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2013 NFL Predictions

Washington Taylor beat Panthers

Nobody

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I've been reading and watching a lot of things this offseason, and it made me realize something. I can make a lot of predictions that will seem bold as hell right now (and some a little less bold), that will make me look like a wizard by the end of the season. So here are the top 10 things I feel confident in saying.......(save your laughter for the end of the season)


1. The Arizona Cardinals are a sleeper team. They will finish with a winning record, and have the potential to fight for the wildcard. I feel like they just have too much to overcome within their own division though, and either Seattle or San Francisco will prevent them from getting it.

2. The Cincinnati Bengals will win the AFC North. No doubt in my mind about it. Baltimore took too much of a hit in the offseason, and it will leave them struggling to win more than 8 games.

3. The Pittsburgh Steelers will finish with a losing record. Big Ben is too fat, most of the team is too old, and there isn't a team in the league that truly fears them anymore. While I don't think they'll be 4-12 bad, they won't win more than 6 or 7 games.

4. The New England Patriots will lose their sense of invincibility this year. Their losses and drama will be too much to overcome. They'll only win 9 or 10 games, but since they have the benefit of being in such a pathetic division, they will still win the AFC East. And they will promptly be bounced out of the playoffs in the first round.

5. Drew Brees will have a mediocre season, by Drew Brees standards. He won't be close to 5,000 yards, and he will not throw more than 30 TD passes.

6. Russell Wilson will regress the most of all the hyped sophomore QBs.

7. Chris Johnson will return to elite form and be near the top of the league in yards and TDs all season.

8. The Houston Texans will get beat up a lot more than expected, and likely finish 10-6.

9. The Muscle Hamster will lead the NFL in rushing yards or TDs.

10. After week 6, the Jets will have a better record than the Giants.
 

Lanky Livingston

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1. No chance.

2. & 3. Agreed.

4. Eh, they'll be fine as long as Brady is healthy and the AFC East still blows.

5. No chance.

6., 7. & 8. Agreed.

9. Muscle Hamster?

10. How can the Giants have less than zero wins? Lol
 

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Muscle Hamster = Doug Martin
 

Lanky Livingston

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Haha, I had not heard that. Agreed with best and worst nickname ever! Also agreed that he will lead the NFL, he's a beast, and something ridiculous like 86% of the Bucs' offense runs through him. He fell to me at third in one draft, and if I get first in my last draft, I'd probably take him over All Day.
 

McD5

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5. You need to be checked for banned substances. The Saints defense is expected to be weak this year, so Brees will find himself playing from behind. He also has his head coach back. He'll be closer to 5,500 yards than 4,500 yards. He's one of the most under appreciated HOFers I have ever seen.

10. Unless Simms plays, the Jets will be a total disaster. Rex Ryan will be fired at the bye, if not sooner.
 
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Lanky Livingston

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5. You need to be checked for banned substances. The Saints defense is expected to be weak this year, so Brees will find himself playing from behind. He also has his head coach back. He'll be closer to 5,500 yards than 4,500 yards. He's one of the most under appreciated HOFers I have ever seen.

10. Unless Simms plays, the Jets will be a total disaster. Rex Ryan will be fired at the bye, if not sooner.
Unless I am mistaken, Ex said the same thing about Brees last year.
 

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You are mistaken.

And you guys need to look at the big picture. Brees passed seemingly every down last year. The result? 7-9. They have evidence that Brees throwing nonstop doesn't win them games. Then you factor in that most of the WR on their roster are either rookies or guys who didn't do squat in their rookie season last year, and who are you left with at WR? Marques Colston, who is good, but has been dealing with a lingering foot problem that doesn't seem to want to quit nagging him (sound familiar?), Parker, who didn't even play last year because no team would sign him, Roby who is a receiver in title only, and 99% of his play is ST play, and Lance Moore. While decent, he isn't a receiver that will have a significant impact on a QB producing big numbers.

Then you consider that Brees has had a long run of great seasons on the stat sheet. It's a level that can't be maintained, especially when you consider he's in his mid 30s now, and nature will be taking its toll even more than it has. He's primed for a down season or two. It happens to the greatest players in the game, it's just a matter of when.

Then you look at their RB situation. With Thomas and Sproles, they could do some pretty decent damage if they would run the ball. Both of these guys make the best of every situation when they touch the ball, and they've had success when they've been given the chance to make something happen. Teams aren't successful if they don't ever run the ball. Sean Peyton is a better coach than Mr. Dildo from last season, so they will be more balanced than the 97% pass play rate they had last season, which will further diminish the numbers Brees will put up.

