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2013 NFL Predictions: Division Winners, Super Bowl Champs, Individual Awards and League Leaders

Posted on August 21, 2013 by Andy Larmand

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It’s almost here, but if you weren’t excited enough about the NFL returning in a couple weeks, here are a few more reasons. It’s time to make some predictions that will inevitably have clear cut outomes and boggle the minds of some while sparking some pretty intense debates. I think I have them all right, though. Here are my picks for all eight division winners, the four Wild Card teams, each conference’s championship matchup, the Super Bowl, league leaders and major award recipients.

AFC East (2): Patriots - Nine straight division titles when the team has been quarterbacked by Tom Brady? Yeah, make it 10 for New England. While they undoubtedly will be transitioning on the field this season, they are still fairly high above the other three teams in the division. Plus, their quarterback never runs into butts.

AFC North (4): Bengals - Get used to hearing “Dalton to Green” and get used to seeing the Bengals in the postseason (even if it is just for one game) for the third straight year. Cleveland will probably finish fourth.

AFC South (3): Colts - The Colts made an unbelievable turnaround in 2012 and it seems to me they are not done improving. Eleven wins last season was good, but I see them hitting at least 12 this year, including making a push to overtake the Texans late in the year with a huge win over them in Week 15.

AFC West (1): Broncos - Obviously. This one will probably be the biggest division win by any team this season. I say 14-2 for Denver with San Diego the closest to them at 7-9. Welker…and Decker…and Thomas might play a role in their success as well.

Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.
Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.

AFC Wild Card (5): Texans – Houston has three of the best players in the league in Arian FosterAndre Johnson and J.J. Watt. The supporting cast is not bad either and Matt Schaub obviously has what it takes to lead a team to the postseason. I just think the Colts will steal the division from them sooner or later and Houston will wind up in the five-spot.

AFC Wild Card (6): Ravens - Though their defense is gong to look quite different, the Ravens should be able to get enough out of Joe Flacco to back in to the playoffs as the conference’s No.6 seed. From there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bounced immediately as I’m a little wary that Flacco might have nothing left to motivate him.

NFC East (3): Redskins - As long as RG’s knee can hold up for 16 games, the Redskins are poised to repeat as NFC East champs. He will be an x-factor for them this season, leading them to big wins over the PackersFalcons and Giants and clinching this division before the final night of the season.

NFC North (4): Vikings - Adrian Peterson will carry them to the division title in 2013. That’s really the only way I see that happening for the Vikes, who will have to contend with the Packers and maybe even the Lions or Bears. Green Bay finishes a very close second, but will be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

A.P. could help the Vikings to the No. 1 spot in the North in 2013.
A.P. could help the Vikings to the No. 1 spot in the North in 2013.

NFC South: (1) Falcons – This could be a tough division to win with three teams that could make a push for the top spot. Most likely, the Falcons, Panthers and Saints will not all make the playoffs and I believe the Saints will be the ones left out in the end. Atlanta is more talented, more disciplined and more experienced than Carolina and I think that will give them the upper hand by a game or two.

NFC West (2): Seahawks - They could have easily made the Super Bowl last season behind rookie, Russell Wilson, and with him now in his second season, Seattle could very well leapfrog San Francisco to win the West. Just by a game though.

NFC Wild Card (5): 49ers - Those 49ers will grab the No. 5 seed, but I do not see them having much of a problem with the Vikings in their first playoff game. It certainly does not spell doom to be a Wild Card team and I think that is where San Fran will wind up come January, likely making a bit of a run again.

NFC Wild Card (6): Panthers – Bold prediction of the day. The Panthers will climb up into the final spot in the last week of the season, led by Cam Newton, of course. He has some solid receivers, a good pair of running backs and can do everything else on his own. In his third year, he is ready to make the leap to January games.

AFC Championship: Broncos def. Patriots – As if Brady-Manning in the Title Game wasn’t intriguing enough, now throw Wes Welker into the mix and you got a dandy. I think that while Bill Belichick can certainly lead his team to a deep postseason run and Brady can make any game competitive, the Broncos have more weapons on offense and a slightly better defense. Another year of a Manning in a Super Bowl.

NFC Championship: Falcons def. Redskins – It will finally be Matt Ryan‘s time. Someday it will be Robert Griffin‘s time, but not this year. RG3 will keep the Skins in it, but will ultimately succumb to the more experienced Ryan in a close game, but a huge step for the could-be phenom .

Super Bowl: Falcons def. Broncos – Hey, Ray Lewis got his Ravens to a title last season, so you got to figure Tony Gonzalez has to try the same approach. Ryan is another year older and presumably another year hungrier as he has been knocking on the door during his young career. With the talent they have on offense, why not?

Passing yardage leader: Drew Brees - Nobody throws the ball more than Brees and there’s only a couple quarterbacks in the league who have as many big-play weapons as he does. Brees could flirt with the 5,000-yard mark again in 2013.

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Rushing yardage leader: Peterson – Who wouldn’t pick Peterson? Peterson sure would pick Peterson and I tend to agree with him. He’ll make a bid for 2,000 again this season.

Receiving yardage leader: Calvin Johnson - Brees throws the ball a lot, but he spreads the wealth among five or six consistent targets. Matthew Stafford throws the ball a ton (most attempts in the history last season) and he has one target in mind on many of those attempts. CJ again will lead the league in receiving yardage despite drawing the toughest coverage around.

Sacks leader: Watt – But, he will not touch 20 again.

Interceptions leader: Richard Sherman - He’ll let us all know, too.

Touchdowns leader: Peterson.

A.P. MVP: Ryan – If he can pull off the kind of postseason run I just predicted, then Matty Ice for MVP.

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Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera - The Panthers are making the playoffs, remember? No-doubter if they do.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section and who you think will be at the top of each category at the end.

 

Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.


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