Hey everybody, the Madden predictions are back! Why all of the long faces? Oh, because of what I just wrote -- the Madden predictions are back. Well, don't be so glum. Thankfully, many of the Broncos fans who were upset with me because I predicted a Seahawks blowout in this space last season know that it's not my fault.
Here are my predictions for the coming season. Feel free to let me know what an idiot I am down below. Don't worry, I'm a big boy. I can take it.
Could Peyton Manning have another MVP year? Adam Rank thinks so. (EA Sports)
Highest rated player: Peyton Manning (98)
Prediction: Peyton Manning takes on the NFL this season like he's playing on rookie level as he exceeds his gaudy numbers from last year.
Highest rated player: Jamaal Charles (97)
Player most likely to get a boost: Travis Kelce. Have you seen him run? Dude outruns defensive backs.
Prediction: The Chiefs fall back to the pack to finish 4-12.
Outlook: The Raiders made a huge impact in free agency, and are a definite threat to win the 2009 AFC West crown.
Player most likely to get a boost: Derek Carr. He's going to end up starting a ton for this team.
Prediction: The Raiders hang for most of the season, especially in games that start before the early-bird special. The team goes 8-8.
Outlook: The Chargers made the playoffs under first-year head coach Mike McCoy and upset the Bengals in the first round. Well, if you consider beating the Bengals in the playoffs an upset -- most do not.
Highest rated player: Eric Weddle (94)
Player most likely to get a boost: Keenan Allen has just begun to reach his potential. Last year's rookie breakout didn't even begin the season as a starter and had monster season.
This year's Seattle Seahawks team is younger and hungrier than last season. (EA Sports)
Outlook: The Cardinals finished 10-6, but missed the playoffs. Funny, I'm trying to recall the outrage of a 10-6 Birds squad missing the playoffs while the 8-7-1 Packers hosted a playoff game. Oh, that's right, nobody cares as long as it screws a West division team.
Highest rated player: Calais Campbell (96).
Outlook: Things were looking up for St. Louis before Sam Bradford.
Highest rated player: Robert Quinn (97).
Player most likely to get a boost: Tavon Austin. He could have a bunch of plays drawn up for him this season.
Prediction: St. Louis loses a bunch of 12-3 games, but the defense is one of the best in recent history.
Prediction: The 49ers miss the playoffs for the first time in four years. The defense has sustained too many injuries on defense and end up in a ton of shootouts.
Outlook: The Seahawks are coming off the first championship in club history, and are poised for another strong performance this season.
Highest rated player: Richard Sherman (99)
Player most likely to get a boost: Jermaine Kearse. Had a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and he will be the guy who emerges from Percy Harvin's shadow to shine this season. Russell Wilson would be here, but he's very high already.
Prediction: The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl again. Maybe. But the team is not going to have any noticeable drop off. Pete Carroll knows a thing or two about getting a team to repeat a championship season. This team is younger and maybe a little bit hungrier.
Player most likely to get a boost: Robert Woods. Having Watkins to draw attention should make his job much easier. Put him in the slot and let it fly.
Outlook: The Dolphins kind of seem to reside outside the realm of consciousness of most NFL fans, but have been quietly building a winner.
Player most likely to get a boost: Knowshon Moreno. He seems to be counted out every preseason. And yet, he always seems to come through by the end of the year.
Outlook: The Patriots continue to be one of the most dominant teams in the AFC, and again figure to compete for the conference crown.
Highest rated player: Darrelle Revis (97)
Player most likely to get a boost: Tim Wright is a pretty good fit for this offense and will play alongside Rob Gronkowski and thrive.
Prediction: The Patriots reach the AFC Championship Game. Again. They knock off the Chargers to reach the Super Bowl where they face off against the, well, I don't want to spoil some NFC team's prediction.
Outlook: Some might say Rex Ryan had the best coaching performance of his career last season when the team finished 8-8. He'd better hope to be that good again.
Player most likely to get a boost: Geno Smith. Hey, he was somewhat decent last year. Stop laughing, he really was.
Outlook: The Cowboys have been pretty even over the past couple of years with multiple 8-8 finishes. That might be an optimistic outlook with this offense.
Player most likely to get a boost: Terrance Williams. Well the Cowboys defense didnât do well last year. And it could be worse this year. But that means more chances for the Cowboys to throw the ball, which means Williams is going to have a prolific season.
Outlook: The Giants have a brand new offense. And it doesn't look very good. Seriously, it looks like a television pilot that's about to be canceled. Yet, you can't stop watching.
Player most likely to get a boost: Rashad Jennings has been underrated at just about every stop along the way.
Player most likely to get a boost: Darren Sproles has been productive for a lot of years, but he's about to reach unprecedented heights for his career.
Prediction: Back-to-back NFC East titles.
Outlook: Washington has a new coach, Jay Gruden! Not Jon Gruden, mind you. Jay Gruden. Yeah, how many meetings do you think the team's brass went through before they realized, "Wait a minute, this isn't the guy who coached the Bucs! I thought he looked different from 'Monday Night Football.'"
Highest rated player: Trent Williams (95).
Player most likely to get a boost: Freddy Morris. You've been robbing him for years!
Prediction: Kirk Cousins starts this season. And not because of an injury.
Outlook: The Ravens missed the playoffs after winning their second title.
Highest rated player: Justin Tucker (93). But hey, he's a great kicker!
Player most likely to get a boost: Torrey Smith. Just a feeling. If Gary Kubiak wants to get another head coaching gig, he needs to throw the ball. That means Joe Flacco. And Flacco can't get it down without Smith.
Prediction: Bernard Pierce crushes it right out of the gate, and that other guy doesn't get much of a chance to work back into the mix.
Player most likely to get a boost: Mo Sanu. He's given the opportunity because of injuries, and he will make the most of it.
Prediction: The Bengals win the AFC North again. And all of the haters won't give Dalton any credit when he finally breaks through to win a playoff game.
Player most likely to get a boost: No, not Johnny Football. It's got to be Terrance West, who is going to be a beast behind this offensive line.
Prediction: West wins rookie of the year and the Browns are much more competitive than people will imagine.
Outlook: The Steelers are getting older, slower and are in danger of missing the playoffs once again.
Highest rated player: Antonio Brown (92). He's one of the most underrated players out there.
Prediction: The Steelers miss the playoffs, which is starting to become the norm in the 'Burgh. Seriously, the Pirates are a much more legitimate contender than the Steelers. But Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions.
Outlook: It's year two of the Marc Trestman show in Chicago, and this offense seems ready to explode. But is the defense, once again, going to be a liability?
Player most likely to get a boost: Alshon Jeffery. He made the leap during his second season, but could reach even greater heights this season.
Highest rated player: Calvin Johnson (99). He's just a 99 because he can't be rated any higher.
Highest rated player: Aaron Rodgers (98). Of course it's him.
Prediction: Aaron Rodgers will make more commercials. Too bad it won't mean any more playoff victories.
Outlook: New coach Mike Zimmer makes his long-awaited debut as a head coach. And look, the team is playing outdoors again!
Highest rated player: Adrian Peterson (98). The only upset is he's not a 99.
Prediction: The Vikings won't be terrible, but they are the third-best in one of the league's best divisions. And playing in the snow is going to make the team rethink its position to have an indoor stadium. But probably not.
Outlook: Well, it can't be much worse than finishing 2-14 last season. What's that? Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback? Oh wait, it can be.
Highest rated player: J.J. Watt (99). He's the best.
Player most likely to get a boost: Yeah, the Jadeveon Clowney rating is kind of a joke. If you leave him at linebacker. Move him to the defensive line and he's in the 90s. You won't have to go to such extremes after this season.
Prediction: Another down year for the Texans, but don't worry, Brett Hundley is on the way!
Highest rated player: Robert Mathis (93). But uh, yeah, never mind.
Prediction: The Jaguars make the playoffs. You heard it here first.
Highest rated player: Jurrell Casey (93). Makes sense. Seriously, turn off the snark, I have no complaints.
Player most likely to get a boost: Justin Hunter. He's poised for the patented second-year breakout.
Prediction: Jake Locker makes significant strides this season and remains healthy for most of the year.
Highest rated player: Julio Jones (92). Just stay healthy, dude.
Prediction: Mike Smith starts wearing real shoes at some point.
Outlook: The Panthers were one of the surprise teams of 2013, as they went on to win the divisional crown. But the NFC South has never had a repeat division winner.
Player most likely to get a boost: Kelvin Benjamin. This guy is the real deal.
Outlook: The Saints battled through injuries in 2013, but are fully healthy this season.
Highest rated player: Jimmy Graham (97). Hmmm. I'm not sure I can get down with this. He might be the best player in the game. IN. THE. GAME.
Player most likely to get a boost: Mark Ingram. The former bust from Alabama has looked really good during the preseason and figures to have a lock on the No. 1 running back spot.
Prediction: The Saints will win the NFC South. And Graham will set an NFL record with 25 touchdown receptions this season. And he'll go for the dunk on the 24th and pull the goalpost down to cause a 16-minute delay which will lead him to get suspended for the playoffs, which the Saints will lose.
Highest rated player: Gerald McCoy (95). He should just be the player most likely to get a boost, too.
Player most likely to get a boost: I just said McCoy! Oh, you want another one? All right. LaVonte David (93) is poised to be the best at his position very soon.
Will the Seattle Seahawks repeat? Or will another champion be crowned? (EA Sports)
AFC West: Denver
AFC East: New England
AFC North: Cincinnati
AFC South: Indianapolis
Wild cards: San Diego, Jacksonville
NFC West: Seattle
NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Chicago
NFC South: New Orleans
Wild cards: Arizona, Green Bay
Super Bowl: New England vs. Seattle
Champion: New England
MVP: Peyton Manning (seriously?)
OPOY: Matt Forte
DPOY: Von Miller
Rookie: Brandin Cooks
- Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @AdamRank