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Who Will Win the 2014 Super Bowl?

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Robert Gardner
Robert Gardner
Editor

In only NINE days the NFL Regular Season will be under way and I can hardly contain myself.

Many of you are already asking, Who Will Win the 2014 Super Bowl?, let me be one to break it down for you.

AFC
Broncos - AFC West Champions #1 Overall Seed
Texans - AFC South Champions #2 Seed
Patriots - AFC East Champions #3 Seed
Bengals - AFC North Champions #4 Seed
Chiefs - Wild Card #5 Seed
Dolphins - Wild Card #6 Seed

First Round
Patriots beat Dolphins
Bengals beat Chiefs

Second Round
Broncos beat Bengals
Patriots beat Texans

AFC Championship
Broncos beat Patriots

NFC
49ers - NFC West Champions #1 Overall Seed
Packers - NFC North Champions #2 Seed
Falcons - NFC South Champions #3 Seed
Redskins - NFC East Champions #4 Seed
Seahawks - Wild Card #5 Seed
Saints - Wild Card #6 Seed

First Round
Saints beat Falcons
Seahawks beat Redskins

Second Round
49ers beat Saints
Packers beat Seahawks

NFC Championship
49ers beat Packers

2014 Super Bowl
49ers Beat Broncos

What do you think?

Dan Griffin
Dan Griffin
Senior Analyst

@Robert Gardner, my pick would be the Broncos. I think the offense will be more than capable of putting up enough points to keep them in every game this season while Von Miller is suspended. As long as the Broncos at least split those games 3-3 it shouldn't affect their playoff chances. In fact it could actually end up benefiting them because Miller will be fresher for the season.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

The 9ers winning almost seems too easy...but I could see it happening.

My take:

AFC:
1.) Denver
2.) New England
3.) Baltimore
4.) Houston
5.) Pittsburgh
6.) Cleveland

NFC:
1.) Green Bay
2.) San Francisco
3.) New Orleans
4.) Philadelphia
5.) Atlanta
6.) Tampa Bay

Wild Card
Baltimore over Cleveland
Pittsburgh over Houston
Atlanta over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Tampa Bay

Divisional
San Francisco over New Orleans
Green Bay over Atlanta
Baltimore over New England
Denver over Pittsburgh

Championship
Denver over Baltimore
Green Bay over San Francisco

SB: Green Bay over Denver

I don't like the Broncos, 9ers or Seahawks to win the super bowl or be in it for that matter

Cody

This is really good. I like the colts to get in though. Andrew Luck proved last year that he is going to be a legit quarterback in this league, and now after a playoff season he should be able to build on that and play even better.

Basilene Henson

@Michael Clark & @Robert Gardner, I see both of you all are "Hating" on my Cowboys by leaving them off of your lists :)

David Baird
David Baird
Senior Analyst

AFC:
1. Broncos
2. Texans
3. Patriots
4. Bengals
5. Colts
6. Ravens (a very tough call; Chiefs have a strong bid as well but I'm going to believe in Harbaugh and Caldwell's collective acumen)

NFC:
1. Seahawks
2. Falcons
3. Packers
4. Redskins
5. 49ers
6. Saints

Playoffs:
Ravens > Patriots (if it's the Chiefs, New England wins)
Colts >Bengals
Packers > Saints
49ers > Redskins

Broncos > Ravens
Texans > Colts
Seahawks > 49ers (this is basically the real NFC Championship, and if SF wins the West and Seattle is a WC than the 49ers could well win it. Comes down to Seattle's imposing home-field advantage.)
Falcons > Packers

Broncos > Texans (final 2 unchanged no matter who is seed #6)
Seahawks > Falcons

Super Bowl: Broncos > Seahawks.

I reserve the right to change this at any time for any reason.

Rohit Mansukhani
Rohit Mansukhani
Senior Columnist

Going to make a bold prediction here, and call Eli Manning getting his third ring. Each season he has won, the Giants have been nowhere near the favorites. I look for him and the G-men to have a bounce back season!

Justin Olexa
Justin Olexa
Senior Analyst

It seems that the consensus this far is that the Broncos will take down the AFC. I agree with that pick, but I think this is finally the year that the Falcons break through and make it to the Super Bowl. Adding Jackson is going to be huge for their offense. Turner was on his way out last lear which left them with know running game. Jackson is also a much bigger threat as a receiver. However, I still think that the Broncos will win the Super Bowl this year

Aditya Trivedi
Aditya Trivedi
Senior Analyst

As much as I love the Seahawks......I still thing they don't have the best receiving core to make this move yet.

