They’re Not Bold If They’re True: SpreeGoogs 2013 Predictions for the NFL Season

There’s nothing quite like being able to say “I told ya so” at the end of a football season when your sleeper pick comes out of nowhere. And since we’ve assembled the wisest collection of football minds this side of Mars on the SpreeGoogs staff, it would only be right that we make our predictions for the NFL season that starts later today.

With that in mind, here’s how we see the NFL season playing out this year. These are guaranteed to be 100% accurate, so you should probably take these to Vegas as soon as possible (especially mine).

 

A lot of our predictions center around this guy. Photo via The Starting Five

A lot of our predictions center around this guy. Photo via The Starting Five

 

Zach’s predictions:

The New York Giants will win the NFC East and challenge for the conference’s Super Bowl berth.
I don’t have stats to back this up, but only consider that the Giants are always good one year, and then are terrible the next. They were terrible last year so… you get the idea. This will be due to rookie Justin Pugh solidifying the offensive line, Eli Manning benefiting from the extra time in the pocket and running back David Wilson giving the team an explosiveness it didn’t have last year.
The Dallas Cowboys will miss the playoffs.
Many the prognosticator are picking the Cowboys to run away with the NFC East, but I have many concerns about the offensive line, the ability of DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to all stay healthy and the defense switching to a 4-3 under MONTE KIFFIN. Yes, he is still alive. Yes, he is implementing a Tampa 2 scheme in Dallas. I’m not sure what universe all of this ends well.
Kenbrell Thompkins will lead the New England Patriots in catches and receiving yards.
I caught a few minutes of one of the Patriots’ preseason games this year and Thompkins was the only guy that Tom Brady was throwing to. And this was even with Danny Amendola in the game. Plus, do you really think Amendola is going to play more than four games? Breathe on the dude and he separates his shoulder. Thompkins has showed poise and an understanding of the offense that is remarkable for a first year receiver and should benefit from the targets that will be available.
The Baltimore Ravens defense will be better this year without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Don’t get me wrong, Lewis and Reed are two of the best defensive players of all time. But everyone runs out of gas at some point. Adding the speed and athleticism of pass rusher Elvis Dumervil and safety Michael Huff will make the unit much quicker to the ball. The team just has to hope that inside linebackers Daryl Smith and Jameel McClain make successful returns from injuries that cost them 2012.
Carrie Underwood will flourish in her Sunday Night Football singing role.
And it will put to rest all of my concerns about her replacing Faith Hill.
Adam’s Predictions:
We are all seriously underrating the Bengals.
Yeah, that’s not a joke. I don’t know why this team doesn’t get a lot of playoff love, but they have one of the best front 7s in all of football, the second-best receiver in the NFL, one of football’s real shut-down corners and a young QB improving massively. What’s not to love. Believe it or not, this is my AFC Super Bowl pick. The NFC pick is Seattle, but that’s not much of a surprising prediction.
ESPN will cover Tim Tebow more than any non-quarterback this season. 
I don’t even know why this is a prediction, its more science. I’m pretty sure football has turned its back on First Timothy, but for some reason, sports coverage hasn’t. Whether he rides the bench in the NFL or plays in the Canadian league, Tim Tebow will do it on TV.
– One of the NFL’s prominent running QBs (Griffin, Newton, Kaep) will be done for the year by week 8.
sorry Niners fans, but my prediction is Kaep. There’s no way to describe how big NFL defenders are and it seems like every season they get faster and stronger and in general, hit harder. The running quarterback is super sexy right now, but that’s just because fantasy overvalues their game (link to fantasy overvaluing running QBs post) and not because they’re getting a lot more wins. Running QBs take too many hits to stay healthy, that’s my line and I’m sticking to it. Remember these words:
– San Francisco fans will miss Alex Smith. Hard.
I don’t know how this happened, but people seem to have forgotten that the Niners were still really good when Alex Smith was not losing them games. I’m not the only one who is really into his new setup in KC with Andy Reid, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles and handshake extraordinaire Chase Daniel coaching from the headset. I think there’s a real chance Alex Smith Remorse hits the bay in full force.
– Drew Brees breaks his own single-season passing yardage.
In the history of football, a quarterback has thrown for 5000 yards in a season just six times. Brees has done it three years in a row. With Sean Payton back from a historically inappropriate suspension, a defense that is still unbelievably bad, a couple of sexy new targets (Stills, Toon) and still no dominant running game, I expect a lot.
The Raiders will own the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft
The Bills and Jets will be just as bad this year, but at least they get to play each other and will probably beat each other at home. The poor Raiders are not joking when they picked Terelle Pryor as the week one starter and its only getting worse. I apologize to Frank and Zach, but I’m pretty convinced on this one. Should be a hell of a ride.
Matt’s Predictions:
-Watch out for the Rams this year.

I say this mostly because because I’m living closer to St. Louis now, but with the new coaching talent of Jeff Fisher and a stacked line-up, they’ve got my bet to give some real contention with the 49ers and Seahawks, all while in the same division.

