I’m Back! With a Special Thursday Version of Friday Morning Quarterback! The loooonnngggg awaited season starts tonight!
The 2014 NFL season is shaping up to be an odd one. In my mind, there are only 2 elite teams atop each conference; the AFC has the Broncos and Patriots while the NFC has the Seahawks and 49ers. After that there seems to be plenty of “good” teams but no real “great” teams. My first instinct thought this was rather disappointing, but then I realized that we could have a crazy year with a lot of shuffling of teams.
FYI- this first post is very long every year, so if you want a cliff notes version, read everything but hold off on reading analysis on EVERY team. Just pick a few you’re interested in.
- My rookies to watch is Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers) and Brandin Cooks (Saints). Both are Wide Receivers, which goes against conventional wisdom. Typically WRs have a steeper learning curve than most other positions, and standout rookie years can be rare. But both are the right play for the right situation. Kelvin Benjamin is going to a team that lost 4 wide receivers in Steve Smith, Ted Ginn, Brandon LaFell, and Domenik Hixon. That’s almost unheard of, so Benjamin should see strong playing time. I also like Brandin Cooks with the Saints. He is a speedy guy who could fill the void of Darren Sproles leaving, and will likely see advantageous coverages. One of these guys will get Rookie of the Year.
- League MVP is Nick Foles, with Jamaal Charles getting 2nd in voting
- I see DeSean Jackson getting frustrated with QB Robert Griffin and causing some drama this season.
- The best rookie QB this year will be Blake Bortles, with the other two 1st round picks (Manziel and Bridgewater) struggling and having more INT’s than TD’s
- Johnny Manziel will come in during Week 6, and will be starting by Week 7. Not necessarily due to Hoyer playing poorly, but moreso with the season already out of reach for the Browns.
- The Cowboys will finish 8-8 again this year
- Teddy Bridgewater will lead the league in turnovers this year (even without starting all 16 games)
- Surprise teams to make playoffs: Detroit, Chicago, NY Jets
- Surprise teams to miss playoffs: Cincinnati, Green Bay, Carolina
- Two most Overrated teams: Carolina and San Diego
- Two most Underrated teams: NFC four way tie (Carolina, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta) and Baltimore
- Not a huge prediction here, but something to keep an eye out for. Peyton Manning will break Favre’s all time TD mark. He’s only 17 behind him now, and is 2 years younger than Favre was when he hit this mark. The only questions now is how fast will Manning get there, and how bad will he beat it at the end of his career.
- Best new coach: Jay Gruden. Believe it or not, I remember back in the day and watching him coach in the arena league when his brother was still with the Bucs. I love Jay’s fire, and think he could be the “Chip Kelly” of this year. I’m not high on the Redskins, but if there’s a team to completely go from 3-13 to 10-6, it’s this team because of this coach.