The Goldmine: NFL Preview 2014-2015 Edition

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The Goldmine: NFL Preview 2014-2015 Edition

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a sub-par season in 2013-2014. (Keith Allison/KeithAllisonPhoto.com)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a sub-par season in 2013-2014. (Keith Allison/KeithAllisonPhoto.com)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a sub-par season in 2013-2014. (Keith Allison/KeithAllisonPhoto.com)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a sub-par season in 2013-2014. (Keith Allison/KeithAllisonPhoto.com)


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 By Samuel Goldman

Division Previews

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

– The young Bills team possesses the talent required to take the next step.

– Fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins has the potential to wreck havoc on opposing defenses.

– A devastating Kiko Alonso injury could jeopardize the team’s ambitions.

 

 New England Patriots

– Superstars achieve longevity. Kobe Bryant uses skills to remain relevant. Tom Brady makes New England a playoff contender.

– New England is quietly stashing away talent and preparing for their future. The Patriots will be the Bills biggest divisional threat if Aaron Dobson can achieve a breakout season.

 

New York Jets

– Last place in the AFC East is a toss up between New York And Miami.

– Getting rid of Mark Sanchez is a positive move. The Jets have potential star quarterback Gino Smith.

– Rebuilding the former playoff team will be tedious.

 

Miami Dolphins

– Miami was the face of college football in the 90s.

– The Heat currently dominate the headlines.

– Player development is critical. Dolphin fans need to be patient.

 

The AFC East will feature an ugly and intriguing division race.

 

AFC North

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

– Defense wins championships. The Steelers are pioneers of the philosophy.

– Drafting requires strategy and patience. Mike Tomlin strategically reloaded the talent-deprived team.

– Ben Roethlisberger is the best quarterback in the division.

– Pittsburgh is positioned to win the division.

 

Baltimore Ravens

– The former Superbowl champions struggled quietly last season. Consistent off-field problems have increased the spotlight.

– Quarterback Joe Flacco is capable of carrying his team.

– If John Harbaugh can piece together the Ravens, Baltimore will remain Pittsburgh’s biggest threat.

– CJ Mosley has the potential to emerge as a consistent star player.

 

Cleveland Browns

– Cleveland sports fans finally have a reason to be optimistic. The Browns bright future is intriguing.

– A focused Jonny Manziel could potentially dominate the league.

– Cleveland is a year away from being a playoff contender.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

– The defending division champions have multiple offensive weapons.

– Their emerging quarterback showed signs of potential. A system created these two positive occurrences.

– The departure of key coordinators dismantled this philosophy.

– Andy Dalton will lead his team to irrelevancy.

 

The AFC North is a year away from becoming Johnny Manziel’s playground.

 

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

– Kansas City fell apart after a promising start.

– Andy Reid demonstrated his ability to build and coach talented teams.

– Multiple free agent departures hurt the team’s depth.

– Rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas has the potential to be a superstar.

 

Denver Broncos

– Peyton Manning is extremely old. The front office continues to surround him with young talent. – Denver has high expectations. The Broncos will benefit from playing in a weak division.

– A Peyton Manning injury during the season will end the team’s playoff hopes.

 

Oakland Raiders

– Defense wins championships.

– Khalil Mack is a Rookie of the Year favorite.

– The Raiders produced their best draft in years.

– Oakland is the dark horse in the division race.

 

San Diego Chargers

– Phillip Rivers must prove he isn’t a system quarterback.

– The Chargers will continue to give divisional opponents problems.

– Manti Te’o could have a breakout season.

– San Diego continues to tread water.

 

Future HOF Payton Manning will dictate the division race.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

– Andrew Luck has lived up to the hype. The emerging star quarterback is ready to embark on a deep playoff run.

– Indianapolis continues to surround him with weapons.

– The Colts will win thirteen games this season.

 

The Houston Texans

– Special players change their team’s misfortunes.

– Houston has demonstrated its ability to contend. The team will benefit from a fresh start.

– Jadeveon Clowney will determine the Texans playoff fate.

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars

– The Jaguars successfully reshaped their roster and team image. The former laughingstock of the NFL has the potential to become a top five team.

– Patiently developing rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will create longevity.

– Chris Smith could anchor the teams new defensive philosophy.

 

Tennessee Titans

– Tennessee is still shocked the Vince Young experiment didn’t work out.

– Bishop Sankey creates matchup problems.

– Second year wide receiver Justin Hunter has received Randy Moss comparisons.

– The Titans are a quarterback away from being potential playoff contenders.

 

The AFC South features multiple potential superstars. In a few years, it will become the most exciting division in football.

 NFC North

Green Bay Packers  

– The Packers remained alive after encountering multiple injuries.

– The franchise is often compared to the San Antonio Spurs. Their ability to steal Ha-HA Clinton-Dix justifies the comparisons.

– Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the division.

– The Packers will embark on a deep title run if they can remain healthy.

 

Minnesota Vikings

– The Vikings finally got a new stadium approved.

– Their playing style will thrive in their temporary outdoor home at TCF Bank Stadium.

– Minnesota has been a quarterback away for years.

-Patrick Patterson is the best offensive threat the Vikings have had since Randy Moss.

– The young dynamic team is one year away from becoming a perennial playoff contender.

 

Detroit Lions

– Mathew Stafford has struggled.

– A dynamic run game gives Detroit an edge.

– Megatron is the most dynamic wide receiver in football.

– The Lions have the highest upside in the the division.

 

Chicago Bears

– Jay Cutler is inconsistent.

– Offensive weapons are featured in the lineup.

– On paper, Chicago is the second best team in the division.

 

The healthiest team will win the NFC North and the division will dictate the playoff race.

 

NFC South

New Orleans Saints  

– Quarterback Drew Brees will benefit from the addition of rookie receiver Brandin Cooks.

– Rob Ryan’s innovative defense continues to utilize the Superdome strategically.

– Sean Payton is the best coach in the division.

 

Carolina Panthers

– Cam Newton is finally a star quarterback.

– Proving last year’s season wasn’t a fluke is Carolina’s biggest obstacle.

– Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin will elevate the Panthers offense. The curse of the south will continue to plague the division.

 

Atlanta Falcons

– Atlanta is a playoff contender.

– Julio Jones will have a breakout season.

– The team features the offensive pieces required for a deep playoff run.

– If Matt Ryan produces an MVP-caliber season his team will be a Superbowl sleeper favorite

–  Escaping the division will be a daunting task.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

– Quarterback problems continue to haunt Tampa.

– Mike Evans is dynamic.

– Are all the new offensive pieces capable to function as one unit?

– New head coach Lovie Smith will transform the Buccaneers into a winner.

– Quarterback Mike Glennon has a bright future.

– Tampa Bay is a year away from becoming a playoff contender.

 

NFC East

New York Giants

– Quarterback Eli Manning is the most underrated quarterback in football.

– The Giants were able to execute another strong solid draft.

– DeSean Jackson would have helped replace Hakeem Nicks.

– Receiver Odell Beckham is a matchup nightmare

–  New York is prepared to fight Philadelphia for the division title.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

– Head coach Chip Kelly proved critics wrong last year.

– The target on the team’s back will increase the pressure.

– Strategic draft maneuvers gave them the opportunity to bolster their defense.

– Rushing quarterbacks are more vulnerable. Philly will reach their lofty goals if they can remain healthy.

 

Washington Redskins

– RG3 has displayed moments of brilliance. Washington is surrounding him with talent.

– The NFC dark horse is capable of a deep playoff run.

– DeSean Jackson was a smart accusation.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Owner Jerry Jones believes the title window is till open. An excellent draft gives me a a little hope.

– Brandon Weeden is a terrible player.

– Dez Bryant is in his contract year meaning he could get even crazier on the sideline.

– I have been a Cowboys fan since I was born. This is the year the sports world finds out how much worse Romo can get. Two wins or bust.

 

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks  

– Seattle possesses the prolific young talent required for a deep playoff run.

– Head coach Pete Carol continues to demonstrate his leadership and coaching ability.

– Quarterback Russel Wilson is only 25.

– The defending Superbowl champions addressed key needs in the draft.

 

San Francisco 49ers

– Quarterback Collin Kaepernick is officially the face of the franchise.

– His ability to create offense is pivotal.

– San Francisco out drafted their divisional opponents this year.

– The two games against Seattle will dictate the division race.

 

Arizona Cardinals

– Last year’s success foreshadowed the team’s bright future.

– Safety Tryonn Matheiu successfully transferred his talent to the NFL stage.

– The NFC West is extremely difficult to navigate.

– Arizona is headed in the right direction.

 

 St. Louis Rams

– Quarterback Sam Bradford remains inconsistent.

– St Louis boasts offensive weapons.

– They are the NFC West’s Dallas Cowboys and need to address their quarterback problems.

– Los Angeles will aquire the Rams.

 

Most anticipated games

1. Regular Season Week 1: Can Manning defend Denver by outplaying Luck?

2. Regular Season Week 9. Clowney faces the explosive Eagles offense.

3. Regular Season Week 10 . New Orleans hosts the Niners/Saints shootout .

4.   Regular Season Week 15. Pittsburgh and Atlanta battle in a pivotal week 15 showdown.

Award-winners

AP Most Valuable Player:Russel Wilson.

AP Coach Of The Year: Mike Pettine.

AP Offensive Player Of The Year: Cordarrelle Patterson

AP Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Josh Huff

AP Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Jadeveon Clowney

AP Comeback Player OF The Year: Brian Urlacher