NFL Predictions 2013: Final Standings and Win-Loss Projections for All 32 Teams
As the NFL preseason has officially begun, the goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is the task at hand for every team in the league today. While the Baltimore Ravens look to head back to the Super Bowl, the variety of changes across the NFL landscape provides a difficult challenge for the defending champions.
Every team is fairly optimistic about their potential success, to say the least. However, with a month until the kickoff of the 2013 season, it's time to present realistic possibilities by separating the true contenders from the league's bottom feeders.
Thus, here are the current projections for every NFL team, as it currently stands in the preseason. Each team will be covered with their own division. The predictions will start with the AFC East, and conclude with the elite NFC West.
AFC East: New England Patriots
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Prediction: 11-5, first place in the AFC East
The New England Patriots have been the class of this division for much of the past decade, and that does not appear to be any different despite the plethora of changes on the roster.
With Tom Brady continuing to anchor the Patriots offense, his talent and leadership alone will cover the deficiencies on that side of the ball.
Certainly, there is concern with the departure of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. The two men expected to step up are Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, two players who can't be fully counted on due to their inability to stay healthy.
Rookie Aaron Dobson continues to shine with the first team offense, as Doug Kyed of NESN notes.
Will the Patriots rank among the top teams in the conference? That remains to be seen. The weaknesses on the defense can't be ignored, and the offense will not be fully capable of bringing this team a 12- or 13-win season.
Nonetheless, a postseason berth is likely in their future.
AFC East: Miami Dolphins
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Prediction: 8-8, tied for second in AFC East
Instead, it's an observation that the teams that spend the most aren't guaranteed success right out of the gate, and that is no different here.
Offensively, the Dolphins can be a playoff contender due to the surrounding talent. Yet, they missed the opportunity to add two veterans who could have improved their chances.
Eric Winston would have been an upgrade over Jonathan Martin, who didn't show encouraging signs at right tackle last year and now has to move to the left side.
Miami also missed on fullback Vonta Leach, who could have solidified the running game and helped Lamar Miller become an elite running back in this league.
Defensively, the unit should see an improvement. However, they need Brett Grimes and Dannell Ellerbe to stay healthy for an entire 16-game season. That is no guarantee.
It wouldn't be a shocker if Miami managed to live up to expectations, but it should also not come as a surprise if the franchise endures another losing season in 2013.
AFC East: Buffalo Bills
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Prediction: 6-10, third place in AFC East
While my current prediction for the Bills is a losing record, don't overlook the possibility of this roster proving to become one of the bigger surprises in 2013.
Granted, there are lingering weaknesses at the quarterback position. However, if rookie EJ Manuel emerges as the starter by Week 1, the talent is in place to pose the Bills as a threat in the AFC.
The combination of rookie Robert Woods on the outside, along with veteran Stevie Johnson in the slot, is a great complement to the dynamic running game of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Though, Manuel continues to digest a pro-style offense under rookie head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nate Hackett. It could be a rough stretch at first for Buffalo, but the potential is there for the Bills to challenge the Patriots for the division crown if everything goes right.
AFC East: New York Jets
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Prediction: 4-12, last place in AFC East
The outlook on the New York Jets this season is quite simple.
Rex Ryan's defense will be a unit that will manage to keep the Jets competitive on most Sundays in 2013.
Yet, in a league where offenses typically decide the outcome, Gang Green's offense is one of the worst offenses in the league.
The ongoing quarterback competition doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Neither Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez will succeed with an average offensive line that only has two consistent veterans in the rotation.
Chris Ivory can be a quality addition, but can he stay healthy? If not, is Bilal Powell capable of getting 20-25 carries? The receivers are in an even worse situation, with an aging Santonio Holmes accompanied by a developing project in Stephen Hill.
Four wins won't be enough to save Rex Ryan's job, but it would be impressive considering how poorly assembled the offense is.
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
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Prediction: 12-4, first place in AFC North
Coming off a lackluster 8-8 campaign in 2012, the Pittsburgh Steelers are primed for a return to relevancy as a contender in the AFC.
Quite frankly, it was a wakeup call. Youth was needed on both sides of the football, most notably their elite defense, to contend for the AFC North crown.
Although the secondary is an elderly unit, the defensive front will continue to be stout run stoppers and bring plenty of pressure to elite quarterbacks.
On the offensive side, Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley enter year two with plenty of motivation to prove that they are still at the top of their game.
The additions of rookies Le'Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton are going to be crucial for the Steelers success as they revert back to providing a quality balanced attack.
Due to the combination of veterans and surging young talent, along with a lesser daunting schedule, Pittsburgh's finest will prove to be a threat to the Denver Broncos for the AFC crown.
AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals
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Prediction: 10-6, second in AFC North
The Cincinnatti Bengals, who endured a second straight first-round postseason exit, are eager to make the jump among the AFC's elite.
And while Andy Dalton hasn't carried the team to a championship yet, the young and improving talent around him has put Cincinnati in a position to return to the playoffs for a third straight year.
The Bengals didn't have enough weapons for Dalton and receiver AJ Green last year? No problem. Rookies Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard are capable of not only pushing the veteran starters for playing time, but also allowing offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to show more creativity with his offensive sets.
An improvement with the offense could pave the way for a defense that is not appreciated enough around the league, with All-Pro Geno Atkins continuing to build on a 2012 season that made him one of the more feared lineman in the game.
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
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Prediction: 10-6, third place in AFC North
The buzz surrounding the overhaul of the Baltimore Ravens roster has been made clear. For Baltimore's defense, their unit will be as feared as we have seen over the past decade.
They are younger and faster, and their front seven will be a force if they all stay healthy. The return of Lardarius Webb to the secondary is a major positive for this roster.
However, where will the offensive production come from? ESPN reported Dennis Pitta's season-ending hip injury. With two of Joe Flacco's more reliable targets gone, it's up to veterans Ed Dickson, Jacoby Jones and receiver Tommy Streeter to provide the production.
Time will tell if chemistry can be built with those three over the course of the season. In the meantime, expect a major dose of Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Vonta Leach for opposing defenses.
If Flacco builds upon his successful playoff run and can work with veteran talent stepping up, the Ravens can avoid all of the injuries and roster turnover with a return to the postseason.
Though, there are too many questions needing to be answered for me to guarantee the Ravens another postseason berth.
8. AFC North: Cleveland Browns
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Prediction: 6-10, last place in AFC North
My optimism for the Cleveland Browns getting over the hump has dropped significantly over the past two months. Not only am I unsure if Norv Turner can turn Brandon Weeden into an efficient quarterback, but his supporting cast doesn't provide a vote of confidence either.
Josh Gordon is injury prone and will miss the first two games due to violating the league's substance abuse policy. He hasn't given any indications of emerging as the top receiver that the franchise is looking for.
Jordan Cameron could blossom with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, but there is no guarantee a young and unproven talent can be a guarantee to have success.
The defense will be a solid unit under Ray Horton, but can Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo quickly become a formidable pass-rush tandem? I need to see it to believe it.
AFC South: Houston Texans
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Prediction: 11-5, first place AFC South
The Houston Texans don't have anything to prove in the regular season. They have become playoff contenders the last two seasons, and it would be a surprise if the same result didn't occur this year.
DeAndre Hopkins is a quality receiver who can open up the passing game for Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. He is capable of becoming a receiver that resembles the role of Julio Jones, a young and elite receiver paired with an established veteran.
The return of Brian Cushing and the addition of Ed Reed adds the leadership that the defense lacked for most of last season.
Ultimately, the question still remains whether or not Schaub can bring the Texans beyond a simple postseason victory over the Bengals, or have they reached their ceiling with their current quarterback at the helm.
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
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Prediction: 9-7, second place in AFC South
The Indianapolis Colts are an incredibly hard team to predict. One would expect Andrew Luck to grow in his second year with Pep Hamilton leaving Stanford and reuniting with his former quarterback. The development of the youth and the presence of the veterans makes the Colts a potentially dangerous team come playoff time.
Then again, did the offensive line actually improve significantly, or were the additions in free agency blown a bit out of proportion? Did the team benefit from being on the winning end in close games and playing with emotion due to the health problems Chuck Pagano faced?