I really like The Broncos over the Packers in what will be just an offensive juggernaut of a superbowl. I wouldn't be surprised if both QBs threw for 300 yards each during this superbowl.

paul godfrey

NFC
1. Atlanta
2. Seattle
3. Chicago
4. Washington
5. San Francisco
6. New Orleans

WC: New Orleans over Chicago; San Francisco over Washington
Div: Atlanta over New Orleans; Seattle over San Francisco
NFC Championship: Atlanta over Seattle

Summary: Much more difficult than the AFC in regard to leaving teams out of playoffs. Could make a case for Carolina and Tampa Bay being better in NFC South and getting a Wild Card berth. NFC West a toss-up between Seahawks and 49ers with Rams being good enough to win any other division in NFL except NFC South. I'm down on Packers, don't think Vikings can duplicate last year's run and have no idea about Detroit in NFC North. In NFC East, you could just throw a dart at all four teams to pick the winner.

AFC
1. Houston
2. Denver
3. New England
4. Baltimore
5. Cincinnati
6. Kansas City

WC: New England over Kansas City; Baltimore over Cincinnati
Div: Houston over Baltimore; Denver over New England
AFC Championship: Denver over Houston

Summary: Houston takes advantage of four more games vs. Titans and Jags and an overachieving Colts team from a year ago to claim best record. Denver takes a few lumps early (only 1 game vs. AFC West before their bye after week 8). Patriots still win AFC East by default. Ravens have just enough to win AFC North with a 10-6 record over Bengals (9-7), Steelers (8-8), Browns (7-9). Chiefs slide in at 9-7 as well to claim last Wild Card, but I would put any NFC team except maybe Eagles, Cardinals and Bucs in if they were in the AFC. Can you really make a case for the Bills, Jets, Browns, Titans, Jaguars, Chargers or Raiders making the playoffs. Playoffs!!!?.

Super Bowl: Atlanta over Denver

Like a year ago, Broncos get better as year progresses and knock off Texans on the road to reach Super Bowl but all the pieces are in place for the Falcons to win it all and send Tony Gonzalez off into the sunset with a ring.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

I don't like the Broncos, 9ers or Seahawks to win the super bowl or be in it for that matter. Based on history and how often the favorites heading in to the season are the ones playing in the final game of the year, I'd say fate is not on the side of these three teams.
AFC:
Denver
New England
Houston
Cincy
K.C.
Miami

NFC:
Green Bay
San Fran
Atlanta
Washington
Seattle
New Orleans

WC: Houston over Miami, Cincy over K.C./ Atlanta over N.O., Washington over Seattle
Div: Denver over Cincy, N.E. over Houston/ G.B. over Washington/ Atlanta over S.F.
Champ: N.E. over Denver/ Atlanta over G.B.
S.B.: N.E. wins their fourth ring

For the record I NEVER bet against New England. They have surprised me too many times in the past. I wouldn't be upset if Atlanta won though because I like what they got going on and TGonz deserves a ring. My main point as I know I'll probably receive some comments is that the three teams mentioned in the first paragraph will not win the Super Bowl.

Krithic Annamalai

I'll say Denver Broncos.

David Baird
David Baird
Senior Analyst

@Josh Mahoney I totally see your point about the favorites usually falling short, and I won't dispute that. My question is why you never bet against New England. When was the last time they put in a consistently excellent postseason performance? Brady is in decline and has been for years. They've lost to Mark Sanchez's Jets at home. They were lucky to beat Baltimore in 2012 (and I believe that Lee Evans did indeed score the touchdown that should have beat them), and Brady was very poor in both the subsequent Super Bowl and the AFC Championship game against the Ravens a year later. And now, they're arguably worse than they were when they had those collapses with Welker, Hernandez, and, at least for now, Gronkowski gone. They should be feeling very fortunate that their divisional rivals are so weak. I think they'll get to the postseason, but post-Spygate the idea that Belichick and Brady are invincible in the playoffs is getting more ridiculous by the year.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

@David Baird, I never bet against them because they are my favorite team and while I'll discuss things about them impartially, I don't ever like to say they aren't going to win (superstition, hard corp fandom, call it what you will). I ask you were are your statistics to back up this Brady in decline comment. In the past two years he's put up over 5,000 yards and 4,000 yards respectively and thrown for over 30 touchdowns in each. I didn't see a football move did you? While I won't argue that Brady didn't play great in either the Super Bowl loss or the AFC championship game a year later, very poor is a bit of an over exaggeration. I don't see how a Super Bowl appearance and a AFC championship game can be deemed collapses but to each his own. I agree that right now they appear to be worse off than in the past, but I believe that their defense is better than the past three or so seasons and that the changes on offense could actually benefit them as they will not clog the middle of the field with their two big tight ends and Welker and Brady won't be able to rely on Welker so much and will begin to spread the ball around again. I never said they were invincible and in my opinion people who use Spygate are just annoyed because they can't explain why the Patriots haven't fallen off yet.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

Josh Mahoney While I'm with you on never betting against the Patriots (I generally bet on the Pats to represent the AFC) it should be noted that Brady's post season play has been very mediocre. 8-7 since 2005 in the playoffs with a QB rating in the 80s IIRC....meh

paul godfrey

I can't argue with some of the home losses the Patriots have had in recent years but to associate it with Brady's decline is wrong. I still don't understand the amount of anti-Brady sentiment there is out there. This is a guy who's work ethic is second to none, never has blamed someone else for his team's failures and has performed at an elite level no matter who his receivers are. I wouldn't have minded seeing him have both a Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne or a Greg Jennings and Donald Driver or a Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce to throw to for 10 years.

