NFL Week 3 Cheat Sheet and Betting Trends & Analysis

Sunday NFL Football Betting
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (+1, 45)

Star receiver Andre Johnson suffered a concussion in the game against the Titans but is expected to be cleared to play. Johnson is tied for the NFL lead with 20 receptions and Houston appears to have found a sensational complement in first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins (12 receptions, 183 yards).

Baltimore has a key player ailing in running back Ray Rice, who injured his left hip flexor in the contest against Cleveland and hasn’t participated in practices. “He’s not going to need the practice to play in the game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

LINE: Houston opened -2.5 and moved to -1.5. Total moved from 44.5 to 45.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Houston (-5.0) - Baltimore (-1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Ravens +1
WEATHER: Temperatures mid 70s, partly cloudy, winds NNW 11 mph.

* Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
* Texans are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games.
* Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (+1, 46.5)

New York's 10 turnovers - seven of which have been Eli Manning interceptions - are a major cause for concern and have put the defense in a tough spot. The offense has been effective at moving the ball, mostly through the air, and ranks fifth in the league in total yards, but the ground game has to come along and the Giants need to hang onto the ball.

The Panthers find themselves in an 0-2 hole after losing their first two games by a combined six points, including a 24-23 defeat against Buffalo last week. The Panthers have been balanced on offense but they've been far from explosive, ranking 27th in the league with 280.5 total yards per game.

LINE: Carolina opened -1 and moved to +1. Total moved from 45.5 to 47.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: New York (-1.0) + Carolina (+3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Panthers +1
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, 22 percent chance of early showers, winds 5 north 5 mph.

* Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins (Pick, 48.5)

Detroit is 2-0 against Washington under coach Jim Schwartz, with both victories coming at home. Calvin Johnson had 101 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-25 triumph over the Redskins in their last meeting on Oct. 31, 2010.

Facing a large deficit, the Redskins have been offensive juggernauts in the fourth quarter, outscoring Philadelphia and Green Bay by a combined 26-0 over the final 15 minutes.

LINE: Open pick bounced between -1 and +1. Total moved from 48 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Detroit (+1.0) - Washington (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Redskins -1.5
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, partly cloudy skies, winds NNW 12 mph.

* Under is 6-1-2 in the last nine meetings.
* Home team is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
* Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings in Washington.

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3, 43.5)

Philip Rivers leads a rejuvenated offense that is averaging more than 30 points per game. The only problem: San Diego has allowed as many points as it has scored, thanks to a defense that has surrendered the most passing yards in the league through two weeks.

The Tennessee Titans' defense has helped compensate for a sluggish offense through the first two games of the season. Titans RB Chris Johnson comes into the week ranked sixth in rushing yards (166) but second in attempts (50), averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.

LINE: Opened Tennessee -1 and moved to -3. Total steady at 43.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: San Diego (+2.0) - Tennessee (+3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Titans -2
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, clear skies, winds NNE 7 mph.

* Chargers are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Over is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-9, 49)

Carson Palmer has injected some life into Arizona's passing game, but the ground game hasn't been as effective and running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) is questionable. Palmer should have tight end Rob Housler back in the lineup after missing the first two games with a sore ankle, and the Cardinals have eased receiver Larry Fitzgerald along in practice in hopes he can play through a hamstring injury.

While the Saints' offense has struggled to find the end zone, coordinator Rob Ryan's revamped defense has limited its first two opponents to 320 yards and 15.5 points per game. The overhauled defense did a solid job against Atlanta in Week 1 but was dominant in a 16-14 win versus Tampa Bay, allowing 273 total yards - the Saints' lowest total since Week 15 of the 2011 season.

LINE: Arizona opened -9.5 and moved to -7. Total moved from 48.5 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Arizona (+3.5) + New Orleans (-3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Saints -9.5

* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in their last four meetings.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots (-8.5, 43.5)

Quarterback Josh Freeman is under siege after consecutive subpar outings - he was only 9-for-22 for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Saints - to spark speculation that he could lose his starting job to rookie Mike Glennon. The Buccaneers have dangerous weapons in second-year running back Doug Martin (209 yards rushing) and wideout Vincent Jackson (231 yards receiving), and the defense has been stout in allowing an average of 17 points.

