Bold NFL Predictions for the 2013-14 Season
by Trevor Whenham - 9/2/2013
With the start of the NFL season just days away, here are five bold NFL predictions I feel pretty good about (all odds are from Bovada):
The Broncos are going to disappoint
Things are getting out of control on this front in my eyes. Peyton Manning is the favorite to win the MVP at 5/1, and his team is the co-favorite to win the Super Bowl at 6/1. I feel like the lone voice in the wilderness, but I have been saying it a lot this preseason, and I’ll say it again here -- this just doesn’t make sense. Manning is 37 years old and a season removed from an injury that could have crippled him – and did cost him a year and his position on a team that he was as closely identified with as any player in sports. At his best he was about as mobile as a coffee table, and he is far from his best in that sense now. Could he have an epic season for the ages as people clearly expect? Sure. Could things end badly – Brock Osweiler piloting the Broncos to the depths of mediocrity? Absolutely. To bet the Broncos or Manning at these odds is to believe that nothing bad could possibly happen. That is clearly not true. Unfortunately, at this point it is slightly more likely that something bad will happen.
The Chiefs will win at least nine games
At 50/1 to win the Super Bowl, this is not a team that is viewed as a serious contender – and nor should they be. The team that picked first in the draft last year, though, is certainly not going to do so again this year. They have had a great offseason, and the combination of Alex Smith and Andy Reid – both revitalized in much-needed new surroundings – has the potential to be a very dynamic pairing. Given how bad, and how badly-coached, this team has been lately, it is easy to forget how much talent they have had and how bad their injury luck has been. If they can stay healthy, then their new winning attitude and much-needed leadership competence will pay big dividends. They have road games at Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo and Oakland, so .500 on the road is a very realistic possibility. Arrowhead is a tough place to play, and there are some winnable games there as well. The Chiefs are a year or two away from true contention, but they are going to be surprisingly strong this year. The win total is at 7.5, and the “over” is an easy play.
Cincinnati will not win the AFC North
The division has essentially been handed to the Bengals in the eyes most people because of the struggles of the other three teams in the group. There is one big thing standing in the way of the Bengals’ coronation, though – the Bengals themselves. I don’t trust the team mentally – they have yet to prove that they are tough enough to contend in a real way or to play with expectations on their shoulders. I don’t trust Andy Dalton to take a step forward and prove that he can truly be a Top-10 level quarterback in this league. Most significantly, I don’t trust Marvin Lewis to lead this team. There is no bigger mystery in the NFL than how Lewis manages to keep a job, and he absolutely does not inspire confidence here. The Ravens won’t be as bad as some think. The Browns are flawed but determined, and with some talent in key spots. The Steelers have issues, but they will play their rivals tough. I don’t know who will win the AFC North. However, despite being the +180 favorite to do so, it won’t be Cincinnati.
The Texans will win the AFC
Houston is just the third choice to win the AFC at 13/2, but they are the ones that will emerge in the end. My concerns about the Broncos have already been documented. I respect New England and expect big things from Brady, but ultimately wonder whether the loss of Welker, the uncertainty at tight end, and the general circus atmosphere surrounding the team will be more than they can overcome. Houston isn’t a complete team, but I like the confidence they showed in the offseason by not panicking while addressing some needs. They have dangerous offensive tools, good depth in key positions, and a defense that features some real weapons. Their division is far from tough, and they have been seasoned over the last several years to develop into a top-level team. They have struggled to break through up to this point, but this is the year that they finally do it – at least to the point of becoming Super Bowl losers.
The NFC will win the Super Bowl
The NFC is a total dogfight. San Francisco, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta are all top-level contenders that could be extremely dangerous. Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, and the Giants could all be good if things roll their way. The Vikings, Rams, Cardinals, Bucs, Panthers, Bears, Eagles and Redskins could all be respectable. There are several really bad teams in the NFL, but none of them are in the NFC. I feel far from certain which team will win the NFC, though San Francisco is my pick at this point. Whichever team does win, though, will be battle-tested, will be superior to the best of the AFC, and will win it all. At this point you can bet on the NFC to win the Super Bowl at -110 at Bovada. I like that play a lot.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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