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2014 season predictions revisited

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The 2014 regular season has come and gone, which means it's time to see how my predictions stack up vs. the real thing.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders

Predicted Record and Rank: 3-13. Rank 32

Actual Record and Rank: 3-13. Rank 28 by virtue of strength of schedule

What Happened: Derek Carr beat out the Matts to win the starting job and did fairly well considering that he doesn't have a #1 or even a #2 wide receiver and not much of a rushing attack. Also the defense was middling, and got good returns from Sio Moore and Khalil Mack. But that didn't undo the fact that the Raiders were a team that needs a lot of help at a lot of places and faced the hardest schedule in the entire NFL.

What To Do Now: Build around Derek Carr on offense and get some young pass rushers on defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Predicted Record and Rank: 4-12. Rank 31

Actual Record and Rank: 4-12 Rank 30 by virtue of strength of schedule

What Happened: Blake Bortles was killed behind a terrible Jaguars offensive line.

What To Do Now: Get Bortles some protection.

Cleveland Browns

Predicted Record and Rank: 5-11. Rank 30

Actual Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 20

What Happened: Behind a stout offensive line and rushing attack, Brian Hoyer looked like a decent quarterback and with some help by a tough defense, had the Browns in playoff contention late in the season at 7-4. Unfortunately injuries to Alex Mack and crucial defensive players would undo it all. The Browns rushing attack would crumble, and Brian Hoyer would crumble with it. Josh Gordon would come back, but he was lackadaisical on the field and proved to be a liability. Johnny Manziel replaced Hoyer after a disaster against the Colts and fared worse than Hoyer. Connor Shaw took over in Week 17 after both were too injured to play. He didn't give the Browns any hope at QB, and now they head into an uncertain offseason.

What To Do Now: Get Johnny, Josh, and Justin Gilbert and tell them that the NFL isn't a gimme and that they can't show up late because they were partying out all night. Also draft a wide receiver because Josh Gordon is unreliable.

Tennessee Titans

Predicted Record and Rank: 6-10. Rank 29.

Actual Record and Rank: 2-14. Rank 31 by virtue of strength of schedule.

What Happened: Despite all that was invested in the Titans offensive line it was still a turnstile, which prevented them from getting much of a rushing attack. The passing attack couldn't get much going either and Justin Hunter didn't show much in the way of development. Injuries forced Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger to take the field. The defense didn't have too many quality players outside of Jurrell Casey.

What To Do Now: Get protection for whichever quarterback gets thrown out there, be that Mettenberger, Locker, or Clipboard Jesus. Also get some more players on defense.

Dallas Cowboys

Predicted Record and Rank: 6-10. Rank 28

Actual Record and Rank: 12-4. NFC East Victor, 3rd in the NFC.

What Happened: The defense performed better than any of us expected it would. The Cowboys investments in their offensive line paid off, as DeMarco Murray was the NFL's best rusher, breaking Emmitt Smith's rushing record. Dez Bryant broke Terrell Owens' single season record and Tony Romo had an excellent season.

What To Do Now: These new triplets make the Cowboys a dangerous team and with wins an 8-0 away record that includes wins at Seattle and Indianapolis makes the Cowboys a dangerous team to play anywhere.

Houston Texans

Predicted Record and Rank: 6-10. Rank 27

Actual Record and Rank: 9-7. Rank 16

What Happened: Arian Foster had a bounce-back season, the Texans got game-manager play from their quarterbacks, DeAndre Hopkins had a great season, and J.J. Watt was a beast. Unfortunately that wasn't enough for the Texans to make the playoffs, but it's still a nice turnaround for a team that went 2-14, picked first overall, and fired the best coach and quarterback their team ever had.

What To Do Now: Get Jadeveon Clowney healthy and playing. Get a young wide receiver as Andre Johnson looks to be in decline.

Washington Redskins

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 26

Actual Record and Rank: 4-12. Rank 27

What Happened: RG3 couldn't return to his 2012 form. Be that because he struggles to function without the run or because of their terrible offensive line, he played horribly. The defense wasn't all that hot either outside of a few players.

What To Do Now: Seeing as the Redskins are claiming to stay committed to RG3, they should draft some offensive linemen for him. They should also develop him as a pocket passer.

Buffalo Bills

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 25

Actual Record and Rank: 9-7. Rank 19

What Happened: The Bills defense was excellent, as they stifled the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. They swept the NFC North and went 4-2 in divisional play. Sammy Watkins was an electrifying receiver and Kyle Orton was a good game manager.

What To Do Now: See if E.J. Manuel can't be developed. Also the Bills might want to get a new running back as C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are getting old.

