Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NFL Playoff Predictions - 2015

The NFL playoffs start this weekend after an exciting week 17 that decided the AFC playoff picture and an NFC conference that has a below .500 team in it..


Wild Card

Steelers 28 - Ravens 17

Colts 24 - Bengals 16

The Steelers and Ravens are 1-1 in the series against each other this year, but with wins at home. The Steelers play at home and I don't buy the whole "Flacco is elite in the Playoffs"

They last time these two teams faced, the Colts dominated them at home 27-0. It won't be as substantial as a win, but the Colts are the better team.


Broncos 30 - Steelers 24

Patriots 33 - Colts 21

I actually think the Steelers have a chance for the upset, but hard to go against a Broncos team who's undefeated at home and who has Manning leading the way.

The Pats are simply the better team here. The Colts are outmatched and will have a hard time winning this game.


Patriots 30 - Broncos 27

Safe prediction having these two teams in the championship game and having the Pats winning, but it is definitely the most logical choice. Brady and Pats find themselves back in the Super Bowl.


Wild Card

Lions 31 - Cowboys 17

Panthers 17 - Cardinals 12

Can a home game actually hurt the Cowboys? It just might. The Cowboys have a ton of weapons on offense, but the Lions are fortunate to have Suh back in on D. Romo still has to prove himself in high pressure situations like this in order for me to pick a team who is .500 at home (even if the opponent is .500 on the road)

The Panthers and Cardinals is a tough one to predict. I see it being a low scoring game, with the Cardinals team keeping them in it, but the offense not able to do enough to win the game. The Panthers are 7-8-1, but they've been playing like a playoff team their last four games.


Seahawks 24 - Lions 14

Packers 31 - Panthers 20

The Seahawks are the hottest team in football right now and the Lions are .500 on the road. I think Stafford will have a hard time against the Seahawks team and their 12th man.

Packers are the better team, are undefeated at home, and have Aaron Rodgers. Simple as that. I'd be shocked if Rodgers doesn't play this game with his injury. If he doesn't, I'd pick the Panthers here.


Packers 28 - Seahawks 20

On paper, you'd pick the Seahawks (especially at home), but I think Rodgers will find a way to get it done.

Super Bowl

Packers 27 - Patriots 24

In a close battle, I'm picking the Packers. This will be one of those games where it comes down to the QB. Both are one of the best in the league, but giving Rodgers the slight edge.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NFL Power Rankings - Final

The NFL season has come to an end. Final power rankings below.

1. New England Patriots: 328
Notes: The best team in the NFL. While I wouldn't say "clear favorite", they are definitely the favorite in the AFC to make it to the Super Bowl.

2. Seattle Seahawks: 321
Notes: Just like the Pats are the favorite in the AFC, the Seahawks are the favorite in the NFC, especially with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

3. Green Bay Packers: 314
Notes: Aaron Rodgers told Packers to "relax" and he was right as the Packers end the season at 12-4 with a bye week in the Playoffs.

4. Denver Broncos: 301
Notes: Will Peyton Manning redeem get another chance at the Super Bowl this year? It will be tough. Tougher competition and you get the feeling that, while a very good team, this Broncos team isn't as dominate as last year.

5. Dallas Cowboys: 280
Notes: Many thought that going into this year that the Cowboys would have this record, but in reverse. The combination of Romo, Bryant, and Murray will be difficult to stop in the playoffs.

6. Indianapolis Colts: 216
Notes: They get a match-up against, in my opinion, the weakest opponent in the AFC. The last time these two teams met, the Colts blew them out 27-0.

7. Baltimore Ravens: 198
Notes: They are a lot better than a typical 6th seed (even if they just squeaked in). While I don't expect them to make the Super Bowl, I wouldn't be shocked if they found a way to win it all.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers: 191
Notes: Big Ben and team are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. While a very talented team, they've also been playing to their competition all year long resulting in surprising losses to the Saints, Buccs, and Jets and barely squeaking bye against the Titans, Jaguars, and Falcons. The Steelers are 1-1 in the series against the Ravens, but did beat them at home by 20 points.

9. Detroit Lions: 183
Notes: The Lions always had talent, but usually were their own worst enemies. This year, they finally got it figured out and are in the playoffs. The loss of Suh hurts them, however, against a great Cowboys offense.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: 178
Notes: The best non-playoff team (in terms of record and talent). While they ended with the same record as last year, this team would have likely won a couple more teams with a QB not named Mark Sanchez. They should be in great shape in 2015 as long as players stay healthy.

