2014 NFL Preview: Road to Super Bowl XLIX

sb_xlixIn 2013 the NFL decided to change things up from their usual location decisions and went to an open stadium in a cold weather city. It is generally not the decision to make for the league as they prefer to take weather out of the equation in the biggest game of the year. The NFL does not want to see a game come down to a gust of wind or a match where one team that is more used to the cold gets and advantage at the start of February. These were all serious worries when the league decided to travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII at MetlLife Stadium. The home of the Jets and Giants was a brand new stadium that was one of the best in the league. Yet it was in the middle of a place known for getting very cold and getting a lot of snow throughout the winter. Despite a terrible winter in the area the Super Bowl weekend weather was surprisingly great. There was no snow and the temperature was surprisingly warm for the beginning of February. The first venture outside in the cold weather was generally a success but that will not necessarily mean it will happen again anytime soon. The NFL does now see that the outdoor stadiums in the north of the country could be good choices but it will take its time before they go back. This year they will find their way back to the desert for the third time ever as Arizona will host the Super Bowl. The NFL goes to the still interesting stadium at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It will be the second time that the stadium hosts the Super Bowl and is likely not going to be the last as a warm weather indoor facility is a popular place for the NFL to choose when it comes to their biggest stage. The facility is a unique one in that the entire field can be wheeled out of the stadium where it can get natural light and natural water. It is a great stadium that is affectionately known as the Big Toaster thanks to the look of it on the outside. It will once again play host to the biggest game in the NFL season as all roads in the 2014 season lead to Glendale with 32 teams all starting out even and figuring out where they stand as the season moves on. One team in particular will be looking for something special as the Arizona Cardinals, who continue to improve year after year, hope to play a home game in the Super Bowl. It is one of the more difficult things to do in the NFL but the Cardinals will be the latest as they hope to stay home in the big game while every other team tries to make sure that doesn’t happen. Another season is here and every team is hoping to still be alive in February to accomplish a lifelong dream.

American Football Conference

afc_logo

The AFC has not had the best run of it lately as they have only won the Super Bowl twice in the last seven years. Last year they came up short in what was expected to be the year that they took the Lombardi. With the Denver Broncos making the Super Bowl many expected that they were the team to win it all with Peyton Manning running the show. This year there are some familiar faces leading the way for the AFC and they are some of the biggest and best players in the game. That isn’t necessarily true for every team though as the wild card will be filled by two teams looking for a rise. It will be a close fight but the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs will break out to take the wild card spots. For the Texans it will be the culmination of a comeback season after finishing in the last place in the league last year. For the Chiefs it is a chance to finally breakthrough into being one of the better teams in the league aside from the fact that they will finish second behind the Denver Broncos. The Division champions will be some of the more familiar faces around the league. The Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts will be forced into the wild card games despite good records. Both teams are similar as their youth makes them explosive but also puts them at risk of crumbling under the pressure. The Bengals are a teams with a solid defence and an explosive offence but they have fallen short in the playoffs before. The Colts are led by one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Andrew Luck but the defence has fallen short before. They are two teams rising and will put on a great push to the Conference championship but they will fall short of two teams that look dominant this year. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos have two of the best quarterbacks in the league and with reloaded teams they look even better that they did last year. The Broncos are led by Peyton Manning and are fresh off of an AFC Championship and an appearance in the Super Bowl. That did not end well for the Broncos as they lost handily to the Seahawks in an embarrassing showing in the championship. The Broncos will be back again with Manning leading the way as they try to get back to the big game and have a much better showing this time around. Then there is the New England Patriots who have not been the dominant team they used to be in the past but that may change this year. The Pats are reloaded and looking for another run up the standings and into the Super Bowl. Two dominant teams will rule again in the AFC as the conference is one of front-runners as two of the more promising teams will be the ones to rule this conference and finish at the top while a group of rising teams fill out the rest of the playoff spots.

 

Prediction:
1. New England Patriots
2. Denver Broncos
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Indianapolis Colts
Wild Card:
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Houston Texans

AFC Champion:

new_england_patriots

New England Patriots
– They were already a good team with Tom Brady leading the way but a reworked defence will only make them better which is a scary thought for a team that has won multiple Super Bowls in the past ten years

 

National Football Conference

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The NFC has been the better conference for the last second years winning five Super Bowls in that time. They continue to produce good teams and in reality have one of the better battles in the league. The Conference is full of great teams but rarely has there ever been a truly dominant team. Changes are constant in the NFC as year to year there seems to be a new team standing at the top of the conference. That may be coming to an end though as the Seattle Seahawks ruled the conference last year only losing three games all season and moving on to win the Super Bowl. The Seahawks will look to be the new dominant team in the NFC this year as they try to repeat as the Super Bowl champion. The NFC West is the strongest division in the NFL and this year it will produce three playoff teams. That includes both of the wild card spots that will be taken by two teams that could easily win many other divisions. The San Francisco 49ers will come up just short once again to their division rivals but will still be one of the better teams in the conference. That will give them the wild card spot where they will meet a familiar foe in the first round. Right behind the Niners will be the Arizona Cardinals who continue to improve and this year will make their way back to the playoffs. Behind a great ass defence the cards will take the third spot in the league’s best division and will beat out a surging Atlanta Falcons team for the last spot in the playoffs. The division champions, much like the AFC, will see familiar faces all around. The Green Bay Packers will do their usual and make the playoffs by winning the NFC North but not by much. The Eagles will join the Packers in one of the last two spots in the division leaders. The Eagles are a better team under their second year head coach Chip Kelly and with another year in the system they will continue to grow. The New Orleans Saints will work their way back to the top of the South and will take a bye week with a team that looks as dangerous as they were in 2010. They will once again move to the top of the list and will try to recapture that magic from 2010 for another Super Bowl. Then there is the Seattle Seahawks who are not going to be the same team that they were in 2013 but are still the class of the conference. They lost a few pieces and although they will lose more than three games this year they will still be the best team in the conference. As the playoffs run through the NFC is always a mystery and is one of the hardest conferences to figure out who will take home the crown. It could be any of these teams but with a full season to come the Seahawks seem like the best bet to repeat as Conference champions. It is the less predictable conference in the NFL and yet it has provided 5 of the last 7 champions making the battle in the conference a valuable one.

 

Prediction:
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Green Bay Packers
Wild Card:
5. San Francisco 49ers
6. Arizona Cardinals

 

NFC Champion:

seattle_seahawks

Seattle Seahawks
– The Seattle Seahawks are simply the class of a conference that could produce any number of true contenders once the season is underway but as of right now the stifling defence and a dynamic QB will lead the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl

 

Super Bowl XLIX
New England Patriots 21 – 17 Seattle Seahawks
– The Seattle Seahawks are a great team but they did lose some pieces of their Super Bowl team in 2013 which will put them slightly behind the New England Patriots who are reloaded and still have Tom Brady under centre

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