The 2013 NFL season is finally upon us. This season already promises to be better than the last if for no other reason than NBC finally got rid of that God awful theme song by Faith Hill for Sunday Night Football, replacing her with...Well, a crappy knockoff version of Faith Hill.
Okay, NBC still sucks, but at least they don't have a pre-game show with some of the most forced unlikable personalities in all of football, and yes, I'm talking about you Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino and anyone else that CBS thinks would be a good idea to bring into their studio.
The important thing is that we can all go to the sports bar where we can watch the games without any volume, which is slightly more exiting than listening to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman call a game for Fox.
In any event, here are my predictions for the 2013 NFL season!
1. Washington: 10-6
Yes, I have questions about RG3's knee, but even if he is slightly less mobile this year, I still thought we was one of the best pocket passers that I ever saw coming out of college, and he did nothing last year to change my opinion. Where the Pigskins stand to gain the most is on defense with stud DE's Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan returning from injury.
By the way, isn't it time for the Redskins to change their team name to one that isn't a racial slur? If the team would just change their name from the Redskins to the Pigskins, it would not only become less offensive, but they could continue to call themselves "The Skins." Throw in a hog related logo pay homage to their fans from their glory years in the 80's and early 90's and to generate merchandise sales, and I think we have a perfect solution.
2. Dallas: 10-6
The Cowboys have greatly improved their offensive line by drafting C Jason Ferguson and luring G Brian Waters out of retirement...That is, assuming he has anything left in the tank. Tony Romo looks to be as in sync with his offense as at any point in his career, and Dez Bryant is destined to break out as a superstar. If Monte Kiffin's new defense can gel despite not having the ideal personnel for the front of his new 4-3 defense, Dallas could be the NFC's surprise team this year.
3. New York Giants: 9-7
This team is built more for the playoffs than the regular season...They just need to make sure they find a way to make it to the post season with what looks to be an aging and beat up offensive line.
4. Philadelphia: 6-10
Chip Kelly's run first hurry up offense is an ideal fit for Michael Vick. The problem is that the quarterback for Chip Kelly's run first hurry up offense is Michael Vick. With a revamped offensive line, the Eagles should be able to run the ball with a deep corps of running backs, which should be their focus on offense to cut down on Vick's propensity to turn the ball over when he tries to do too much.
1. Green Bay: 11-5
Last year's top two draft picks Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy should return from injuries this year to provide much needed support rushing the passer at OLB and DE for Clay Mathews. Even with huge question at LT with Bryan Bulaga lost for the season, rookie running back Eddie Lacy should take some pressure off of all world QB Aaron Rogers and the offensive line.
2. Detroit: 10-6
There was no important free agent signing this offseason than Detroit inking Reggie Bush. Even with Calvin Johnson facing man coverage while being bracketed by a linebacker and a safety on nearly every play, and facing gunner coverage from defenses in the red zone, Detroit's running backs couldn't take advantage of seeing the least number defenders in the box all season than any other team. Not only will Bush pull defenders away from Calvin Johnson, but he'll give Mathew Stafford a safety valve who can make big plays as a receiver out of the backfield that he hasn't had since Jahvid Best was forced to retire due to concussions.
Throw in one of the best defensive lines in football and a secondary that hopes to upgrade to mediocre after drafting Darius Slay, as well as the return of Louis Delmas and the signing of Glover Quinn at S, and the Lions look to be in the mix to make the playoffs again.
3. Chicago: 8-8
Marc Trestman brings his experience coaching in the CFL to Chicago, which may not be a bad thing considering that Jay Cutler throwing the ball on third down doesn't always work out so well. Actually, I'm not quite sure why Lovie Smith was fired, as the Bears problems on offense had more to do with talent than scheme, and their defense was one of the better ones in the NFL when it came to making big plays last season.
|In addition to his CFL background, new Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman also has a law degree...I'm sure that will go along way with his locker room cred.|
4. Minnesota: 5-11
Despite a plethora of high draft picks and free agent signings, I'm not sure that the Vikings will be any better than they were last season. Even if Cordarelle Patterson is ready to replace Percy Harvin, I'm not convinced that Christian Ponder is a starting caliber NFL QB. On defense the Vikings have issues with their back seven, and that's not a good problem to have in the NFC North.
