Let me just start by saying that I don't intend this to be prophetic; in fact, some of these "predictions" are as plain as the nose on my face (and that is the most prominent part of my countenance).
I could say that the New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl and finally Tom Brady will get that elusive, fourth ring. I could say that the Cleveland Browns will, once again, bring great disappointment to the city that faithfully believes that their team is just one, puzzling piece away from a playoff birth.
But I don't want to bore you...
So, without any further ado, and in no particular order, here are my predictions for 2014:
1. Johnny Manziel becomes the new Ryan Leaf.
All the hype, all the praise, but this kid's fizzle is louder than his shizzle.
2. Blake Bortles becomes the best QB pick of the draft.
Let's face it, the Jacksonville Jaguars need help, specifically a big, confident passer with no fear of a rush. That's Bortles and he will become their starter.
3. Tony Romo will almost get his team where they want to be... again!
Don't get me wrong, Romo is a good QB, but that is all he will ever be. His best days are behind him and it is only a matter of time before Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett figure that out.
4. Rob Gronkowski will actually play a full season... for once!
They have taken their time to make sure he is healthy, and it will pay off, which is a rare feat for the oft-injured TE.
5. Stevan Ridley will lose the starting running back role to James White.
He will fumble... again; and Bill Belichick will finally have lost patience with his ball handling and will begin his exit from New England with another benching. And White will jump into the starting role and bust it like a beast!
6. Stephen Jackson's 1,000 yard days are over.
This one is self-explanatory. He is getting old and slow.
7. Michael Vick will be the starter for the New York Jets before mid-season.
Rex Ryan will have to throw up his hands in despair and make the inevitable move from Geno Smith to Mr. Vick. Even so, the Jets will fail to make the playoffs.
8. Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell?
I foresee Powell carrying the load for this committee. Chris Johnson still has some value; he hasn't rushed for less than 1,000 yards in his career, but his yards per carry is going down. Powell is younger and will push for carries, and Ivory just won't be able to keep up or stay healthy.
9. The hype on the St. Louis Rams just went down the drain.
Injuries will kill a team's hope in a second, just ask the Patriots. But they still had their starting QB, the Rams weren't so lucky. Sam Bradford going down is the death knell for the dream of competing in the west... again.
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick... really?!
How long do you think that will last? Case Keenum or Tom Savage will have to step-up sooner rather than later if the Houston Texans are going to reverse their fortunes from a year ago.
11. Pencil it in- Denver Broncos vs. the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Denver looks every bit as good as the 2013 version, and the Patriots got a little bit better all the way around. Don't expect the Pats to be a push-over this time!
12. Aaron Rogers just has to stay healthy!
Rogers seems to be becoming the best QB in the league right now. He should lead his Green Bay Packers to the big one this time around.
13. The 49ers will be just fine.
Sure, there's been some turmoil this off-season, but the pieces are still in place to make a deep run... as in... Frank Gore isn't slowing down and Collin Kaepernick is still a dual-threat with some great receivers.
14. Kansas City won't win their first nine games this year.
15. Matt Schaub won't last long in Oakland.
How do you feel about a rookie (Derek Carr) leading the Oakland Raiders? Actually, a little better than counting on Schaub to do any better than he did in Houston.
16. Andrew Luck will lead the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs again, and get knocked-out again.
Luck is destined to be one of the better QBs in the league. BUt he still needs some help to take the next step. Hakeem Nicks will help, but the running game is still a concern for 2014.
17. The Baltimore Ravens are the team to beat in the AFC North.
It'll be in the hands of Joe Flacco, but he will have no shortage of weapons and support. They will challenge in the playoffs for sure.
18. Big Ben and the Steelers will only avoid the basement because of the Browns.
Roethlisberger can't carry this team and they didn't do enough to keep up with the Ravens and Bengals.
19. The Seattle Seahawks won't appear in their second consecutive Super Bowl.
Russell Wilson will have another good year and lead his 'Hawks to the postseason, but won't enough to finish the job this time.
20. Larry Fitzgerald won't win a Super Bowl ring with the Cardinals.
Carson Palmer is good, but his window has closed and he won't be able to lift his team into the postseason in '14. Fitzy will have to wait for a new QB or a new team to finally hit pay-dirt.
21. The Philadelphia Eagles are the other team with a good shot to unseat the Seahawks in the NFC.
Nick Foles is getting better, LeSean McCoy is the best running back in the league, and Chip Kelly has improved a very good defense. The tide may be turning in the NFC.
22. The Chicago Bears will be sorry they paid Jay Cutler so much.
Fans around the league seem to agree that he was not worth the money. Win some, lose some.
23. Tony Gonzalez is NOT coming back!
Tony Gonzalez in NOT coming back!
24. The Buffalo Bills will climb out of the basement in the AFC East.
Thanks to the Jets who will plummet to the bottom while they struggle on both sides of the ball.
25. The refs will get the hint and stop throwing flags for the stupidest little things!
Let them play, refs, let them play!