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2013 NFL Preseason Power Rankings

If you live in the Chicago area like me and your baseball teams have long fallen out of contention, the start of NFL season can’t come quick enough.  Fortunately, many NFL training camps are set to open in late July and early August.  While a majority of teams have lots of roster questions that need to be answered, many teams are clearly in the running to compete for a Super Bowl, while others will likely be in rebuilding mode.

With that in mind we thought it would be appropriate to break down the top NFL football teams heading into the preseason.  Although a lot can happen (e.g. injuries) between now and the start of the season, below are the teams ranked in order of likelyhood to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

1). San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers nearly won the Super Bowl last year behind 1st year starting QB Colin Kaepernick.  All they did to up their chances was load up on draft picks and sign Ed Reed.  The 9ers have to be the favorite heading into the 2013 season.

2).  Denver Broncos

The Broncos are clearly the class of the AFC.  The stout Denver defense coupled with the addition of Wes Welker and another year  of Peyton Manning should make this team scary good.

3).  Seattle Seahawks

I wasn’t much of a believer in the Seattle Seahawks heading into last season but Pete Carrol has certainly turned around the franchise with the help of Russell Wilson.  Should the Niners suffer a significant injury or falter in anyway expect the Seahawks to be right there with them.

4). Green Bay Packers

You can never count out any team that has all world quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  The NFC is going to be tough this year but the GB Packers should more than be able to hold their own against elite competition- especially if top draft pick Eddie Lacy pans out.

5).  Atlanta Falcons

Call me a doubter of the Atlanta Falcons but I really don’t feel they deserve a spot in the top 5. They do have a high power offense but their defense needs to improve if they are going to go anywhere in the playoffs.

6).  Houston Texans

The Texans really came on last year in large part due to the emergence of defensive lineman JJ Watt.  This young team is certainly on the upswing but still may be a year or two away from getting that ring!

7).  New England Patriots

The Patriots have been the model of consistency over the past decade or so.  As long as Tom Brady is running the show you cannot count out the Pats.  It will be interesting to see what is in the plans for the newly signed Tim Tebow.

8).  Baltimore Ravens

Although the Ravens are the defending Super Bowl Champs, it hard to see the repeating after losing key defensive players like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  Anquan Bolden also bolted for San Francisco.  Regardless, the Ravens still have Joe Flaco and

9).  Indianapolis Colts

Many thought the Colts were in for a long rebuilding process after parting ways with Peyton Manning.  That proved not to be the case as quarterback Andrew Luck led them into immediate playoff contention.  If Luck continues to progress this team could be scary!

10).  Chicago Bears

Call me a homer but I like what I see out of new head coach Marc Trestman.  The Bears have never had much of an offense in my lifetime and I am starting to believe things can be different for the Monsters of the Midway.

The best of the rest…

11).  New Orleans Saints

12).  Washington Redskins

13).  New York Giants

14).  Cincinnati Bengals

15).  Minnesota Vikings

16).  Miami Dolphins

17).  St. Louis Rams

18).  Pittsburgh Steelers

19).  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20).  Dallas Cowboys

21).  Carolina Panthers

22).  Kansas City Chiefs

23).  Detroit Lions

24).  San Diego Chargers

25).  Philadelphia Eagles

26).  Tennessee Titans

27). Cleveland Browns

28).  Oakland Raiders

29).  New York Jets

30).  Arizona Cardinals

31).  Buffalo Bills

32).  Jacksonville Jaguars

Updated 2013 NFL Playoff Brackets and Schedule

2013 NFL Playoff ScheduleWell, the NFL regular season is just about over and the matchups for the first round of the playoff are just about set.  The AFC side of the bracket is finalized with both the Denver Broncoes and New England Patriots getting 1st round byes.  The Texans dropped to the #3 seed and will play the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC Wild Card Game.  The other Widl Card game will feature the Baltmore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers locked down the top 2 seeds and will get round 1 off.  The Packers dropped to the #3 seed and will host the Minnesota Vikings in a rematch of the regular season finale.  The other NFC Wild Card Game will depend upon the winner tonight’s Sunday night football game between the Redskins and Giants.  The winner will host the Seattle Seahawks. Stay tuned as we will update this schedule as times, dates, and matchups continue to be announced!

Update 12/30/2012 10:32 PM:  The Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-18 and will host the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wildcard game.  We also updated the dates and times of the wild card matchups in the first round of the 2013 NFL Playoffs.

Update 1/05/2013 6:40 PM:  The Houston Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals and will be headed to Boston to face the New England Patriots in a AFC Divisional Playoff game.  Since the Texans are the #3 seed, the winner of the Colts/Ravens game would end up the lower seeded team and will face the Denver Broncos.

