Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 NFL Predictions

While primarily dedicated to the NBA, the NFL's singular popularity merits it attention. As such, the following reflect the annual DBSF 2013 NFL prediction. Per our analytic zeitgeist each record is based on a range of factors that include: organization's 2011 and 2012 performance, starting QB's 2012 QBR, tenure of defensive coordinator, opponents' 2012 away record, organization's 2010-2012 home record, and the list goes on. But then I remembered that a few years ago the NFL learned from marketing and focus group data that fans like two things about the NFL: 1) fantasy football and 2) prolific passing offenses. As a result, Goodell et al made defensive backs more a formality than an actual position and linebackers and D-linemen are left with an area smaller than Tim McClelland strike zone to hit offensive opponents. Ergo, the 2013 DBSF NFL season predictions are essentially a guestimate on who I think are the best and most likely protected QBs.

NFC East: Vick has the breakout year he's been on the verge of since his return to the Eagles. The Redskins regress after last year's performance as there is no way to keep a quarterback healthy in their scheme. Giants and Cowboys beat some real good teams (e.g., Broncos) and lose to some real poor teams (i.e., Chiefs).
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
NY Giants (9-7)
Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Washington Redskins (6-10)

NFC West: Despite being a passing league, superior defense--especially in terms of pass rush--can win the playoffs. 49ers defense secures them the Superbowl. With the exception of Russell Wilson, who will have a year very similar to his rookie season, the rest of the division should only play in the 4pm non-nationally televised games.
San Fran 49ers (10-6)**
Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
St. Louis Rams (7-9)
Arizona Cardinals (5-11)

NFC North: Packers are for real but won't have enough defense to survive the playoffs. Lions will outperform and potentially even win a wild card game. Jay Cutler will guarantee the Bears 8 wins and will guarantee the Bears 8 losses.
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Detroit Lions (9-7)
Chicago Bears (8-8)
Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

NFC South: Brees and the Saints don't have the explosiveness to make the NFC South a force anymore. The Falcons will Falcons it in the playoffs so it doesn't matter if they win all 16 games or lose all 16--they're not going past the NFC Championship. The real story is Cam Newton, who may be the most valuable player to his team in the NFL. Absent Newton the Panthers are a 2 or 3 win team.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
New Orleans Saints (10-6)
Carolina Panthers (8-8)
Tampa Bay Bucs (7-9)

AFC East: Pats by default. Jets will implode. Rex will get fired, which will also signal a wane in the demand for the boisterous, "real locker room guy"/ former five year president of his frat in college coach who likely delegates all technical coaching responsibilities but gives seriously impassioned pre-game pep talks focusing on nebulous topics like "wanting it", "believing" and any number of war-time metaphors for making gradual progress while maintaining cohesiveness.
NE Pats (12-4)
Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Buffalo Bills (4-12)
NY Jets (2-14)

AFC West: If there was a case for contraction in the NFL it would be the AFC West this decade. Save Denver, the other three usually only win because they get to play each other and because the probability of ties in the NFL is relatively low. Every year from the moment the season ends, the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders all seem to follow a pattern where each off-season move takes them one-step closer to being a perennial 5-11 team.
Denver Broncos (11-5)*
San Diego Chargers (7-9)
KC Chiefs (5-11)
Oakland Raiders (3-13)

AFC North: The Browns explode to 8-8, which for the Browns justifies "explode". The Denver game showed two things about the Ravens: For the first time in a decade they are not only not a great defensive team but a poor one, and if you make Joe Flacco throw and you take Ray Rice out of the equation basically you have Delaware's version of Carson Palmer.
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Cleveland Browns (8-8)
Baltimore Ravens (7-9)

AFC South: The beginning of the Andrew Luck era. Whether or not Luck goes on to win Superbowl(s) depends upon personnel moves on the defense, but he will probably be good enough to guarantee 10 wins a season for the next decade. Texans begin their decline--they had three years to take a conference championship and Superbowl and they let it slide by. The issue after 'more passing offense' that participants identified in focus groups as the most important entertainment aspect of the NFL was 'less Jacksonville Jaguars'.
Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Houston Texans (9-7)
Tennessee Titans (5-11)
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)

** Superbowl Champ
* Other Conference Champ

1 comment: