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SBM Sports – Wading into the 2013 NFL Waters

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Here’s something you should know about me: I love the NFL, but hate the NFL’s preseason. Honestly, what’s to like?

Millions of people will turn on the Hall of Fame game next week excited because “football is back!”

…and they will be bored by the middle of the first quarter.

I can make lemonade out of these backup lemons, though. So let’s ease back into the NFL waters.

I have a few NFL-related topics up my sleeve, but I’ll start with the basics. Let’s take a look at each (interesting) division and project which team will come out ahead to make the playoffs.

NFC East –

Eli Manning

This division is interesting, but only because it’s a race to 9-7 every year. It’s said the NFL is a quarterback driven league, and the NFC East will come down to a few questions:

Can RGIII make a miraculous* comeback?

Can Tony Romo stop sucking in important games?

Can Eli Manning step up and put pressure on the other two QBs?

I’ll just save time and say the Eagles will suck again this year.

As far as the division winner, I think the Giants will bounce back and take it this year. I have a hard time believing that RGIII’s recovery will go perfectly. He had an amazing season last year, but I don’t think the Redskins will sneak up on anybody this year. Without a 100% RGIII, the season will be too much to manage over the course of a long season.

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Some of my best friends are Cowboys fans…but I won’t pencil their team into a division title until I see them actually beat the Giants or Redskins in December.

*Look, it’s too easy to say that RGIII is using some sort of performance-enhancing drug to make this only-once-before-seen recovery. But I like the guy. My Blackness will not allow me to say that this comeback is anything other than a miracle from Black Jesus.

NFC West –

usp-nfl_-arizona-cardinals-at-seattle-seahawks-4_3_rx512_c680x510

What looked like an arms race out west between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks took a hit after injuries to Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin.

This should still be a compelling divisional race, though, with two of the league’s best defenses and young quarterbacks dueling each other.

Truthfully, it’s a coin flip between the Niners and Seahawks for the division title. Both of these teams are Super Bowl contenders who will beat up on a majority of their schedule throughout the season. The title will come down to the head-to-head record (I’m sure each team will win against each other at home) and tiebreakers (random). I’ll go with the Seahawks because missing Harvin isn’t as big a loss for Seattle since they never had him to begin with. The Niners will miss Crabtree much more. He was a dangerous receiver who had developed a rapport with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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The Cardinals adding Carson Palmer will only help Larry Fitzgerald become relevant in fantasy again, and the Rams will be better, but not elite.

AFC East –

tom-brady-for-uggs

This division was all but wrapped up until the New England Patriots lost all their best offensive players to free agency, injury, or arrest for murder.

The question now is whether the Miami Dolphins can improve enough to challenge the Patriots for the throne. This division wouldn’t be worth discussing if the Patriots were full strength. But they aren’t, so we are left to wonder.

I happen to think the additions the Dolphins made via free agency fall into the same category as the Eagles of last year. That team had a mountain of expectations that ultimately proved to be too much for them to live up to. I think the Dolphins will face a similar fate. With the Bills being the Bills, and the Jets being a trainwreck, it’s up to the Dolphins to take down the Evil Empire. I don’t think they’re up to it.

Patriots will take the division, but less dominating-ly than usual. Sorry Jets fans.

That’s how I see the most compelling divisions taking shape. I the others I have the:

Falcons

Packers

Bengals

Texans, and

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Broncos

…winning their divisions. But I want to hear what you think? Who do you have winning their divisions? Any surprises among your picks?

Take to the comments and let me know!

Comment(7)

  1. Man Joe, when I saw this post my blood starting flowing because I can not wait for football season. I must say NFL Network does an excellent job of keeping me informed. My predictions:

    NFC East – Redskins. I can see why one could choose NYG, but they lost their TE, wilson is a good rb but will be an elite rb, and the wr group is ok as well. On def. they did lose Usi, so I am not sure what kind of effect that will have. Redskins, yeah RG3 will be wearing his brace all year, but a 75% RG3 is still better than most starting QBs…Also, he has proven he can be a pocket QB as well….