Update 1/05/2013 10:40 PM:  The Green Bay Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings and will be headed to San Francisco to face the 49ers in a NFC Divisional Playoff game.  Since the Packers are the #3 seed, the winner of the Redskins/Seahawks game would end up the lower seeded team and will face the Atlanta Falcons.

Update 1/06/2013 3:44 PM:  The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts and will be headed to Denver to face the Broncos in the other AFC Divisional Playoff game.

Update 1/06/2013 6:34 PM:  The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins and will be headed to Atlanta to face the Falcons in the other NFC Divisional Playoff game.

2013 AFC Playoff Bracket

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. Indianapolis Colts (Wild Card #1)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (Wild Card #2)

Round 1 – AFC Wild Card Matchups

Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals (Texans 19 – Bengals 13)
1/5 4:30 PM Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas
 
Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts (Ravens 24 – Colts 9)
1/6 1:00 PM MT Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
 

Round 2 – AFC Divisional Playoff Matchups

Denver Broncos vs Baltimore Ravens
1/12 Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
 
New England Patriots vs Houston Texans
1/13 Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts
 

Round 3 – AFC Championship

TBD vs TBD

2013 NFC Playoff Bracket

  1. Atlanta Falcons
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Washington Redskins
  5. Seattle Seahawks (Wild Card #1)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (Wild Card #2)

Round 1 – NFC Wild Card Matchups

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings (Packers 24 – Vikings 10)
1/5 8:00 PM Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin
 
Washington Redskins vs Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks 24 – Redskins 14)
1/6 4:30 PM Fedex Field Washington DC
 

Round 2 – NFC Divisional Playoff Matchups

Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks 
1/13 Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia
 
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers 
1/12 Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California
 

Round 3 – NFC Championship

TBD vs TBD

Top Weekend Events 12/16/2011-12/18/2011

Tim Tebow vs Tom BradyIt’s Wednesday and that means it is time to take a look at the most popular events going on across the country this weekend.  With college football on a hiatus until the bowl games begin next week, NFL football is back to dominating the search results at Tickifieds.com.  Coming in at number 1 on the list is Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos vs Tom Brady’s New England Patriots.  The ever polarizing Tim Tebow is 7-1 as a starter after he led yet another last minute comeback against the Chicago Bears.  The Broncos now have a 2 game lead over the Oakland Raiders (Denver owns the tie-breaker) in the AFC.  It seems as though Mr. Tebow has turned both fans and Bronco management into believers and ticket prices have absolutely sky-rocketed the past couple of weeks.

Coming in at #2 this week is the Monday Night matchup between two 10-3 teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers.  OK, so this game isn’t actually taking place this weekend but we thought it was important enough to include on this list as this game is shaping up to be a great one.  At #3, the 0-13 Indianapolis Colts will be looking to pick up their first win of the season against the Tennessee Titans.  While this game doesn’t sound all that exciting fans are gobbling up these very affordable tickets (under $15 a ticket).

The other NFL games on the list also have some nice story-lines generating heavy fan interest.  In Oakland, the Raiders and Lions will face off both badly needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt.  In Kansas City, the 13-0 Green Bay Packers will be looking to stay undefeated after their last road game of the year.  Lastly, the 7-6 Chicago Bears will be looking to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Seattle Seahawks.  However, fan interest in this game is likely due to a substantial drop in ticket prices following the loss of both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.

Making the list at #6 is our first college basketball game:  NC State vs the #1 Syracuse Orange.  College basketball is king in North Carolina so it’s not much of a surprise that the #1 team in the nation coming to Raleigh is driving ticket demand.  As the conference play starts up expect college basketball tickets to frequently make the list of top events.

Pulling up the rear are a few non-sports events.  The Radio City Christmas Spectacular makes the list for the 3rd week  in a row with their sold out show in Nashville, Trans-siberian Orchestra’s Christmas performance in Tulsa on Friday night comes in at #9, while Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s critically acclaimed “The Book of Mormon” slides in at #10.

1. Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots 12/18/2011 Denver, CO
2. San Francisco 49ers vs Pittsburgh Steelers 12/19/2011 San Francisco, CA
3. Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans 12/18/2011 Indianapolis, IN
4. Oakland Raiders vs Detroit Lions 12/18/2011 Oakland, CA
5. Kansas City Chiefs vs Green Bay Packers 12/18/2011 Kansas City, MO
6. NC State vs Syracuse Basketball 12/17/2011 Raleigh, NC
7. Chicago Bears vs Seattle Seahawks 12/18/2011 Chicago, IL
8. Radio City Christmas Spectacular Tickets 12/16/2011 Nashville, TN
9. Trans-siberian Orchestra Concert 12/16/2011 Tulsa, OK
10. The Book of Mormon 12/18/2011 New York, NY

2011 Season NFL Predictions

With the preseason getting under way  to see how NFL teams are shaping up, it’s now time for the 2011 Season predictions!