The jury is out on the Colts. While it seems they can continue to grow in 2013, it's very possible that they just miss out on the postseason in a conference that did improve over the offseason.
AFC South: Tennessee Titans
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Prediction: 5-11, third place in AFC South
Head coach Mike Munchak is putting himself and his coaching staff in a dangerous position. They are potentially putting their careers with the Tennessee Titans in the hands of a third-year quarterback who hasn't shown the confidence that he can win in the league with his arm.
From the standpoint of Jake Locker, there are no excuses not to perform. The additions of Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre not only will improve his pass protection, but also improve the running lanes for Chris Johnson and work with a balanced attack.
The addition of Justin Hunter could be an intriguing combination with Kendall Wright, along with Kenny Britt if he can ever stay healthy.
The Titans put all of their efforts towards improving the offense and ignoring a defense that wasn't impressive last season to begin with. This plan is likely to backfire on Munchak more than anything.
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars
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Prediction: 3-13, last place in AFC South
The upcoming season won't be a fair way to judge the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The franchise is in good hands with general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley.
Yet, Blaine Gabbert hasn't given anyone any reason to believe that he can salvage his career with Jacksonville beyond this year.
The offense will run through Maurice Jones-Drew, who is in a contract year and looking to prove himself that he is still among the elite running backs in the league.
The two rookies to watch out for are safety John Cyprien, who could be due for a great first season under Bradley as he works with a coach who built great secondaries in Seattle.
Meanwhile, it's unknown how the Jaguars will use Denard Robinson, and it will be intriguing to see how effective he can be on an offense with such so much unproven talent.
AFC West: Denver Broncos
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Denver Broncos: 12-4, first place in AFC West
The Denver Broncos are not only the clear cut team to beat in the AFC West, but rather the entire conference.
Wes Welker and Louis Vasquez are two veterans who join a Broncos offense that was one of the more balanced units in the league already.
On defense, the Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil but solidified depth at linebacker and improved the secondary with the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
This roster will plow over most of the NFL, but the remaining question whether or not it will lead to a Super Bowl title.
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
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Prediction: 10-6, second place in AFC West
After a disappointing season in 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs find themselves with a veteran head coach and a quarterback wanting to prove his worth to a franchise.
Andy Reid and Alex Smith are working on instilling an offense that can give defenses plenty of looks, as they work with the West Coast and the Pistol formation to their advantage.
It will be worth watching to see how Reid utilizes Dexter McCluster, who could find his role as a slot receiver.
The defense boasted a great group of individual talent, but that didn't stop the front office from bolstering the secondary with the acquisitions of Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson.
As a result, the Chiefs could benefit from a relatively soft schedule and find their way into the postseason.
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
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Prediction: 4-12, third in AFC West
The San Diego Chargers are in a good position moving forward now that head coach Mike McCoy will have time to orchestrate an offense that made him successful with the Broncos.
Though, the change won't happen overnight. His first big challenge as a head coach is realizing Philip Rivers' decline as a passer. The current personnel in place doesn't compare to what he had while in Denver.
On Tuesday, the already thin receiving corps took a major hit when the Chargers website announced that Danario Alexander will miss the entire 2013 season after tearing his ACL.
Now, the team has rely on Vincent Brown, who has shown flashes of explosiveness on the roster but is also an injury concern. The term "explosiveness" was also once reserved for Antonio Gates, who has been derailed by injuries for the last few years.
Can Ryan Matthews live up to the expectations that the team has bestowed upon him? It seems that the team needs to see it to believe it, as his inability to stay on the football field has prevented him from improving in his development.
It remains to be seen how the Chargers move forward after 2013 with or without Rivers as the franchise quarterback.
AFC West: Oakland Raiders
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Prediction: 2-14, last place in AFC West
The Raiders aren't in a fortunate position to look forward towards the future, as the direction of the franchise could change again after a disastrous 2013 season.
Rod Streater has been the most consistent receiver thus far in camp, according to Jerry McDonald of InsideBayArea. He will have the opportunity to continue standing out, as the receiver depth chart is filled with young players who haven't hit their stride at the pro level.
Darren McFadden is the team's most talented player, but is not effective on a weekly basis due to his health issues.
It would be a shock if the Raiders didn't finish last in the division, and potentially with the worst record in the league.
NFC East: New York Giants
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Prediction: 9-7, first place in NFC East
In a division that is known to be one of the more difficult to win outright, the New York Giants have enough experience of winning on the big stage to prepare for the upcoming season.
A pattern has followed in recent seasons after the Giants win a Super Bowl. With that following season proving to be a disappointment, Big Blue is recharging its batteries as it prepares for another stretch run.
Reuben Randle is the best candidate to become the Giants most improved player, and could take advantage of his involvement with the offense if (or should I say when) Hakeem Nicks battles injuries over the course of the season.
The defense won't compare to its defenses from previous championship runs, but the idea of Justin Tuck performing in a contract year along with Jason Pierre-Paul could provide the necessary spark for the Giants to win the tiebreaker and become division champions.
NFC East: Washington Redskins
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Prediction: 9-7, tied for first (lose tiebreaker to Giants)
The Redskins are a franchise that is tied to its second-year quarterback who is coming off an ACL tear just seven months ago.
Will he return to full strength? It can't be guaranteed. Nobody knows how quickly RGIII will revert back to his impressive performance of his rookie year.
Teams are likely to become worried of risking their quarterbacks' health through the read option, which played a large factor into the Redskins success.
What if the read option is not as big as a component of the offense compared to a season ago? RGIII will be challenged to rely on his ability to be a pocket passer, which could play into the many defenses that are scheming to contain RGIII.
The Redskins also did not make many improvements in the offseason due to the surplus of picks they gave in the trade that allowed them to acquire the former Hiesman winner.
That could be the ultimate difference in why the Redskins come up short of the division crown.
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
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Prediction: 8-8, third in NFC East
On paper, the Dallas Cowboys are arguably the most talented team in the division and should emerge from the tight division race as the winners.
The problem? The offensive line may have improved, but it's not near an elite level that could allow Tony Romo to make wiser decisions with the football.
A running game will be essential this season, but the team is putting its faith in DeMarco Murray, who has been plagued by injuries dating back to his college days.
On the opposite side of the ball, Monte Kiffin will attempt to revitalize a defense that disappointed last season. The cornerbacks on the roster, led by Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, are young and talented. They both provided plenty of inconsistency last year, however.
Meanwhile, the safety position hasn't exactly been fully improved as well.
Overall, there is enough talent on the roster to make a run at the division. However, when in doubt it seems best to never rely on Tony Romo in a big game when it matters most.
I will stay true to that thought until he changes the script.
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
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Prediction: 6-10, last place in NFC East
There will be no middle ground for the Eagles this season. They could be the NFL's biggest surprise as Chip Kelly's offense revolutionizes the game as he leads this franchise back to the postseason.
The Eagles' best bet is for LeSean McCoy to greatly benefit from Kelly's up-tempo offense, with DeSean Jackson having a bounce-back season as he returns fully healthy.
Although, will the controversy surrounding Riley Cooper infect the Eagles locker room over the course of a 16-game season, as mentioned in the Star Ledger? It's more likely that his presence will do more harm than good for the Eagles, who have not parted ways with Cooper after the incident.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
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Prediction: 11-5, first place in NFC North
The Green Bay Packers represent the model of consistency. They have built a foundation for success in both the regular season and postseason, no matter what kind of obstacle is in their way.
This year is no different. As NFL.com's Ian Rapoport mentions, Bryan Bulaga has a torn ACL and is out for the season. And while that may weaken the Packers offensive line, this is nothing new for Aaron Rodgers.
How much does the injury affect Eddy Lacy and Johnathan Franklin? It does to an extent, but the running game has never been the focal point of a Mike McCarthy offense.
As for the Packers' defense, a healthy Clay Matthews can anchor a defensive front that involves a lot of rotating parts. If the pass rush can be as effective as it was a few years ago during their Super Bowl run, then the Packers will certainly be in contention with the NFC's elite.
NFC North: Chicago Bears
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Prediction: 9-7, second in NFC North
The Chicago Bears begin a new era of football in 2013 with offensive architect Marc Trestman running the show.
The talent surrounding him is as good as ever before, with a young Alshon Jeffery continuing to grow alongside Brandon Marshall.