    NFC West – this is definitely a toss up for me. I just think the 49ers has the IT factor and with Kalpernick experiencing the SuperBowl, the jitters should be out and he can really focus on taking his team back. Crabtree's lost will hurt, but either Jenkins or the rookie WR they drafted really needs to step up this year.

    AFC East – this should go to MIA, but as long as you have Brady it's going to be hard to deny his greatness…Another toss up, but I have to lean towards the PATS

    NFC South – ATL. Need I say more, even though I do think NO will have a good year with their coach back.

    NFC North – GB. Lacy and Franklin will add a good RB combo. I do think DET will make some noise finally this year with the addition of Bush and Houston and Slay at CB

    AFC West – Denver. Peyton, but don't sleep on Kansas City

    AFC North – Going out on a limb, but I do think the Bengals will take it this year.

    1. 01) You are going to have to explain to me why you seem to think Miami could win the AFC East. I guess you have way more faith in Ryan Tannehill than I do. Every year there has always been an AFC East team that people will hype and say they can dethrone the Patriots. I will believe it when I see it.
      02) Go ahead and sleep on the Chiefs. If the Chiefs make the playoffs, either Jamaal Charles will be the league MVP or someone will take over for Alex Smith. (As a Chiefs fan, it would be funny to me if the Chiefs signed Vince Young and he took over midseason and lead them to the playoffs.)

      1. 1) I am cosigning that the PATS will probably win, but let's be real, the PATS will be relying heavily on Danny Amendola (one injury away from being on the IR), a receiver corps full of rookies, Gronk (but who knows when he will return), and some solid RBs….It's not the PATS of old…MIA defense is solid, lamar miller is a capable rb, they did jump out there and sign Mike Wallace, B. hartline is not a bad #2 WR, and they have dustin keller who has proven himself…I was just saying, don't be surprised….
        2) More than likely yes, again Denver will be the AFC West champs, but a new coaching regime and culture will bring about alot of change in Kansas. Remember, the chiefs did put 6 players in the pro bowl and the signing of duanta robinson, sean smith, and flowers/berry on the team, makes for a nice back end combination.

  2. I think I'll have more of an idea of division winners closer to the beginning of the seaon seeing that key players from teams are dropping like flies every day it seems like.

    However, I will say that I would like to see Romo (in a meaningful game or two) do well and silence many of his critics. I was rooting the same for Matt Ryan last year as it seemed that people were hating on him for no clear reason other than the fact that the Atlanta Falcon fans aren't as passionate as other cities (which is still the dumbest reason I have ever heard, but hey, whatever).

    At the end of the day only 1 team can win the whole thing and it ain't easy.

    Looking forward to the sophomore QBs and real curious to see what the Patriots do considering all the off season news on and off the field. Should be a good season! Can't wait! *Bart Scott voice*

    1. I'd actually like to see Romo throw it in people's faces too. I like to pick fun at him like everybody else, but he's really, really good. Would like to see the Boys clicking on all cylinders and make a run. My Lions are perpetually terrible, so I want to see other talented teams come together.

      The sophomore QBs will definitely be interesting to watch. Especially RG3sus. Time for him to back up the hype…just not sure he can do it with a bad wheel.

      1. Re: 3sus

        I find it kind of interesting that not more is being made of his rash of injuries dating back to his freshman year of college at BU. Not a high level of concern from the national media it seems as a whole as far as his long-term potential. I hope he does well, though….just hope he doesn't fall victim to being compared to himself in lieu of the team around him being worse for one reason or the other.

        1. I have no research or proof of this, but it seems like people (Twitter, media, etc) will be QUICK to crown Andrew Luck if Griffin or the Redskins backslide at all next year. That will feed into the comparison you mentioned at the end of your reply.

          I'm rooting for him too. Cornball Brothers gotta stick together.

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