2011 Season NFL Top Spot Predictions by division:

AFC West: San Diego Chargers, though they have a difficult schedule, they should be able to pull ahead.

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts.  Peyton Manning’s health an issue (neck injury) and could possibly be the Colts undoing this season.  Perhaps too much stock is put solely into Manning.

AFC North:  Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens.  Ravens have a great schedule; most of the tough games are home games.  For the Steelers, they have a few tough games lined up against Baltimore and a home game against the Patriots.  This division will be a tough win.  Other possible competitors include the Cleveland Browns with Colt McCoy as their quarterback.  The Cincinnati Bengals will probably compete with the Detroit Lions for the worst record in the league and they get rid of talent to meet their salary cap.

AFC East: Obviously the New England Patriots have the best record.  Tom Brady will resume play at QB this season after being out on the disabled list for the majority of the season last year.  The New York Jets are best positioned and hungry to take that title from the Patriots however.  Their two key players, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie, will come back from another season.  While this probably won’t be the Buffalo Bills year again, they will be in a great position to get one of the top quarterbacks next season.

Wild card: the Jets and the Steelers would make an awesome duo to knock-off the Colts and the Chargers.

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the Seahawks have won five of the last seven divisional titles.  Their roster is still being overhauled, but they should still take the top spot again.

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons have banked on Julio Jones being their go-to guy at the expense of many draft picks.  Ray Edwards on defense should also be formidable.  Just behind the Falcons are the New Orleans Saints.  They will be an improved team this year, but probably not enough to overtake the Falcons.

NFC North: Tough to predict, but probably the Green Bay Packers.  The Packers resigned most of their key free agents therefore having much of the same guys as on their 2010 Super Bowl Championship team.  The Chicago Bears are right behind them, although they might have too much stock in their Dallas Cowboys pickups, Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Sam Hurd.

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles.  While this division is one of the most competitive, the Eagles should easily take the top spot with their great talent and large salary cap to add more key players.

Wild card: Saints vs. Seahawks and Packers vs. Falcons.

Superbowl: Ravens over Eagles

MVP: Michael Vick

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Peterson, CB Arizona Cardinals

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Ingram, RB New Orleans Saints.

Predictions by Bleacher Reports

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers – NFC Championship Game

Two teams were crushed in the NFC Divisional Championship Games on the 15th and 16th of January.  In fact, those two teams probably are going to let their heads hang low for quite a while.  The Green Bay Packers annihilated the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, while the Bears rolled over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Atlanta just never seemed like they could get their act together on Saturday.  Aaron Rodgers, QB for the Packers, was spot on all night.  The Falcons just couldn’t keep up with Rodgers quick thinking, laser eye and rocket arm.  He was unstoppable.   He threw 366 yards and had 3 touchdowns.  Not too shabby, eh?    The Atlanta Falcons turned the ball over four times, couldn’t protect their quarterback Matt Ryan, committed seven penalties, got slaughters in time of possession and gave away a season high in points. Green Bay took down Atlanta 48-21. 

The Bears also are making quite the impressive showing against the Seahawks.  While the Seattle Seahawks had a very impressive victory the week previous when they trampled the Super Bowl defending New Orleans Saints, but the Bears just didn’t care.  They were going to win the game, and that’s what they‘re doing .  The snowy and cold conditions at their home turf, also worked to the Bears favor.   The Bears took home three touchdowns in the first half alone with the help of Jay Cutlers fine throwing and skill.  Not to be outshone, Greg Olson is the first Bears tight end to get 100 yards in a playoff game ever, even under the jurisdiction on Mike Ditka and his championship Bears back in ’85.  Nice work, Mr. Lovie Smith.  The Chicago Bears are in the process of taking down the Seattle Seahawks 28 to nothing mid third quarter.  It’s pretty much inevitable how this game will end.

Soo….boiled down, what does this all mean????  The Green Bay Packers will be playing the Chicago Bears on Sunday the 23rd for the NFC Championship title at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL.  This is like a Midwesterners best dream matchup ever.  The Bears and the Packers have a long-standing feud and rivalry.  They have competed against each other 180 times. The Bears currently hold winning record against the Packers with a record of 92–82–6 in head-to-head matches.

A brief history of the Packers and Bears Championship History:

Green Bay Packers

  • Starting with the1992 season, the Packers had 13 non-losing seasons in a row (their worst record being 8–8 in 1999)
  • Two Super Bowl appearances
  • One Super Bowl win (Super Bowl XXXI).
  • They returned to playoff form with winning campaigns in 2007 (13–3)
  • Competed in the NFC Championship game, 2009 (11–5), and in 2010 (10-6) under current head coach Mike McCarthy.

Chicago Bears

  • Won nine NFL Championships (eight pre-merger, and one Super Bowl).
  • The Bears have also recorded more regular season and overall victories than any other NFL franchise.
  • The franchise recorded its 700th win on November 18, 2010

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