that great from top to bottom. Offensively, they were terrible in the red-zone, finally getting the ball there in the 4th pre-season game. Defensively, they have looked fairly decent. (8-8)
The Dallas Cowboys: All I have heard from Owner Jerry Jones is talk, talk , talk. When a blogger like I am is writing about the owner of a team that’s not a good sign. I mean, I get that Jerry loves his team, and cares about them. I have heard countless stories from ex-Cowboys, who say Jerry treats them like family.
Great, but as for the team on the field, Jones needs to cut the apron strings and let the coaches he has hired coach the team, and not meddle so much.
Now that I got that off my chest, as for the team itself, can QB Tony Romo live up to that contract he signed? I find it interesting that it took him signing a huge contract for him to start “being like Peyton Manning,” and ditch the golf, and do more film study. What’s up with that?
Why did Jerry Jones wait over 7 years to bring up the issue of film study? Jones has to use a huge contract to get his star QB to be more diligent in his work?
We all know what Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcells thinks about celebrity QBs.
The Cowboys took a lot of hits on defense, injury-wise. It will be interesting to see how all that comes together. Will OC Bill Callahan and Tony Romo, who has had an epiphany about his throwing motion, work together and get the team on track to the playoffs?
Romo does have Dez Bryant, the excellent WR, and his security blanket, TE Jason Witten. Offensive Lineman, formerly of the Chiefs and the Patriots, Brian Waters is now a Cowboy, per Brian Sham, the Cowboys’ announcer.
Waters did great jobs for both franchises, so he should do well to help that offensive line for Dallas.
Will Romo and the Cowboys play well early, and screw up down the stretch like they always do? I think they will, but I do think they somehow get into the playoffs, but I think that is where the heartbreaking moment will happen.
Jerry Jones mentioned something about a “special sauce.” The way everyone has been talking from the Cowboys camp, I wonder if everyone is on “the sauce.” (10-6)
The Washington Redskins: Talk about another team that has had a lot of drama, and talk. Since Nancy Kerrigan, nearly 20 years ago, I have never heard so much talk about a knee injury in my life.
Mike Shanahan, QB RGIII, and Dr. Andrews (at times), have been going back and forth with the press concerning the star QB’s ACL injury that he suffered in last year’s playoffs.
The media ate this up like my beagle would eat up a big steak.
The back and forth between RGIII and his coach was portrayed as a “feud,” which I don’t think it was. I think both sides had their own agendas. I just think that everyone wanted to cover their rears.
Anyway, RGIII will start against the Eagles. How he will be, is a question. I think he will have some rough outings in the early weeks, but I expect his offense to help him out. I also think the play-calling will help him out as well. RGIII also had his go to guy, Pierre Garcon back, which will help immensely.
RGIII’s backup, Kirk Cousins, is finally healthy also, so if RGIII should have a set back, the team can go to Cousins.
The Redskins defense is still pretty solid. I thought they looked pretty decent in pre-season.
I think the Redskins will be the NFC East Champs again. (11-5)
Overview: For years, this division used to be the laughingstock of the NFL. Well, not anymore.
The San Fransisco 49ers: As a one time, huge 49er fan, back when Joe Montana, and then Steve Young ruled the roost, I had long wondered in recent years, if this franchise, with it’s 5 SBs, would ever be great, or even good again.
Well, thanks to a young man named Colin Kaepernick, their coach Jim Harbaugh, and a very talented roster, the 49ers are back.
Unfortunately, for now Chief QB Alex Smith, when Smith was the 49ers QB, Smith got Wally Pipped (lost his job to injury, in this case, a concussion) by Colin Kaepernick, last season.
Colin lead the team to the Super Bowl, where they unfortunately lost to the Ravens.
This year, the team has undergone some changes on offense. Michael Crabree, WR, is lost to an Achilles Rupture. The team does have former Raven WR Anquan Boldin
The defense still looks quite formidable. Hopefully, Justin Smith will stay healthy for the team.
With teams trying to see how to stop QBs like Kaepernick, RGIII, etc., I am not sure the team gets back to the Super Bowl. They will make the playoffs. (12-4)
The Seattle Seahawks: This team has done very well under Coach Pete Carroll. I remember the team being laughed at for making the playoffs with a 7-9 record. I admit that I also thought it was a joke, but those are the rules. A team from every division must be in the playoffs.