1. Atlanta: 11-5
While Atlanta really aired the ball out last season, look for them to balance things out this year with addition of RB Steven Jackson, especially in the red zone. Osi Umenyiora should be a nice replacement for John Abraham, although I am concerned about the depth in Atlanta's secondary, especially with New Orleans poised for a comeback year.
2. New Orleans: 10-6
Sean Peyton returns, which should bring stability back to the Saints offense. I'm also really liking the addition of rookie WR Kenny Stills, who should team up with veteran Marques Colston and the under appreciated Lance Moore to give Drew Brees one of the leagues best trios of WR's, not to mention TE super-stud Jimmy Graham. The big question is whether the Saints defense can produce, as they lack impact players at nearly every position except for safety.
There's nothing better in football right now than Drew Brees and his pre-game chants.
3. Tampa Bay: 8-8
The Buccaneers have been very aggressive in the offseason the last two years, but have very little to show for it on the field. Darrelle Revis should be a nice addition to the Buc's secondary in a pass happy division. On offense, Josh Freeman faces a make or break season with a full stable of receivers, a premier running back and what looks to be a strong and healthy offensive line for the first time in his career.
4. Carolina: 6-10
Why the Panthers have kept their backfield intact when they continue to get ten cents on the dollar return from DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart is beyond me. One of these days the franchise might even use some of that money to find a quality receiver to play opposite of Steve Smith before he retires or gets a lifetime suspension for bludgeoning an opposing player (or maybe even a teammate) to death.
1. San Francisco: 12-4
Can the 49ers overcome the loss of WR Michael Crabtree for the season? With Alex Smith? No. With Colin Kaepernick and the league's best defense? Yes. Amazingly, the 49ers not only dumped Smith, who was a disappointment as the #1 overall draft pick, but they somehow conned the Chiefs into giving them a First Round pick for him. That's the best trade in the NFL since the Lions fleeced the Cowboys out of a first round pick for Roy Williams.
2. Seattle: 10-6
Seattle has a huge home field advantage plus the good fortune to play in a weak division. With Percy Harvin sidelined for eat least most of the season, the burden will be on Golden Tate to emerge and Sidney Rice to return to his former self to give Russell Wilson serviceable targets, because I'm thinking that Mike Williams has pretty much run out of chances. Fortunately, a strong defense and strong running game should make the Seahawks contenders even if their receivers don't pan out.
3. St. Louis: 7-9
I love the Rams secondary, I like their defensive line, but I don't like their offensive line or receivers. I think by the end of the season Sam Bradford and the Rams will start to show some progress under new coach Jeff Fisher, but I'm thinking that a slow start to the season will be too much to overcome.
4. Arizona: 6-10
I'd like to say the Cardinals underrated defense will keep them in games, but Carson Palmer's propensity to throw the ball to the wrong team. While Carson Palmer may not help the Cardinals win many more games than they did last season, at least he'll help Larry Fitzgerald's fantasy stats.
NFC Wildcards: New Orleans and Detroit
NFC Conference Championship: Green Bay over San Francisco
1. New England: 11-5
The Patriots may have one of their worst teams talent wise in years, but their record wont suffer much, if any, by virtue of being in the worst division in football. But at least Tom Brady is a man's man from Boston.
Wait for it....
2. Miami: 7-9
A rookie campaign from Ryan Tannehill that failed to excite anyone gives Miami the second best quarterback situation in the AFC East...By far. In desperate need of a deep threat for their vertical passing game, the Dolphins overspent on WR Mike Wallace, who seems to be having a tough time getting adjusted to his new surroundings. Miami's defense does have a chance to be good, but it looks like they have too many other problems to overcome.
3. Buffalo: 6-10
The Bills took a big step in the right direction last offseason...Buddy Nix resigned as their GM. While E.J. Manuel seems like he could be the long term answer at QB for Bills, his missed time during the pre-season damaged any chances they had at being competitive this season, although I do look for them to finally turn the corner next year.
4. New York Jets: 8-8
I've tried to be a Rex Ryan supporter, but bringing Marc Sanchez in to play the 4th quarter of a pre-season was one of the dumbest coaching decisions since Bobby Ross unsuccessfully had the Lions attempt a 2 point conversion while trailing by 4 points with 5:26 left in a game, only to lose when Detroit got the ball back and drove down the field, but was forced to score a touchdown instead of what would have been an easy game tying field goal. Fortunately for Rex Ryan, Sanchez got hurt before he could reclaim the Jets starting QB job.
|What's creepier than Rex Ryan's foot fetish video with his wife? How about the tattoo he got on his arm of his wife butt ass naked aside from a Marc Sanchez jersey!|
|The only tattoo creepier than Sexy Rexy's is this tat of a naked Native American riding a corn dog.|
The Bengals may not be great, but they're solid across the board, starting with a top notch defense. If Mohamed Sanu can step up as a playmaker opposite A.J. Green, this team could go from just making the playoffs, to contending for a Super Bowl.