With wideout Danny Amendola (groin) and running back Shane Vereen (wrist) set to miss a second straight game and tight end Rob Gronkowski still rehabbing from multiple offseason surgeries, Tom Brady has been forced to lean on Julian Edelman (20 receptions) and untested rookies in the receiving corps. Starting running back Steven Ridley has rushed for only 86 yards in two games while the defense has forced six turnovers to tie for second in the league.

LINE: Open New England -7 and moved to -8.5. Total moved from 45 to 43.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Tampa Bay (+4.0) + New England (-4.5) + home field (-3.0) = Patriots -11.5
WEATHER: Temps low 70s, 83 percent chance of rain, winds WSW 7 mph.

* Buccaneers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games.
* Patriots are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 7-3 in Patriots' last 10 home games.

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5, 49)

While Aaron Rodgers' Week 2 performance was typical, the Packers got a surprising 132-yard effort on the ground from running back James Starks, who replaced Eddie Lacy after the rookie left the game with a concussion. The Packers were forced to juggle their secondary last week after three DBs suffered hamstring injuries. All are questionable for Sunday.

Cincinnati has won the past two meetings against Green Bay and sacked Rodgers six times in its most recent game (2009) but it will be without veteran defensive end Robert Geathers who joined three Bengal linebackers on injured reserve. While questions still abound on Andy Dalton's deep passing ability, he has thrown for 280 and 282 yards in his first two starts and unveiled a new weapon in athletic rookie tight end Tyler Eifert on Monday.

LINE: Cincinnati opened +1 and moved to +2.5. Total moved from 46.5 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Green Bay (-6.0) - Cincinnati (-1.5) + home field (-3.0) = Bengals +1.5
WEATHER: Temps high 60s, clear skies, winds NNE 6 mph.

* Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Bengals are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in Week 3.
* Over is 5-1 in Packers last six games overall.

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, 47)

St. Louis is attempting to start 2-1 for the first time since 2006. The Rams will look for more consistency out of high-priced free agent signing Jared Cook, who caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 but managed only one grab last weekend.

The last time the Cowboys faced the Rams, DeMarco Murray rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards on Oct. 23, 2011. However, Murray only managed 25 yards on 12 attempts in last week's loss to the Chiefs, a game in which Dallas was unable to force any turnovers after creating six miscues against the New York Giants in Week 1.

LINE: Dallas steady at -3.5. Total moved from 46.5 to 47.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: St. Louis (+2.5) + Dallas (-2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Cowboys -3

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Rams are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Cowboys are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games.

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5, 40.5)

Cleveland was already struggling to produce offense with just 16 points in two games and trading RB Trent Richardson, who recorded 950 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns as a rookie, gives an offense starting a third-string quarterback even fewer options. Brian Hoyer starts in place of Brandon Weeden, who injured his thumb in last week's loss to Baltimore.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who was 16-of-30 against Chicago, is reportedly on the hot seat and could lose snaps to backup Matt Cassel unless his play improves. Ponder is 88-for-127 passing with five touchdowns and two interceptions in his last four games against AFC opponents.

LINE: Minnesota opened -4 and moved to -6.5. Total moved from 41 to 40.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Cleveland (+5.0) - Minnesota (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Vikings -5.5

* Browns are 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Vikings are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Browns last six road games.

Peyton Manning had electricity in his arm. Was it the lightning?

Peyton Manning ElectricPeyton Manning ties record with 7 touchdown passes in season opener over Ravens
Manning and the Denver Broncos waited eight long months, then another 33 minutes to get the season started because of a lightning storm.

It seems like the electricity in the lightning went straight into Manning's arm.

After three punts to start things off, Manning threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes, something no one had done in 44 years, in directing Denver to a 49-27 victory over Super Bowl champion Baltimore on Thursday night in a much-anticipated rematch against the team that ended the Broncos' playoff run in January.

Manning connected with his most prized addition, Wes Welker, and former
college basketball player Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas for two TDs each in
piling up the most points scored on the Ravens in their 18-year history.

''I don't like excuses but I do think that lightning delay did slow us
down,'' Manning said. ''You guys have seen teams break it down: you come up for
the team prayer, you put your hands in and you say, `Broncos on 3,' and you go
out to the field.

''We did it three times tonight,'' Manning said. ''We did it, went back and
sat down for 10 minutes and came back up again. `Broncos on 3,' now sit down for
another 10 minutes. I know they had to deal with it, too, but it took us a while
to get started.''

