Posts Tagged ‘2013’

Lets rewind to 2012 when Atlanta finished the regular season 13-3.  They claimed the NFC’s Number 1 playoff seed, knocked out Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs, and just fell short of going to the Super Bowl.  So when the 2013 season started a lot of analysts had Atlanta to make another deep run in the playoffs and possibly make a Super Bowl run.  The Falcons entered the season with a fearsome passing attack and an upgrade to the run game by adding Steven Jackson from the Rams.

By the time the season started we already started to see some concerns with the Falcons.  Roddy White was hobbled by a high ankle sprain which made it harder for Julio to get receptions.  By the time Roddy was getting his groove back; Julio had broken a screw in his surgically repaired left foot and missed 11 games.  Steven Jackson fell early to injury as well and missed 6 games and Jaquizz Rodgers filled in.  Matt Ryan made the best out of a bad situation by utilizing Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas, but it was very interesting to see how different that offense was without two of its big play makers.  Lets not forget that the defense was missing Sean Weatherspoon and Kroy Bierman.  The defense ended up averaging 27.7 points a game allowed against them.

Now the Falcons are looking to rebound, and I think a lot of people are expecting them to return to glory as well.  It is a big loss not having Tony Gonzalez come back, but they will have Julio Jones and Roddy White coming back strong.  Matt Ryan knows how to utilize his targets and with both of them healthy it should really spread out the offense which will help create running lanes for Steven Jackson and the running game.  The Falcons spent the offseason drafting lineman to protect Matt Ryan; and they spent a lot of money signing crucial players to the roster.  The Falcons did also bring in Devin Hester which will add depth with the receivers and help amp up special teams.  Where the Falcons really need to step up is the defense.  Weatherspoon is coming back from an injury, but he should make an immediate impact along side Paul Worrilow who totaled up 127 tackles last year. 

As long as this team can stay healthy it would not surprise me if they went 12-4 and made a playoff push.  Coach Mike Smith has only had one losing season since taking over as head coach of the Falcons so it should be an interesting year of football in Atlanta.

With the 2013 NFL schedules being released everyone is already analyzing how their teams are going to do.  Well I am no different; I just spent the last 24 hours going over each schedule to see who has a good chance at the playoffs and who has no shot at the playoffs.  I will go over each division and give a short description of their schedule then give a prediction of what I think their record will be.

+AFC EAST+
1. Patriots (14 – 2) – Patriots don’t have too hard of a schedule in 2013; they play the Jets twice, Bills twice, and the Panthers.  I do not see why the Patriots would not have anough good season.
2. Dolphins (10-6) – This was kind of surprising to me only because the Dolphins have a medium difficulty schedule this year and with the free agents they picked up they actually could have a good season.  The Dolphins will struggle in the beginning of the year with having to play the Colts and Falcons.
3. Bills (5 – 11) – Not really a shock because the Bills still don’t have a solid QB.  They are playing a lot of tough teams in 2013 like the Patriots, Bengals, and Falcons.  I do not expect them to be a sleeper team, I expect them to be the Bills and not do well.
4. New York Jets (2 – 14) – I really am not kidding with this prediction.  The Jets are really struggling and they have holes everywhere on that team.  The schedule they have does not help either; and to be honest the 2 wins I gave them are generous.

+AFC SOUTH+
1. Texans (13 – 3) – The Texans have a little tricky schedule, but they have really made an upgrade in the offseason so I think they can handle it.  They have a few easy games in the Titans, Rams, Jags, and Cardinals so I see another playoff berth in their future.
2. Colts (12 – 4) – The Colts are very similar to the Texans and there schedule has some difficult times, but with the additions they made I think they will be just fine.  In the beginning of the season the Colts might struggle with playing the 49ers, Seahawks, and Broncos before their bye week.
3. Titans (5 – 11) – The Titans are just like the Bills; they have some talent, but there are a lot of holes in the team.  They have a rough start to the season playing the Steelers then the Texans; and later in the season they have the 49ers and the Seahawks.  I am not expecting too much from the Titans
4. Jaguars (3-13) – Even with them getting the second overall pick I don’t see them making any drastic turn arounds.  It is going to be a long season for the Jaguars who play the Colts twice, Texans twice, Seahawks, and 49ers.

