Welcome to a special edition of King’s Court. Today in Court, I will be breaking down the upcoming NFL season and try and predict what is going to happen. I could be 100% wrong about everything I predict, but hey, it happens. At the same time, I could be 100% right. Court is now in session.
5 Questions- These are five questions I am looking for to be answered throughout the season.
- How will Tom Brady do with young receivers?
- Can the Atlanta Falcons and/or Cincinnati Bengals take the next step?
- Will the New Orleans Saints be better now that Sean Payton is back?
- How will the Chiefs do with Andy Reid and Alex Smith?
- How will RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck do in their second seasons?
5 Bold Predictions
- Adrian Peterson will break the single-season rushing record.
- A former MVP will once again win the award.
- The Dallas Cowboys will finish better than 8-8.
- Larry Fitzgerald will have a bounce-back year with Carson Palmer throwing to him.
- The Cleveland Browns will finish .500 or better.
Breaking Down and Predicting the Divisions
AFC East- The New England Patriots will once again take the AFC East title. I asked whether or not Tom Brady could be his normal self with young receivers and I think he can, but it’s something I am looking forward to seeing play itself out this season. The Miami Dolphins went out and spent some money this offseason to try and take the thrown from the Pats. However, I don’t see them winning the division, but they will provide a quality fight. The Buffalo Bills will be starting rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. While Manuel has potential in this league, he is not going to enjoy the success that RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck enjoyed. The New York Jets are a mess. Too many distractions and bad decisions are being made. Don’t be surprised if Rex Ryan is in his last season with the Jets, if he even makes it out of this season.
NFC East- As I mentioned earlier, the Dallas Cowboys will finish better than 8-8 and will end up winning the NFC East. Tony Romo will get some much needed help from his defense as he has a big year. Speaking of big years, watch Dez Bryant shine this season. RGIII will be on the field for the season opener on Monday night. He will also help lead the Washington Redskins to second place in the division. If he can remain healthy, Griffin and the Redskins will contend for the division. The New York Giants are always a hit-or-miss team and this year they look like a miss to me. I could be completely wrong about this (or any of these predictions), but I just don’t see the Giants as a playoff team. The Philadelphia Eagles will be the basement dwellers in the NFC East. I don’t think Chip Kelly’s high octane offense will be what the Eagles need to succeed. Mike Vick seems rejuvenated, but can he stay on the field for a whole season?
AFC North- I asked earlier whether or not the Cincinnati Bengals could take the next step and I think they can. We will obviously have to wait and see if they succeed in winning the division, but they have the talent to do so. Their defense is good, especially with James Harrison and Geno Atkins going after quarterbacks. The reigning, defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will not repeat this season, but will make some noise and a playoff push. If Joe Flacco can keep developing his game, the Ravens will be fine. Also, the defense will be a lot better than it looks after most of the starters from last year have left the team. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will wreck havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Believe it or not, but the Cleveland Browns .500 or better record I predicted will land them in third place in this division. Brandon Weeden will see a vast improvement under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The defense is incredibly underrated, but is a pretty good defensive unit. This team competed last season, despite what the record says. This leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers to finish last in the AFC North. The team is finally going younger on defense, opposed to going with veterans year in and year out. Can Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley coexist? I’m not so sure. It will be a long year for the Steelers.
NFC North- Despite being banged up all over the place, the Green Bay Packers will win this division. Much like they did during the Super Bowl run of 2010, the Packers will overcome these injuries. Aaron Rodgers as ESPN First Takes’ Stephen A. Smith always says, is a “bad man,” who will do what he does. The Chicago Bears will be a threat to the Packers for the division crown. The team got a new head coach in Marc Trestman who had a lot of success in the Canadian Football League. His offensive expertise could help Jay Cutler even more. Another thing that will help Cutler is if he is able to stay off the ground. Calvin Johnson will once again have a tremendous season, but can his Detroit Lions teammates stay disciplined and out of trouble? The addition of Reggie Bush can be a huge factor, if the team allows itself to grow. If this team cannot grow up as a whole then it will be another long year in Detroit. The Minnesota Vikings have the best running back in football in Adrian Peterson, but unfortunately for them, it won’t be enough this season. He still doesn’t have a quality quarterback to help take the pressure off him.
