With half of the 2014 NFL season already in the record books now seems like the perfect time to set out our stall with some bold predictions for the rest of the season.
Chargers to fade away
More than any other team in the NFL San Diego's impressive early season form was dependent on one player being in a great run of form. In this case it was Philip Rivers. Now Rivers is an excellent QB but the rest of the roster isn't great and injuries are leaving it a little thin looking. The bye week will help but not perhaps as much as Charger's fans would hope.
In their last five games the Chargers face the Patriots and Broncos at home and the Ravens, 49ers and Chiefs on the road. It is not inconceivable that they lose all five matches and slip out of the post-season reckoning.
Falcons to rise up
If you've been to a Falcons game this season then you will have heard Samuel Jackson's dulcet tones commanding Atlanta's faithful to "rise up!".
With a 2 and 6 record the team on the pitch could do with taking this advice also. What is more in the second half of the season Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons might just do so for three reasons.
Firstly, the NFC South isn't the strongest. The Saints and Panthers are tied for the lead but neither of them is running away with it and neither of them has looked great. It is not inconceivable that an 8 - 6 record win the NFC South. The Falcons could manage it.
Secondly, the Falcons have at times this season looked like a million dollars. Matt Ryan was outstanding in week one against New Orleans. The entire team delivered one of the most dominant performances of the season against Tampa Bay and for the first half against the Lions on Sunday they were simply outstanding. If they can take that form into the rest of their games and stop shooting themselves in the foot then Atlanta are a match for any team.
Thirdly, the Falcons schedule isn't the hardest. They will beat Tampa Bay this weekend and they could easily go 4 from 4 at home. If they manage this then all they need to do is find a win against on the road in Carolina, New Orleans or Green Bay. It's possible. It might even be plausible.
Dolphins beat Patriots to top spot in AFC East
This one might be the so bold it is almost stupid but bare with me because, it isn't as crazy as it first appears. Firstly, the second half of New England's schedule is tough. New England's next six games are against Denver, Indianapolis, Detroit, Green Bay, San Diego and Miami. That is a tough run of games and it is not out of the question that the weaknesses that New England had in September could rear their ugly head again.
The Dolphins meanwhile are on an upward swing. With Bill Lazors offense bedding in Ryan Tannehill, Mike Wallace and Lamar Miller are improving week on week. Combine this with a defensive line that is as good as any in the league and Miami could run New England close
Seahawks fail to make playoffs
They may be the World Champions but they have a 4-4 record and the rest of the schedule is not getting easier. In the rest of the season half of Seattle's games are against the 49ers and Cardinals. They also play the Eagles, Chiefs, Giants and the Rams who defeated them only two weeks ago. Even the home game against Oakland does not look as easy as it once did.
With the defense no longer playing like the 'Legion of Boom' and the offense seeming not to have a clear identity Seattle aren't going to make the post-season and defend their title this season.
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