+AFC NORTH+
1. Bengals (11 – 5) – Some people may disagree with this, but based on the schedules it really could happen.  The Ravens and the Steelers are not going to be as dominant as they usually are; and with the Bengals having a great offseason they very well could win the AFC North.  I am betting the Bengals will be a huge sleeper team
2. Brown (9 – 7) – Once again I am sure people are wondering if I am crazy, but the Browns could be a lot better then they were in 2012.  They made some key pick ups in the offseason for their defense and I am sure they will add more in the draft.If Weeden steps his game up the Browns really could be a hard team to beat.
3. Steelers (8 – 8) – I am not really expecting a big performance from the Steelers this year since they lost a bunch of players in the offseason.  They have not made any offseason moves and they are relying on the draft to save them. 
4. Ravens (7 – 9) – With all the players the Ravens have lost they really do not stand a chance at a playoff run.  I know they picked some people up, but it will not be a contender team right away.  Plus they have some difficult games ahead of them.

+AFC WEST+
1. Broncos (14 – 2) – This is no surprise to anyone; as long as this team stays healthy they will be the team to beat in the AFC.  They do not have a hard schedule with playing the Raiders, Giants, Jags, Chiefs, and Redskins.  Even if they had a hard schedule the Broncos would still have a great season.
2. Chiefs (8 – 8) – The Chiefs are going to be a good team eventually, coming off a terrible season they will be better in the 2013 season.  There are a few games that could go either way for the Chiefs; so if they pull some close games out they might be a Wild Card team.  Plus the Chiefs have made numerous upgrades to the team that will make them much better than in 2012.
3. Chargers (6 – 10) – Charger have some good players, but they have not found a way to put it all together.  They still have a terrible offensive line and Rivers has been turning the ball over a lot.  I don’t see them making any drastic improvements in 2013.
4, Raiders (3 – 13) – Even with the signing of Flynn; the Raiders are still not going to be a contender for the playoffs.  They lost a handful of defensive players and the offense is still not a dominant force.  I don’t see them being any worse than 2012, but I also don’t see them improving in 2013.

+NFC EAST+
1. Cowboys (8 – 8) – The Cowboys don’t have a hard schedule, but the Cowboys are their own worst enemy.  The NFC East is full of sloppy teams, and the Cowboys have the best chance to win the NFC East.  The Cowboys have a lot of talent and young players, so if they can pull it together they will have a good season
2. Eagles (6 – 10) – The Eagles made some improvements on the defensive side, but there is still a huge question mark where the QB should be.  The Eagles could be a power house of a flop depending on who is leading the team.  For now I am assuming Vick will be the one under center and that can only lead to losses.
3. Redskins (5 – 11) – RGIII is a machine and he should be healthy for the start of the season.  Also, the Redskins have a dominating run attack and a pretty solid defense.  So why am I not giving them a better record?  The actually have a pretty tough schedule and most of the Redskins are still young and inexperienced.  They have to play the Packers, Broncos, 49ers, Falcons, and Vikings.
4. Giants (5 – 11) – The Giants in my opinion have fallen down quite a bit.  They have lost a handful of defensive stars and are having trouble keeping their current stars.  The Giants also have a tough schedule ahead of them so I do not think they will be having a good 2013 season.

