The great thing about the start of every new NFL regular season is the simple fact that every team starts with a 0 in the win column. Previous years, perceived dynasties, or the number of Mannings on your team doesn’t count for anything in a new year. And with the increased parity in the NFL, one unexpected team can so easily come from nowhere and make the playoffs or even the Super Bowl.
Which is why trying to predict win totals can be so fun. Which teams will outperform their expectations? If one team in a division improves, how dramatically will that affect their divisional rivals? We’ve already made our picks for each team clear in our preseason previews of teams like the Cowboys and Redskins, but now it’s time to get the big board out and crunch the final predictions.
Read on for our final standings and record picks for every team in the NFL, and check out our picks for 10 breakout stars and five best quarterbacks this season.[sc:Football ]
2014 NFL Regular Season and Playoff Predictions
|1 Seattle Seahawks – 13-3||1 Denver Broncos– 14-2|
|2 New Orleans Saints – 12-4||2 Indianapolis Colts – 13-3|
|3 Green Bay Packers – 12-4||3 New England Patriots – 12-4|
|4 Philadelphia Eagles – 10-6||4 Baltimore Ravens – 10-6|
|5 San Francisco 49ers – 11-5||5 Pittsburgh Steelers – 9-7|
|6 Chicago Bears – 11-5||6 New York Jets – 9-7|
|7 Atlanta Falcons – 10-6||7 Cincinnati Bengals – 9-7|
|8 Arizona Cardinals – 9-7||8 Houston Texans – 8-8|
|9 Detroit Lions – 8-8||9 San Diego Chargers – 8-8|
|10 Carolina Panthers – 7-9||10 Miami Dolphins – 7-9|
|11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 6-10||11 Cleveland Browns – 6-10|
|12 St. Louis Rams – 6-10||12 Kansas City Chiefs – 6-10|
|13 New York Giants – 5-11||13 Tennessee Titans – 4-12|
|14 Washington Redskins – 5-11||14 Jacksonville Jaguars– 4-12|
|15 Dallas Cowboys – 4-14||15 Buffalo Bills – 3-13|
|16 Minnesota Vikings – 3-13||16 Oakland Raiders – 3-13|
[sc:NFL240Banner ]In the NFC, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will be the team to beat once again. With the core of their title-winning team intact, plus a healthy year out of wideout Percy Harvin, the Seahawks claim the best record in the conference. But they will be pushed all the way by the Saints and Packers, who have two of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Eagles and 49ers return to the playoffs, while the Bears beat out the resurgent Falcons grab the final Wild Card slot.
In the bottom half of the conference, the Lions can’t quite get it together in their first season under head coach Jim Caldwell, while the NFC South champion Panthers take a significant step down and go under 7.5 wins this season. And at the very bottom, three out of the four spots will be occupied by the NFC East, including the Dallas Cowboys, whose defense doesn’t figure to be very good this year.
Over in the AFC, the combination of Peyton Manning and a reinforced defense will bring the Broncos the best record in the NFL. Manning’s current team will have his old team, the Indianapolis Colts, hot on his heels as Andrew Luck and his band of receivers take advantage of a favorable schedule. Luck and the Colts overtake Tom Brady and the Patriots, but New England is still a cut above the remaining playoff teams.
The Ravens, Steelers and Jets all make it in at the expense of the Bengals, Chargers and Chiefs, who regress this year after reaching the playoffs in 2013. Meanwhile, the Titans, Jaguars, Bills and Raiders all battle it out for the worst record in the conference, and possibly the league.
Oh, and the Browns? Not this year. We can talk about Johnny Manziel till we’re blue in the face, but until the young man starts throwing more touchdowns than middle fingers, Cleveland will be left waiting for the basketball season to start.
Wild Card Round
|(3) Patriots def. (6) Jets||(3) Packers def. (6) Bears|
|(5) Steelers def. (4) Ravens||(5) 49ers def. (4) Eagles|
|(2) Colts def. (3) Patriots||(2) Saints def. (3) Packers|
|(1) Broncos def. (5) Steelers||(1) Seahawks def. (5) 49ers|
|(1) Broncos def. (2) Colts||(2) Saints def. (1) Seahawks|
Broncos def. Saints
Three out of the four games in the Wild Card Round will feature teams from the same division facing off, with both No. 3 and No. 5 seeds advancing. However, both No. 1 and No. 2 seeds handle business at home to proceed to the Conference Championship Round.
Manning and the Broncos edge his protege Luck and the Colts, while the defending champion Seahawks fall at home to the Saints. And in the Super Bowl, Manning makes up for his 2010 Super Bowl defeat against Brees and the Saints by leading the Super Bowl favorite Broncos (+600) all the way to the title this time around.
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