You Make The Call: Predictions for the 2013 NFL Season

Before listing my 2013 predictions, here is a quick full disclosure from last season: My 2012 picks were not so great. Looks like I got 3 of 6 correct, hitting on Michael Turner, the Ravens, and the Lions; missing on the Niners, CJ2K, and (by two games) the Panthers. Full disclosure from 2012:

1. The San Francisco 49ers will digress. Their turnover ratio last year was sick, and will not be duplicated. Alex Smith is nowhere near good enough and will be exposed. They got lucky last year. Harbaugh can coach, but I'm saying: Ten wins tops for the Niners this year.

2. Chris Johnson is done. When speed guys like CJ2K lose a half step, they go downhill fast. Think former Steelers RB Willie Parker. No more than 1200 yards and 4.4 YPC for CJ. The glory years are over.

3. Speaking of running backs, Michael Turner will begin to hit the wall this year. Turner turns 31 in February, and that big body will start to break down after toting the rock over 300 times 3 of the last 4 years. Look for either an injury, or a YPC under 4.0 for Turner this year.

4. Look for the Broncos or the Ravens to come out of the AFC and play in the 2013 Super Bowl. I believe in John Fox, especially when his DC is Jack Del Rio (those were the days my friends), and his QB's name is Peyton Manning. Flacco's young receivers are one year older and wiser and ready to help that window-closing defense and strong running game get to the Big Game. The NFC? I really don't know. I'm not predicting it, but I would have to go with the Packers over the Payton-less Saints.

5. The Detroit Football Lions will underachieve. I don't like their head coach. I think he's a hothead and can't control his players. I also think Stafford is brittle and will miss multiple games. No running game. Look for the Lions to miss the playoffs even though they have the talent to make them.

6. Our beloved Carolina Panthers? I feel quite a bit more informed than I was last year. An easier schedule would brighten my hopes, but man is it tough. Even some of the easier looking games could go south, like the Raiders, Chiefs, Redskins, and Seahawks. We are going to have to play extremely well to have a winning season this year. Having said that, I also believe our defense will improve quite a bit, and our offense will consistently score 25-30 points per game. So...I would be extremely surprised if we win less than 8, or more than 10 games. With my heart I am hoping for 10 wins; with my head I am predicting a 9-7 record, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.

Just a couple others that don't count: I see the Bears in the playoffs this year as they will benefit from the departure of Mike Martz and the arrival of Brandon Marshall. I also believe Michael Vick will never lead his team to the Super Bowl. Ever. The interesting part will be to see how long it takes the Iggles to realize it. And, I don't like the Steelers to make it to the AFC championship game; new OC, injuries, Wallace holdout, bad vibes for Steeler Nation this year.

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Did pretty well on the "others" picks re the Steelers and Eagles, and the Bears 10-6 was a decent call though they narrowly missed the playoffs. So, I went 3-3 with 3 decent hunches….so-so…sooooo……

It’s (over)time (kind of late to be doing this but it’s an annual tradition of mine) to make some "expert" picks for the 2013 NFL campaign.

1. One team will make the playoffs from the Black and Blue NFC North division. They play their home games at Lambeau field. The other 3 teams will hover between below average and mediocrity. The Bears will find out how good of a HC Lovie Smith was; the Vikings really overachieved last year, and…

2. The Detroit Lions will not have a winning record, resulting in the firing of Jim Schwartz. He is a decent defensive defensive motivator, but is not in control of himself nor his team and is therefore not a good HC. They have wasted the best years of Calvin Johnson’s careers discovering that.

3. The New Orleans Saints will not make the playoffs. They are a team whose best years are behind them. I know I am in the minority here. I don’t like their defense. Look for Drew Brees to continue to trend towards multiple turnovers as he tries to make up for that. Sean Payton is a good coach. I just don’t think his team is good enough. The Panthers have improved more than they have from last season. Look for a lot of 35 – 27 losses on the Saints’ schedule this year.

4. The Cincinnati Bengals will not make it to the AFC championship game. They are a trendy pick, in part because of a great draft. Andy Dalton is only a game manager, and took a step back last year. I think Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have to prove they can win a game in the playoffs before we pencil (yes, pencil) them into the AFC’s final pairing in January.

5. The Arizona Cardinals will not win 6 games. Bruce Arians proved last year he can coach. But I just have two words: Quarter Back. I’m not a believer in Carson Palmer, and when (not if) somebody smacks him in the head, they will lose every game while he is out. The quarterback position is too critical to let yours be named Carson Palmer.

6. The San Diego Chargers will win at least 9 games. They have some talent. They have added by subtraction by finally moving on from their perennially lame duck HC Norv Turner. Philip Rivers can play. At least I have always thought he could, prior to 2012. And, we all know Mike McCoy is good people. He has a way of bringing success to the teams he coaches.

7. The Carolina Panthers will go 10-6. (I know, I know, I’m nuts). Look for the offense to "turn it on" now that it counts. We should get more production from the WR and RB positions this year. The defense will keep us in a lot of games (and provide the emotional lift that contributes to winning football game, and Cam will learn how to win them in the fourth quarter. The veteran signings of Wharton and Mikell will pay dividends. I’m predicting losses to the Seahawks, MIN, SF, MIA, at NO, and at ATL.

8. My Super Bowl pick: The San Francisco 49ers will defeat the New England Patriots. The Patriots, because Tom Brady is the best QB in the AFC and Bill Belichick is the best HC in the AFC. The Niners, because they are the best team in the league, and can win it all even if Colin Kaepernick does not progress to an elite level QB this season. You have to like what Jim Harbaugh has done there in his two years in the league.

Some other hunches:

The NFC East: I have no clue, but I have a hunch the Cowboys are going to have a good year.

I am predicting, in fierce opposition to the Farmers' Almanac, no snow in this year’s NYC Super Bowl.

Deangelo Williams goes over 1100 yards this season.

David Gettis will…oh, never mind….

There are my predictions for 2013 Panthers Fans! What do you think? And...

How about you? What are some of your predictions for the 2013 NFL campaign?

Let's hear it!!

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