NFL predictions: How divisions will be won and who is going to the playoffs

 Alex Marvez

FOX Sports

SEP 01, 2014 1:00p ET

  

Chris Graythen/Getty Images,Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images,Ezra Shaw/Getty Images,Christian Petersen/Getty Images / Getty Images North America

From left, Drew Brees, Marshawn Lynch, Peyton Manning and Giovanni Bernard will likely have something to say about the Lombardi Trophy race.

 
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As kickoff of the NFL season approaches, FOXSports.com will preview how the year will play out, from the regular season standings to round-by-round postseason predictions. Today, we start with the division winners and playoff seeds in parentheses. When you’re done, feel free to let us know what you think about our picks.

First, the bad. I once picked the Lions to make the playoffs. Instead, they finished as the only 0-16 franchise in league history. That painful experience taught me not to get carried away with how a team performs in the preseason (Detroit was 4-0).

The good? I’ve learned. Don’t fall in love with every team you see first-hand during training camp. Success from the previous year doesn’t guarantee a repeat the following season in a league where roughly a half-dozen playoff teams change annually and there is usually a worst-to-first success story.

Now, onto the picks:  

AFC EAST

1. New England (1): Yaaawn. At this point, a 12th consecutive season with double-digit wins is taken for granted.

2. Miami: The Dolphins have enough talent to make a playoff run, but improvement by third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an overhauled offensive line is a must.

3. New York Jets: Rex Ryan is a good head coach, but this roster smacks of a fourth consecutive season without a winning record.

4. Buffalo: Second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel still looked like a rookie during the preseason and recently signed veteran Kyle Orton isn’t the answer under center.

AFC NORTH

 

1. Cincinnati (2): This is the division’s most complete team – and one poised to finally win in the postseason after three consecutive first-round losses.

2. Baltimore (6): Re-tooling the offense should push the Ravens back into the postseason for the sixth time in seven years.

3. Pittsburgh: The Steelers fell just short of the playoffs in 2013. Expect the same this season without significant defensive improvement, especially in the secondary.

4. Cleveland: Playoffs? Ha! Progress will be marked by whether the Browns can win more than five games for the first time since 2007.

AFC SOUTH

1. Indianapolis (4): Thanks to quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts will make the playoffs. How far Indianapolis advances depends on improvement in the ground game and run defense.

2. Tennessee: Quarterback Jake Locker has quietly enjoyed a quality preseason. This is a dark-horse playoff contender if he stays healthy and the Titans improve upon a shaky preseason defensive effort.

3. Jacksonville: The Jaguars are still a year away from being a bona fide playoff contender. But at least Jacksonville has found its franchise quarterback in rookie Blake Bortles.

 

4. Houston: A defense led by J.J. Watt and rookie Jadeveon Clowney should be downright nasty. It had better be based upon how shabby Houston is shaping up to be on offense.

AFC WEST

1. Denver (3): For 42 years, no team that suffered a Super Bowl loss has rebounded to win a championship the following season. The high-powered Broncos have a legitimate shot at ending the streak.

2. San Diego (5): A second-round playoff appearance last season wasn’t a fluke. The Chargers will push Denver for AFC West supremacy.

3. Kansas City: Offense usually isn’t a concern on an Andy Reid-coached squad. It is for the 2014 Chiefs because of a leaky offensive line and shaky wide receiver corps.

4. Oakland: Whether it’s Matt Schaub or Derek Carr at quarterback, the Raiders don’t have enough horsepower to compete for a playoff spot.

NFC EAST

 

1. Philadelphia (2): The success of head coach Chip Kelly and quarterback Nick Foles in 2013 wasn’t a fluke.

2. Washington: The Redskins are an under-the-radar playoff contender provided first-year Redskins head coach Jay Gruden can get quarterback Robert Griffin III back on track.

3. Dallas: The Cowboys could lead the league in scoring and points allowed. That forebodes yet another 8-8 kind of season.

4. New York Giants: Despite going 5-0, no club is hoping its preseason is an aberration more than the punch-less Giants.

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay (4): On paper, this is the deepest and most complete team the Packers have fielded since their Super Bowl-winning squad of 2010.