11. Arizona Cardinals: 160
Notes: The Cardinals are fortunate enough to have one of the best coaches in the league (Bruce Arians) and a match-up against a below .500 team. However, the Cardinals are having difficulty stopping the run which might make the Panthers not so easy of a match-up after all.

12. Cincinnati Bengals: 143
Notes: In my opinion, the weakest of the playoff teams outside of the Panthers. I think the Colts end up blowing them out.

13. Kansas City Chiefs: 139
Notes: While fans will be disappointed that the Chiefs couldn't get back to the playoffs for the 2nd straight year, 9-7 was better than most anticipated for this team.

14. Buffalo Bills: 130
Notes: The Bills were much improved this year, ending the season at 9-7. If they figure out the QB situation next year, they'll be a dangerous team.

15. Houston Texans: 111
Notes: Another team that should significant improvements after ending the last season at 2-14.

16. San Diego Chargers: 72
Notes: Hard not to be disappointed if you're a Chargers fan when this team looked like the best in the league the first half of the season. Now they're not even in the playoffs.

17. Miami Dolphins: 51
Notes: Another "average" season for the Dolphins. Since 2009, they've ended the season with a record of either 6-10, 7-9, or 8-8.

18. San Francisco 49ers: 10
Notes: Jim Harbaugh and team part ways after ending the season at 8-8. It will be tough to find a replacement nearly as good as him.

19. Minnesota Vikings: -17
Notes: Despite ending the season with a losing record, this Vikings team is much improved (especially with the distractions with Adrian Peterson). This could easily be a playoff team next year.

20. Carolina Panthers: -23
Notes: The Panthers get into the playoffs with a below .500 record after dominating the Falcons. Even thought they're the clear "worst" out of the 12 teams, they're no easy out.

21. New Orleans Saints: -25
Notes: Is this the end of Drew Brees? He'll be back next season, sure, but there's no way this team will be a contender if he continues to play like he did in 2014.

22. Cleveland Browns: -45
Notes: If I told you at the beginning of the season the Browns would be 7-9, you would view that as a success. However, after losing 5 in a row, it's hard not to be disappointed if you're a Browns fan.

23. New York Giants: -58
Notes: Coughlin is back after surviving Black Monday. This team has potential to be one of the best offensively in the league with Beckham (who might be a #1 or #2 receiver next year) and Cruz as receivers and Williams and Jennings as RBs. If things get better on D and the offense stays healthy they'll be in a playoff team in 2015.

24. St. Louis Rams: -63
Notes: The Rams continue to be one of those teams that are tough to read. 6-10 is disappointing, but in some games they looked like a 12-4 team (particularly against the Raiders and Redskins and arguably against the Broncos).

25. Atlanta Falcons: -77
Notes: Mike Smith is gone. Matt Ryan is clearly a QB that can lead this team to the playoffs (even after the poor showing against the Panthers), but the team needs to make improvements on D in order to have a shot at the playoffs.

26. Chicago Bears: -186
Notes: I thought this team was going to be a wildcard team this year. Emery and Trestman are, unsurprisingly, gone and the Bears need to make a decision about what they should do with Cutler.

27. New York Jets: -218
Notes: Ryan and Idzik are gone. Not surprised, although it will be tough to replace some as great as Rex Ryan. Having Geno Smith leading your team won't be doing you any good.

28, Washington Redskins: -247
Notes: Gruden gets another chance in 2015. With how things work in the NFC East (and in the NFL in general) this team could find a way to sneak back into the playoffs, but it will be very difficult with the great offenses of the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -303
Notes: The Buccaneers "earn" the #1 draft in 2015. However, I don't think they're the worst team in the league.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars: -312
Notes: This team plays like they're in the playoff race every week, but 3-13 is still 3-13.

31. Oakland Raiders: -325
Notes: I can't see the Raiders making much improvements next year unless they make some drastic changes. Tony Sparano will likely be gone after next year.

32. Tennessee Titans: -367
Notes: Very similar team to the Texans of 2013. They win their first game, are 2-4 after week 6, and then lose out the rest of the season (not identical, but similar). However, hard to imagine them having a winning record in 2015 like the Texans did in 2014.