The 2014 NFL season succeeded at creating an exciting atmosphere and showed that there were some teams that proved to be the real deal, while there were others that showed their mediocrity and failed to disappoint. At the beginning of the season, I made predictions regarding how teams would finish in each division and made some early predictions for the playoffs.
Of course, that was the beginning of the season. I thought the Buccaneers would contend under the direction of Lovie Smith, but they turned out doing the exact opposite by failing miserably. I did think the Titans would be the worst in the league and I came quite close. Otherwise, many of the teams that I predicted would make the playoffs did not disappoint.
For the first time, I will be collaborating with another National Football League enthusiast (whose favorite team I will not mention). I would like to welcome John Freda to my blog.
Thanks for having me on your blog! I am honored to be here!
Thank you for taking the time to visit. Tell me, John, was there anything that stuck out to you this season?
Well as you know, this has indeed been an awesome NFL season as always. A lot of unpredictable things have happened, and a lot of standout moments have occurred. For me, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was the arrival of the emerging superstar known as Odell Beckham Jr. I never really knew who he was until he started making headlines with his impressive games. In an interview with Jerry Rice, Mr. Rice said that Odell Beckham Jr. is 5 times the star that he was in his rookie year. Odell Beckham Jr. will be one to watch for next year! The other thing that stuck out to me the most this season was the NFC. I mean, you have the Carolina Panthers, who go 7-8-1 and go on to win their division! The NFC was, to me, the most competitive division this year, and there were a lot of teams who I THOUGHT would be in the playoffs, but were left out due to poor play. One of those teams that comes to mind is the saints.
I felt the NFC South was only competitive among themselves. Outside of that, they failed to put together victories, but then again that might be me looking at the amount of times I picked the Saints to win games at the Superdome, but yet they lost so many of them at a place where they were almost invincible. The Panthers seemed to warm up at the time it mattered most. Things started to click, Cam Newton got on top of his game, and in their victory against the Falcons, the defense came to life and steamrolled over the Falcons.
I, too, was very impressed with Odell Beckham Jr. Though they did not win that game against the Cowboys, that grab for a touchdown was the greatest I saw as long as I have been watching football and that is the same team that saw David Tyree make that fourth and long catch with his helmet during the Super Bowl that was going to make or break them.
I agree that I thought the Saints were going to win the division, but they were unable to deliver. Speaking of the teams of the south, the Falcons let go of Mike Smith from his coaching position, the Bears and Jets let go of their coach and GM, while Jim Harbaugh parted ways with the Niners. Any commentary and do you feel there will be more to come?
Well, this is known as the infamous "Black Monday" around the NFL, where coaches and GM's alike get fired, and part ways. I had no doubt that Jim Harbaugh would part ways with the 49ers. To coach at the same place where he played QB in Michigan, there was no way he wasn't going to take that. Rex Ryan, that was a long time coming. Everyone has been speculating him being let go, but personally, I think they should have kept him, and ONLY fired the GM. Not the both of them.
I think that after today, there will be more to come, and I am predicting that Joe Philbin, the Miami Dolphins coach, will be let go at some point. Another 8-8 disappointing season for them, something has got to give. And as you know, there is a vacant coaching position in Oakland. There are teams that are right now reviewing the possibility of hiring the offensive coordinator of the Broncos, Adam Gase. So, I believe there is definitely more to come.
When you put the pieces together regarding Jim Harbaugh going back to his roots, I think it makes sense why he is taking the job with Michigan. If there was no opening, it would almost be certain that a team in the NFL would pick him up and the Raiders would be the one that would need a coach like him more than anyone. As for Joe Philbin, I do not know why they promised him his job, because they continuously contend, but then they collapse. Philbin showed his inability to handle conflict following the commotion on his team last season with Incognito and Martin.
I have to disagree about Rex Ryan and John Idzik. I think both were rightfully fired, because Ryan got away once and was unable to build on that saving grace. He led the Jets to two AFC Championships, which even Bill Parcells did not do, but they went downhill during the last four seasons. In addition, he created a culture that was not desirable among the rest of the NFL. I was reading an article that put him as the "hottest head coaching candidate." I heavily disagree. Maybe the hottest defensive coordinator, but not hottest head coach. Marc Trestman was another victim of an inability to keep tension under control and extending Jay Cutler's contract was a mistake, for he is currently the most overrated starting quarterback in the league. As for Mike Smith, his dismissal was the right decision, but I feel he deserves a second chance over Rex Ryan for another chance to coach. He turned what was a train wreck following issues with Michael Vick into a team, minus the last two seasons, that was able to continuously win and create a positive culture that was never present aside from a few good seasons here and there.
