2013 NFL Preseason Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII (Trifone)
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Here are my official playoff prediction going into the season. Based on things like preseason games, injuries, etc., my playoff teams and positioning may be different than my initial division picks, which were made prior to any preseason games being played.
Here are the AFC playoff seeds:
1. Denver Broncos
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Houston Texans
4. New England Patriots
5. Indianapolis Colts
6. Cleveland Browns
Playoff Fringe: Bills, Dolphins, and Ravens
Here are the NFC seeds:
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Washington Redskins
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Detroit Lions
Playoff Fringe: Falcons, Giants, and Cowboys
3 Texans over 6 Browns 31 - 24
5 Colts over 4 Patriots 23 - 21
3 Panthers over 6 Lions 38 - 34
5 Seahawks over 4 Redskins 27 - 23
2 Bengals over 3 Texans 24 - 17
1 Broncos over 5 Colts 34 - 20
3 Panthers over 2 Packers 28 - 27
1 49ers over 5 Seahawks 28 - 27
AFC and NFC Championship Games
2 Bengals over 1 Broncos 31 - 28
1 49ers over 3 Panthers 30 - 17
Super Bowl XVLIII
49ers over Bengals 31 - 27
Over the last several years, it has been the hottest team going into January that has won it all, rather than the best team all year. However, it's impossible to know who will be playing the best football four months from now. And for my money heading into the 2013 season, the 49ers and Bengals are the two most complete teams in football. The Seahawks would be right there as well, but I'll take the Niners to win that matchup, and represent the NFC.
The 49ers were dominant defensively last year, and the offense got a lot more exciting when Colin Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith. With his first full season ahead of him, I believe Kap will take full advantage, and show his incredible athleticism and versatility.
In the AFC, the Broncos look to be the strongest team, but the NFL rarely yields chalk, where the two best teams meet in the Super Bowl. I think the Bengals have the depth and balance to go toe-to-toe with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, so I'm taking them to upset them in the AFC Championship in Denver.
Ultimately, the 49ers came up just a bit short last year. This year, I think they finish the job. They will be too much for the Bengals in what should be an exciting game. Kaepernick will win the MVP, and Jim Harbaugh will actually talk to his brother after the game.