Wearing an orange-and-gray glove like the one he wore on that icy January
night the last time these teams met, Manning took a while to get warmed up
against a defense that had to replace seven Super Bowl starters.

He ditched the glove when the rain stopped -- and then was unstoppable.

''Peyton had an amazing night,'' Broncos coach John Fox said. ''Peyton's had
a lot of amazing nights.''

Not like this, though.

Manning is the sixth QB in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game and
the first since Joe Kapp for Minnesota against Baltimore on Sept. 28, 1969.

Tom Brady never did it. Nor Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Steve Young
or Terry Bradshaw. Or, for that matter, No. 7 himself, John Elway, who had his
binoculars trained on the action from his perch in the luxury seats.

"I felt like we had to keep scoring because Baltimore can score at any
time,'' said Manning, who was 27 of 42 for 462 yards with no interceptions for
an off-the-charts quarterback rating of 141.1.

''He's phenomenal. To continue to come out every year and put that kind of
performance on for us, it's amazing,'' Julius Thomas said.

All part of a thorough thrashing of the team that put a harsh end to what had
looked like a Super Bowl-bound 2012 in Denver. The rematch came nearly eight
months after Baltimore beat Denver 38-35 in double overtime on an icy January
night in the same stadium.

The hero on that night was Jacoby Jones, who caught a 70-yard TD pass over
Rahim Moore with 31 seconds left to tie it in regulation. This time, his night
was cut short when he went back to field a punt in the first half and teammate
Brynden Trawick plowed into him, sending him to the sideline with a sprained
right knee.

''That's an experience problem, he's an inexperienced guy,'' Ravens coach
John Harbaugh said.

When the teams finally took the field after the long delay, it was clear how
much had changed.

This night was certainly a masterpiece for Manning.

Notes: Broncos injuries: KR Trindon Holliday (lower left leg), Eric Decker
(right shoulder) and S Omar Bolden (left shoulder). ... Ravens RT Michael Oher
left with a sprained ankle. ... Shaun Phillips, who played in Miller's place,
had 2 1/2 sacks in his Denver debut. ... The Broncos were without CB Champ
Bailey (foot), who's expected back in Week 2 when the Manning travels to New
York to face his little brother, Eli.


The 2013 NFL season kicks off in grand style when the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens come to Mile High to take on the Denver Broncos, who are set as 9-point home favorites Thursday.

Ravens vs Broncos 9-5-2013

In order to get the best in-depth look at the season opener, we’ve enlisted the help of each team’s expert bloggers. Justin Silberman from Ravens blog “The Purple Chaos” and Kim Constantinesco from Broncos blog “Predominantly Orange” put on the helmets and butt heads over which team will not only win but cover on Thursday Night Football.


Joe Flaco

Justin Silberman writes for “The Purple Chaos”. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ThePurpleChaos.

No ordinary Joe

Joe Flacco silenced his critics during last season’s AFC Divisional Playoff round matchup against the Broncos. This time around, he won’t have to worry about the talented pass-rushing tandem of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil wreaking havoc in the backfield, which should mean a more comfortable pocket for Flacco. Instead, the Ravens offensive line will be tasked with blocking Shaun Phillips and Robert Ayers, a matchup that favors the defending Super Bowl champions.

Elvis’ homecoming

Speaking of Dumervil, he will be on the Ravens’ sideline after signing with the team in March. With Dumervil playing on the opposite side of a healthy Terrell Suggs - who had 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble vs. Denver in Janaury - coupled with Denver’s makeshift offensive line, quarterback Peyton Manning will be hard-pressed to establish any offensive consistency.

Strong starts

The Ravens are 5-0 under head coach John Harbaugh in season openers, but they will be playing in Thursday night’s annual kickoff game for the first time during the Harbaugh era. In Thursday night contests under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 2-1. To beat one of the best teams in the AFC, the Ravens have to win the mind game of playing on a short week, something Harbaugh’s track record has proven his teams have been able to do.


Peyton Manning 2013

Kim Constantinesco is the senior editor for You can follow them onFacebook and Twitter @PredomOrange.

Mile High Air

The Mile High advantage plays a bigger role at the beginning of the season when conditioning for certain players is still an issue. At 5,280 feet above sea level, Peyton Manning is running his offense much faster than last year. A couple of no-hudde series that moves the ball down the field will gas the Ravens defense and the effects will really be felt in the fourth quarter. The three giant receiving threats in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker gives the Ravens too much to look after, particularly when they're tired

Heartbreak still hurts

People get over breakups in less than eight months, but the Broncos have not gotten over the crushing playoff defeat in January. How it happened and the fact that the Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl gives the Broncos enough fuel to light up that giant Joe Flacco banner hanging on Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Anger and revenge are enough to potentially turn this one into a blowout.

