10 Predictions for 2014

10 Predictions for 2014
January 1, 2014, 1:00 am
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A Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl? Count on it. With Brady & Co. losing again.

(USA Today Sports Images)

My New Year’s resolution is stop making ridiculous predictions, so I spent the last few hours of 2013 getting high off clairvoyance one last time before the cold, abstinent winter. Please enjoy these now, and once again when they come to fruition in 2014. And as always, a reminder that these predictions are not based on any inside information, only my God given ability to see into the future.

Enjoy!

1. The Patriots will lose to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl: Yes, that means a Pete Carroll-coached team will beat a Bill Belichick-coached team, in the cold with everything on the line. That means we’ll live in a world where Richard Sherman can add “world champ” to his list of things to yap about and Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record will stand at 3-3.

That also means that the Patriots will beat the Broncos on the road in the AFC championship. First of all, because Denver’s D is in worse shape than New England’s. Second, because Wes Welker is one hit away from being sidelined for the season, and (sadly) he won’t make it out of the divisional round unscathed. His absence will wreak havoc on the Denver attack. Don’t be fooled by what they did against Houston and Oakland.

Finally, there’s Brady vs. Manning.

“Cold weather. Playoff pressure. Papa Johns.”

Final: New England 34, Denver 28

2. The Celtics will finish as the 12th seed in the East, earn the 6th pick in the draft and trade up to select Kansas freshman Joel Embiid: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle get most of the attention, but Embiid – a 19-year-old, seven-foot tall, former volleyball player from Cameroon — is the guy I want to build around in this summer’s draft. So, it’s pretty convenient that my powers detect that he’ll be coming to Boston.

Check out Embiid’s Draft Express player profile. The highlights kick in at the one-minute mark.

Brad Stevens has the Celtics playing like a Top 10 defense without a center on the roster. With the Embiid in the mix, the opposition might not score.

The 6th pick plus Jared Sullinger will be enough to bring Embiid home.

3. An active NFL player will come out of the closet: Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Of course, there’s not anything wrong with that. After reports that four NFL players were very close to going public last year, combined with the fact that Jason Collins unfortunately never got a chance to carry the openly gay torch as an active athlete, the time is right for someone else to stand up. And in turn, for everyone to go crazy. And in turn, for a few other athletes to make regrettable comments on Twitter. And in turn, for the world to eventually move on, and do so far better for the experience.

4. The Bruins will fall in the Conference Finals: After beating Toronto in the first round and Montreal in the semis, Boston will run out of gas in the conference finals against Pittsburgh. That will be in large part due to the struggles of Zdeno Chara, who’ll be significantly hampered by a series of undisclosed injuries, and will leave Jarome Iginla scratching his head — “God damn it!”

5. Aaron Hernandez will beat his first-degree murder charge: The announcement will be made a week before the start of the 2014 NFL season, at which point Hernandez will be free to . . . most likely serve time for the five gun charges already levied against him plus anything else they come up with in the meantime.

He won’t get life, though. There are too many problems with the case. No murder weapon. Questionable witnesses. The fact that high-profile guys such as Hernandez almost always manage to get off.

He’ll play another NFL snap before it’s all said and done, too. The three favorites to land him are the Raiders, the Jets and whichever team Urban Meyer is coaching in 2019.

6. The Red Sox will win the AL East: This will mark the first time since 1915 and 1916 (Tim Wakefield’s rookie season) that the Sox take home back-to-back division titles. They also won back-to-back World Series in 1915-16, but I can’t guarantee another ring. Only another AL East crown. First, because the Sox will once again have a great team, founded on reliable starters, patient bats, sound defense and a dominant closer. Also, because of the competition: The Yankees added a lot of power, but their pitching stinks worse than the pile of jock straps left behind in Joba Chamberlain’s locker. The Rays will be pesky, but might be forced to trade David Price at the deadline. The Orioles aren’t quite there and the Blue Jays are still the Blue Jays.

And then there’s this:

7. Sox will break the farm for Giancarlo Stanton: He’ll be available at the deadline. The Sox will be looking for outfield power at the deadline. Come July 31, Stanton will be the one thing separating the Sox from the title of “American League favorite,” and with the No. 1 farm system in baseball at his finger tips, Ben Cherington will move to strike.

8. UMass will make the Sweet 16: I won’t go into too much detail on UMass basketball, because not that many people care . . . yet. I will say this, though: The Minutemen are back. If you enjoyed watching them in the mid-90s, you will enjoy watching them now. They’re deep. They’re talented. They’re incredibly athletic. And leading the charge is senior point guard Chaz Williams, who’s had the team on the brink of relevancy these past two years, but will finally break through in 2014. Chaz has at least one game of March Madness heroics in him this spring, but my money’s on he and the Minutemen (an eventual six seed) winning at least two.

9. An Ethopian will win the Boston Marathon: It’s always important to make at least one safe bet, and this is as safe as it gets. Then again, who cares? The identity of the marathon winner has never been less significant than it will be this time around.

10. Paul Pierce will re-sign with the Celtics: There’s one stipulation: If Pierce is traded to the Clippers before this year’s deadline, then he’ll probably re-sign in L.A., where he can stay close to home and contend for however many years he has left. But otherwise, it’s back to Boston. And not just so he can retire in Green. So he can play and contribute and at a rock bottom price. Think Chauncey Billups this year in Detroit.

Bonus prediction: Within his first month back with the Celtics, Pierce will become the 18th player in NBA history to go over 25,000 points for his career.

Happy New Year!

Follow me on Twitter: @rich_levine