by Jake Brown (@JBSportsRadio)
The NFL season is a week away. Thank the Lord. I already broke down who the five worst teams in the NFL, which didn’t make the Minnesota faithful too happy.
Let’s take a look at the five best teams in the NFL heading into the 2014 season.
1. Denver Broncos
There is no team in the NFL with more pressure and more expectations this season than the Denver Broncos. After getting destroyed by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning has to lead his team to the promised land this year. Did they lose some key pieces to their run last year this offseason? Yes. But they replaced the likes of Eric Decker, Knowshon Moreno, Champ Bailey, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, and DeMarcus Ware. The Broncos should field a good defense, and you know they will have no problems scoring. Montee Ball should take the next step to be a solid starter in the backfield for them. It’s Super Bowl or bust this season in Denver. Manning should have another MVP season, but it’s time he gets it done in February.
2. New England Patriots
The Patriots are going to give the Broncos a run for their money. New England’s biggest weakness last season was probably their secondary. Well, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner take care of that. The Patriots now have a couple of lockdown corners to contain offenses. Pair them with Vince Wilfork, who returns on the defensive line, and the Pats defense could turn into a strength. We already know what we’re getting from their offense with Tom Brady getting Rob Gronkowski back on the field. Gronk, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola will make every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) a field day for the future Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s hard to see the Pats not at least get to the AFC Championship again this year.
3. Seattle Seahawks
The legion of boom was in full force last season, leading the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title. It’s pretty hard in this league to repeat, especially when you lose some key players. The Seahawks didn’t have a great offseason, losing Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, and Chris Clemons to name a few. They do get Percy Harvin back on the field, which is much-needed for Russell Wilson. Richard Sherman is still on the prowl in the secondary, but those guys who left in the offseason could hurt. This is still the third best team in the league, but it’s hard to expect them to go out and win another Vince Lombardi Trophy.
4. San Francisco 49ers
Too many people look too much into preseason. There’s no reason to worry about the 49ers issues in preseason, because it just doesn’t matter. This offense has too many weapons to not dominate. Colin Kaepernick is going to have an awful lot of fun on gameday with Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd, Vernon Davis, AND Stevie Johnson to throw to. There’s also future Hall of Fame running back Frank Gore in the backfield with rookie Carlos Hyde backing him up. This is a dynamic football team that won’t be the same defensively, but will be more dangerous offensively, if healthy. Their secondary isn’t great, but they have a good pass rush. The 49ers should be neck and neck with the Seahawks for an NFC title this season.
5. Indianapolis Colts
We finally get to see Andrew Luck have some receivers to get the ball to. Reggie Wayne is back on the field for the entire season. The Colts also added Hakeem Nicks. Wayne, Nicks, and T.Y. Hilton are going to make Luck have an even better year. Luck also gets back his tight end Dwayne Allen after he sat out most of last season. He’s essentially carried the team to the playoffs on his shoulders the last two years, and now he’s finally getting some help. Trent Richardson is going to have to play the way he did in Cleveland. He’ll join Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield, if Bradshaw can actually stay on the field. On defense, they will be carried by their front seven. After Vontae Davis, their secondary is average at best. Adding Arthur Jones and D’Qwell Jackson to join Robert Mathis should give them a formidable pass rush. Look for the Colts to make some noise this season. It will be tough for Luck to get by Manning and Brady, but he’s going to come awfully close.