The thrill is gone

The Ravens lost keys guys in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, and Anquan Boldin in the offseason. While the front office worked hard to find solid replacements, the Ravens just don't have the chemistry yet, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, the Broncos kept their main guys in place (other than Elvis Dumervil) and have a full year of experience under their belt.

Join the debate and tell us who you think will cover Thursday night: Baltimore or Denver?

The power outage that stopped Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013 had a huge impact on the momentum of the game and the final spread for sports bettors. Ray Lewis who played in the game for the Ravens says it was no accident. Can you imagine Lewis singing along to "sabotage" by Beastie Boys?

Ray-Lewis-SabotageRavens' Retired Linebacker Ray Lewis
Remember when the lights went out during Super Bowl XLVII? Retired Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis says that was no accident.

"I'm not gonna accuse nobody of nothing — because I don't know facts," Lewis says on an upcoming installment of NFL Films’ "America’s Game" series. "But you're a zillion-dollar company, and your lights go out? No. (Laughs) No way".

"Now listen, if you grew up like I grew up — and you grew up in a household like I grew up — then sometimes your lights might go out, because times get hard. I understand that. But you cannot tell me somebody wasn't sitting there and when they say, 'The Ravens (are) about to blow them out. Man, we better do something.' . . . That's a huge shift in any game, in all seriousness. And as you see how huge it was because it let them right back in the game."

As with all conspiracy theories, the attendant circumstances did seem to fall
into a convenient narrative. At the time of the blackout, the Ravens were
beating the San Francisco 49ers by 22 points. Somebody or something needed to
stop the Ravens’ momentum or the big game was going to be a big dud. So then,
boom, the lights go out and guess what? The 49ers got back in it. All the way

Baltimore ended up winning 34-31, and Lewis got his second Super Bowl ring.

Enjoy the vintage 90's "Sabotage" music video by the legendary Beastie Boys and 
comment if you think Ray Lewis is right about his sabotage theory below.


Check out the cheat sheet for all of Thursday's NFL Week 1 preseason betting action. This is preseason Football so don't expect most teams to risk their top players. Seattle Seahawks have a great track record in the preseason and the new Chargers offense will be on display. Read our 3-step Bankroll Management Plan post learn which of these games is a Prime Wager, Action Wager or Regular Wager.

Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3, 35.5)

In the past, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh usually played his starters for most of the first quarter but with a rash of injuries during the summer, Baltimore may limit the action of its first stringers. 

Tampa Bay is also trying to protect its key players from injury this offseason. The Bucs aren’t sold on Josh Freeman as the No. 1, so there could be plenty of snaps for him and rookie QB Mike Glennon.

St. Louis Rams at Cleveland Browns (-4, 35.5)

St. Louis is going to give RB Daryl Richardson the starting gig heading into the preseason opener. The Rams will work in their new offensive line additions Thursday, so Sam Bradford’s workload could depend on the protection.

Cleveland won’t have RB Trent Richardson in the lineup versus St. Louis and is still without Montario Hardesty, leaving rushing duties to third and fourth-stringers Dion Lewis and Brandon Jackson. 

Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (-2.5, 35.5)

While Robert Griffin III says he feels great, the Redskins won’t risk throwing their franchise QB out there Thursday. Washington will go with Kirk Cousins at QB and is expected to play its starters 10-15 plays.

Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak is focusing on his rebuilt offensive line this preseason, more specifically paving the way for RB Chris Johnson. The Titans first string will play between 18 and 25 plays.

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, 37)

These two teams have shared practice time the past week, so there may be some familiarity with each other Thursday. Bengals star WR A.J. Green will sit out while nursing a sore knee and fellow WR Andrew Hawkins is out with an ankle injury.

Atlanta won’t have TE Tony Gonzalez, WR Julio Jones or LB Sean Weatherspoon in Week 1 of the preseason. Head coach Mike Smith may not keep QB Matt Ryan under center long with injuries to the offensive line this week.

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (-3, 35)

Peyton Manning is expected to see limited action all preseason but he did tell reporters he was anxious to play the 49ers Thursday, hinting that he may actually take snaps Thursday. Manning didn’t play in Denver’s Week 1 preseason game last summer.

