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2013 NFL Predictions: Win-Loss Records for Every Team

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIJanuary 16, 2017

2013 NFL Predictions: Win-Loss Records for Every Team

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    With the 2013 NFL season less than three months away, teams are beginning to take form. That can only mean one thing: It's time for NFL season predictions.

    It may seem a little early, but there is already a good feel for how good or bad each team's key players are going to be. For example, it's extremely likely that the Jacksonville Jaguars will struggle, while no one expects the San Francisco 49ers to have a terrible year.

    In this slideshow, we're going to take an in-depth look into win-loss predictions for each NFL team. We'll look at each roster to see the talent each team has and whether they'll have a great year, a decent year or an Oakland Raiders type of year (spoiler alert!).

    Instead of going alphabetically through the teams, we'll start with the teams we expect to have the worst records and work our way up to the upper echelon of NFL teams.

Oakland Raiders

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    It's hard to look at the overall roster of the Oakland Raiders and think that this team is going to be competitive this year. 

    Even if Matt Flynn proves to be a competent quarterback, there are too many holes on both sides of the roster for this team to have success. This team lacks elite playmakers who'll be able to extend drives or slow down other offenses.

    Rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden might be the talented player on the defensive side on the ball. On offense, the Raiders will likely depend heavily on Darren McFadden to lead this team, but he'll have to stay healthy.

    When looking over the Raiders' schedule, the only real winnable games appear to be Week 2 at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a Week 15 matchup at home with the Kansas City Chiefs. However, even the game against the Chiefs seems like a stretch.

    Of course, the Raiders could surprise us all, but having the worst record in the league this year seems like a definite possibility.

     

    Final Record: 2-14

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    When you enter the NFL draft and everyone wonders whether the players you draft will be most talented on the roster, you know you're in for a long season.

    The issues for the Jacksonville Jaguars all starts at the quarterback position. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will battle for the starting job, but neither appears to be poised to carry this team. In fact, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press, the Jaguars quarterbacks have been struggling terribly during OTAs.

    This certainly isn't good news if the Jaguars want to have any chance at all to be competitive this year. As for the defense, Jacksonville is hoping that two of its top rookies in safety Johnathan Cyprien and cornerback Dwayne Gratz will be able to make a big difference from day one.

    The Jaguars have the roster and quarterback struggles to legitimately go winless this year. However, they could steal home games against division rivals the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts to record some victories.

     

    Final Record: 2-14

New York Jets

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    The questions about the New York Jets this year don't revolve around the defense, but rather the offense.

    On defense, the Jets actually have the talent to field on of the better units in the league. Their front seven consists of a number of playmakers including Quinton Coples, Demario Davis and Muhammad Wilkerson.

    The secondary also has potential with cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner leading the way. If the Jets win a number of games this year, it'll likely because of the defense.

    As for the offense, neither Mark Sanchez nor Geno Smith will make much of a difference as to how productive the unit is. The receiving corps is a mess, and while Chris Ivory has talent, he's unproven as an every-down back.

    Look for the Jets to struggle throughout the year to win. When they do win, don't be surprised if they are ugly, defensive wins.

     

    Final Record: 3-13

Cleveland Browns

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    There will be a time when the Cleveland Browns are no longer the laughingstock of the AFC North. Unfortunately, that won't be for another year, possibly two. 

    Even though early reports are that Trent Richardson will be ready for the start of training camp after a leg injury, the Browns need to be a little concerned about his durability. He struggled with injuries throughout his rookie season and has yet to be 100 percent since becoming a member of the Cleveland franchise.

    However, the Browns do have other playmakers who make this an exciting team to follow. Guys like Josh Gordon, Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Phil Taylor give Browns fans plenty of hope for the future.

    The key this year could be the improved play of quarterback Brandon Weeden. If he can improve significantly in the new offense that Norv Turner will run, Cleveland could end up being the surprise team of the NFL.

    However, it could take Weeden a year to become completely comfortable in Turner's offense, so look for the Browns to struggle this year and be way more competitive in 2014.

     

    Final Record: 4-12

Arizona Cardinals

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    While the Arizona Cardinals took some steps to becoming a competitive franchise, they still seem a few years away from truly competing.

    The problem certainly isn't on the defensive side of the ball where the Cardinals are legitimate candidates to have one of the best units in all of football. They have legitimate superstars in Calais Campbell, Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington. 

