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Sep 05

NFL 2013 Pick’em: Week 1 Predictions

Each week, I will make predictions for the upcoming week of football. In the process, I will look at the predictions made by other top entities in the world of NFL analysis. This will show where this website’s analysis holds up against other websites.

The predictions involve the “straight-up” choice, meaning that no spread will be considered. Meanwhile, there will also be a points system used to put some emphasis on correctly predicting the tough games. Using the TABRankings as a basis for illustrating the “power” of each game, the week’s schedule will be divided into three groups:

  • Games of the Week (3 points each): Any game with two teams having a combined ranking total of 24 or less. Both teams MUST be within 10 spots of each other. (Thus, the “weakest” match-up will feature the seventh-ranked team and the 17th-ranked team.)
  • Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each): Any divisional battle that isn’t in the aforementioned group.
  • The Rest (1 point each): Any match-up that is neither a Game of the Week or a divisional battle.

Note that for some side projects, I will choose an upset pick and lock pick for each week. The lock picks will be made in the “elimination pool” format, with the winner only allowed to be used once. The upset picks will be used to collect “ranking points.” These points wil be determined by the difference in the TABRankings. If there’s enough time at season’s end, we’ll compare the power of the upset to other notable experts. For now, though, it’ll just be for personal keep.

Now for the predictions themselves. This week’s predictions will focus much on how the 2013 NFL Season Predictions panned out. I won’t get into the serious match-up breakdowns until about Week 3 or so.

Games of the Week (3 points)
(3) Baltimore Ravens at (5) Denver Broncos
Coming up with Baltimore’s 10-6 record and Denver’s 12-4 record, I expect each team to split their respective “plus-2” games. For the Ravens, they play the AFC South and AFC West division winners. Meanwhile, the Broncos play the AFC North and AFC East division winners. I think it’s easiest simply to take the home teams at this point. This is one of those “plus-2” games.

(8) Atlanta Falcons at (14) New Orleans Saints
En route to an 11-5 record and an NFC South crown, I believe the Saints will go 4-2 in the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Falcons’ 9-7 record has much to do with the tough NFC South. I honestly think the Saints sweep the Falcons this season, and we’ll get the first test to this theory immediately with one of the Games of the Week.

(15) Cincinnati Bengals at (9) Chicago Bears
This one is a tough toss-up, but I had the Bengals going 3-1 in the conference crossover games and the Bears going 1-3. Sure, this could be “the one” both games. However, the Bengals also play the Packers and the Bears also play the Browns.

(7) Green Bay Packers at (2) San Francisco 49ers
The Packers are going 12-4, according to the predictions. This includes winning against the both NFC South winner and NFC West winner. This counts as one of those “plus-2” games. Green Bay gets their playoff revenge, just like Denver.

Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each)
(12) Minnesota Vikings at (21) Detroit Lions
Both teams will go 2-4 against the division, according to the predictions. This doesn’t seem like the type of rivalry that will exchange road victories, but it does seem like one that will exchange home victories. Plus, the “plus-7” curse can get started early.

(1) New England Patriots at (28) Buffalo Bills
The Patriots will go undefeated once again in their division. Should we expect anything different, save for a potential upset in Miami?

(18) Arizona Cardinals at (13) St. Louis Rams
Our predictions claimed that the Cardinals will be tough luck team in the NFC this year. I expect a split between these two teams, but I don’t think it will happen with road victories. Once again, I’ll go with the home split between the division’s bottom two teams.

(10) New York Giants at (17) Dallas Cowboys
Outside of an Eagles sweep over the Giants, the predictions in the NFC East were built upon a season split within the division. Note that the Cowboys have yet to beat the Giants at home since Texas Stadium closed. Allow that trend to finally come to an end.

(30) Philadelphia Eagles at (11) Washington Redskins **Upset of the Week**
As just mentioned, these two teams should get a split this season. However, I’m finally going with the road teams for this split. Chip Kelly will use an offense that should keep the Redskins off balance. The debut will be nice for the Eagles’ fast-paced crew.

The Rest (1 point each)
(23) Miami Dolphins at (25) Cleveland Browns
Both teams will go 2-2 in the intra-conference match-ups, according to the predictions. What separates these teams right now is that the Dolphins are more prepared to be winners, mentally speaking. The Browns generally play poorly on opening day.

(29) Oakland Raiders at (22) Indianapolis Colts **Lock of the Week**
The Raiders are selected to win only one game against the AFC South, and it certainly won’t come during a 10am local time game.

(32) Kansas City Chiefs at (31) Jacksonville Jaguars
We’ll save the lone Jaguars win against the AFC West for another day. If the Chiefs are a favorite to turn things around, it generally starts early. Note that of the Jaguars’ five wins, I think three of them will come within the division.

(19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (26) New York Jets
The Jets are going to go 1-3 against the NFC South. Now might be the best time to get that win. However, it’s a hunch that the win will come later this season, against a team like Carolina. Save those wins for the spoiler games!

(27) Tennessee Titans at (20) Pittsburgh Steelers
If not for Oakland’s cross-time zone trip, this would be the Lock of the Week. This is a “plus-2” game for two teams expected to split there. It seems like too much of a reach to think that the 3-13 team will start the season with a win on the road.

(4) Seattle Seahawks at (16) Carolina Panthers
Seattle will lose a game to the NFC South. However, with 10am local time games in Atlanta and Carolina, I’ll choose the loss to come against Matt Ryan and crew. Carolina will have a rough way to start their season.

(6) Houston Texans at (24) San Diego Chargers
The Texans should go 3-1 against the AFC West. At least, that’s how the season predictions see it. We all know who the class of that division is, and the Texans struggled last year against elite passer. The loss will come to Denver, not San Diego.

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