Minnesota Vikings

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 24.

Actual Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 21.

What Happened: Teddy Bridgewater had his share of highs and lows, Adrian Peterson got suspended, Cordarelle Patterson didn't develop as a receiver, the offensive line was terrible, and the defense was good.

What To Do Now: Get Teddy offensive linemen and a wide receiver to throw to. See if Jerick McKinnon can replace Adrian Peterson if he doesn't get reinstated in time for 2015. Develop the defense around Sharif Floyd, Anthony Barry, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 23.

Actual Record and Rank: 2-14. Rank 32

What Happened: The offensive line didn't help get a run game going and it could protect Josh McCown or Mike Glennon. They didn't get much from the skill position players not named Mike Evans (who had an amazing season). The defense outside of Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy was terrible. They received no help from any of their free agents.

What To Do Now: Draft offensive and defensive linemen. Don't even think of drafting a skill position player, as they are destined to fail behind that disaster of an offensive line.

San Diego Chargers

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 22

Actual Record and Rank: 9-7. Rank 19

What Happened: They missed it by that much. Despite all the injuries the Chargers suffered on the offensive side of the ball, and despite Phillip Rivers being hobbled, the Chargers had played well enough to the point where a win against the Chiefs would put them in the postseason. Unfortunately for them they couldn't do it.

What To Do Now: Get Rivers some protection, because Nick Hardwick looks done. Also get him a running back, because their rushing attack was pitiful, and Ryan Matthews is only consistent at getting injured.

St. Louis Rams

Predicted Record and Rank: 7-9. Rank 21

Actual Record and Rank: 6-10. Rank 22

What Happened: The defense started out with a mediocre performance and the offense led by Austin Davis and Shaun Hill didn't help much. When the Rams did get their defense back, the quarterback play still held them back.

What To Do Now: Get a quarterback. It's really that simple.

New York Giants

Predicted Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 20

Actual Rank and Record: 6-10. Rank 23

What Happened: Eli had a bounce back season and Odell Beckham Jr. blew our minds. However the Giants were devastated by injuries, as they lost many big players at wide receiver, offensive line, inside linebacker, defensive line, and cornerback.

What To Do Now: Draft offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and inside linebackers. Also get everyone healthy.

Carolina Panthers

Predicted Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 19

Actual Rank and Record: 7-8-1. NFC South victor, 4th in the NFC.

What Happened: Despite having a dismal offensive line, no weapons outside of Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen and a dismal defense, the Panthers got hot at the right time to seize the NFC South playoff spot.

What To Do Now: Hope that flame stays hot.

Detroit Lions

Predicted Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 18

Actual Rank and Record: 11-5. 2nd in the NFC North, 5th in the NFC

What Happened: The Lions had a great defense, and Golden Tate gave the Lions that receiver to go aside Megatron that they've been searching for.

What To Do Now: Win in the playoffs.

New York Jets

Predicted Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 17

Actual Rank and Record: 4-12. Rank 26

What Happened: Geno Smith didn't get any better and the Jets secondary was abysmal.

What To Do Now: Seeing as Rex Ryan and John Idzik have been given the boot, the Jets need to find a good coach and general manager, as well as a good quarterback, cornerback, and some offensive weapons.

Kansas City Chiefs

Predicted Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 16

Actual Rank and Record: 9-7. Rank 15

What Happened: Jamaal Charles was Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce was a good option in the passing game, and the defense was still good, but the Chiefs got absolutely nothing from their wide receivers.Also Eric Fisher hasn't gotten much better.

What To Do Now: Get Alex Smith some offensive linemen, as well as a better wide receiver.

Miami Dolphins

Predicted Rank and Record: 9-7. Rank 15

Actual Rank and Record: 8-8 Rank. 18

What Happened: Despite solid quarterback play from Ryan Tannehill and having a good rushing attack with Lamar Miller, the Dolphins had a late-season collapse from their offensive line and defense to keep them out of the playoffs.

What To Do Now: Get some more young guys on the offensive and defensive line.

Atlanta Falcons

Predicted Rank and Record: 9-7. Rank 14

Actual Rank and Record: 6-10. Rank 24

What Happened: The run game failed behind an offensive line that was still terrible and the defense was still abysmal outside of a few key players.

What To Do Now: Find a new coach, seeing as Mike Smith has been fired. Also draft some offensive and defensive linemen, as well as a tight end and a running back.

Chicago Bears

Predicted Rank and Record: 10-6. Rank 13

Actual Rank and Record: 5-11. Rank 25

What Happened: If you can believe it the Bears defense was worse than it was in 2013 and they received no help as the Bears offense regressed from it's 2013 form.