San Francisco will give its first stringers a taste of action before turning its attention to position needs. An injury to CB Chris Culliver has left a big hole in the secondary, so there could be plenty of tinkering with the pass defense. Colt McCoy will get some face time as Colin Kaepernick’s backup.

Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers (+2, 35.5)

The Seahawks have become one of the best preseason bets, going 39-26-3 ATS since 1995 including a 4-0 ATS mark last summer. Seattle QB Russell Wilson, who will see limited snaps, told reporters the Seahawks are bringing a basic offense into Thursday game.

San Diego’s new head coach Mike McCoy is stressing speed this summer, so the Bolts could be full of juice Thursday night, even though they’re missing some downfield threats. The Chargers lost WR Danario Alexander for the season after he tore his ACL this week and WR Vincent Brown is still slowed with a hamstring strain.

Upcoming Matchups: Aug. 8 - Baltimore Ravens Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins Vs. Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams Vs. Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos Vs SF 49ers, Seattle Seahawks Vs SD Chargers.

2013 NFL Pre-season Football. Upcoming NFL Games and Bold Predictions

NFL Fans love to make outrageous predictions prior to the start of the season. Here are 10 "Bold" predictions for the 2013 NFL Season by self described "man of the people" Jared Kurlander. Do you think any of them are likely to actually happen?

We still have 43 days left until the Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver to
kick off the season, which means it’s a perfect time for some predictions. But
these aren’t just any predictions; these are BOLD predictions. By “BOLD
predictions”, I mean things that are unlikely to happen but could still
logically happen. If you’re expecting, Denver Broncos finish with

the best record in the NFL
, well, that wouldn’t be very bold now would it? I make
these BOLD predictions so the people don’t have to. I am, of course, a man of
the people. This list is no particular order, so the boldness of each prediction is up to you.

Honorable Mention – New England Patriots miss the

After Danny Amendola (who has injury issues), the next best receiver on the
Patriots is Julian Edleman. After Edleman, there’s a 31-year-old Michael Jenkins
and then a plate of dudes I’ve never heard of. The defense always has it’s issues too,
though they were better with Aqib Talib. It remains to be seen if running back
Steven Ridley can take the next step and improve on last year.

But the Pats have Tom Brady and no one else in the AFC East does. Brady is
one of those quarterbacks who could make me into a Pro Bowl receiver. The Miami
Dolphins should pose the biggest threat to the Pats, but as long as Tom Brady is
under center, the Pats are a playoff team.

1) Rex Ryan is fired after Week 5

This isn’t bold in the sense of Rex Ryan getting the pink slip; the Jets are
going to be terrible and Ryan will probably end up fired. The boldness can be
found in the week number Ryan gets the boot – Week 5 is pretty early in the NFL
season for a coach to get canned. So why Week 5? My guess is the Jets start 0-4
before they travel to Atlanta in Week 5 to take on the Falcons on Monday
Night Football. 
Once the Jets get throttled on national television,
they’ll have no choice but to fire Rex Ryan. This may also be the time when they
change the pace of their offense and stick in Geno Smith.

Hey, if Rex is fired, at least he’ll have more time to run with the

2) Pittsburgh Steelers miss the playoffs for the second year in a

The Steelers haven’t missed the playoffs in consecutive years since 1998-2000
and it’s hard to imagine an organization like Pittsburgh missing the playoffs
again. But the Steelers aren’t as good as the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati
Bengals, which means they will be fighting for the wild card spot. Assuming the
Ravens or Bengals, Texans, Broncos and Patriots win their respective divisions,
here is the Steelers’ competition for a wild card spot: Ravens/Bengals, Miami,
Indianapolis, Tennessee, Kansas City and San Diego. That is a lot of teams to beat
out. Though Roesthlisburger is healthy, he, the offensive line and Troy Palumalu
have a recent history of being injured early and often. The Steelers will be
home on the couch eating Doritos Locos Tacos come playoff time.

3) Carolina Panthers make the playoffs

The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, but they finished off 2012
on quite the roll. Cam Newton’s play improved and they won their last four games
of the season, including a win over Atlanta (they also played Atlanta well in
Week 4, losing 28-30). The NFC is stacked with potential wild card teams, and if
the Panthers make the playoffs, it’s likely because they beat out either New
Orleans or Atlanta – unless three NFC South teams make the playoffs. That’s
unlikely however given the strength of all the other teams in the

The Panthers have nice talent and if Cam Newton can put together a solid full
season the Panthers will be one of NFC wild card teams.