The Ryan brothers have always been hot headed, and in my personal opinion, I think it makes them good, but tough coaches. Rex Ryan did however ruin the career of Tim Tebow, in my opinion. I believe Mike Smith did not deserve to be fired, and that came as a surprise to me. I always felt that he was met with bad luck in regards to injuries, and his team never being one hundred percent healthy. But he deserves a second chance elsewhere, and I think he would be a great fit in Chicago.
Rex Ryan is not good with quarterbacks. Not only Tebow, but Geno Smith is also not seeing the results that were expected out of him. It would be quite an experience to see Rex and Rob Ryan head coaching in the league together, but they first need to prove that they deserve the opportunity to do so. It runs in the family, because Buddy Ryan was known for his poor sportsmanship. As a coordinator, he actually got into a scuffle with Kevin Gilbride when they were with the Oilers. As for Mike Smith, come to think of it, the Bears are a good fit for him if they want to take that route. Arthur Blank is just one of those owners that gets antsy pretty quick. Not like the Davis family in Oakland or Dan Snyder in Washington, but still somewhat quick.
I guess we shall begin with the wildcard games that are coming up next week? The matchups are:
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
These are some incredible match ups. And I want to start off the bat with the Steelers VS Ravens. Word out of Pittsburgh is that Le'veon Bell is going to be OUT of the wild card game, due to a hyper extended knee that he suffered during the Cincinnati game. The Steelers without Bell, is like peanut butter without jelly. The Steelers NEED Le'veon bell. He extends their run game, and makes them a very hard team to beat. Without Bell, their offensive is very limited, and will be pass heavy, because they just do not have the depth behind bell to have a credible run game threat. The Ravens win this game, 27-20
I am going to agree that the Steelers have been incredibly unpredictable during this season, but so has the remainder of the AFC North. I do, however, agree that the Steelers offense is just very fragile and that it will come down to those crucial decisions. The Ravens, on the other hand, were quite a surprise in appearing in the playoffs this season. I do, however, believe that this is a spectacular defense. Dean Pees deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team's defense rolling. The Steelers won the battle for the division, but I am going to say that it is a close one, but I agree that the Ravens win, 29-26.
Next up is the Cardinals VS Panthers. Weeks ago, the Cardinals looked like the team to beat with or without Carson Palmer, but since Ryan Lindley took over, the team was only a little bit better than before. The defense continues to prove why it is the finest in the league and Todd Bowles is a frontrunner for a head coaching position of his own, but to combine this with a Panthers team that is seeing results late under Cam Newton, we may be seeing a trend with playoff teams that finish .500 or lower in the last few seasons. It will be a low scoring game, but my pick is for the Panthers: 16-6.
I had a tough time deciding who I was going to take in this game. The Cardinals without Palmer seem to just be missing that extra something special in the passing game. But their record says otherwise. Overall, I feel that the Panthers have become more competitive, and have been playing harder, while the Cardinals have been going downhill a bit. Sorry Arizona, but not this year. After a 2 month spree with no wins, they have won 4 straight games. Cam Newton is looking great, and at home, the Panthers are going to play tough, and will be very hard to beat. I agree, it will not be a high scoring game, and the Panthers win, 17-10
The Cardinals are the first team since the 2000 Buccaneers to reach the playoffs in a year that their stadium is hosting a Super Bowl. It's unfortunate that they will not be the ones playing in that particular game. Bruce Arians is doing an excellent job keeping this team in contention, but the Panthers are picking up at the right time.
I couldn't agree more. I will admit, it would be so awesome to witness Arizona go on to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
It would be quite a feeling. Any team that has the ability to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium just out of coincidence, especially since they have not instated backups in order to keep things neutral.
The next match: Bengals VS. Colts. The Bengals have been consistently good for the last few seasons and the Colts have seen results during the era of Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck. I feel that the Colts have been far more consistent and this will show as the playoffs begin. The Bengals have the longest postseason victory drought, having not won in the postseason since 1990, and this should continue into this season. Colts win: 31-17.
You have no idea how bad I wanted to see this game. Two teams, both with incredible comeback potential. Unfortunate for the Bengals, AJ Green suffered an injury during their last regular season game last night against the Steelers. He is currently entered under the NFL's concussion protocol, however he is expected to be ok, and will play against the Colts in the wild card game. All things considered, this shouldn't be an issue for the Bengals. Both teams are extremely competitive, but Andrew Luck is one of the most impressive Quarterbacks in the league right now, with a threat the likes of TY Hilton. Oh, he gets double teamed? No worries, cause right at number two is Reggie Wayne!!! Colts win this one at home, 31-27
I agree that the Colts outdo the Bengals when it comes to offensive weapons, which will put this one in the bag for them. The Bengals have struggled with offensive weapons, but have been able to produce strong enough results to make the playoffs.
