Mirador Forsees Future of NFL Season

Jarrett Perches, Staff Writer

With the 2013 NFL season underway, excitement is arising over who will win the Super Bowl. Here in the Bay Area we have two very different teams: the San Francisco 49ers, who took their talents all the way to the Super Bowl last year only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens, and the Oakland Raiders who were a completely different story. However, it’s a brand new season and anything could happen. Here are a few predictions for the NFL season.
AFC East Predictions: 1. Patriots 2. Dolphins 3. Bills 4. Jets: Many experts believe the New England Patriots will have a rough season after losing a few key team leaders in pass receptions, including Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. However, if Tom Brady can overcome these losses and continue to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks, the Patriots should be able to win this division.
New England’s biggest and only real threat in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins and Defensive End Cameron Wake who leads a very powerful defense. The Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they will need very good production from Ryan Tannehill and an offense that can struggle at times.
AFC North Predictions: 1. Bengals 2. Ravens 3. Steelers 4. Browns: The Baltimore Ravens will set out to repeat as Super Bowl champions this year but they will have to overcome the loss of their two best defensive players: Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. They still have an excellent offensive attack, however, they may struggle on the defensive side. Veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs must have a big year to make up for the loss of All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis.
Led by a strong defense, the Cincinnati Bengals come into the 2013 regular season after winning seven of their last eight games in 2012. The Bengals have all but one defensive starter back for 2013 and they are a serious threat to win the division and dethrone Baltimore.
AFC South Predictions: 1. Texans 2. Colts 3. Titans 4. Jaguars: The Houston Texans are looking to bring a Super Bowl title to the city of Houston as they follow up on their solid 12 win season in 2012. This Houston team has big name players all over the field. J.J. Watt, the league’s best defensive lineman leads the Texans defense, while running back Arian Foster carries the load on the offensive side of the football. In addition, they signed veteran safety Ed Reed, and have their sights set on a Super Bowl title.
The Indianapolis Colts will try to stop them, but will need a huge season by former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. With a truly mediocre offense, which relies completely on passing, and sub-par defense, this will probably be tough to do. However, the Colts still tower over the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, who will be lucky to crack six wins. Both teams will rely almost entirely on their running backs this season, as Chris Johnson (Titans) and Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars) will try to overcome their relatively weak offensive lines.
AFC West Predictions: 1. Broncos 2. Chiefs 3. Chargers 4. Raiders: The Denver Broncos should absolutely demolish this division… Right? Well not exactly, though they are heavy favorites to do so.
The Kansas City Chiefs could give them a bit of a challenge. Behind the running game of Jamaal Charles and a solid passing game, you can’t exactly count out the Chiefs. They also have one of the NFL’s best linebackers in Derrick Johnson and best wide receivers, Dwayne Bowe. Even so, the Broncos should still win the division behind an extremely dangerous offense, which is probably the best in the NFL. Veteran Peyton Manning will be throwing to the best wide receiving core in the NFL, which makes up for their weak running game.
The Oakland Raiders might sneak into third place this season because they are playing a relatively weak schedule this year, but it’s unlikely. Behind quarterback Terrell Pryor, the Raiders are really just looking to rebuild this season. Their defense recorded only 25 sacks last season, which is only 4.5 more than the amount of sacks that J.J. Watt recorded all by himself. As for the San Diego Chargers, it isn’t much better. Eric Weddle is pretty much the only hope for San Diego, but there is only so much a safety can do.
NFC East Prediction: 1. Redskins 2. Eagles 3. Cowboys 4. Giants: Possibly the tightest division in the NFL, the NFC East has four teams that are capable of contending for a playoff spot. In Chip Kelly’s first season as the Eagles head coach, he’ll try to lift them up from a terrible 4-12 season last year. In order for the Eagles to do well, quarterback Michael Vick must get back to the season he had in 2010 rather than last year.

The Washington Redskins’ two top offensive players from last year, quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris, were both rookies. This means that they must be able to overcome the “sophomore slump” that many players have when they come back from solid rookie seasons, and the rest of the league has figured out how to stop them. The Redskins defense, led by Brian Orakpo, should be the strongest in this division as long as they can perform the way they did last year.
NFC North Predictions: 1. Packers 2. Bears 3. Vikings 4. Lions: The Green Bay Packers, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are looking to win the NFC North for the third year in a row. Rodgers has arguably been the best quarterback in the NFL for those last two years, and he looks to continue his success.
With one of the best defenses in the NFL, led by cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, the Chicago Bears will attempt to put an end to the Packers’ division winning streak with one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, defense can’t win you games if you can’t score, and the Bears have one of the NFL’s worst offenses. The Bears’ fantastic defense should be able to give them the second place spot in the NFC North, but their offense may drag them away from first place.
NFC South Predictions: 1. Falcons 2. Saints 3. Buccaneers 4. Panthers: The Buccaneers will come into the 2013 season boasting one of the league’s top defenses. They also have two of the league’s top receivers in Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson. The only real flaw is quarterback Josh Freeman’s inability to make accurate passes as he had the NFL’s fourth lowest completion percentage in 2012.
Atlanta Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez returns for the 2013 season at age 37 seeking one thing… a Super Bowl title. The Falcons are led by Gonzalez, quarterback Matt Ryan, and wide receiver Roddy White, who were all a part of the 2012 team that took their talents all the way to the NFC title game. In addition, the Falcons added running back Steven Jackson so their offense should have no issues. That being said, it’s their defense that must step up to be a winning football team.
NFC West Predictions: 1. 49ers 2. Seahawks 3. Rams 4. Cardinals: The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks are considered by many as the two best teams in the NFL. Not only may they be the NFL’s two best teams, but they are very similar. They both have star wide receivers (Michael Crabtree, 49ers, and Percy Harvin, Seahawks) who will be missing a large chunk of the season. Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (49ers) and Russel Wilson (Seahawks) each have the ability to throw and run for big yardage. Running backs Frank Gore (49ers) and Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks) both are power backs who will earn yards by breaking tackles and muscling their way through the defense. In addition, they each have excellent defenses, but have different strengths. The 49ers defense, led by Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith, contains some of the best linebackers and linemen, while the Seahawks defensive strength consists of two of the NFL’s best defensive backs, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. These two teams will have a very close and competitive season and it is highly probable that the team that doesn’t win the division will take a wild card spot.