NFL bobble head dolls wait for football fans at Bleacher Bums in the York Galleria mall as the season kicks off.
NFL bobble head dolls wait for football fans at Bleacher Bums in the York Galleria mall as the season kicks off. (Bill Kalina bkalina@ yorkdispatch.com)

Tiffani Cole proudly wore her Philadelphia Eagles jersey three days before her favorite football team was scheduled to host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"They're going to win," the York City resident said.

About 80 ESPN analysts and contributors agree with her.

The sports network's panel of football experts are predicting the Eagles will win the NFC East.

"It's gonna be a good year. I can feel it," Cole said.

Last season, the team's first year under head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles clinched the division title and made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They ultimately lost 26-24 to the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round, but many fans considered it a huge success over the 4-12 record in 2012.

While analysts expect Philadelphia to have 11 wins or more and make the playoffs this year, they're not sending them to Arizona just yet.

Instead, analysts expect the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers to meet Feb. 1 at the Super Bowl in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

"They're wrong," Cole said.

But of the three local teams most supported by York County fans — the Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers — it's the guys in green who are expected to make the deepest run.

Ravens: The Baltimore Ravens aren't likely to win the AFC North but could be a wild-card contender, according to ESPN analysts.

National sports reporters participating in the poll have predicted Baltimore to post a 9-7 record this year.


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"That's fair. But in that division anything can happen," said Sam Gibbs, a Ravens fan from West York.

Analysts have picked the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC North, but they're predicting the Ravens will beat the Bengals on Sunday.

"If that really happens, it could be a long season," Gibbs said, referring to the Bengals winning the division. "But I'll still watch every game."

Steelers: The news isn't much better for Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Analysts are predicting a 10-6 record and chance at a wild-card spot for the black and gold.

"There are a lot of young players. It could be hit and miss," said John Raver, a Newberry Township resident and member of the Steelers Fan Club of York.

The fan club gets together to watch games at The Cove, 1500 S. George St., York.

They'll be watching there this Sunday, when analysts predict the Steelers will defeat the Browns.

"Cleveland has a good defense, but I still think we'll win," Raver said.

He's predicting a 17-3 win for the Steelers.

Raver also thinks it's a three-team race among the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals for the division.

The treasurer of the fan club agreed.

"Our division is always tough. I don't think we'll win the Super Bowl this year, but we'll do OK," said Larry Schultz, a Springettsbury Township resident.

And that won't make the season any less exciting, he said.

"For a true fan, it doesn't matter. You just enjoy watching the Steelers play," Schultz said.

— Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.