Next up: Lions VS Cowboys. The Cowboys have underestimated everyone with how well they have performed. I swore they would be one of the worst in the NFC, but it turns out that they are one of the best. DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant are both spectacular assets to Tony Romo and are allowing him to shine in this particular season. The Lions have also found success, but they will be without Ndamukong Suh, suspended for one game for stepping on Aaron Rodgers' leg and is not assisted by his history. This will not hurt the Lions TOO much, but this Cowboys team only gave up games to the Niners, Cardinals, Redskins, and Eagles. Aside from the game against the Eagles, the Cowboys were in every game and had decisive victories. This team is the best they have been since the turn of the century and the Lions, like the Bengals, have a hump of their own with an inability to win in the postseason (last postseason victory: 1991 season). Cowboys win this one, 38-27.
I love this game, and out of every playoff game listen, this is the on I am going to watch with intent. I STILL believe that the Cowboys are an accident waiting to happen. Plain and simple, I'M CALLING THE UPSET!!! The LIONS win this game at Jerry World!!! 30-25
This is our first contrasting selection. The Cowboys are 8-0 on the road and 4-4 at home, but with the pace at which they are playing, it will be a challenge to slow them down. I do not know if it's the Lions that have this ability.
I know that the Cowboys are playing well, no doubt. I am just waiting for that choke though, from Tony Romo. It's like it is in his blood and he cannot escape his inevitable fate. Haha. But in all seriousness, the lions are a tough team, and even though the cowboys have Dez, the Lions have Megatron! I think this is going to be the best game of the playoffs, and I can't wait to see the outcome.
Next we move onto the divisional round:
For both of us, the matchup with be the Patriots VS. Ravens. I see that it is going to take a lot to bring the Patriots down in Foxboro, as they are the hottest team in the league as we speak. I do not see the Ravens as being that team and my pick is that the Patriots win 38-20.
Patriots Vs Ravens, it will be a great game, but there really is nothing for me to elaborate on. There is no question or doubt that the Patriots will win this game, and I am going to call a blowout victory, with the Patriots winning 34-17
I agree with that train of thought. Speaking of a blowout, I feel that the Panthers VS Seahawks is going to be a blowout as well. I feel that the Panthers will just need to come across a team that brings them down to size. The Seahawks had some challenging matchups these past weeks against division rivals, but met each of them head on. A little bit of rest and they are going to have themselves a show at home. This will be the blowout of the postseason and I predict the Seahawks win this one, 41-0. I usually do not have shutouts on my radar, but this seems to be building up as one.
Wow. A big fat zero for the Panthers.
The last time a Super Bowl winning team won a postseason game in the following season was when the Patriots did so following their 2004 Super Bowl victory by winning a wildcard game in 2005. The Seahawks should definitely snap this one.
Indeed. It would be the Lions Vs the Seahawks. I believe as well that it would be in Seattle that the game is played. That is going to be a tough game with Suh being back, and as much as I want to believe the Seahawks would win, I do not think that they are going to make it past the Lions. I am going with ANOTHER upset here, and saying that the Lions would win that game, 20-17
I do not see someone shocking the Seahawks that quickly in their stadium, especially the Lions, but that's just me. That does look close. What I could see being a shocker is the Cowboys having a heyday in Lambeau.
The Cowboys VS Packers. It does not come often where someone comes onto Lambeau Field to wreak havoc, but you have a strong, mighty home team against a team that is 8-0 on the road. Of course, the Cowboys will be contending with weather, but I see them building on this opportunity. My pick in a shocker is the Cowboys win 48-42 in OT. THIS is going against an early season pick, since I had the Seahawks and Packers in the NFC Championship. It is still a possibility, however.
If the Cowboys did meet the Packers, it would be an amazing game, and i agree that it would go into overtime. Although I believe that the Packers would emerge victorious with Arron Rodgers leading the way with 380 Passing Yards, and Eddy Lacey with a 100 yard rushing game. I expect Demarco Murrary to have around 80 rushing yards, and Tony Romo to be picked off at least once in that game.