What To Do Now: Hire a new coach and general manager, as Marc Trestman and Phil Emery both lost their jobs. Also draft some defensive linemen and linebacker, because the Bears need to rebuild their defense.

Arizona Cardinals

Predicted Rank and Record: 10-6. Rank 12

Actual Rank and Record: 11-5. 2nd in the NFC West, 6th in the NFC

What Happened: The Cardinals were the NFLs' hottest team at 9-1 and looked Super Bowl bound. Then came injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton and the Cardinals went 2-4 to finish the season.

What To Do Now: Hope that Drew Stanton gets healthy in time for the weekend or that Ryan Lindley can play well enough to win games.

Cincinnati Bengals

Predicted Rank and Record: 10-6. Rank 11

Actual Rank and Record: 10-5-1. 2nd in the AFC North, 5th in the AFC

What Happened: Cincinnati's defense was just good enough to make it and the Bengals run game gave them a great offense.

What To Do Now: Hope that Andy Dalton can get the monkey off his back.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicted Rank and Record: 11-5. Rank 10.

Actual Rank and Record: 11-5.  AFC North Victor, 3rd in the AFC.

What Happened: The Steelers high-flying offense got them into the playoffs.

What To Do Now: Keep it going, because the Steelers defense isn't good enough to win on it's own.

Baltimore Ravens

Predicted Rank and Record: 11-5. Rank 9

Actual Rank and Record: 10-6. 3rd in the AFC North, 6th in the AFC.

What Happened: The Ravens fixed their offensive line and run game, and got new targets for Joe Flacco which led to him having the best year of his career. The defense overcame the loss of Jimmy Smith by having one of the NFL's most ferocious pass rushes.

What To Do Now: Ride the offense and pass rush and use that to win in the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts

Predicted Rank and Record: 12-4. Rank 8

Actual Rank and Record: 11-5. AFC South victor, 4th in the AFC.

What Happened: Andrew Luck was Andrew Luck.

What To Do Now: Hope that Andrew Luck continues to play well, because the defense and run game aren't much better than they were last year.

Philadelphia Eagles

Predicted Rank and Record: 11-5. Rank 7

Actual Rank and Record: 10-6. Rank 13

What Happened: Nick Foles suffered an injury that ended his season and forced Mark Sanchez into action. He was doing fine until late season losses to the Cowboys and Redskins knocked them out of the playoffs.

What To Do Now: Get Foles healthy for 2015 and draft some corners.

Green Bay Packers

Predicted Rank and Record: 12-4. Rank 6

Actual Rank and Record: 12-4. NFC North Victor, 2nd in the NFC.

What Happened: Aaron Rodgers was the NFL's best passer and the defense was good as well. Eddie Lacy wasn't half-bad either.

What To Do Now: Keep playing at an advanced level, and hope that they don't have to go to Seattle.

New Orleans Saints

Predicted Rank and Record: 12-4. Rank 5

Actual Rank and Record: 7-9. Rank 19.

What Happened: The defense regressed horribly and Drew Brees made more mistakes than Drew Brees usually does.

What To Do Now: Draft some defensive linemen.

Denver Broncos

Predicted Rank and Record: 12-4. Rank 4.

Actual Rank and Record: 12-4. AFC West Victor, 2nd in the AFC.

What Happened: Peyton Manning churned out his usual production, the Broncos got a lot of help from C.J. Anderson and the defense.

What To Do Now: Hope C.J. Anderson stays hot and that Peyton gets out of his late-season slump.

New England Patriots

Predicted Rank and Record: 13-3. Rank 3.

Actual Rank and Record: 12-4. AFC East Victor, 1st in the AFC.

What Happened: Julian Edelman was still good, Rob Gronkowski returned, Brandon LaFell was a pleasant surprise, and Tim Wright was Aaron Hernandez without all the off-field violence. Also the Patriots defense was dominant.

What To Do Now: Ride that dominance to the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers

Predicted Rank and Record: 12-4. Rank 2.

Actual Rank and Record: 8-8. Rank 17.

What Happened: The offense betrayed the defense and fell apart.

What To Do Now: Hope that whoever fills Jim Harbaugh's shoes can succeed. Also draft some offensive linemen.

Seattle Seahawks

Predicted Rank and Record: 14-2. Rank 1.

Actual Rank and Record: 12-4. NFC West Victor, 1st in the NFC.

What Happened: The Seahawks struggled early, but then regained their nastiness and took the NFC West and the conference title from the Cardinals.

What To Do Now: Keep that nastiness and get back to the Super Bowl.