The Raiders will have a .500 record this year.
With the resigning of Charles Woodson and a whole new defense to come along with him, I’d venture to say their greatness weakness of giving up easy touchdowns will be quelled this year. If that’s not a bold prediction, I don’t know what is.
Michael’s Predictions:

– The Seahawks will be the last team to lose

Bandwagon teams tend to fall flat when everyone’s watching them. Luckily the Seahawks play their home games on the other side of the International Date Line in a stadium made of mist, so they’ll be able to slip a quiet 12-0 past the national consciousness. A weird scheduling quirk has Seattle playing the entire AFC South in a row from weeks 3-6, and while they have to play the two good teams on the road, Pete Carroll’s always aggressive gum chewing will be enough to pull them through.

– Shredded kneecaps will be the new Concussions in a pick-your-poison scenario that will lead to some seriously terrible television punditry

In case you missed it, everyone tore a cruciate ligament in the preseason. With all the emphasis placed on concussion prevention in the last few years, DBs need somewhere to lead with their helmets, so they’re going with knees now. This will be the last year in the NFL where the forcible act of bringing another man to the ground will not result in some kind of fine.

– Mark Sanchez will just absolutely crush it this year

We’ve all been waiting around patiently for the Sanchize to make The Leap. He’s entering his fifth year, which is right on schedule for when most absolutely god-awful young quarterbacks put it all together. Yes, that’s right – Sanchez is about to enter The Couch Zone, named after longtime Cleveland Browns great Tim Couch. It’s about to be life in the fast lane for New York’s Finest (that’s what the Post calls him). “You get a touchdown! You get a touchdown!” – Oprah Marksanchezfrey

– A child will make his first memory at a Jacksonville Jaguars game

A four year old boy will visit EverBank Field for the November 17th Jaguars-Cardinals game at the exact moment his brain cells will mature to the point that he will begin to cognitively process the world around him. Think about that. Some children may remember the warmth of their grandmother’s smile as she poured a hot cup of cocoa; others still, a recollection of a bustling mid-afternoon with dad at the state fair, licking shaved ice (blue raspberry!) atop his shoulders. This boy, though, will see Blaine Gabbert step out of bounds for a sack on 3rd and 14 and it will for a short time be the only thing he ever remembers.

– Week 6: Browns 12, Lions 9

You heard it here first.

Frank’s predictions:

There will be a fierce competition in the “Clown for Clowney” race

I’m much closer to Adam’s prediction than Matt’s for my Raiders this year. I don’t think we’re any better than a 3-13 or 4-12 team with the current makeup. I like that we’ve shed some of the dead weight, but that doesn’t mean we’re a better team. That said, I see a bunch of crummy teams this year, and I think when we wake up in Week 12, we’ll see close to 10 teams still alive in the sweepstakes for having the worst record with 3 or fewer wins. I’d predict Oakland, San Diego, Tennessee, Arizona, NY Jets, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Detroit and maybe Miami to all be very crummy teams and be in the running for worst in the league.

– Decline of the Steelers

Every year, a handful of solid quarterbacks fall off a cliff from the previous year to make room for the rise of young QBs that are rising up the ranks in the league. It’s bound to happen. While Adam is predicting that one of the running quarterbacks gets knocked out, I’m predicting that one or two of the well-established top-10 quarterbacks have poor seasons and fall back into mediocre status. The prime candidate for me is Ben Roethlisberger – his offensive weapons and defensive support players don’t look as strong as they have in years past, and I predict a season littered with interceptions. Another possibility for sharp decline: Jay Cutler.

– Moving to LA will be a story

The threat of a team moving to Los Angeles will still be a strong storyline all the way through the year. Without even reading the local news on the latest stadium news for each city, I can tell you that the NFL will hold the “moving to LA” tag as a loose threat over any NFL team that is having stadium issues or problems with attendance. Watch out Oakland, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Tennessee, San Diego and anyone else who does anything to upset the league brass.

– The NFC will win the Super Bowl

Maybe this isn’t that bold of a prediction, but I feel so confident about the top teams in the NFC that I think they arguably will have the top five teams in the NFL this year. I would think Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, Atlanta and Washington would be favored in the super bowl over their AFC foes. Denver is the only team that will crack the top 5 in Power Rankings throughout the year but I don’t see them going all the way. Pick the NFC in your Super Bowl Prop Bets now!

– The Chip Kelly experiment will prove successful but will take longer than this year to develop.

This isn’t going to be easy for Kelly, but I think he’s got an interesting set of weapons to at least learn some things about his fast paced offense and whether it will work in the NFL. I still see the Eagles as a mediocre team (maybe 6-10), but I think you’ll see them pull some unexpected upsets and frustrate defenses at times. I don’t know that Michael Vick has enough talent anymore to consistently lead a team to victory, but I expect to see glimpses of success throughout the year. Essentially, I’m saying that I don’t expect to be betting against the Eagles very much this year.

– A guy named Christine makes a name for himself

Anyone who’s in a fantasy league with me will know that I’m high on a relatively unknown backup running back from Seattle named Christine Michael, who’s jumped up the depth chart to backup Marshawn Lynch. As much as I love the BeastMode, Lynch isn’t a super young running back anymore and it wouldn’t shock me to see him miss a few games. Watch out for Michael as a key player down the stretch and to even get the ball in some key situations in the playoffs this year.

 

Now go and make a lot of money off of us.

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