It remains to be seen whether Cutler can work enough with a Bears offensive line that made a few minor improvements in the offseason.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears lose not only a leader in Brian Urlacher, but also former head coach Lovie Smith. How will the unit perform with the changes in leadership?
Unfortunately, the Bears' tough schedule against the NFC's best will likely keep them outside of the postseason despite having a winning record.
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings
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Prediction: 7-9, third place in NFC
As the NFC continues to have an increase in playoff caliber teams, the Minnesota Vikings seem more of a threat beyond 2013 as opposed to this season.
The departure of Percy Harvin isn't as big of a loss since the Vikings went to the postseason without him last season.
However, the challenge that Leslie Frazier faces is limiting Adrian Peterson's overall carries, and putting his trust in Christian Ponder. Ponder came up big during their playoff clinching win over the Packers last season.
Greg Jennings can be an effective veteran target for Ponder, but his inability to stay healthy makes him a bit of a concern. Is Kyle Rudolph prepared to have an increased role in the offense and emerge among the elite tight end core? He hasn't proven to elevate his game on a consistent basis.
Meanwhile, the departure of veteran Antoine Winfield will have an impact on a young Vikings secondary that was led by the veteran who left for the Seahawks.
Frazier will learn a lot about Ponder, and unfortunately the results will hint that it may be time to look at another quarterback prospect in the near future.
NFC North: Detroit Lions
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Prediction: 6-10, last in NFC North
The Detroit Lions appear to have an improved roster on paper, with the addition of Reggie Bush to the high octane offense in Detroit.
Whether or not the offensive line will show an improvement should be a concern for the Lions. It will not only play a role into Stafford's efficiency, but it would also impact Bush's production on the field.
Though, if the Lions wish to return to the postseason, the defensive front will be absolutely key. Ziggy Ansah was drafted based on his potential and athleticism, but that doesn't translate to immediate success on the football field.
The secondary is led by veterans Chris Houston and Glover Quin, but that won't prevent opposing offenses from challenging the younger cornerbacks on a consistent basis.
While the Lions have the talent to be in the mix for a wild-card spot, they are a few pieces away from stabilizing themselves as a threat in the NFC.
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons
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Prediction: 12-4, first place in NFC South
After the Atlanta Falcons came up a few plays short of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, management decided to slightly shake up the roster through the draft and free agency.
Steven Jackson was the most notable acquisition, as he provides a running game for an elite offense that could not find consistency from Michael Turner in 2012. The signing of Osi Umenyiora was an effective move over an older defensive end in John Abraham.
Through the draft, the Falcons began instilling youth into their secondary, most notably rookie Desmond Trufant.
The biggest concerns for the Falcons would be the offensive line, along with their young secondary continuing to grow.
However, their up-tempo and balanced offense can be enough for the Falcons to avenge their loss from last season and shake off the notion that this team can't win in the postseason.
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
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Prediction: 10-6, second place in NFC South
The New Orleans Saints are bound for a return to the postseason as Sean Payton takes back the reigns of his team.
Payton regaining control of the play-calling duties accomplishes two things—an uptempo offense that utilizes Brees' quick release along with limiting his turnovers.
While the Saints continued to produce offensively, the return of Payton ensures a more aggressive offense that gains even more confidence with its leader returning to the sidelines.
It was also clear that the league's worst defense needed changes across the board. Rob Ryan will provide his defense with a kind of personality that the Saints unit displayed during their run to a championship.
The addition of safety Kenny Vaccaro fills a massive upgrade for a secondary that wasn't going to be an easy fix.
As long as the defense shows signs of improvement in 2013, the Saints will propel themselves to a double-digit win season and a playoff berth.
NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Prediction: 8-8, third in NFC South
For two straight offseasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have improved their team on both sides of the football. But will that be enough to fend off the Falcons and the Saints in their own division?
The defense got its wish with a massive overhaul this offseason, as Darelle Revis and Dashon Goldson provide immediate improvement to the secondary.
However, there was no improvement to its defensive front, which means that Gerald McCoy and Da'Quan Bowers must juggle most of the load. While it will be difficult to throw against the Buccaneers defense, a lack of pass rush could lead to offenses taking advantage of the extra time by challenging the root of the secondary.