Broncos and Colts....this is a tough game for me to call and I am sure you know why!!! Every part of my body wants the Broncos to win, but I am going to diagnose this game with an un-bias review. This will be a shootout game without a question. Two of the best passers in the NFL going at it head to head. Peyton has had his struggles recently though. And the run game has developed nicely with their emerging star CJ Anderson. It is very difficult to win in Denver against Denver, but that doesn't mean that Denver isn't prone to making stupid mistakes. This game can be won by the Colts, if they play hard enough, and pound the Denver Bronco defense who has suffered the losses of Danny Trevathan, and Brandon Marshal. Woodyard is also among the injured players. The Denver secondary is weak, and so therefore, I am saying that this game will go to OT!!! But in the end, Denver Wins at home, with a very close score... 41-38
The Broncos are going to be one of those teams that has to meet the challenges they are being faced with accordingly, thus it will be evenly matched right down the middle.
The Broncos and Colts: a matchup I intended for the championship, but these are both teams that have had their moments and those that caused some uneasiness for viewers. I feel that the Broncos have something to prove and Peyton Manning will once again bring attention back to himself just as he has had time and time again. Broncos win 31-24.
Panthers and Packers. What a game. Both would play hard should they meet. Overall, it isn't a hard match to call. The packers will overwhelm the Panthers, and secure a victory, with a win, 34-10
Green Bay has a potent offense that the Panthers won’t be able to stop. Period.
In order to take the Pack down in Lambeau, you really need to be explosive. The Panthers have not proved to be explosive enough.
Onto the Championships. For the Cowboys @ Seahawks, this will be a matchup of one of the great shockers during the beginning of the season. I do, however, believe that the Seahawks will not make the same mistake twice and that they have their eye on a second Super Bowl. Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the top of the line defense will produce results in what will result in a 27-17 victory for the Hawks in a visit to Super Bowl XLIX.
As for the Broncos @ Patriots, this is going to be a thrill of a championship. Peyton Manning has historically struggled against Tom Brady. The Patriots seem to be the obvious winners, but I would say not so fast. I feel Peyton Manning has a lot to play for in what will be the homestretch of his career. Whether or not he retires I am not sure, but I am going against the common ground and align with the prediction I made at the beginning of the season. The Broncos return to the Super Bowl with a 41-31 victory.
Bold Prediction! So for the Lions and Packers, this to me, is the ideal NFC match-up. Both Superbowl Hungry teams, both wanting to go to Arizona to compete for the coveted Lombardi Trophy! This game is going to be a very close game. Both teams will play hard, and leave everything on the table. The packers, however, are poised to go to the Superbowl, where Rodgers will look for ring number two. Packers win, 24-17.
Now for my favorite, Patriots vs Broncos. I want so badly to say that the Broncos will be going back, but with injuries, and Peyton not looking as good as last year (in my opinion), and with the Patriots looking fierce, Brady playing lights out, the Patriots will WIN the AFC, 38-34.
SUPERBOWL - Packers VS Patriots
A Packers VS Patriots Super Bowl seems like one that was heavily predicted at the beginning of the season. I went with the continuously hot and smoking Seahawks VS Broncos, which will make for one of those rare consecutive rematches.
The only difference will be that everything is the complete opposite. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl 43-8 and during the season, they beat the Broncos in overtime. This time around, it will be the Broncos with their decisive offense that will play for Peyton Manning and the Seahawks that will step up just as well, but will be run down by the lights out offense that Manning has to offer and a defense that, while not the best as we speak, will show up and make decisions as needed. My Super Bowl XLIX prediction: Broncos 37, Seahawks 36. I feel the Seahawks will have a rally, but the onside kick will go in the Broncos favor. A last minute rally for the Super Bowl victor sounds sweetest, but I see this one playing through my head. This was my Super Bowl prediction from the beginning of the season and the last time I went against it, that team won the Super Bowl. It may not sound evident as we speak, but Peyton Manning's teams are known to surprise.
For Patriots vs Packers....It will go into OVERTIME!!!! PACKERS WIN THE SUPERBOWL 34-31
Wow, that would be something, which is an image I could definitely see with the Packers winning their fifth Super Bowl. So as you can see, I am predicting the Broncos beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, while John is saying the Packers beat the Patriots. Either way, this is going to be an exciting postseason up and coming.
The 2014 season is far from over and these playoff matchups will ALL be a thrill to watch and if your favorite team is still, participating, then you definitely have to watch.
John, thank you for stopping by! It was a delight to have you on Caponomics!
Thank you for having me! Good luck to all the teams in the playoffs!
Indeed, you could not have said it better. While plenty of seasons have ended, the race for twelve of these teams has only started to really begin. May the best reign supreme. To all of those watching, enjoy the games!
Josh’s victors: Ravens, Panthers, Colts, and Cowboys
John’s victors: Ravens, Panthers, Colts, and Lions
Josh’s victors: Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks, and Cowboys
John’s victors: Broncos, Patriots, Lions, and Packers
Josh’s victors: Broncos, Seahawks
John’s victors: Patriots, Packers
Super Bowl Pick