Then there's always the possibility of injury and missing significant time because of age. All it takes is one good whack, and you're done.
 
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Lanky Livingston

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Your logic is flawed; they didn't pass because they wanted to last year, they passed because they were behind and it was a necessity. Their defense was historically bad last year.

Brees is a lock for 4500+ yards and 30+ TDs barring injury.
 

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Your logic is flawed; they didn't pass because they wanted to last year, they passed because they were behind and it was a necessity. Their defense was historically bad last year.

Brees is a lock for 4500+ yards and 30+ TDs barring injury.
In 7 of their 9 losses they were in the game right until the final minutes, and they were never down big in most of those. They were only blown out twice. They were a TD or less per loss away from being a 12-4 team.

You're logic is flawed, because you're talking like they were playing with huge deficits in their 9 losses, when in reality only two of their defeats was ever a lost cause at any point in the game, and they had a lead in almost every game they lost.

Regardless, football games are determined on the field, not within the laws of logic. It's why the Giants beat the Patriots to make them 18-1. I got laughed at for that prediction too. No player is ever a lock for anything. Jerry Rice is one of the greatest players of all time, and he had bad years.

You can always disagree with someone without it meaning they're wrong :)

And when I'm right, you should change your sig to Nobody knows more than me about football. An excellent play on words :laugh:
 

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The Saints ranked third in points scored per game at 28.8 per game.

That is the reason their losses were close.

They ranked 31st in points allowed per game at 28.4 and 31st in passing yards allowed at 292.6

They were tied for 31st with the Giants at allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt.

They tied with the Redskins and Titans by allowing 31 passing TDs-only the Eagles at 33 were worse.

They allowed opposing QBs to average a 93.8 QB rating over a 16 game season-only the Cowboys, Raiders,

Eagles, and Chiefs pass defenses made opposing QBs look even better

They were the first NFL team in history to allow over 7000 yards in total offense.

Their run defense allowed a league worst 147.6 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry.

18 rushing TDs allowed-tied with the Raiders, and Rams with Jacksonville at 19 and the Bills at 23 being the only teams worse.

Lanky wasn't exaggerating-the Saints D was horrible. Without that offensive production they would have been a bottom-feeder team.

The Saints success in 2013 rests not on the shoulders of Payton, Brees and that offense but on the "hefty" shoulders of Rob Ryan and that defense.
 

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Army

I never said their defense wasn't horrible, just pointing out that they weren't throwing the ball 50 times per game out of necessity or desperation.

When the game starts, it's 0-0. With a tie score, when you come out and your first 20 plays of the game are pass plays, you've made a commitment that you're a pass only team. They weren't playing from huge holes that forced them into a desperation passing situation, they were passing from the get go. The fact their defense sucked so bad was immaterial. The coach made the decision from day 1 that they would be passing 9 out of 10 plays all year, and that system failed them. They won't use it again, regardless of how their defense plays.
 

Lanky Livingston

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I never said their defense wasn't horrible, just pointing out that they weren't throwing the ball 50 times per game out of necessity or desperation.

When the game starts, it's 0-0. With a tie score, when you come out and your first 20 plays of the game are pass plays, you've made a commitment that you're a pass only team. They weren't playing from huge holes that forced them into a desperation passing situation, they were passing from the get go. The fact their defense sucked so bad was immaterial. The coach made the decision from day 1 that they would be passing 9 out of 10 plays all year, and that system failed them. They won't use it again, regardless of how their defense plays.
But Extreme, the only reason they were close in games was Drew Brees throwing 50 times a game. They don't have a strong running game (Ingram was supposed to fix that but has been a disappointment so far) which is another factor. That hasn't improved, so the majority of the offense will come from Drew's arm yet again.
 

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In the "Sean Payton/Drew Brees Era" at New Orleans a heavy emphasis on passing the ball versus running the ball has been the norm-with two notable exceptions. Here is the history of just how much the emphasis has been-and, more importantly-how consistent it as been.

Average number of pass attempts per game by the Saints since 2006.

2006-36.7-5th highest in the league

2007-40.8-highest in the league

2008-39.8-highest in the league

2009-34-15th highest in the league (!)

2010-42.4-highest in the league

2011-42.7-highest in the league

2012-41.9-2nd highest in the league



2006-57% of plays passing plays-11th highest in the league

2007-63% of plays passing plays-2nd highest in the league

2008-62% of plays passing plays-4th highest in the league.

