NFL

NFL Schedule Release: Predicting Every Team’s Final Record

NFL Schedule Release: Predicting Every Team's 2014 Final Record

Baltimore Ravens v Detroit Lions
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With the release of all 32 NFL team schedules last night, the speculation about 2014 has already begun. Teams are already panicking or looking forward to the start of the season. Everyone knows when they will hit the hard part of their schedule and the easy part. This is how things will shape up in 2014 in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals - 10-6 (2nd in AFC NORTH)

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
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Cincinnati Bengals - 10-6 (2nd in AFC NORTH)

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
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The Bengals have been a very solid regular season team for awhile now. That should continue in 2014 as they will give themselves a shot at the playoffs. How quarterback Andy Dalton performs there could help determine the future of the franchise.

Cleveland Browns - 6-10 (4th in AFC NORTH)

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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Cleveland Browns - 6-10 (4th in AFC NORTH)

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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While they do have an above-average defense, the Cleveland offense is still lacking. Six wins in 2014 wouldn't be a huge disappointment, but they also have to build momentum leading to the future.

Baltimore Ravens - 8-8 (3rd in AFC NORTH)

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
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Baltimore Ravens - 8-8 (3rd in AFC NORTH)

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
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With so many questions about the Ravens going into the season, it's hard to envision them going above .500. Ray Rice suddenly lost it last season and is facing criminal charges. With very tough stretches of the season, anything above .500 would be a big accomplishment in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 10-6 (1st in AFC NORTH)

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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Pittsburgh Steelers - 10-6 (1st in AFC NORTH)

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Steelers got very hot down the stretch last season and very nearly snuck into the playoffs. They won't have to sneak in this year as they should be able to carry on that momentum and parlay it into a division title. Under head coach Mike Tomlin, this team hasn't struggled in consecutive seasons and that seems like a trend that will continue.

Buffalo Bills - 7-9 (4th in AFC EAST)

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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Buffalo Bills - 7-9 (4th in AFC EAST)

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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After the Patriots, there are a lot of mediocre teams in the AFC East and the Bills are included in that group. However, mediocre is a distinct step up from what the Bills have been in the past. This upcoming season should serve as a stepping stone for a team that seems to be up and coming.

Miami Dolphins - 8-8 (T-2nd in AFC EAST)

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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Miami Dolphins - 8-8 (T-2nd in AFC EAST)

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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The Dolphins and quarterback Ryan Tannehill made great strides last year as they competed for a playoff spot. This season, they should do the same, but a few tough stretches toward the end of the season may doom those hopes.

New York Jets - 8-8 (T-2nd in AFC EAST)

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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New York Jets - 8-8 (T-2nd in AFC EAST)

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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It was impressive what head coach Rex Ryan was able to get out of his guys last season with so much controversy surrounding the team going into training camp and the season. Ryan is a great motivator, but he can only do so much. They added Chris Johnson to the backfield, but until they add more threats for Gino Smith to throw the ball to, all they will be is a very average team.

New England Patriots - 10-6 (1st in AFC EAST)

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
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New England Patriots - 10-6 (1st in AFC EAST)

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
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The Patriots are still some of the cream of the crop in the AFC, but with key players aging, they will have to muscle their way to a decent record this season. With Tom Brady still playing near the top of his game, that still means a likely 10+ win season from the future Hall of Famer.

Indianapolis Colts - 11-5 (1st in AFC SOUTH)

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots
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Indianapolis Colts - 11-5 (1st in AFC SOUTH)

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots
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Even though the Texans will likely improve this season, the Colts should win the AFC South pretty easily. They get six games against inferior opponents, of which they should be able to win 4-5. They do have some tough games outside the division, but this seems like the year quarterback Andrew Luck takes off and truly becomes elite.

Jacksonville Jaguars - 4-12 (4th in AFC SOUTH)

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
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Jacksonville Jaguars - 4-12 (4th in AFC SOUTH)

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
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This could be another tough year of football in Jacksonville. Strides were made at the end of last season, but their schedule isn't particularly kind to them and there just aren't enough pieces on either side of the ball to produce optimism going into this season.