However, Carroll and the Seahawks have this team turned around, and now the team is a Super Bowl favorite.
They have a very good offense, led by QB Russell Wilson. They have WR Percy Harvin, but he has a hip injury, and who knows when he will be healthy. Wilson is a smart, mobile QB, who is also accurate.
The Seattle defense is going to be a beast this year. They looked very good in pre-season.
Hopefully, the team, which has one of the best home field advantage situations in the “Twelfth Man,” can win some more road games. (11-5)
The St. Louis Rams: The team is starting to pick up some steam under Jeff Fisher, as head coach. Their defense is looking a lot better. The team will be kept in games.
On the offense, QB Sam Bradford needs to step up and lead. Since he got in the NFL, I just have not been that impressed with him. He has some nice weapons in Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, and Zac Stacy though.
I don’t think they make the playoffs, but I think they will manage an 8-8 season.
The Arizona Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best WRs in the NFL. He’s handsomely rewarded to do what he does.
What is amazing to me is how the Bidwells, through their hiring of head coaches can NOT find a decent QB to get Fitzgerald the ball. I don’t understand how that whole organization works.
The only time the guy actually was used right was when Matt Leinart got hurt in 2008, and Kurt Warner stepped in, and became the Kurt Warner of old.
Now, they are trying an old, beat up Carson Palmer? Oh brother. Good luck with that.
The entire team, under new coach Bruce Arians, was not all that impressive to me in pre-season. I really don’t see this team going anywhere. (4-12)
Overview: This division features two teams with high powered offenses, and one team with a returning coach.
The New Orleans Saints: With the return of Coach Sean Payton from his year long suspension, I expect the Saints to improve on offense. QB Drew Brees will light up the scoreboards, now that he has Payton back.
There is concern on defense as Will Smith is gone for the year with a torn ACL. There is concern about Jonathan Vilma’s health as well. Vilma will be on the temporary IR list till at least week 9.
I think the team will definitely improve from 7-9. (10-6)
The Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, the star QB for the Falcons, finally won a playoff game, and led the team to within one game of the NFC Championships.
It was a great achievement, but I am sure the team expects to be in the Super Bowl this year.
The offense added former Rams RB Steven Jackson. I don’t think he will the Steven Jackson of old, but I think he will help in short yardage situations. TE Tony Gonzales returned for one last go round, in order to try to get a Super Bowl ring.
The team also has Roddy White and WR Julio Jones on offense. On defense, they added former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora. Asante Samuel is the star cornerback.
I definitely expect this team to be the best team in the NFC. (13-3)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sometimes, as a Rutgers graduate, I wonder if Greg Schiano knows what he got himself into.
On offense, they have Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin. QB Josh Freeman, however, has not yet developed into the talent I thought he’d be.
The defense has improved with the addition of former Jets CB Darrelle Revis. The question is how will he be after his ACL tear. After all, not everyone is Adrian Peterson.
I just am not sold on this team at all. (8-8)
The Carolina Panthers: I think this season will be the make or brake for Coach Ron Rivera. Like Norv Turner, Rivera, in my opinion, is more of a coordinator than a head coach. I just don’t get the feeling that Rivera is in charge of the team.
QB Cam Newton has Steve Smith and TE Greg Olsen as targets. DeAngelo Williams will be the main RB, until Jonathan Stewart comes off the PUP list.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]If the Carolina defense can stay healthy, I think they can keep the team in some games.
I do hope that Cam Newton has developed a more mature attitude when things go wrong. He is a great talent, but I felt he didn’t handle adversity well. I hope he has improved in that area. (8-8)
AFC: Patriots, Broncos, Texans, Ravens Wild Cards: Steelers, Bengals
NFC: Falcons, Redskins, Packers, 49ers Wild Cards: Seahawks, Cowboys
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The Denver Broncos vs The New England Patriots
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The Seattle Seahawks vs. The Washington Redskins
Super Bowl XLVIII Participants: The New England Patriots vs The Washington Redskins
Your Super Bowl XLVIII Champion: The New England Patriots
NFL MVP: Peyton Manning Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Those are my predictions for the upcoming season.
Good luck to everyone’s teams, and to everyone who plays Fantasy Football.
I hope that this season will be awesome.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan
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