+NFC SOUTH+
1. Falcons (14 – 2) – The Falcons have made a huge splash in the offseason by picking up some valuable players.  They have a pretty simple schedule to go along with it.  As long as they stay healthy they should coast into a playoff spot.
2. Bucs (9 – 7) – The Bucs picked up some defensive players to strengthen the secondary; and the offense has a lot of talent.  As long as Freeman can put the ball in the end zone; and not to the other team; then the Bucs should have a solid year.  They do have some tricky games with the Pats, Falcons, Seahawks, and 49ers though.
3. Saints (8 – 8) – The Saints had the worst defense in 2012 and I know they are working on that to make it better.  But this is the first season with their head coach back and I am sure it will take some time before the Saints get back to where they were before.  The Saints will have some challenges in their schedule as well so hopefully Brees and company have a few tricks up their sleeves.
4. Panthers (3 – 13) – The Panthers still need a lot of help and they have not really addressed them in the offseason.  Also, the Panther have a hard schedule which does not help their cause.  They have to play the Falcons, Vikings, Pats, 49ers, and Seahawks.

+NFC North+
1. Packers (11 – 5) – Eben with losing Jennings the Packers will still be an amazing passing team, which will win them a lot of games.  The secondary has some holes that need to be fixed, but the Packers will still have a tight defense as well.  The Packers have a medium difficulty in schedule, but they should handle it just fine.
2. Vikings (10 – 6) – The Vikings are going to surprise a lot of people in 2013.  They made some key offensive changes and are looking to add to an already stout defense.  The big question with the Vikings is Ponder; so if he can start playing better then the Vikings will have a great chance at the playoffs.
3. Bears (10 – 6) – The Bears had some good upgrade on the offensive side of the ball, but lost a big player on defense in Urlacher.  The Bears are going to have some close games this year and if they can pull those games out then they could win the NFC North.
4. Lions (7 – 9) – The Lions added a few players, but they lost some big time players in the offseason.  They still have weapons on offense, but the defense is going to be sloppy.  I get the feeling that the Lions will put up a lot of points, but also give up a lot of points.

+NFC WEST+
1. 49ers (15 – 1) – I am sure a lot of people are rolling their eyes at me by saying the 49ers will only lose one game, but you have to take a deep look at that team.  They just added another big time receiver, they have 3 solid running backs, a QB that can run and throw, and a stellar defense.  The Niners will have their challenges, but this team is going to be very hard to beat especially at home.
2. Seahawks (14 – 2) – The Seahawks had a very impressive offseason and picked up a lot of defensive players that will make it very hard to score on.  The offense also got a face lift and I imagine they will be putting up big offensive numbers.  For the first time in a long time the NFC West is going to be a power house and the Seahawks will have a great season.
3. Rams (3 – 13) – This is just another typical year for the Rams; they lost a bunch of players in the offseason and only added a few back.  The defensive secondary is very soft and I really don’t see any progress with the Rams in 2013.
4. Cardinals (2 – 14) – I know the Cardinlas have made a lot of pick ups in the offseason, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be good.  Palmer will have a learning curve and this will be the first time Mendenhall is going to be starting since 2010.  The defense lost Adrian Wilson, and they will struggle hard for that.

I know that most people will say it’s too early to do predictions since the draft has not happened yet and there is still a long ways before the season actually starts.  That may be true but there has been a lot happen already in the offseason where predictions can be made.  I will be going over each division in the AFC and NFC making predictions of who will be the division winners and possible Wild Card teams.

+AFC North+
1. Bengals
2. Ravens
3. Browns
4. Steelers
The AFC North had a lot of movement so far in the offseason so based on what has happened so far I feel the Bengals are going to be the team to beat.  The Ravens lost a lot of players and I think it will be hard for them to defend their Super Bowl title.  The Browns added a lot of players on their defense and a few offensive players where if they can keep it together they might be able to get a Wild Card spot.  The Steelers have had a tough offseason so far and have lost a lot of players and have not re-signed a bunch of people.  Even with the players the Steelers have I feel they will have a tough road ahead of them.