    Arizona also did a great job of adding talent through the draft in middle linebacker Kevin Minter and cornerback/free safety Tyrann Mathieu. Overall, the defense in Arizona should be extremely talented.

    On offense, the Cardinals are hoping that bringing in Carson Palmer in the offseason will make all the difference in the world. The biggest issue they had last year was getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, something that Palmer should learn to do quickly.

    However, there are still questions along the offensive line (even with the drafting of guards Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford) and the running game will also struggle. If Rashard Mendenhall, Stepfan Taylor, Ryan Williams and Andre Ellington can't form a competent backfield, the Cardinals will struggle to create offensive opportunities.

    The biggest issue for Arizona to overcome is the fact it plays in the hardest division in the NFL. It isn't hard to imagine the Cardinals going 0-6 during divisional matchups. Throw in difficult games against the New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons, and another struggling season seems logical in Arizona for 2013.

     

    Final Record: 4-12

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made some huge moves in order to improve on a 7-9 season last year. The first move was the signing of safety Dahson Goldson to improve their secondary.

    However, the biggest move Tampa Bay made was trading for cornerback Darrelle Revis. He'll instantly improve a secondary that struggled to slow down the pass-happy NFC South. 

    Unfortunately, the issue for the Buccaneers isn't their defense as they finished with the 10th-best overall defense last year according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). No, the problem for the Buccaneers is the offense, and more specifically, the erratic play of quarterback Josh Freeman.

    While Freeman threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last year, he completed less than 55 percent of his passes and had 19 total turnovers. Simply put, Freeman needs to play up to the level of the other quarterbacks in his division if Tampa Bay wants to compete this year.

    The Buccaneers also have a difficult schedule outside their division with games against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Unless Freeman reaches elite status, Tampa Bay will decline a little this year.

     

    Final Record: 5-11

Detroit Lions

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    There is no doubt the Detroit Lions improved this offseason on both sides of the ball with signings like running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin. They also had a solid draft headlined by Ziggy Ansah and Darius Slay.

    The bad news is that the other teams in their division and the other teams on their schedule improved just as much if not more. While the Lions' should once again have an explosive offense headed by Calvin Johnson, there are still major questions defensively.

    For starters, both Ansah and Slay are unproven rookies who could struggle to impact the game at the start of the season. Furthermore, the Lions also lack playmakers at the linebacker position.

    For Detroit to truly compete, especially in the NFC North, it'll need to get better on the defense. It's definitely on the right path, but it could take a year or two longer for them to ultimately get there.

     

    Final Record: 5-11

Buffalo Bills

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    It's a new era for the Buffalo Bills as they bring in a new head coach in Doug Marrone and a potential franchise quarterback in EJ Manuel. It'd be great if both those moves paid off instantly, but it's unlikely that it will.

    The likely scenario is that running back C.J. Spiller will become the main offensive weapon in Buffalo this year. He showed flashes of absolute brilliance and appears poised to become an elite running back this year.

    While the Bills will be much more competitive this year than they were last year, it won't be enough. We certainly won't see them losing 50-17 or 52-28 or 45-3 like they did last year. Overall, the Bills look like a team on the rise, but it'll take a few years for them to fully get there.

    Had the Bills gotten a little bit easier schedule, they could easily finish the season at .500. Unfortunately, they play the entire NFC South and AFC North, with only one or two of those games looking winnable.

     

    Final Record: 5-11

Philadelphia Eagles

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    As good as the Philadelphia Eagles have the potential of being, there are still too many question marks surrounding this roster.

    The biggest question remains on the defensive side of the ball where the Eagles will be trying to break in a pair of new free-agent cornerbacks. Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams will take the place of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. On the surface, that appears like a step backward in the talent department.

    If the Eagles can't slow anyone down, it doesn't matter how impressive their new Chip Kelly offense will be. They may score 40 points a game, but giving up 45 points still results in a loss.

    Look for the new-look Eagles to finish last in the NFC East this year.

     

    Final Record: 6-10

San Diego Chargers

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    The San Diego Chargers are one of those teams that could either go 10-6 and make the playoffs or go 3-13 and completely tank. That's how dangerous and awful this roster looks at the same exact time.

    If the Chargers want to stay away from the tanking side of the spectrum, quarterback Philip Rivers is going to need to get out of the funk he's been in for the past few seasons. He's combined for 64 total turnovers the past three seasons, a number he'll need to drastically cut down on in 2013.

    Outside of Rivers, San Diego has talent on both sides of the ball. The only real area of concern is the offensive line, but San Diego is hoping that D.J. Fluker, Max Starks and King Dunlap will help in that area.

    Whether or not the Chargers start the season hot will be key. Their first four games are against the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys.

    If they struggle out of the gate, the 2013 season could turn into an absolute disaster. However, they should be able to hold things together and be on the brink of a winning record all season long.

     

    Final Record: 6-10

St. Louis Rams

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    Few teams improved as much as the St. Louis Rams did this offseason. From free agents Jake Long and Jared Cook to rookies Alec Ogletree and Tavon Austin, the Rams should be much improved from last year.

    What St. Louis needs more than anything is for quarterback Sam Bradford to take that next step toward being an upper-echelon quarterback. He looked great in his rookie season, but his play has declined steadily in each of the two seasons since.

    Having a player like Austin should help tremendously. He's an extremely talented receiver whom Bradford can completely trust with the ball in his hands.

    The Rams will need to figure out how to replace their best player for the past nine years in running back Steven Jackson. However, they have a plethora of young talent at that position including rookie Zac Stacy and second-year players Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson.

    Unfortunately, the Rams play in the toughest division in football, and it's hard to imagine them beating either the Seattle Seahawks of San Francisco 49ers this year. The rest of their schedule, however, is fairly friendly, so don't be surprised if St. Louis flits with a .500 record all year long.

     

    Final Record: 7-9

Minnesota Vikings

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    Despite finishing the 2012 season 10-6 and making the playoffs, no one expected the Minnesota Vikings to be that good. In fact, had Adrian Peterson not rushed for over 2,000 yards, 10-6 would have been more like 4-12.

    To expect Peterson to once again rush for 2,000 yards is a little ridiculous—no matter how superhuman he is. The Vikings will need a more balanced attack, which means they'll need better play from quarterback Christian Ponder.

    As Ponder enters his third year, he'll have some new weapons with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson at his disposal. However, if he doesn't make a huge leap in his overall play, the Vikings could be looking for a new quarterback in 2014.

    On defense, the Vikings will once again boast a very solid unit with players like Jared Allen and Harrison Smith. Rookies Xavier Rhodes and Sharrif Floyd should also contribute early to make a good defense even better.

    Ultimately, the Vikings will once again rely heavily on Peterson to lead them to victory. With a decline in Peterson's overall production, Minnesota will also see a decline in the win column from last year.

     

    Final Record: 7-9

Miami Dolphins

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    There is a lot to like about the direction the Miami Dolphins are moving in. They've got a young franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and loads of talent around the field.

    The Dolphins made a huge splash in the offseason with the signing of wide receiver Mike Wallace. However, that might not have been the best move Miami made in free agency. Linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler along with cornerback Brent Grimes should make a huge impact in their first year in Miami.

    It'll be interesting to see how the Dolphins offense runs without left tackle Jake Long. Second-year tackle Jonathan Martin will be his replacement, and to say he struggled last year would be a huge understatement. Martin finished last year as the fifth-worst graded offensive lineman according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    While the Dolphins look like a young team on the rise, the 2014 season will be the year to look for this team to make a push for the playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 7-9

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Many expected the Kansas City Chiefs to challenge for AFC West honors last year. Obviously, that didn't happen as the Chiefs finished tied for the worst record in the NFL.

    The reason so many people thought the Chiefs would be competitive was due to how much talent they have all over the field. Both sides of the ball are brimming with legitimate All-Pro candidates including Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Dwayne Bowe.

    With new head coach Andy Reid in town, it's hard to imagine this team underperforming this year. However, they'll still struggle to make the playoffs as Reid still works on getting his specific type of players into Kansas City.

    Look for the Chiefs to be much improved from last year, but still on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 7-9

Dallas Cowboys

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    Every year, it seems that the Dallas Cowboys are talked about as a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and every year, they let us down. Why should the 2013 season be any different?

    There is no doubting the fact that Dallas is loaded with talented players on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, all that talent has yet to mold together into a viable contender.

    With the team switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense this year, it's even harder imagining this team finish the year with a winning record. While there is no doubting how good DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are, the big question will be whether they'll be just as good as defensive ends instead of outside linebackers.

    On offense, the two big areas of concern are Tony Romo (of course) and the health of DeMarco Murray. Any problems with either of those two players and the Cowboys offense could struggle.

    Look for the Cowboys to struggle out of the gate against the New York Giants, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs and for those struggles to set the tone for a losing season in Dallas.

     

    Final Record: 7-9

Tennessee Titans

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    One of the surprise teams this year will be the Tennessee Titans. They won't make the playoffs. They'll still finish third in the AFC South and at least be a very competitive team.

    It all starts with Chris Johnson and the ground game. The Titans did a great job this offseason at improving their offensive line by bringing in guards Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack. With those two players paving the way inside, don't be surprised if Johnson starts to regain his dominant play from a few years ago.

    With Johnson leading the way on offense, the Titans will need improved play from the defense. Luckily, they have a good amount of young talent on that side of the ball looking poised to take the next step this year.

    If everything goes right in Tennessee this year, the playoffs are a certain possibility. However, a .500 record should still be considered a success for this team.

     

    Final Record: 8-8

Chicago Bears

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    There's two reasons why the Chicago Bears will regress a little from last year.

    The first reason is the fact that they lost their leader on defense in Brian Urlacher. While his play had been declining in recent seasons, that's still a huge hole to fill for the Bears.

    The second reason is that the Bears fired their longtime coach Lovie Smith in the offseason and brought in Marc Trestman. While few would argue that is was a good move, the loss of Smith could have a similar effect to the loss of Urlacher. Smith has been there for so long that it could take a year or two for the team to fully commit to Trestman.

    Look for Chicago to be more along the lines of mediocre this year before becoming truly competitive during the 2014 season.

     

    Final Record: 8-8

Washington Redskins

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    Everything this offseason for the Washington Redskins is going to revolve around the health of Robert Griffin III and his knee.

    Griffin proved last year that he's more than capable of carrying Washington to the playoffs. However, he might not be 100 percent to start the 2013 season, which is awful news. In fact, Griffin was actually seen limping after the team's final practice of OTAs.

    Without a healthy Griffin, this team will struggle to even win five or six games. With Griffin at 100 percent, the team made the necessary improvements in the offseason to once again be competitive in the NFC East.

    While they'll ultimately miss out on the playoffs this year, they've build a strong foundation to be a competitive team for years and years.

     

    Final Record: 8-8

Indianapolis Colts

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    Much like the Washington Redskins, the Indianapolis Colts will rely heavily on quarterback Andrew Luck to continue to lead this team. However, instead of the Colts worrying about Luck's health, they need to worry about him cutting down on his turnovers.

    He threw 18 interceptions last year compared to only 23 touchdown passes. That number needs to drastically decline if Indianapolis wants to once again make its way to the playoffs.

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts will be without a legend. Dwight Freeney wasn't re-signed this offseason, as the team decided to replace him with free agent Erik Walden and rookie Bjoern Werner. Freeney struggled with the 3-4 defense, and both Werner and Walden should be able to replace his production.

    The Colts' schedule isn't very kind this year as they have to go on the road to play the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals and get the Seattle Seahawks at home. It'll be tough for them to match their surprise run from last year, but they should at least once again be competitive.

     

    Final Record: 9-7

Carolina Panthers

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    One team that could make a huge leap in terms of wins and losses is the Carolina Panthers. The main reason for that is Cam Newton.

    While Newton struggled during the first half of the 2012 season, he absolutely exploded during the second half of the year. From Week 11 on, Newton had 11 passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns and only two interceptions. 

    As long as he can build on the hot finish of last year, the offense should be one of the more explosive units in the league. On defense, Carolina has a handful of young players who should be able to make a big impact this year.

    The Panthers also have a favorable schedule with games against the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals all on the schedule. The last two games on the schedule are at home against the New Orleans Saints and on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.

    Winning both of those games could propel this team into the playoffs, but it's quite a stretch for that to happen. The more likely outcome is that the Panthers barely miss the playoffs, but look like a dangerous team of the future.

     

    Final Record: 9-7

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Every team from here on out is a team that should make the playoffs.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are the first team to join the final 12, and they do it with a good blend of experience and youth. While they did lose some talent this offseason, mainly in Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis and James Harrison, they also added a handful of players who should develop nicely into solid contributors.

    The biggest question mark right now is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is once again dealing with injuries. He recently had surgery on his right knee bringing up questions about just how quickly Roethlisberger is breaking down.

    The Steelers will once again compete in one of the most talented divisions in all of football, the AFC North. As long as they can split games with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, 10 wins seems like a reachable goal for this team.

     

    Final Record: 10-6

New York Giants

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    The New York Giants should win the NFC East this year. Last year seemed more like a fluke than a lack of talent, and Eli Manning should get back to his old ways of winning.

    While the biggest question right now in New York is the no-show during OTAs from wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, that shouldn't be the Giants' biggest worry. Instead, the Giants should be worrying about the health of Jason Pierre-Paul.

    JPP underwent back surgery this offseason, and his current status for the opening game of the 2013 season doesn't look very good right now. Without Pierre-Paul, the Giants lack a true playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

    The good news for New York is that, in terms of its schedule, they got a pretty good draw. They play the AFC West (which should result in at least three wins) along with the Detroit Lions. 

    If the Giants struggle on defense, it won't matter how good they are on offense. However, that shouldn't be the case as this team will use solid performances on both sides of the ball to get back to the playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 10-6

New Orleans Saints

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    The return of Sean Payton will definitely make an impact on improving from a disappointing season last year. However, that won't be the biggest reason why the New Orleans Saints return to form in 2013.

    No, that honor belongs to the revamped defense that the Saints will be marching out onto the field this year. It starts with the hire of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the switch to a 3-4 defense.

    The Saints also did a fantastic job at bringing in some serious talent, especially in the secondary. Free-agent cornerback Keenan Lewis and rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro should both go a long way to improving one of the worst secondaries in the league last year.

    On offense, you can still expect the same high-powered and explosive unit that you've also seen from Drew Brees and company. They should have one of the best offenses in the league, but now, they won't have to put up 50 points to win a game.

    While New Orleans didn't get a good draw in having to play the NFC West this year, it has to be excited about the prospect of its four games against the AFC East. The Saints should win three of those four games, putting them in a great position to get a wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 10-6

Cincinnati Bengals

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    There is really quite a lot to love about the Cincinnati Bengals. It's hard to look over this roster and not see them challenge the Baltimore Ravens for supremacy in the AFC North.

    The Bengals did quite a lot to improve their offense this offseason, adding tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard in the draft. That gives Andy Dalton a plethora of weapons to deal with on top of the already dangerous A.J. Green.

    As for the defense, the Bengals will start the majority of their same roster from last year with a few upgrades. James Harrison comes in to play outside linebacker and second-year cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick should help the secondary.

    The only reason that the Bengals won't be able to overtake Baltimore is because of their schedule. They play on the road in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears and then at home against the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in Weeks 3 and 5. 

    This team could easily start the season 1-4, which is a big hole to dig out of. However, the Bengals will, once again, sneak into the playoffs, but could actually be in a position to do more damage than they've done in the past two seasons, which was absolutely none.

     

    Final Record: 10-6

Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons have established themselves as one of the premier franchises in the NFL. The question isn't whether or not they'll win double-digit games, it's how many games over 10 will they win each year.

    The Falcons were already dangerous on offense, but became even more dangerous when they signed running back Steven Jackson. On top of that, they somehow convinced tight end Tony Gonzalez to return for another Super Bowl run.

    All in all, the Falcons will have one of the best overall teams in the NFL. Unfortunately, it also has an extremely difficult schedule to navigate through.

    Outside of its increasingly difficult division, Atlanta also has to travel to play the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers and has to play the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks at home. Winning one of those four games should be reason to rejoice in Atlanta.

    Had the Falcons had an easier schedule, this would be a team that could finish the year with the best record in the NFL. Unfortunately, that won't happen as they'll have to settle for another NFC South crown.

     

    Final Record: 11-5

Seattle Seahawks

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    When looking at the overall talent of a team, it's hard to think there is a team out there with a larger amount than the Seattle Seahawks.

    The trade for Percy Harvin in the offseason gave Russell Wilson a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver and an elite playmaker on offense. That'll make the defense even more dangerous than it was last year.

    On defense, the Seahawks kept all the major pieces in place while adding talent along the defensive line with Cliff Avril and Michael Johnson. The defense is clearly the strong point to this team with players like Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas leading the wall.

    The reason why the Seahawks could lose more games this year than expected is due to the conference they play in and a road game against the Houston Texans. However, even with those troubles, Seattle should still finish the year with one of the better records in football.

     

    Final Record: 12-4

Houston Texans

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    There were good moves and bad moves that the Houston Texans made this offseason. Right now, it's hard to tell whether the good outweighs the bad, but that should become evident when the regular season begins.

    The good moves are headlined by the drafting of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the first round. He'll step in from day one and be the No. 2 receiver whom Houston has been missing for so many years. He should finish the season as one of the top offensive rookie producers in the league.

    As for the bad moves, they're headlined by the signing of safety Ed Reed. There is no way that Reed is the same player whom he was a few years ago. It's hard to imagine him boosting the production of the secondary like Houston wants him to.

    The Texans will have to navigate through a fairly difficult schedule this year. While they should not have much trouble in their division, road games against the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers and a home game against the New England Patriots are all games that look like losses on paper.

    Look for Houston to, once again, win the AFC South, but do so in a little worse way than it did last year.

     

    Final Record: 12-4

Green Bay Packers

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    When you have a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on your roster, you're a team that is destined to win plenty of games each season.

    The Green Bay Packers have been relying on Rodgers to lead this team for the past handful of seasons and that won't change in 2013. What will change, however, is the fact that Green Bay seems poised to actually have a ground game this year.

    It spent two high draft picks on running backs Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy to combine with DuJuan Harris in the backfield. It may be a running-back-by-committee situation to start the year, but look for one of those players to emerge as a No. 1 back early in the year.

    The Packers also improved on the defensive side of the ball. They drafted defensive end Datone Jones in the first round, and he should make a huge impact at creating pressure.

    While the Packers improved as much as any team this offseason, they unfortunately have one of the toughest schedules in the league. Road games against the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants will all be difficult.

    Throw in challenging home games against the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins and you have a number of potential losses outside of a strong division. The Packers will win the NFC North, but it might get ugly at times for them to do so.

     

    Final Record: 12-4

Denver Broncos

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    It was a rather strange offseason for the Denver Broncos. It started with the signing of Wes Welker to help improve a passing game. 

    However, things got bad really quick when trouble with a fax machine led to the release of Elvis Dumervil. That's a huge loss for the team that had the No. 1 defense in the year last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    Furthermore, the Broncos didn't really make a huge splash via the draft this year. Neither defensive tackle Sylvester Williams nor running back Montee Ball were viewed as great picks who would bring instant results.

    Look for the Broncos to take a slight step back this year while still running through the fairly easy AFC West on their way to the playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 12-4

Baltimore Ravens

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    The defending Super Bowl champions could be victims of a Super Bowl hangover, but it's highly unlikely. The more likely outcome of the 2013 season is that the Baltimore Ravens remain one of the better teams in the league.

    Other than the loss of Anquan Boldin, the offense remains mostly the same. To replace Boldin, the Ravens could be looking at second-year receiver Tommy Streeter. He's caught the eye of the coaching staff and certainly has the size and talent to be a dangerous weapon for Baltimore.

    The biggest changes come on the defensive side of the football. Losing players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe would be harmful to any team. However, the Ravens did a great job of replacing them through free agency and the draft with players like Elvis Dumervil, Arthur Brown and Matt Elam.

    Starting off the NFL season, on the road, against the Denver Broncos, is tough, but the rest of the Ravens' schedule is fairly easy. Baltimore should coast into the playoffs and once again be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

     

    Final Record: 12-4

San Francisco 49ers

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    Few teams can brag about fielding the same amount of talent as the San Francisco 49ers do. They have All-Pro players all over the field and should easily be one of the best teams in the league during the 2013 season.

    The 49ers did get terrible news during OTAs when wide receiver Michael Crabtree fully tore his Achilles. That's a big loss, considering Crabtree was quarterback Colin Kaepernick's favorite weapon down the stretch and in the playoffs last year.

    As for the defense, the 49ers replaced safety Dashon Goldson with Eric Reid and shouldn't see much of a decline in their strongest part of the team. Patrick Willis remains the best inside linebacker in football while Aldon Smith is quickly joining him atop the rankings.

    Despite playing in the NFC West, San Francisco should still finish the year tied for the best record in football.

     

    Final Record: 13-3

New England Patriots

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    There are a number of reasons to like the New England Patriots this year to finish with the best record in football.

    For starters, there is Tom Brady who is still one of the premier quarterbacks in the league. While his receiving corps currently has as much talent as a high school team, you can never bet against Brady making the players around him better.

    Where New England should really shine this year is on the defensive side of the football. They've got loads of playmakers on that side of the ball, and they could actually field one of the better units in the entire league.

    The Patriots also have the benefit of playing in the easiest division in football with a fairly easy schedule outside the division. The only teams that should pose a threat to New England are the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans.

    Look for the Patriots to dominate once again during the regular season to win another AFC East crown and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

     

    Final Record: 13-3

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