(SportingAlert) — Most of the NFL teams have already completed their rosters for the upcoming 2014 regular season, which will officially start on September 4.
Player acquisitions through the Draft and free agency were over. Signing of contracts will continue as teams will keep and cut some players after the pre-season games.
The beauty of the NFL is the parity of the teams. A team that was in the playoffs last season, could very well find itself at the bottom of the standings this season.
No one knows exactly which team will win. But through the roster and coaching changes, let’s look at the contenders in the NFL in the 2014 season.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Last season, Arizona Cardinals 10-6 record was not enough to get them a spot in the playoffs because of the much crowded NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The fact the Cardinals defeated the Seahawks on the road, 17-10, make them a team to watch. Cardinals’ defense was the key in ending the 14-game winning streak of the Seahawks.
Moreover, the Cardinals have given cornerback Patrick Peterson a five-year contract extension, worth $70 million with $48 guaranteed. Arizona has to make Peterson happy. Peterson and Antonio Cromartie intensify the defense of the Cardinals.
Offensively, quarterback Carson Palmer will have his receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Palmer needs to eliminate his errors in navigating the defense of the opponents. With the passing game doing exploits, Cardinals will have a chance to win their division this season.
The collapse of the Atlanta Falcons in 2013 was stunning. From 13-3 in 2012 season to 4-12 record, the performance of the Falcons was a big failure.
Coach Mike Smith understands that one of the problems was in the offensive line. Because they can fix the offensive line to give more time for the quarterback, the Falcons will be returning in the playoffs and even will have a chance to be in the Super Bowl.
Never forget quarterback Matt Ryan in the equation for Falcons success. With more time at the pocket, Ryan’s passing game will be felt by the opponents.
A healthy Robert Griffin III will catapult the Redskins to be contenders. As a mobile quarterback, RG3 will make the defense wandering. However, RG3 might be prone to injuries by running the ball most often.
The newly-hired coach Jay Gruden will be utilizing Griffin more by developing him as a drop-back passer. Gruden knows that Redskins chance of going deep into the playoffs is to have a healthy RG3.
4. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning and the group is ready to get back and to redeem themselves after that embarrassing Super Bowl. Denver Broncos will be dismantling their opponents because of the spread offense and the aggressive defense. The acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib, from the New England Patriots, is a huge enhancement of the already strong defense.
Denver is the team to beat in the AFC. It will not be a surprise if Denver will win the AFC.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Of all the Super Bowl winners in the past 10 years, the only team that has legitimate chance of a repeat is Seattle. With most of the players in the Super Bowl roster, it is just fitting for all the NFL fans to give the Seattle Seahawks the attention.
Again, the biggest challenge for the Seahawks is to win their division against 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams. If the Seahawks will conquer that strong division, there’s no doubt they will be in the next Super Bowl.