Aug 16, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the 2013 NFL Season

The 2013 season is officially here as the Broncos and Ravens get ready to kickoff the season in Denver. There have been some big changes throughout the offseason; the defense of the World Champion Ravens saw a major makeover, the Patriots have a completely revamped wide receiver unit, and the Broncos added a great slot receiver but lost one of their best pass rushers. The NFC saw an arms race in the West, with the Seahawks and 49ers each making significant upgrades, the Cardinals adding a legitimate quarterback and the Rams adding playmakers on offense. With all these changes, some would think that the NFL might be in the midst of a sea change, but that may not be the case. Here is how I see things shaking out in 2013.

AFC East
1. New England Patriots 13-3 Brady, the running game & defense = consistency
2. Miami Dolphins 9-7             Growth, but not enough as Fins miss the playoffs
3. Buffalo Bills 7-9                    Young team takes the first step to credibility.
4. New York Jets 5-11               Worst offense in the NFL;  the defense is still good.

AFC North
1. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5      The Bengals break through & win the tough North
2. Baltimore Ravens 11-5       Changes on defense help, but loss of Pitta hurts
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8      Until the Steelers add O-tackles, they’re a .500 team
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10      The Browns ARE improving, slowly

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts 11-5       Luck & Co. helps Indy return to prominence
2. Houston Texans 10-6         Limited passing game keeps them out of elite class
3. Tennessee Titans 7-9         Titans will go as far as Locker takes them
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-15  The worst team in the NFL…Clowny or Bridgewater?

AFC West
1. Denver Broncos 13-3          Weak division, explosive offense cover holes
2. San Diego Chargers 9-7     Shocking, the Chargers finish right around .500
3. Oakland Raiders 6-10        Lack of good QB play sinks the Raiders in ’13
4. Kansas City Chiefs 4-12     The “Alex Smith Show” without Harbaugh isn’t the same

NFC East
1. Washington Redskins 11-5  RGIII is back & the ‘Skins defense is the real deal
2. New York Giants 10-6        The best team in NY barely misses the playoffs
3. Dallas Cowboys 8-8            The yearly underachievers finish at .500
4. Philadelphia Eagles 5-11    Chip Kelly needs to rebuild this pathetic defense

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers 12-4     Additions at RB & OL make the difference
2. Chicago Bears 10-6             Trestman & Cutler ignite the Bears passing attack
3. Detroit Lions 8-8                Maturity issues will hold this talented group back
4. Minnesota Vikings 5-11     Peterson is great but they are too one-dimensional

NFC South
1. Atlanta Falcons 12-4          Jackson is the star, but Rodgers may break out
2. New Orleans Saints 11-5   Sean Payton is back and so are the Saints
3. Tampa Bay Bucs      9-7     Favorable schedule but division is tough
4. Carolina Panthers 6-10     Until they add  offensive weapons, Carolina won’t contend

NFC West
1. San Francisco 49ers 10-6  The loss of Crabtree is huge & will be the downfall
2. St. Louis Rams 10-6           The surprise of the season. Fisher wins games
3. Seattle Seahawks 8-8         Overrated group returns to form
4. Arizona Cardinals 3-13      Lack of O-line talent sinks the Cards in 2013.

AFC Playoffs
Bye: Broncos, Patriots

Wild Card Round
Ravens 24, Colts 23
Bengals 21, Texans 20

AFC Divisional Round
Patriots 38, Ravens 17
Bengals 24, Broncos 20

AFC Championship
Patriots 24, Bengals 16

NFC Playoffs
Byes: Packers, Falcons

Wild Card Round
Saints 31, 49ers 13
Redskins 27, Bears 21

NFC Divisional Round
Packers 31, Saints 30
Redskins 27, Falcons 17

NFC Championship
Redskins 24, Packers 23

Super Bowl XLVIII
Patriots 31, Redskins 27

Award Winners
MVP- Peyton Manning, Broncos
Coach of the Year- Jeff Fisher, Rams
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year- Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year- Bacarri Rambo, Redskins
NFL Offensive Player of the Year- Aaron Rodgers, Packers
NFL Defensive Player of the Year- JJ Watt, Texans

It is important to remember that these are “perfect world” predictions, which means injuries are not part of the equation. I know some may laugh at the Redskins prediction, but last season was not a fluke. The Patriots may have gone through a rough offseason, but the talent and leadership on the roster and within the coaching staff will keep them focused on the prize that they will be collecting in February- their 4th Super Bowl title.

Here is a link to my 2012 predictions:

http://www.chrissimoneau.com/archive-article-2012-nfl-predictions/

 

Follow me @ https://twitter.com/chris_simoneau

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