Sunday, November 9, 2014

NFL Midseason Predictions: Super Bowl Update

While the final seeding for the playoffs is hazy, it becomes easier to predict the teams who will earn a spot in the postseason by the halfway point of the season. At this point in time, the Seahawks, 49ers, and Saints are all on track to miss the postseason, whereas the Bills, Cardinals, and Cowboys are all projected to finish the regular season with a spot in the playoffs. While this is certain to change, the NFL is not surprising in that there will always be surprises. At the beginning of the season, we predicted the New England Patriots to beat Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers by a final score of 24-23. While we still believe that the Patriots will make an appearance in the Super Bowl (if, and only if, Rob Gronkowski is healthy throughout the playoffs), we are changing the NFC Champion after watching football for the past 8 weeks from San Fran to the Green Bay Packers. Now, let's go into further detail regarding this quarterback battle for the ages, as well as predicting the new champions of football.

Patriots Offense
Tom Brady experienced a statistically historic October. With Rob Gronkowski returning from injury at the start of the season, the Patriots offense has gradually improved over the course of the year. Julian Edelman remains Tom Brady’s favorite target, but Bill Belicheck is slowly increasing Gronk’s workload in the offense, which is directly proportional to the Patriots improving record overtime. Recently acquired targets Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright have both had their bright spots in 2014, and it will be interesting to see how the fare later in the season. While running back Steven Ridley may be out for the rest of the season, Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen have stepped up nicely to fill the void.
Packers Offense
While the Packers are not currently atop the NFC North standings right now, Green Bay is always a threat to win the division as long as Aaron Rodgers is leading this offense. Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both experiencing incredible seasons thus far, where Cobb is averaging one touchdown per game. Running back Eddie Lacy is experiencing a down year as of this point in time, but seeing how outstanding his season was in 2013, we at least understand that the potential to do well is present.

Patriots Defense
The New England Patriots secondary might just be the best we've seen from head coach Bill Belichick since he took over for the Patriots nearly 15 years ago. Darrelle Revis is beginning to look like his former self, and fellow cornerback Brandon Browner has already recorded 6 tackles and an interception. While Jerard Mayo's injury will be significant in the long run, the Patriots certainly managed to shut down the Denver Broncos offense last week. The win over Denver was even without their best pass rusher Chandler Jones, but luckily, he will be ready to go come playoff time.

Packers Defense
The Green Bay Packers run defense currently ranks dead last in the entire National Football League. There are currently several big names on this defensive roster, such as Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and AJ Hawk, who are all very talented defensive players, but clearly, they add little to the run defense.  Meanwhile, the secondary is incredibly youthful, where four out of the five members of the secondary are 25 years old or younger. Yet clearly, it has paid off, seeing how they rank eighth in passing yards allowed, as well as fourth in passing touchdowns allowed.

Quarterback Tom Brady is on a mission to win his fourth Super Bowl after losing in both 2007 and 2011. The New England Patriots showed they are capable of limiting great quarterbacks, as seen with the game against Denver, so count on Bill Belichick on creating a game plan meant to suppress Aaron Rodgers as much as possible. Meanwhile, Tom Brady will be able to pick away at this young Green Bay secondary, as New England manages to win their fourth Super Bowl in 14 years.
Patriots over Packers 30-27 

3 comments:


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