4) Tim Tebow scores as a tight end

Yes, I know that it’s been reported that the Pats will likely keep Tebow at
, but that just makes this all the more bold! With
Gronk hurt and Hernandez in the big house, the odds that Tebow takes a least one
snap at tight end have gone up. That one snap could be his touchdown. The
Patriots and Bill Bilichick have been creative before with versatile players.
You may recall a certain Mike Vrabel, the former linebacker for the New England
Patriots. During his time with the Pats, Vrabel caught eight
passes, all for goal-line touchdowns. I have a feeling Tebow could be Mike
Vrabel 2.0. The only problem with this is that Skip Bayless will somehow make
the argument that Tebow’s success at tight end means he can thrive as an NFL
quarterback. Won’t that be glorious?

5) St. Louis Rams finish top 10 in offensive

I’m a big believer in Sam Bradford and this is the year I believe he’s given
the chance thrive. Bradford has been stuck on a team with no weapons and no
offensive line. Receivers couldn’t get open, the offensive line couldn’t hold
back defenders to give Bradford time, and Bradford would end up on his back as a
result. In 2012, the Rams finished 23rd in yards per game and 25th in points per
game. But this year is going to be different. The Rams picked up left tackle
Jake Long to help strengthen the line and drafted playmakers Tavon Austin and
Stedmon Bailey. Austin is going to give Bradford a Percy Harvin type target and
Bailey should provide nice depth to a receiving corps that’s been lacking.

6) Dallas Cowboys win a playoff game

Take a look at the NFC East. Is there really one team significantly better
than the other? Not really. The NFC East is up in the air, and the Dallas
Cowboys may very well be the best team in the division. If they end up as a wild
card, I don’t see them winning a playoff game. If they win the NFC East however,
and play a wild card team (the Carolina Panthers!), the Cowboys may finally win
their first playoff game since 2009. As per usual, a lot of their success is dependent
on Tony Romo. They guy may be the most underrated or overrated player (depending
on your view) in the league, but there is no denying the guy has insane talent. In most
cases, it usually comes down to that one mistake Romo makes or that one play he
doesn’t make. With a full season from Demarrcoo Murray and limited mistakes from
Romo, the Cowboys’ will be in every game.

Their defense though, will have to make a jump if the ‘Boys want to win that
playoff game. Dallas’ gave up 25 points per game last season, good for 24th in
the league. If the Cowboys can improve to a more middle-of-the-pack type
defense, they’ll finally get that playoff win, and Skip Bayless can rejoice that
the Cowboys are playoff-relevant again.

7) Jacksonville Jaguars finish top 10 in

If you haven’t heard, the Jacksonville Jaguars may air the NFL RedZone
on their fancy new big screens. The RedZone channel shows
the most compelling moments of games being simultaneously played around the
league. It’s basically the best invention of all-time. This move by the Jags is
clearly to attract fans to the stadium. I mean, they don’t want to come watch
the Jags play, but if the RedZone channel were playing on super-new, high
definition screens, fans may flock to the stadium. The Jags ranked 20th in
average home attendance in 2012 and had to cover some seats with a tarp at a few
home games due to lack of fans.

Fans LOVE the RedZone channel and fans LOVE fantasy football. Being able to
watch your fantasy players at any possible scoring moment makes for the one of
the most exciting football-watching experiences. The only question here is if
fans will be willing to pay ticket prices for something that they can watch at
home  and on the couch with unlimited nachos and cheese. Personally, I
think being at an NFL game is an unbeatable experience. To be surrounded by
70,000 of your closest friends is something that I will enjoy until the day I
die. But there are millions of people out there who prefer to watch games from
home. The improved TV experience and convenience  factor are huge in
keeping people on their couches. But what the Jags are doing combines the TV
experience and the game experience. Fans can have their choice of watching a
terrible team or watch the RedZone channel and chat it up with surrounding fans.
Hey, if the Jags turn out to play some decent football, at least there could be
more fans in the stands to bear witness. I’m very much looking forward to how
this plays out.

