The NFL’s season is a pendulum. From year to year, teams go from good to bad, and sometimes it’s easier to predict than other times. At times, it can seem as if the NFL is a random chance league, where teams exist off of luck and luck alone. This is not really the case, though. If we dig into the data and take a hard look at some of the trends, then it becomes apparent which teams are likely to lose some of their momentum heading into the new season.
The Carolina Panthers seem like a good pick to backtrack some. They made great strides one year ago, winning their division and securing a playoff bye. The Panthers probably should have won their playoff game, as well, but were felled by bad luck against San Francisco. This year, they are having to replace their entire wide receiving corps. Cam Newton is coming off of an injury, as well, which will probably make things difficult. The defense is still solid, so this will keep the Panthers in the hunt, but as a bettor, you might be able to find value fading the Panthers this season.
It may seem like sacrilege to talk bad about Peyton Manning at this point in his career, but people making 2014 NFL picks need to know that he is probably not going to have a year like he did last year. He will likely fall back some, and with some key holes on offense, the Broncos will have some trouble outscoring people this season. It would be difficult for Denver to repeat its 2013 success anyway, but Manning’s age and some key injuries will make it very hard for Denver to maintain in 2014.