2. Baltimore: 10-6
After winning the Super Bowl, the Ravens defense lost future Hall of Famers in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. However, Elvis Dumervil will team with Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata to give the Ravens solid posts on the edges and interior of their defense, which may even wind up being better than they were last season. Ray Rice's demise is also highly exaggerated, and the Ravens will be right back in the mix to win the AFC again this season.
3. Pittsburgh: 9-7
The Steelers are aging rapidly on defense, while attempting to rebuild their running game and offensive line. While Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game can keep Pittsburgh competitive, the Steelers sorely need rookie RB Le'Veon Bell to return from a foot strain and establish a power running game.
4. Cleveland: 7-9
I look for TE Jordan Cameron to have a breakout season, as well as Josh Gordon at WR, at least once he returns from suspension. All in all, I like what the Browns are doing on defense, and if Barkevious Mingo doesn't die he could develop into a pretty nice outside pass rusher. With so many young pieces seemingly in place, the Browns badly need Brandon Weeden to step up his game this season, or else the franchise will be set back another 2-3 years as they go back to the well looking for yet another quarterback to develop.
1. Houston: 11-5
With the Texans finally finding an outside receiver to compliment Andre Johnson in DeAndre Hopkins, Matt Schaub may be able to make defenses pay for stacking the line against Arian Foster if he can stop bitching about getting hit by Ndamukong Suh.
I am a bit concerned that Andre Johnson has bulked up so much that he looks and plays more like a slot tight end, but if he can resemble his old self for just one year they might have something special in Houston this season, as their defense has the talent to help the Texans get to a Super Bowl.
2. Indianapolis: 9-7
The Colts had an emotional season last year where the team really rallied together. With Bruce Arians moving on from Colts offensive coordinator to head coach of the Cardinals, I expect a mild regression this year for Andrew Luck, but that doesn't mean that they won't find themselves in the playoff hunt.
3. Tennessee: 7-9
With Chris Johnson in camp and in shape all pre-season, the Titans should see their running game re-emerge, especially with the addition of guard Chance Warmack. If so, that would make things much easier on Jake Locker at QB. However, questions still remain at defensive end and in the secondary.
4. Jacksonville: 4-12
Bad news, Blaine Gabbert is still the Jags quarterback. Good news, the Jaguars can still sign Tim Tebow and relocate to London.
1. Denver: 10-6
Peyton Manning has regained much of the arm strength that was lacking last season after spinal surgery, which is scary considering that the Broncos are giving him two extra targets in slot receiver Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, who has the athleticism and potential to become a big play TE.
Unfortunately, Denver's front office was too busy getting arrested for DUI's to properly document re-signing key DE Elvis Dumervil with the league office, which caused him to become a free agent and served as a huge blow to the Broncos Super Bowl chances.
2. Kansas City: 8-8
Andy Reid called Alex Smith the best quarterback in football. Sadly, it appears that heroin addiction runs in his family. While Dwayne Bowe is promising a born again break-out season, I'm skeptical that Smith has the arm strength to get him the ball down field where he excels.
3. San Diego: 6-10
While Antonio Gates is healthier and in better shape than he's been in years, Danario Alexander's season ending knee injury derailed any chance of Phil Rivers re-establishing himself as one of the NFL's top QB's.
Fortunately, the Chargers are going to feature Ryan Mathews at RB this year to take the pressure off of the passing game. What was that you ask? That was the sound of Rivers saying, "Oh fuck!"
4. Oakland: 2-14
With no offensive line, no receivers, and a featured running back who can't stay healthy and runs like he's wearing speed skates, the Raiders might have one of the worst teams if NFL history. If Terrell Pryor can work some magic with his legs while mixing in some read option, the Raiders might overachieve and win a game or two.
AFC Wildcards: Baltimore and Pittsburgh
AFC Conference Championship: Houston over New England
Super Bowl Prediction: Green Bay 31 - Houston 17