AFC South- The addition of Ed Reed will prove to be a big reward for the Houston Texans who will win the AFC South. Matt Schaub and company will play with a chip on their shoulders and something to prove as they are trying to continue gaining franchise success. This team is a Super Bowl contender. Right behind the Texans will be the Indianapolis Colts led by second-year quarterback Andrew Luck. He will continue to blossom into a great quarterback. The team addressed a lot of issues from the offseason and is looking for a playoff run. The Tennessee Titans are a middle-of-the-pack team this season. Unless they can open up some holes for Chris Johnson, the Titans will not be a playoff team in 2013. Jadeveon Clowney, meet your new team the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is not a good team and will be on the clock once the Super Bowl is over.
NFC South- Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were one game away from the Super Bowl a season ago and will look to make the game this season. Matt Ryan will improve as he has each year. He will once again have his blanket at the tight end position as the Falcons convinced Tony Gonzalez to come back for one more season. The New Orleans Saints will be looking to get back to the playoffs now that Sean Payton is back and Bounty Gate is over. Drew Brees will be sensational this season. The Carolina Panthers could easily be the second best team in this division. This pick can flip-flop, but the Saints will finish second while the Panthers finish behind them. Cam Newton needs to have a big season and I think he will. This team needs to start off well and finish well, opposed to years past where the team starts off slow and finishes on a winning not. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t going to be a bad team, just won’t win in this tough division. Josh Freeman will be playing in a contract season and he is confident he is the guy the Bucs need to invest in. I think he’s right.
AFC West- Peyton Manning will be in the MVP talks at the end of the season as he helps lead the Denver Broncos to the AFC West crown and possibly even a Super Bowl. The team is loaded on both sides of the ball, especially after week six when Von Miller returns after his suspension. The addition of Wes Welker will be just another target for Manning to find. This team will be really good. I’m guessing 13 or 14 wins. The surprise team of the 2013 season will be the Kansas City Chiefs. I think Andy Reid will bring his winning ways with him to Arrowhead and Alex Smith will be a good quarterback for this team. Don’t forget about Jamaal Charles in the backfield. Philip Rivers has no receiver that he can rely on. The defense is young and this will be a long season for the San Diego Chargers. An even longer season will be that of the Oakland Raiders. Terrell Pryor will not be much of an improvement to the quarterback position.
NFC West- This will be a shootout until the final weeks of the season with the San Francisco 49ers winning the final battle over the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers Super Bowl loss will make them even hungrier to go back to the big game. Colin Kaepernick will continue to shine and this team will be in the thick of things. The Seahawks have a ridiculous defense that will cause problems for many offenses around the league this season. Russell Wilson will look to have a second season that is better than his first, which was pretty good. The St. Louis Rams will not be a team to take lightly this season. Sam Bradford has some new young receivers to throw to and the defense has improved. It will not be a walk in the park against this team. Larry Fitzgerald will have a big season but it won’t lead the Arizona Cardinals to the playoffs. The team is taking steps in the right direction with their defense, but we won’t see them in the playoffs for a while.
AFC Playoff Teams
- Denver Broncos
- New England Patriots
- Houston Texans
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Indianapolis Colts (WC)
- Kansas City Chiefs (WC)
NFC Playoff Teams
- Atlanta Falcons
- San Francisco 49ers
- Green Bay Packers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Seattle Seahawks (WC)
- New Orleans Saints (WC)
AFC Championship Game: Broncos over Patriots
NFC Championship Game: Falcons over Cowboys
Super Bowl: Falcons over Broncos
There you have it, the 2013 NFL season preview. This is going to be another great season and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
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I am King Edward and I have spoken.