2. Chicago: There’s lot to like on offense, but the Bears have too many questions on defense and a brutal backup situation behind injury-prone quarterback Jay Cutler.

3. Detroit: The Lions will be a better team under first-year head coach Jim Caldwell, but not good enough for the postseason.

4. Minnesota: The Vikings could surprise with a healthy roster but it’s hard to get too excited until either Matt Cassel or Teddy Bridgewater proves a difference-maker at quarterback.

NFC SOUTH

1. New Orleans (1): With the way the Saints are looking, Mardi Gras might not be the only big party this February in New Orleans.

2. Carolina (6): The Panthers will be forced to lean even heavier on their defense until solutions are found for offseason losses at wide receiver and along the offensive line.

3. Atlanta: The same problems from last season with the pass rush and running game remain worrisome in 2014.

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4. Tampa Bay: If the offense gets its act together, the Buccaneers will make a playoff push in Lovie Smith’s first year as head coach.

NFC WEST

1. Seattle (3): The Seahawks are in much better position talent-wise to repeat as Super Bowl champions than the previous two winners (Baltimore and the New York Giants).

2. San Francisco (5): The nine-game Aldon Smith suspension is another blemish in what so far has proven a brutal offseason for the 49ers.

3. Arizona: The Cardinals must overcome three major defensive losses in their front seven to leapfrog the Seahawks and 49ers.

4. St. Louis: The Rams’ chances of breaking a decade-long streak without a playoff appearance plummeted earlier this month when quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury.

FOX Sports 1’s’ Peter Schrager also provides his picks for the 2014 regular season:

AFC EAST

1. New England (1)
2. New York Jets (6)
3. Miami
4. Buffalo

AFC SOUTH

1. Indianapolis (3)
2. Tennessee
3. Jacksonville
4. Houston

AFC NORTH

1. Cincinnati (2)
2. Baltimore (5)
3. Pittsburgh
4. Cleveland

AFC WEST

1. Denver (4)
2. San Diego
3. Kansas City
4. Oakland

NFC EAST

1. Philadelphia (3)
2. Dallas (6)
3. New York Giants
4. Washington

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay (1)
2. Chicago
3. Detroit
4. Minnesota

NFC SOUTH

1. New Orleans (4)
2. Atlanta
3. Tampa Bay
4. Carolina

NFC WEST

1. San Francisco (2)
2. Seattle (5)
3. Arizona
4. St. Louis

OK, so that’s a lot to digest, we know. What did you think of our picks and how your team will do? Fire away at us on Twitter.

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13 Responses to “NFL predictions: How divisions will be won and who is going to the playoffs”

  1. tawk2 says:

    I am tired of the NFL and all their BS! My hubby is excited for the season to start he is a niner’s fan. But, me I could care less. I miss seeing Tim play, he brought so much excitement and on the edge of your seat thrills. I keep hoping that he will find a home in the NFL, but the longer it takes the more I wonder if a team will go against the NFL and pick him. I am not giving up hope, I still believe in TEBOW!

    • jason says:

      Mabye you should just be a good wife and follow the head of the house. …..just saying. Maybe you don’t know a thing about the NFL or buy into brandi’s BS about the league.
      Timmy failed and is gone. Even timmy was told why he failed.

      Sage: ditto.

      • tawk2 says:

        Jason my husband does not want me to be a good little wife and follow what he says. We are equals, I don’t appreciate your mean comments towards me. I have a right to my opinion as do you, but to attack me well that is just not right! By the way we are not living in the 1950’s anymore, wow I can see why women are not respected today it’s because of people like you!

        I don’t know if what Brandi is saying is true or not, but until she is proven wrong I will not attack her either! Oh by the way I do know a lot about the NFL, but I am also smart enough to see when a player is being black listed! Oh and Tim did not fail he still holds records in the NFL and he did more than most first time quarterbacks on the field. It’s people like you with your negative attitude that make me sick.

        I thought this site was here to support Tim and each other, not have someone come in and attack others! Jason I have read a lot of your comments and pretty much never agreed with them, but I have not attacked you, I have always said although I may not agree with your views I know you have a right to them.