+AFC South+
1. Texans
2. Colts
3. Titans
4. Jaguars
The AFC South will almost be the same as it was in 2012.  The Texans will win the division because of their offense and now because of the additions they made on defense.  The Colts will give the Texans a run and most likely will be a Wild Card team going into the playoffs.  The Titans did add some key players, but they still lack the ability to be a competitive team.  Unless they have a monster year I don’t see the Titans making the playoffs.  The Jaguars will finish dead last again due in part that they still have no offensive weapons except MJD.  The Jaguars will have another long season in 2013.

+AFC East+
1. Patriots
2. Dolphins
3. Bills
4. Jets
The Patriots still have a powerful team in the AFC East and it is hard for any team to knock them off the top spot.  I don’t see why the Patriots would not win the division again in 2013.  The Dolphins have the ability to be a Wild Card team if they utilize the new players they got in the offseason.  They added a lot to their offense and it should be fun to see how they do.  The Bills did add some defensive players and they did add Kolb, but they are still lacking that offensive spark that they need to put the points on the board.  The Jets are just terrible, it would not surprise me if they did not win a game the entire 2013 season.

+AFC West+
1. Broncos
2. Chiefs
3. Chargers
4. Raiders
The Broncos are going to be the team to beat in the AFC; they have weapons everywhere on offense and defense and I am already predicting that they get to the AFC Championship game.  The Chiefs actually have a good chance at being a Wild Card team as well since they made numerous upgrades on offense and defense in the offseason.  The Chargers are in need of some help with their offensive line, but I don’t see them making a splash in 2013.  The Raiders are just like the Jaguars; they want to be a good team, but it is not going to happen.

+NFC North+
1. Vikings
2. Packers
3. Bears
4. Lions
The NFC North is going to be a very interesting place to be in 2013.  All 4 of these teams have made improvements to their teams and it is really hard to tell who is going to come out on top.  The reason why I picked the Vikings is because of the improvements on offense and that the Vikings still have a very stout defense.  The Packers will be a contender as well since they have a very high scoring offense, but the Packers need to fill some defensive holes in their secondary.  The Bears are really hard to get a read on right now since they made a lot of upgrades to their offense, but have not figured out the defense yet.  The Bears could be a surprise team in 2013.  The Lions defense has fallen apart and that needs to get fixed, the good news is that they stacked up the offense to put points on the board.

+NFC South+
1. Falcons
2. Bucs
3. Saints
4. Panthers
It is obvious that the Falcons are going to have a great 2013 season.  They have stacked up their offense and making smart pick ups on defense.  As long as they play as a unit they should have no problem taking the division.  The Bucs could end up being a Wild Card team since they have made some amazing defensive pick ups and hopefully will draft some key players for their offense.  The Saints have made some good pick ups in the offseason, but I still feel it will take some time before they are a dominant team again.  The Panthers still need help they have not made the necessary adjustments yet to be a contender.

+NFC East+
1. Redskins
2. Eagles
3. Giants
4. Cowboys
The NFC East is turing into a sloppy division.  All 4 of these teams are not Super Bowl material and they all have serious problems heading into the offseason.  I chose the Redskins because they have an impressive offense that can put up points and a defense that is very strong.  The Eagles have made a lot of adjustments in the offseason but the big question for them is “Who is the QB”.  The Giants are like the Ravens; they lost a lot of players to free agency and they are now scrambling to put a team together.  The Cowboys are still just a mess.  They have too many egos and not enough team play; they need to come together as a team before they win the division.

+NFC West+
1. 49ers
2. Seahawks
3. Rams
4. Cardinals
The 49ers proved last year that they are a team to be reckoned with and they have one of the best defenses in the NFL.  The Niners also made some tweeks on offense to make them even more dangerous.  The Seahawks have had a huge offseason by signing a lot of defensive studs to stack up their defense.  The Seahawks have also made some offensive changes that will give them more chances to put points on the board.  The Rams are now re-building and it will take some time before they win a division.  The Cardinals are a mess and they will be at the bottom of this division for awhile.