The 2013 NFL season is finally here. The season kicks off with the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens traveling to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday, September 5.
With the NFL season just a few days away, it is now time to predict which teams will win each division, which team will win Super Bowl XLVIII and who will win the major awards at the end of the season.
East: Despite a rather tumultuous offseason, the New England Patriots should hold on to their division crown but it will not be easy like in years past. After an offseason of upgrades, the Miami Dolphins should grab one of the two open wild card spots.
North: The Cincinnati Bengals, laden with talent on both sides of the ball, are a team to keep an eye on this year with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green entering their third season. The Baltimore Ravens will fight their way to the second wild card spot.
South: The Houston Texans will clinch their third straight division title. I think Andrew Luck will be improved in his second season but that the Indianapolis Colts take a bit of a step back in 2013.
West: The Broncos will dominate this division and win it easily.
Playoff teams: Patriots, Dolphins, Bengals, Ravens, Texans, Broncos
East: The NFC East was once the best division in the NFL but that time has passed. I definitely do not trust this pick but I like the Dallas Cowboys to take the division in 2013. I have the Washington Redskins falling one game short of the postseason.
North: The Green Bay Packers are the class of this division and the other three teams will beat up on each other.
South: The Atlanta Falcons will not be as good as last season and will be in a fight for the top spot with the New Orleans Saints now that head coach Sean Payton is back. Both teams will make the postseason in the end.
West: The NFC West, once considered the worst division in football, is now the best division in the NFL. Like last season, the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will both be in the postseason.
Playoff teams: Cowboys, Packers, Falcons, Saints, 49ers, Seahawks
AFC Championship: Denver Broncos def. Cincinnati Bengals
I have the Bengals finally winning postseason games under Marvin Lewis. They will ultimately fall on the road to the Broncos, though.
NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers def. San Francisco 49ers
The two best teams will square off in San Francisco where Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will get revenge for last year’s divisional round loss.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Green Bay Packers def. Denver Broncos
It will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXII when a younger Packers quarterback named Brett Favre lost to the veteran John Elway and the Denver Broncos. This time, however, the younger Packers quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) will get the best of the older Broncos quarterback (Peyton Manning). And, hey, at least these two teams will be accustomed to snow which may very well fall on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Regular season awards:
NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL and will prove it again this season.
NFL offensive player of the year: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: Green should put up a huge season now that the Bengals have more offensive weapons beside him.
NFL defensive player of the year: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals: Peterson will cement himself as one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2013.
NFL offensive rookie of the year: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams: Austin should get the ball early and often in St. Louis.
NFL defensive rookie of the year: Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins: Jordan may have to battle a shoulder problem all season but he was the best defensive player in the draft and will be a nice complement to defensive end Cameron Wake.
NFL coach of the year: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints: With Payton back at the helm, the Saints should be contenders.
There you have it. Enjoy the NFL season!