NFL 2014 Midseason Review

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

I’ve spent the last few years becoming somewhat bored by the NFL. I got tired of the same stars shining, the same teams winning, the same teams blowing expectations at the last second (Hi Romo.) and the one or two teams that would “shake up the league” then turn back into pumpkins the following season.

This season changed that. Seemingly, nothing that I thought I knew about the NFL was true. We started out seeing our league portrayed as the National Felons League. Both my Superbowl teams started 1-3. And the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in football. THE DALLAS COWBOYS?!?!

Now that the season is halfway over and the dust is starting to settle, we at Freshtake have decided (amongst myself) to give me a second chance at my playoff picks. I’ll be taking you all the way to the Super Bowl along with picks for the yearly awards.

AFC East: My original prediction was the obvious Patriots win and the New York Jets fighting for a wildcard. I’m half right. (Yes, we do partial credit here.) The Patriots will win the AFC East, again, despite the quietly great good seasons being had by Miami and Buffalo. The Patriots will come back from their bye week into a tough stretch of games @IND, home for DET, @GB, @SD, finishing with a jog through their AFC East rivals.

AFC North: My original prediction was it coming down to the Bengals and Ravens. Likely it still will but Pittsburgh and Cleveland will definitely make it interesting. The Bengals are currently, technically, in the lead while the Steelers have the most wins. The story of the division has been the return of Big Ben and the high level of play of Le’Veon Bell. As for Cleveland, their best might be yet to come as Josh Gordon is on the way back from suspension. There are also rumors that Johnny Manziel may finally get some playing time. In August, that would’ve been a great idea but it’s November and if you try to fix something that’s not broken you’ll more than likely break it.

AFC South: My original pick was the Indianapolis Colts taking the division and the Houston If-They-Stay-Healthies fighting for a wildcard spot. Houston’s first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney has been injured and they’re currently sitting at 4-5 looking at a quarterback change. The Colts are still winning the division and Houston will miss their wildcard chance.

AFC West: My original prediction was the Broncos winning and the Chargers getting second place and a wildcard spot. More half credit for me! Clearly this division is Peyton Manning’s to win. The Chargers will get second place but will not get the wildcard spot. They’re too small in big moments to pull it out. (Pause.) The Chiefs, however, quietly have a chance. (On a related note; Oakland’s getting the first overall pick. That should be fun, right?)

NFC East: It took seven weeks but the NFL has finally realized that the best way to beat the Cowboys is to make the old guy with the bad back carry the team. This division is hard to call for all the wrong reasons. We have a second string quarterback, a first string quarterback playing like a second stringer, a physically broken quarterback and a quarterback with legs of glass. Up until Sunday I was hands down sticking to my Eagles’ prediction. I’m not. I can’t make myself pick a Mark Sanchez lead team to win anyone’s playoffs. The Cowboys will win the division and the Eagles’ will fall into the sixth seed just in time for Nick Foles to come back.

NFC North: I think this is Detroit’s year. By that, I mean to make the playoffs. I’m sticking with Green Bay to win the division. This division will come down to DET @ GB in Week 17. The Packers will win the game and Detroit will win the fifth seed.

NFC South: Okay, these teams know that one of them HAS to go to the playoffs whether they want to or not right? I mean the current division leader, the New Orleans Saints, have the 18th best record in the league. That’s not even in the top half. That being said, I’ll keep my Saints prediction. They’ll win the fourth seed by default and be bounced out in the first round at home by Detroit.

NFC West: Todd Bowles for President!!!!! The Arizona Cardinals defense is going to win them this division. Seattle will finish second and get the sixth seed in the playoffs. John Harbaugh will be fired in San Francisco and move his family to Oakland and begin the Derek Carr project. And, of course, St. Louis will try again next year.

AFC Standings:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Miami Dolphins

NFC Standings:

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Detroit Lions
  6. Philadelphia Eagles

Wildcard Weekend:

MIA @ IND: Colts win this easily.

PIT @ CIN: Any division rivalry that get a Game 3 will be a good game. The Bengals haven’t given me any reason to believe in them during the month of January; so I don’t. Steelers get the win.

PHI @ DAL: Nick Foles returns from his collarbone injury and the Cowboys do what they always do in times like these.

DET @ NO: Not even the magic of the Superdome can save the dignity of the NFC South this year.

Divisional Round:

PIT @ DEN: No storyline here the Broncos are just a better team.

IND @ NE: Ladies and gentlemen our first playoff upset. Andrew Luck beats Brady at home. #DeadDynasty

PHI @ GB: Again no real storyline; the better team wins.

DET @ ARI: This is a toss up and will be a fun game to watch. A divisional game as a conference championship sounds cool, right? Detroit wins.

Conference Championships:

IND @ DEN: The future gets a win on the past. Luck over Manning.

DET @ GB: Rodgers wins a good fight in Lambeau.

Super Bowl: The Green Bay Packers beat the Indianapolis Colts in a much more entertaining match-up than last year’s game.

MVP: original pick: Andrew Luck, new pick: Andrew Luck
oROY: original pick Derek Carr, new pick: Brandin Cooks
dROY: original pick Jadeveon Clowney, new pick: Anthony Barr
oPOY: original pick: Calvin Johnson, new pick: DeMarco Murray
dPOY: original pick: Demarcus Ware, new pick: JJ Watt
Coach Of The Year: original pick: Lovie Smith, new pick: Jim Caldwell
Comeback Player of the Year: Kyle Orton (Google him. You’re already on the Internet.)

Bold Prediction: The Cleveland Browns will almost make the playoffs. Thanks to the jolt of energy they’ll get by the return of Josh Gordon they’ll be “in the hunt” until the last possible second.

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