Ultimately, the defense will not control their fate regarding a potential postseason berth. The answer to that is Josh Freeman, whose inconsistencies during his course in the league are the primary reasons for why the Buccaneers will miss out on the postseason yet again.
Freeman's inability to provide his best performances on a weekly basis will be the eventual downfall for a franchise that wants their quarterback to prove his worth in a contract season.
NFC South: Carolina Panthers
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Prediction: 7-9, last in the NFC South
A major reason why is the lack of talent in the passing game around Newton. With much of their salary cap dedicated to their running back trio, Newton has not been able to rely on his teammates consistently outside of Steve Smith.
Newton's lack of supporting talent, along with an average defense playing behind him, will result in a last-place finish in a difficult division.
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks
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Prediction: 11-5, first place in NFC West
The ongoing divisional rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks prompted a barrage of upgrades by Seattle.
With the additions of Cliff Avril and Antoine Winfield, the Seahawks enter the 2013 regular season with the best defense in the league despite the injuries which have occurred in recent months.
On offense, the team received a setback with Percy Harvin's surgery and apparent rehab situation.
The Seahawks were a playoff team last season without Harvin, and his absence won't prevent Russell Wilson from leading his team back to the postseason. While Harvin will be needed if the Seahawks want to win a championship, there is enough talent on the roster to dethrone San Francisco as the division winner.
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
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Prediction: 10-6, second in NFC West
The 49ers were the class of the NFC last season, emerging as the favorite with Colin Kaepernick and were seconds away from winning another Super Bowl.
However, they will need to overcome severe injuries to key starters in 2013. Michael Crabtree's torn Achilles could result in missing most of the 2013 season. Meanwhile, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chris Culliver will miss the entire season after tearing his ACL.
Anquan Boldin becomes the immediate player to replace Crabtree's production. Though, chemistry will take time, and with a Week 2 matchup against the Seahawks, the 49ers could lose their grip on the division early on in the season.
Regardless, the remaining talent on this roster makes the 49ers a contender in the NFC. Kaepernick is in a great position where he can continue improving as a pocket passer, while the defense continues to play as one of the more dominant units in the league.
31. NFC West: St. Louis Rams
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Prediction: 9-7, third in NFC West
The St. Louis Rams make the NFC West a three-way race in 2013. With the selections of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, there cannot be any questions asked regarding the supporting cast for Sam Bradford.
Now, can Bradford prove to his detractors that he is capable of living up to the hype of the No. 1 overall pick? If he can't show us this year, it seems less likely that it will happen.
An observer of the game knows that Jeff Fisher's teams are physical teams with a quality work ethic. He has shown the ability to get the most from players who create a name for themselves in his system.
Last season, the expectations were low as the Rams only lost one game in the division and made progress in 2012. The defense will continue to improve as Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are out to prove their worth as the next dynamic cornerback duo, with Chris Long and Robert Quinn forming a unique combination of their own.
Ultimately, the Rams have the talent to challenge for the division and even win it. Though, before one believes the hype, Sam Bradford must elevate his play to the level of the other young quarterbacks in the division.
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals
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Prediction: 5-11, last in NFC West
The Cardinals are on the losing end of playing in the league's best division. From the veteran leaders of Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett, to Patrick Peterson and Michael Floyd, there won't be a team that will look forward to playing Arizona.
If that's the case, then why are the Cardinals primed to win only five games? The main reasons involve head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer.
We quickly forget that while Arians did a very impressive job in Indianapolis, he worked with a once in a generation quarterback over an entire season.
In 2013, he is working with a veteran quarterback who is on the decline. Never regarded as a mobile quarterback, Palmer might face more difficulty with an offensive line that is currently viewed as a below average.
Both of these men are in a difficult spot. Arians wants to prove that his track record will resemble his time with the Colts last year, as opposed to the Steelers where his play-calling was much more predictable with Ben Roethlisberger.
Due to the questions on offense, along with playing in a tougher conference, the focus will soon turn towards building for 2014.
Matt Miselis is an NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport. Follow him on twitter @MattMiselisNFL.