        Please Buzzy this needs to stop, I know you want comments, but some go to far. If this continues I will have to leave here. I come here to be positive about Tebow, I try to stay away from the negativity out there. This is the place I come to find out about what is going on with Tebow from his supporters, not to be attacked by hurtful words.

        I will keep believing in Tebow because that is what true fans do even when it looks the darkest, and Jason you can not stop me!

      • David Oliver says:

        Jason the Interloper – Read the Facts of TRUTH and weep..
        (GOOD VS EVIL)

        The Historical Circumstances – have NOT CHANGED, THEY STILL show the Overwhelming Evidence of the REALITY OF THE – NFL Elitist Owners /Newsmedia’s Campaign to Keep Tim Tebow from any real opportunity to become an NFL QB!

        That is why all concerned Christians – Should Boycott the NFL.
        ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !

        Because of this ANTI-CHRIST Purge of the: “TOO VISIBLE FOR CHRIST – CHRISTIAN, NFL QB Tim Tebow – Being effectively BLACKBALLED FROM NFL – NO NFL QB – Fair Try – WILL BE THUS be ALLOWED –
        NO! NOT! AN OPTION FOR TIM TEBOW !

        NFL $$ Controllers: TIM TEBOW IS JUST TOO CHRISTIAN FOR THEM –
        HE HAS EXCEEDED THEIR PERMISSIBLE “CHRISTIAN VISIBILITY” LIMITS!
        THUS – HE WILL BE Effectively BLACKBALLED FROM the NFL –

        NO Fair Try At NFL QB FOR HIM !

        (JUST AN OPTION FOR LIES, MISREPRESENTATIONS AND ABUSE AS DEMONSTRATED BY DARK SIDE – “COACH” REX RYAN…)

      • Brandi says:

        My “BS” about the NFL:

        That signing Tim Tebow would have to be an Owner’s decision because when GMs aren’t held accountable for the success of the Franchise, there’s really nothing in it for them to sign Tim? A guy whose popularity makes signing him as a Back-Up very difficult for most organizations unless the Owner steps in. That BS?

        Or that what the Fans want should matter? That someone who has shown he can Win in the NFL can’t simply be dismissed as not being capable of doing it again? And that his popularity should make any benefit of the doubt sway his way, but it actually goes against him?

        Maybe it was when I began saying 4 years ago that Option Offenses and Mobile QBs were going to be a direction the NFL is heading in and not simply some brief fad that would be debunked and die quickly? In essence, the NFL is headed right into Tim’s wheelhouse. Is that the it?

        You can disagree on how important Fans should be to the leagues that live off them, but I don’t think that makes it BS. I think a league that threatens to sue churches for holding Super Bowl Parties is just the sort of league that has lost touch with the Fans and would be the only one in Pro Sports History in this Country to run off its most popular player…particularly one whose record of Winning, carried out over a Career is or is close to Hall of Fame material…and needs to change. You disagree.

        • ck says:

          Brandi: The only BS I see is JA!!! You don’t have to explain to someone who obviously does not “GET IT” AND NEVER WILL IMPO!!! Great reply btw!

  2. BuzzyBuzzard says:

    OK G&G Be Nice say what you want about the NFL ,TT etc.. but no blasting other users.

    • ck says:

      Buzzy: Tawk2 did not deserve that and neither did Brandi and, hopefully, you will not let JA try and run them off this site…hmmmmmmmmmm:(
      Basically, he has an axe to grind and “IS NOT” a Tebow Fan at all impo!!! Try and follow the advice of others when they state: “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS” AND SOMETIMES THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE…JUST SAYING! Wish Tisa would come back and comment b/c she made a lot of sense too and could joust w/the best of them!!! And to that will add…GO TEBOW/BELIEVE!!!
      BESIDES, THE ONLY FAILURE I DETECT IS JA AND LAST TIME I CHECKED T2 DID NOT FIT THAT DESCRIPTION EVER AND WAS ANYTHING BUT THAT!!! TALK ABOUT SOUR…

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