2. Neither Seattle or San Francisco wins the NFC West
Not only could any of the four teams in the NFC West win the divsion, all could win the Super Bowl — it’s that good of a group. You already know about the Seahawks and Niners, but what about the Cardinals who finished 10-6 a season ago and saw two teams with worse records than them in the conference make the playoffs? Or how about the Rams, who finished first in forced fumbles (24) and third in sacks (53) in the entire NFL? While their defensive strengths might be different, both Arizona (secondary) and St. Louis (front seven) have two of the best units in the league. Since Seattle won the NFC West with a stout defense and serviceable offense in 2013, why can’t either the Rams or Cardinals do the same in 2014? Unlike most divisions, all four teams truly have a chance in this one.
1. Cleveland wins the AFC North, or at least makes the playoffs
Because the Browns are the Browns your average NFL fan doesn’t realize just how good this team can be in 2014. Cleveland had five Pro Bowlers a year ago, and arguably won the draft by picking up the best cornerback (Justin Gilbert) and best quarterback (Johnny Manziel) in the class. The signings in free agency of Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby and Ben Tate were also very strong. But, let’s go back to Johnny Football. The dude won in college, going 2-0 in his bowl games, winning the Heisman Trophy once and finishing fifth the other time, and, oh yeah, beating Alabama in 2012 in Tuscaloosa, handing the Tide their only loss in a year they won the National Championship. You might doubt him because you don’t like him, but he’s done nothing on the field thus far to show that anyone should.
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