David Baird
David Baird
Senior Analyst

@Josh Mahoney Ok, my bad. Words like "collapse" are quite strong, and I overstepped with that one. Even when outplayed the Patriots don't have collapses (the closest thing being their second half against Baltimore last January). That being said, I believe that surrounding every great (or even good) quarterback is an excellent supporting cast. The great ones tend to be those who can inspire that cast to great things, as Brady has consistently done. However, the stats you've pointed to, while impressive, could certainly be the result of having a consistently top-class receiving corps, which this year has been essentially gutted. I think this year the Patriots will play a different game then they have, and it will take them into the playoffs, but as to the favorites rising or falling- I can only make predictions based on what I see, and I don't see them winning the Super Bowl. As for the invocation of Spygate, again, a bad choice and I apologize for it. I chose it not to explain away New England's success, but to pinpoint it as the moment when their aura of invincibility started to crack, as it was closely followed by the loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

@David Baird I'll agree that the receiving corps has to do their part in order for a QB to put up numbers like those, but I still wouldn't consider what the Patriots had as a top class receiving corps. He makes most of his receivers look better than they are whereas someone like a Larry Fitzgerald is able to make a mediocre QB look good enough, I would argue Brady has never had a receiver that made him look better. At best he had Moss who both complemented each other as they put together an historic season. And while I really don't want to rub it in this is a little vindication for me.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

@Michael Clark I absolutely agree that he's been mediocre. But I would say that he has been mediocre for Brady not for your average NFL QB. And I would say that I'll take a mediocre Brady in the playoffs over the large majority of QBs in the NFL.

Trevor Roberts
Trevor Roberts
Senior Columnist

Whoever wins between the Seahawks and the 49ers. The NFC has five or six teams that could be considered Superbowl contenders at this point (and no @Michael Clark the Eagles are in no way one of them), while the AFC has Denver, New England and maybe Baltimore simply due to the fact that they're the defending champs. They'll win the NFC south for sure, but I don't think they have a chance of making it past the NFC championship game.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

@Josh Mahoney Even during his SB winning years he wasn't particularly elite in the post season

http://www.footballnation.com/content/captain-clutch-is-tom-brady-really-great-postseason-qb/22881/

http://sprungonsports.com/2013/01/20/14694/

Some of the info in those links are hyperbolic...comparing Brady's numbers in '04 to Ponder in '12 for example is just stupid as they're completely different eras. The point remains though. Since winning his last SB Brady is 8-7 w/ an 85.3 QB rating, 31 TDs, 19 INTs, 3809 yards 363/583 (62.2%) 6.5 YPA. Philip Rivers last year was more efficient.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

@Michael Clark the football nation article I'll accept, but the other one really rubs me the wrong way for the hyperbolic reason you mention. I feel like the author is reaching just a little in the second link. And again, I know Brady isn't invincible in the post season, but you have to agree that part of the reason his rating is so low is when you play in that many playoff games, you are playing against the highest level of competition every single game. And comparing Brady's numbers to Rivers is similar to the second article in being hyperbolic because Rivers wasn't in the post season last season, and the Patriots making it there can't be attributed to the defense. Not to mention you specifically mention efficiency but what you leave out is that Rivers was intercepted 15 times to Brady's 8. I'll take an efficient QB who's also smart with the ball over an efficient one who essentially throws one interception for every two touchdowns.

Grant Cummings

Could we see a repeat of last years superbowl? Harbowl round 2? with Jim Winning this time? doubtful I'm taking Falcons and Broncos

Fa Menalo
Fa Menalo
Contributor

Broncos over Saints. You notice ever since 2001, whoever plays the Eagles during the year has won the Super Bowl, 11 out of 12 times. Mostly recently its been whoever's been playing the Redskins at Fedex Field since 2007, starting with the Giants. This year Chargers, Chiefs, Bears, and Lions are out of division home opponents for the Redskins. Problem is the team should finish at least 6-10 the previous year to win the Super Bowl the next year. This is true since the 2001 Patriots (debatably) did it after finishing 6-10 in 2000. After that all records improved dramatically and only the Saints finished 8-8 in 2008 and in 2009 won the title (debatably).

Tim Tripp
Tim Tripp
Senior Analyst

I like the Seahawks to win the 2014 Super Bowl. Russell Wilson will make big strides throwing the football this year and although his receiving corps don't have any big names-- except when Percy Harvin comes back for the final month -- Baldwin and Tate fit what they do offensively really well. They will have a great running game and they also have a top 3 defense in the NFL.