It turns out one game has been played already and Peyton Manning is loved/hated based on whose fantasy team he was on.
So, I guess since fantasy football kicked off I might as well throw out a few predictions for the 2013-14 NFL season.
Here goes. These are how I think each division will finish.
Turns out Tom Brady will still be really good in an otherwise horrible division. Miami may take a step towards contending with the Pats because of a progression with Ryan Tannehill, but I don’t think it’s enough to overtake them. I don’t see E.J. Manuel pulling a Wilson/Luck/RGIII this year so that sinks the Bills and the Jets, well, they are the Jets.
Yes, I watched “Hard Knocks”. I think I have the Bengals winning the division because I just don’t like the Ravens. I don’t like Joe Flacco or Torrey Smith and everytime I’m able to get Ray Rice in fantasy I pass because I don’t like him either. Cleveland will be much improved with a healthy season from Trent Richardson and Pittsburgh is probably going to be terrible.
Turns out everyone and their mom watched Peyton Manning on Thursday. I feel like we should have seen this coming with not one, not two, but three pretty good receivers he would probably be crazy. And their defense should be top of the line when Von Miller comes back (if they can hold onto pick 6’s before the goal line). I know it’s only one game, but they are going to be really good as long as Manning is healthy. And then the rest of the division, also known as 6 free wins for the Broncos. The Chiefs should do just enough to edge San Diego and Oakland for second in the division. Does this mean a .500 season? No. This might be the worst division in football.
Now comes just a weird division, the top three teams I listed could win the division but we’ll go with the Texans, who did really good in the playoffs last year. If Luck progresses he could be in Manning territory sooner than later but I still think the running game will hold them back. I’m talking to you injured Ahmad Bradshaw. I expect Chris Johnson to go for 1,300-1,500 yards rushing, which should help Jake Locker out but it’s the opposite of the Colts as the passing game will hold the Titans back. Then there is Jacksonville, well, at least MJD is healthy for now.
AFC Playoff picks
AFC title game
Denver over New England
I’m a Dez Bryant fan. Turns out when you focus on football and you are a beast, you do really good things. If he turns in a season like the did down the stretch last year, the Cowboys are going to be tough to stop. I still think Romo is underrated because he is horrific in the playoffs but I think this is the year they make a run. With that being said, I’m getting on the Eagles bandwagon early with the provision that I drive as long as Michael Vick is healthy. Is that a week … five weeks? Who knows but he’s fun to watch. I have the Giants and Redskins basically in a tie because this will most likely be a 10-6 or 9-7 division winner because I think the teams are so evenly matched. It will be interesting to see how David Wilson is as an everydown back and if Hakeem Nicks doesn’t get injured in a contract year. And then there is RGIII, he’s sort of a wild card here as he was nuts last season, tore up his knee and is now back for Week 1. I expect him to be very good again, as far as Alfred Morris, I expect him to slow down to the 1,200 yard range. Why? I think Roy Helu might play a lot also. This is the most even division in football.
Well, maybe this is the most even division in football. Although, I feel like any of the NFC East teams could make a deep playoff run. I really don’t like the Packers, but they win the best QB in the division by a lot so they win the prize. Detroit should take a step with Matthew Stafford and Reggie Bush leading the way. Oh, turns out Megatron will also be awesome. As far as the Vikings, they are a big wildcard. They could be terrible (because of Christian Ponder) or be awesome (because of Christian Ponder). If Ponder can bring any hint of a decent passing game, the Vikings could challenge for the division, but if he is mediocre, they have no shot unless AP really gets the 2,500 yards rushing he wants. Then there are the Bears, they might actually be decent but as a Vikings fan I hate most teams in the division and I really hate the Bears. Although, if Matt Forte stays healthy he could be nuts. Or, I saw him in preseason against the Raiders and thought he was really good but he was playing the Raiders.
Two heavyweights in the same division? You’re damn right. This should actually be a fun division to watch this year. I give the nod to San Francisco because of what they did last year. I think they will be right back in the same boat and it could come down to these top two teams in the NFC title game. Both teams should be getting back their WR1 in the season in Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin so it should be fun down the stretch. St. Louis might surpise as I think Sam Bradford has to break out with all the weapons around him and Arizona should be watchable as until he throws the game away with a pick 6, Carson Palmer will be better than anything they had slinging it last year.
Atlanta and New Orleans are another 1-2 punch in a division that is big time. The Falcons have Steven Jackson now, who is a bulldozer and a little bit faster than the Burner, Michael Turner. Julio Jones should be a monster this season and then you have the Saints who get their head coach back after a year suspension. Maybe he will get the ball to Mark Ingram, who I expect will break out and play like an actual first-rounder. Should the running game get going, the Saints could be a tough stop. Cam Newton made strides when his team (and fantasy teams) was out of the playoff hunt but if he could build on that, the Panthers could be on the cusp of the playoffs as well. And then there is Tampa Bay, is it good when the coach doesn’t really like his quarterback? They draft a QB and then tell Josh Freeman he isn’t a captain anymore. Sounds like the makings of Doug Martin regressing a bit and the Bucs being terrible.
NFC title game
San Francisco over Seattle
Denver over San Francisco