8) Adrian Peterson rushes for 2,000 yards again

No NFL player has ever done this. Then again, no NFL player was ever as much
of a freak as Adrian Peterson. The guy tore his ACL and then ran for 2,097 yards
and came within eight yards of Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105. If any guy is
going to rush for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, it’s going to be Adrian
Peterson. Peterson also has his freakish year on a team with an average
quarterback and no receivers, meaning defenders could stack eight or nine guys
in the box. Yet Peterson still trucked and juked his way through bodies.

This year, the Vikings picked up Greg Jennings, so defenses will have to back
off at least a little to defend against the threat of Jennings. The offensive
line will have to have a repeat performance, but Peterson should have a little
more room to run that last year with Jennings in the picture.

The Vikings will face only three defenses in 2013 who ranked top 10 in
rushing yards per game in 2012 (Seahawks, Redskins and Steelers). Obviously that
could change, but it gives some indication of the defenses Peterson will be up

I’ll even make this a two part BOLD prediction: Adrian Peterson will break
Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards. BOOM!

9) Chicago Bears finish with the best record in the NFL

Yes, even better than the Packers, Broncos, Texans, Ravens, Falcons, 49ers
and Seahawks. This is contingent upon the Bears’ offensive line keeping Jay
Cutler on his feet rather than his back. But Cutler has a natural chemistry with
Brandon Marshall and has a stud running back in Matt Forte. Their defense is one
of the best in the league, but again, it all comes down to Cutler and the
offensive line. Cutler, often consider Brett Favre 2.0, throws way too many
interceptions, many due to his poor decision making and many due to him having
to rush.

The Bears started 7-1 last season even with Cutler throwing interceptions
left and right. I just have this feeling that the Bears have been on the brink
for a few years now, and I think this is the year that Cutler and the offensive
line take the Bears to the next level. Chicago added left tackle Jermon Bushrod
and guard Matt Slauson via free agency and drafted guard Kyle Long, so the
offensive line should see an drastic improvement over past years.

Does this mean the Bears will make the Super Bowl? Not at all. But with the
dramatically improved offensive line and a limited-mistake Jay Cutler, the Bears
will finally take the next leap into one of the elite NFL teams.

10) Baltimore Ravens repeat as Super Bowl champions

Yeah, I said it! Joe Flacco has taken the leap into one of the top six or
seven quarterbacks in the league (Ron Jaworski even ranked Flacco fourth).
Flacco is coming of an historic NFL postseason, throwing 11 beautiful touchdowns
and zero interceptions, something only one other person – the great Joe Montana
– has accomplished.  Flacco lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl win, taking
home Super Bowl MVP in the process. So I’d say the Ravens are all set at

One of the arguments against the Ravens repeat chances (or postseason chances
depending on the analyst) is all of the players they lost. On defense, the
Ravens lost six players: Ray Lewis (retirement), Ed Reed (Texans), Dannell
Ellerbee (Dolphins), Paul Kruger (Browns), Cary Williams (Eagles) and Bernard
Pollard (Titans). But the Ravens brought in a plethora of defenders to replace
those that were lost and arguably improved their defense from last year.
Baltimore added safety Michael Huff (Raiders), defensive end Marcus Spears
(Cowboys), defensive lineman Chris Canty (Giants), linebackers Elvis Dumervil
(Broncos) and Daryl Smith (Jaguars). They also drafted safety Matt Elam
(Florida) and linebacker Arthur Brown (Kansas State) who are both projected to
contribute right away. Oh, they also get Lardarius Webb back from injury, who’s
one of the best cornerbacks in the league when healthy. To top it off, the
Ravens resigned left tackle Bryant McKinnie who was integral in the Ravens
playoff success once he was inserted back into the starting lineup.

The only true question mark is at wide receive. The Ravens traded Anquan
Boldin to the 49ers so Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones will assume the one and two
receiver sports, respectively. But the third receiving spot is very up in the
air. Tandon Doss got a few chances last season but had too many drops for him to
be guaranteed the third receiver spot. The others that are expected to compete
for the third spot include Deonte Thompson, Laquan Williams, Tommy Streeter and
veteran David Reed.

The Ravens also lost veteran Matt Birk at center, but they signed A.Q.
Shipley to compete with Gino Gradkowski. They may struggle at center in the
first few weeks, but the experienced lineman around those two will help to ease
the process.

The receiver issue may prove to be significant, but the Ravens have one of
the best all-around teams in the NFL and are primed to get back to the Super
Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens will be making snow angels come February in New

Article By: Jared Kurtlander