Houston Texans - 7-9 (2nd in AFC SOUTH)

Houston Texans  v Tennessee Titans
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Houston Texans - 7-9 (2nd in AFC SOUTH)

Houston Texans  v Tennessee Titans
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Finally getting guys healthy and rebuilding through the draft, the Texans should be much-improved in 2014. That being said, they still have a really tough road and will struggle at times. Their nucleus is capable of going .500 and with new pieces in place, they could realistically make the playoffs if they overachieve.

Tennessee Titans - 5-11 (3rd in AFC SOUTH)

Houston Texans  v Tennessee Titans
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Tennessee Titans - 5-11 (3rd in AFC SOUTH)

Houston Texans  v Tennessee Titans
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The Titans didn't have many offensive weapons to begin with and then they lost their biggest one in Chris Johnson. If Jake Locker can stay healthy, he should keep the team in some games, but overall there's not enough in place that the Titans can realistically compete for a playoff spot.

Denver Broncos - 11-5 (1st in AFC WEST)

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos
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Denver Broncos - 11-5 (1st in AFC WEST)

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos
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The defending AFC champions from a season ago shouldn't be quite as dominant offensively without receiver Eric Decker, but they will still be one of the best teams in their conference. Peyton Manning will be on a mission after losing the Super Bowl in such devastating fashion and that will propel Denver into the postseason on a high note.

San Diego Chargers - 8-8 (2nd in AFC WEST)

Divisional Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos
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San Diego Chargers - 8-8 (2nd in AFC WEST)

Divisional Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos
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They got hot at the right time last season, but the Chargers are known for their slow starts, so they may dig themselves a hole early in the season. While it's certainly possible for them to win 10 games this season, with their schedule, a .500 season is more realistic in San Diego.

Kansas City Chiefs - 7-9 (3rd in AFC WEST)

Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts
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Kansas City Chiefs - 7-9 (3rd in AFC WEST)

Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts
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Defense was the Chiefs' calling card last season, but after the first 10 games or so, opposing teams started figuring them out. Their offense isn't good enough to win ballgames without their defense playing great; it seems like the negative momentum generated at the end of last season could leak into 2014 and create a disappointing season of football in Kansas City.

Oakland Raiders - 3-13 (4th in AFC WEST)

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders
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Oakland Raiders - 3-13 (4th in AFC WEST)

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders
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The Raiders simply don't rebuild well. That's not good news for a team in desperate need of rebuilding. For decades now, the Raiders have been lacking in the scouting department and in the draft. Unless they hit a few home runs in the draft, Oakland could be one of the worst teams in the league in 2014.

Chicago Bears - 10-6 (2nd in NFC NORTH)

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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Chicago Bears - 10-6 (2nd in NFC NORTH)

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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The Bears took a gigantic step forward on offense last season. Unfortunately, they took an equally gigantic step back on defense. With receiver Alshon Jeffery emerging as one of the NFL's best, quarterback Jay Cutler now has all sorts of options. The offense should get even better in 2014 and the extent to which the defense improves will determine what kind of season the Bears have.

Detroit Lions - 7-9 (3rd in NFC NORTH)

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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Detroit Lions - 7-9 (3rd in NFC NORTH)

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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It's crazy to think a team as talented as the Lions could go under .500 for three seasons in a row, but that might be where they're headed. Their ceiling is certainly the playoffs, but with the Bears and Packers fully healthy, the Lions are playing third fiddle to the other NFC North powers.

Green Bay Packers - 11-5 (1st in NFC NORTH)

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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Green Bay Packers - 11-5 (1st in NFC NORTH)

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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The Packers were beat up last season and still managed to sneak into the playoffs. After a long offseason of rest, the offense should be rejuvenated. Green Bay added outside rusher Julius Peppers from the rival Bears and have the chance to add more defense in the draft. This has the chance to be the most complete Packers team in quite a while.

Dallas Cowboys - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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Dallas Cowboys - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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In a division that's always tight down to the wire, the Cowboys will narrowly miss out on the playoffs once again. It seems like their playoff berths come down to the last game of the season every year and they never cash in. 2014 may be different, but there's something about this team that seems to keep them from finishing games and finishing seasons.

Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Wild Card Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles
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Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Wild Card Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles
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Opposing teams have had all offseason to look at film of head coach Chip Kelly's out-of-the box offense. It struggled at times in year one, but found its stride down the stretch. With enough time to game plan, Nick Foles and the Philadelphia offense minus DeSean Jackson may take a step back in 2014.

New York Giants - 9-7 (1st in NFC EAST)

Washington Redskins v New York Giants
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New York Giants - 9-7 (1st in NFC EAST)

Washington Redskins v New York Giants
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It seems like the Giants are a running punch line in New York, but only every other season. Those seasons they aren't punch lines are the seasons they're winning championships. They aren't at a championship level right now, but Eli Manning and Co. have something to prove this season and they will barely sneak their way into the playoffs in a tight NFC East.

Washington Redskins - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Washington Redskins v New York Giants
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Washington Redskins - 8-8 (T-2nd in NFC EAST)

Washington Redskins v New York Giants
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The Redskins were one of the biggest disappointments in the league last season. They should take a step forward in 2014, but with a tough schedule, it's going to be hard for them to win more than they lose. A five-win improvement is still something and they will be able to build on that going into 2015.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC SOUTH)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC SOUTH)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
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Tampa Bay could be an interesting team this season. They played really well at the end of last season and added quarterback Josh McCown who was one of the best at the position when filling in for an injured Jay Cutler. They have a higher ceiling than they did a season ago, but playing in a tough division, the Bucs will still struggle at times in 2014.

Atlanta Falcons - 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC SOUTH)

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
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Atlanta Falcons - 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC SOUTH)

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
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While they will show improvement from last season, the injuries may have set them back an extra year. The offense will have to get on the same page early in training camp in order to be successful, otherwise 2015 could be Atlanta's next year where they're competing for the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers - 9-7 (2nd in NFC SOUTH)

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
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Carolina Panthers - 9-7 (2nd in NFC SOUTH)

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
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The Panthers were the surprise team of 2013 and should experience success this season as well. Cam Newton needs to make strides as a passer in order for the team to take the next step, but the defense will win them enough games to put them in the playoff hunt.

New Orleans Saints - 10-6 (1st in NFC SOUTH)

Divisional Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks
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New Orleans Saints - 10-6 (1st in NFC SOUTH)

Divisional Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks
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The Saints got back to their winning ways last season by re-inserting their high-powered offense. They do have a difficult schedule, playing several 2013 playoff teams, but they're a strong enough team, especially at home to be able to earn a playoff berth.

San Francisco 49ers - 11-5 (1st in NFC WEST)

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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San Francisco 49ers - 11-5 (1st in NFC WEST)

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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The 49ers-Seahawks rivalry might be the best in football at the moment and they will once again compete for the NFC West title down to the wire. With something to prove, the 49ers will barely get the better of the Seahawks in the regular season. The playoffs? That remains to be seen.

Arizona Cardinals - 6-10 (3rd in NFC WEST)

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
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Arizona Cardinals - 6-10 (3rd in NFC WEST)

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
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The Cardinals were a surprise last season, but are set up to struggle a bit in 2014. They have a tough schedule and as always, have to play the 49ers and Seahawks a combined four times. If they can add some more offensive weapons in the draft, they could finish above .500, but that's the best they can hope for.

St. Louis Rams - 5-11 (4th in NFC WEST)

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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St. Louis Rams - 5-11 (4th in NFC WEST)

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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The Rams are a promising young team, but it may take another season for them to gel. Quarterback Sam Bradford is coming off of a torn ACL so there are always questions about his potential effectiveness. They could certainly hover around .500, but 2015 seems like the year the Rams will take their biggest step.

Seattle Seahawks - 11-5 (2nd in NFC WEST)

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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Seattle Seahawks - 11-5 (2nd in NFC WEST)

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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The defending Super Bowl champions shouldn't miss a beat entering 2014. There's a good chance the 49ers get the best of them as they have more playmakers on offense, but going into the playoffs, the Seahawks will have the best chance to repeat of any team in quite some time.