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Predicting Playoff Teams For The 2014 NFL Season

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Predicting Playoff Teams For The 2014 NFL Season

Lombardi Trophy
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The NFL regular season is right around the corner. Teams have already started their quest to hold the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season and will continue their journey all the way through December. Here are predictions of who will be playing to win it all in the playoffs.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars
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6. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars
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The Jacksonville Jaguars have been the laughing stock of the NFL for years now but they are a surprise team that should contend this season. The defense has a lot of talent that Gus Bradley has coached up, and the young offense centered around rookies Blake Bortles and Marqise Lee could help the Jaguars turn things around quickly, much like the Kansas City Chiefs did last year. In a weak AFC, the young Jaguars could sneak into a Wild Card spot.

5. Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin
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5. Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin
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After the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito crisis in the Dolphins' locker room, the team has built a new persona. The offense should be much improved with Brandon Albert added to the offensive line and Knowshon Moreno inserted as the tailback. Ryan Tannehill should also take a big step forward in his third season in the league to propel the Dolphins to a Wild Card spot in a weak AFC.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers
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4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers
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No team in the NFL was better than the Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch of the season, and they only missed the playoffs due to a missed field goal by Ryan Succop. This season, the Steelers return a potentially explosive offense with a full season of Le'Veon Bell and much more speed on the defensive side of the ball. The improved defense should push the Steelers to the top of a surprisingly weak AFC North.

3. New England Patriots

New England Patriots Stevan Ridley
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3. New England Patriots

New England Patriots Stevan Ridley
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The New England Patriots are still at the top of the AFC East as no team has been able to build themselves up to the Patriots' level. The team still has a top offense despite Tom Brady getting older, and they improved greatly on the defensive side of the ball with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. The Patriots should stay at the top of the AFC East again this season and compete deep into the playoffs.

2. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck
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2. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck
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The Indianapolis Colts made the playoffs last year after beating up on a poor AFC South, and the same thing should happen again this season. They have the best young QB in the game in Andrew Luck, and his No. 1 target Reggie Wayne will be back so the two can wreak havoc on opposing defenses this season.

1. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning Denver Broncos
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1. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos again enter the NFL season as the cream of the crop in the AFC. The team still has Peyton Manning, and they added DeMarcus Ware to solidify their pass rush along with replacing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eric Decker with Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders, respectively. The Broncos should be the No. 1 seed and roll through the AFC West to earn a playoff spot.

6. Arizona Cardinals

Rob Housler Arizona Cardinals
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6. Arizona Cardinals

Rob Housler Arizona Cardinals
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The Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs last year despite putting up a record of 11-5. The team locked up Patrick Peterson this season to shut down opposing receivers, and they still have an electric offense with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and impressive rookie John Brown catching the ball from Carson Palmer. The Cardinals could surprise this year and take advantage of a down year from the San Francisco 49ers to earn a wild card berth.

5. Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith Atlanta Falcons
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5. Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith Atlanta Falcons
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The Atlanta Falcons were devastated by injuries last season but now return with a healthy roster. There are few better offenses in the NFL than the Falcons when Matt Ryan is throwing the ball to Roddy White, Julio Jones and breakout wide receiver Harry Douglas while Steven Jackson is running the ball. If Sean Weatherspoon and the rest of the defense can hold up, the Falcons should be a lock to earn at least a Wild Card spot.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles
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4. Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles
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The Philadelphia Eagles took huge strides last season under Chip Kelly and his explosive offense. Nick Foles will be starting a full season this year throwing to a healthy Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy should be able to carve through opposing defenses for the second year in a row. Despite losing DeSean Jackson and not upgrading the defensive backfield, the Eagles' offense should still be able to make them the top dog in a very weak NFC East.

3. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
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3. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
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The Green Bay Packers enter this season healthy after losing significant players for most of the season last year. With everyone back on offense, the addition of Julius Peppers on defense and stars like Jordy Nelson not having contract worries over their head, the team should again be in the top tier of the NFL. The NFC North will be a tough division to win again this season, but the Packers should be able to make it out on top.

2. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks
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2. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks
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The New Orleans Saints return this season with one of the overall best teams in football. The offense cut some dead weight and added star receiver in the making, Brandin Cooks, while the defense will be even stiffer under Rob Ryan after the additions of Jarius Byrd and Champ Bailey. In a division full of powerful offenses, the team that can stop other teams from scoring the most will win the NFC South and that team is the Saints.

1. Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks
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1. Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks
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The defending Super Bowl champions should have no problem getting back to the playoffs next season. They have retained all of their major pieces on defense and only lost Golden Tate on offense. With the Legion of Boom still intact, it is hard not to pick Seattle to win another tough NFC West division title.

Justin Broyles is a Pirates writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on twitter @Tweets_ByJ, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.