The staff of cover32 made ten predictions, most of which are ludicrous. In all fairness they did say not to bet your mortgage on any of these things happening, but they did say these scenarios should be considered.
One prediction? The New England Patriots will miss the playoffs this season.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME????
True, the Patriots, including QB Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, haven’t won the Super Bowl since the 2004 season, but here’s how the Patriots’ last 11 seasons have gone:
2013: 12-4 lost conference championship
2012: 12-4 lost conference championship
2011: 13-3 lost Super Bowl (still stings to even write this)
2010: 14-2 lost in the divisional round of the playoffs
2009: 10-6 lost in the wild card round of the playoffs
2008: 11-5 missed playoffs (Brady was lost for the season on the first drive of the season)
2007: 16-0 lost Super Bowl (this still hurts too)
2006: 12-4 lost conference championship
2005: 10-6 lost in the divisional round of the playoffs
2004: 14-2 won Super Bowl
2003: 14-2 won Super Bowl
With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots have missed the playoffs once (2002) — 2008 doesn’t count because Brady was lost for the season on the first drive of the season — and now they are going to miss the playoffs? That is seriously doubtful. First, that means the Patriots fail to win the division, which is really unlikely.
The New York Jets went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs. QB Mark Sanchez is no longer in New York because he’s about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop (“Dodgeball” shout out), and the Jets picked up QB Michael Vick this offseason. Second-year QB Geno Smith figures to be the starter Week 1 over Vick, but Smith did throw 12 TDs and 21 interceptions last season. That’s not a typo. Smith threw nine more interceptions than TDs last season. He was awful last season, and if he falters this season, Vick will take over under center. Both are incredibly athletic, but even Jets fans must realize their team has a really slim chance of winning the AFC East.
The Miami Dolphins went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs. More than likely QB Ryan Tannehill will be the Week 1 starter for Miami. The Dolphins also have Matt Moore on the roster, but neither QB makes me believe the Dolphins can win the division.
The Buffalo Bills went 6-10 last season and finished last in the AFC East. Second-year QB EJ Manuel will start Week 1, and he threw 11 TDs and nine interceptions in his rookie campaign. The Bills traded up in the draft this year and got a stud wide receiver in Sammy Watkins out of Clemson, but they don’t have the talent to make the playoffs, let alone win the division.
But for the sake of argument, let’s play along and say the Patriots manage to not win the AFC East. Let’s look at the other potential division winners:
AFC North: The Cleveland Browns will be improved this season but not enough to win the division or even make the playoffs, especially if wide receiver Josh Gordon is suspended for the entire season. The winner of this division will be either the Cincinnati Bengals (won it last year at 11-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8 last season) or Baltimore Ravens (8-8 last season). In an earlier column where I predicted every game on the Steelers’ schedule I said they would go 11-5 in 2014. That should be good enough to win the division.
AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts won the division last year at 11-5, and the Tennessee Titans finished 7-9. The Jacksonville Jaguars went 4-12, and the Houston Texans inexplicably had a 2-14 record last season. Tennessee and Jacksonville will not win the division or make the playoffs. Houston will be markedly better, but the Colts will win the division again at either 10-6 or 11-5.
AFC West: The Denver Broncos won the division last season at 13-3. The Kansas City Chiefs outperformed everyone’s expectations and went 11-5. The San Diego Chargers went 9-7 and through more luck than you can cram into a four-leaf clover made it into the playoffs. The Oakland Raiders were, well, the Raiders, and they went 4-12. The Broncos will win the division again and both the Chiefs and Chargers will probably miss the playoffs.
Something catastrophic would have to happen (knock on wood) for the Patriots to miss the playoffs in the 2014. Now they need to worry about what they need to do to hoist another Lombardi Trophy.