2009-55% of plays passing plays-24th highest in the league (Interesting considering how their season went.)

2010-65% of plays passing plays-2nd highest in the league

2011-62% of plays passing plays-3rd highest in the league

2012-65%of plays passing plays-4th highest in the league

2009 obviously sticks out due both to the numbers and the season result.


2012 wasn't an exception but a continuation of a long term passing strategy. It is why the Saints are usually one of the most prolific scoring teams in the league-they have no reason to change anything with the offense because it isn't the source of their problem.




A notable difference for 2012 appears when you look at points for versus points against for the Saints since 2006.

2006-Saints 25.2 opponents 21.4

2007-Saints 23.7 opponents 24.2

2008-Saints 24.2 opponents 24.6

2009-Saints 32.5 opponents 21.1

2010-Saints 24.7 opponents 20.5

2011-Saints 34.7 opponents 22.4

2012-Saints 28.8 opponents 28.4

2012 showed a jump of a TD per game in opposing teams scoring against the Saints while their production dropped by a TD per game from the previous season-still at a high point production level I would point out. 7-9 is no surprise under those conditions.

My contention is that it is unlikely that the Saints will change the pass play/rushing play ratio because the condition of that defense will be the most important factor in determining what success the Saints will have.





Source link: NFL Football Stats - NFL Team Opponent Points per Game on TeamRankings.com
 

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Good points and stats all around. I'd just add two things.

Extreme, you didn't even mention Brees' favorite target, the 6'7, 265 pound, 4.5 forty beast named Jimmy Graham. Honestly, who can stop that guy? Too fast and tall for linebackers, and too big and tall for DBs.

Secondly, your best bet is an injury. Anything of course is always possible. It's possible that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Drew Brees don't throw for a million yards this season.....but they always seem to.
 

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But Extreme, the only reason they were close in games was Drew Brees throwing 50 times a game.
Not hardly. They lead at the half, or in the 3rd or 4th quarters in a lot of the games they lost. He hadn't thrown 50 times at those points in the game, and they weren't playing from behind. What's your explanation for that? You're still acting like it was pass heavy for no reason other than they were playing catch up. Only they weren't, so your logic is still flawed.

They don't have a strong running game (Ingram was supposed to fix that but has been a disappointment so far) which is another factor. That hasn't improved, so the majority of the offense will come from Drew's arm yet again.
The Packers were winners last season. And they did it with a garbage defense, no running game, and Rodgers throwing the ball 118 times fewer than Brees.

Look at the career numbers for Brees. With the exception of 2010 and 2011, the less Brees throws the ball, the more games his team wins. Generally when he throws it almost every down, he's ended up with a losing record. It isn't a coincidence.
 

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Oh, Serv....... I'll let you finish with your epic research in a minute, but in the season Brees passed the least, the Saints had their greatest season of all time. OF ALL TIME.

And the two previous seasons when they lead the league in pass frequency? 7-9 and 8-8 ;)
 

servumtuum

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Oh, absolutely, 2009 was their best season and Brees passing was notably less a dominant part of the offense.

2007 and 2008 the Saints led the league in passing attempts and were 2nd and 4th in percentage of the offense that were passing plays and two mediocre seasons as you point out, 7-9 and 8-8.

You're absolutely right about that.

However...

You know what?

They also led the league in pass attempts and were 2nd and 3rd in percent of offensive plays that were passing plays in 2010 and 2011. Those season records were 11-5 and 12-3.

Same approach, but widely different results.

What was different?


Look at the points per game for the Saints versus points per game by their opponents for 2007 and 2008 and then compare those with 2010 and 2011. In 2007 and 2008 their opponents outscored them on average per game. In 2010 and 2011 the Saints outscored their opponents on a per game basis both seasons. Their opponents points per game in 2010 and 2011 were lower than they were in 2007 and 2008.

Better defense was the story. True in 2011 they scored a ton of points but the lack of difference in the opponents point per game average between 2010 and 2011 indicates the same level of defensive production-again, better defensive production in 2010 and 2011 than in 2007 and 2008. It could reasonably be posited that had they had the defense in 2007 and 2008 that they had in 2010 and 2011 both of those season would likely have turned out differently in terms of the Saints record. As a side note-in their 2009 SB season they held their opponents to 3 fewer points per game than in 2007/2008.

I'm not saying that at some point it might not occur to Sean Payton to try to go back to the pass/run ratio of 2009 or something similar but if that defense doesn't get better than allowing opponents to put up 28+ points per game any talk of a major Saints surge to dominance is on some pretty shaky footing.
 

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