Forecasting the NFL is tough, but it’s even tougher this year because of the differences between the two leagues.
In the AFC, you’ve got aging Peyton Manning and Tom Brady while in the NFC Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles still having plenty of seasons in front of them.
Six of last year’s top 10 total offenses were from the NFC — including two in the top three.
With more attention being cast on secondaries for pass interference or holding, intricate and efficient pass offenses will make defenses cry uncle. And as long as Rodgers stays healthy, the Packers remain nearly unbeatable. Even with new center Corey Linsley set to start in place of injured JC Tretter, Rodgers will still outwit and outgun.
Do I go with Manning again after he was exposed in Super Bowl XLVIII? Or do I go with an upstart like Andrew Luck who is in this third year in Indy? Which is the same year that Rodgers won a championship following the 2010 season. And Luck also has Reggie Wayne back and Hakeem Nicks to throw to.
This is the year that Houston regrets not going out and signing a more reliable quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick and it’s also the year that Pittsburgh brings some wins back to Steel City.
The Chiefs should challenge the Broncos for the AFC West crown, but Alex Smith will somehow find a way to screw it up. The Bengals have had a mountain of expectations for two years, but Cincinnati fans will remain disgusted following a playoff game.
I really expect the 49ers to take a step backwards mainly because of the off-season drama and the unreliability of Colin Kaepernick as a pocket passer.
Steven Jackson was a huge risk for the Falcons and it won’t get any better this year with a potentially nagging hamstring injury that will impact the passing game.
Drew Brees continues to turn back the hands of Father Time and with one of the softer passing defense schedules, he should have a monster year. He’s got the best tight end in Jimmy Graham and the speedy Brandin Cooks will get plenty of chances to show off on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome carpet.
The Bears have the best offensive weapons in the NFC with Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. Yet, Jay Cutler will implode when it matters most.
So here are my 2014 NFL picks:
- New England
- NY Jets
- Kansas City
- San Diego
Wild card playoffs: Indianapolis over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh over Buffalo.
Divisional playoffs: Denver over Pittsburgh, Indianapolis over New England.
AFC Championship: Indianapolis over Denver.
- NY Giants*
- Green Bay
- New Orleans
- Tampa Bay
- San Francisco
- St. Louis
Wild card playoffs: Seattle over Philadelphia, Arizona over NY Giants.
NFC divisional playoffs: Green Bay over Seattle, New Orleans over Arizona.
NFC Championship: New Orleans over Green Bay.
Super Bowl XLIX: New Orleans over Indianapolis.
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn