Updated Feb 7, 2014 - 9:02 pm
Seahawks dynasty heads top 12 questions for 2014
(AP) - Less than a week removed from Seattle's lopsided win over Denver in the Super Bowl, the focus has already shifted to next season.
The NFL combine opens on Feb. 19. Free agency begins March 11. Schedules are released in April, and the draft has been pushed back to May 8-10 this year.
Then, it's several weeks of minicamps and organized team activities before training camp rolls around.
All 32 teams are 0-0 until September. So, let's take a look at our version of the 12 top questions headed into the 2014 NFL season:
1. Are the Seahawks capable of being a dynasty?
This is a young team that's no one-year wonder. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll built a contender for the long haul. Russell Wilson can only get better as he enters just his third year in the league. He has a solid supporting cast led by Marshawn Lynch. The defense is downright dominant and it's the main reason why Seattle will be a serious threat to repeat.
2. Will the Broncos rebound from their Super Bowl debacle?
You can't bet against Peyton Manning after the phenomenal record-setting season he had just two years removed from all those neck surgeries. But the bitter sting of an awful performance on the big stage will linger for a long time, and perhaps serve as motivation. With Manning, the Broncos clearly are a playoff contender. The goal is to win a Super Bowl, however. They've got some catching up to do.
3. Has the window closed on the Patriots?
Guiding New England to another division title and the AFC championship game may have been Bill Belichick's best coaching job. Brady helped them overachieve with a group of rookies and unproven castoffs playing key roles, but they couldn't get past Manning and the Broncos. The Patriots were the NFL's last dynasty, winning three Super Bowls in four years. They haven't won one since 2004 and time is running run out for Belichick and Brady.
4. Can Jason Garrett last another season in Dallas?
Garrett has led the Cowboys to three straight season-ending losses that left Dallas 8-8 and out of the playoffs. America's Team has one playoff victory since winning its fifth Super Bowl in 1995. Jerry Jones has shown plenty of patience with Garrett since he replaced Wade Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season, but Tony Romo and Co. have to produce to keep Garrett's job.
5. Who will be the next Chip Kelly?
Kelly brought his innovative ideas and up-tempo offense to the pros and led the Philadelphia Eagles to the NFC East title, a remarkable turnaround after a 4-12 season in 2012. San Diego's Mike McCoy was another first-year coach who led his team to the playoffs. Of the seven new coaches, four are rookies: Washington's Jay Gruden, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer, Cleveland's Mike Pettine and Houston's Bill O'Brien. Gruden may have the best shot to go worst-to-first if Robert Griffin III regains his rookie form.
6. Which big names will change teams in free agency?
Michael Vick is probably the top player that's almost certainly going to a new team in 2014. Nick Foles is the No. 1 guy in Philadelphia, so Vick has to look elsewhere for a starting job. Perhaps the New York Jets. Vick had his best season in 2010 when Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg held that job with the Eagles. Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, Buffalo safety Jarius Byrd, Denver wide receiver Eric Decker and Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo also will be free agents. New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham is the best of the bunch, but the Saints can't let him go.
7. Who will be the first pick of the NFL draft?
The Texans need a quarterback so it could be Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel. If they take the best player available, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or linebacker Khalil Mack might be the guy.
8. Which team will be this year's Texans or Falcons?
Houston went from 12-4 in 2012 to 2-14 and Atlanta fell from 13-3 to 4-12. Two candidates for big drop-offs from each conference are Kansas City and Carolina. The Chiefs went 11-5 in Andy Reid's first season as coach, but wasted a 28-point second-half lead in a playoff loss to Indianapolis. The Panthers went 12-4 before losing to San Francisco in the playoffs. Neither may have an 8-10 win drop, but one of them might be on the outside looking in next postseason.
9. When will playoffs expand?
It's unlikely for 2014, but it's a strong possibility two teams will be added by 2015. Commissioner Roger Goodell supports the idea, so it seems only a matter of time before it happens.
10. Will instant replay get tweaked?
Talk of centralizing some aspects of replay has begun, and it could be a way of improving the process, eliminating mistakes and speeding it up.
11. Which QB gets a new deal first?
Carolina's Cam Newton, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton are three years into their rookie contracts. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has two years left on his deal. Newton or Kaepernick are top bets to get paid first.
12. Who goes to the Super Bowl in Arizona?
Way too early, but let's go with Packers-Colts.
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi
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