The Top 10 NFL Teams of 2013
The Top 10 Teams of The 2013 NFL Season
Earlier this year, the 2012 NFL season—a twist and turn laden rollercoaster with no shortage of surprises-- ended with the Baltimore Ravens hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Though the Ravens were not the most talented team in the NFL, they were a team that hit a hot streak at the ideal time.
While it is almost impossible to predict a Super Bowl Champion due to the NFL’s tendency to be positively freakish every passing Sunday, it is possible to tell what teams will be in in the best position to make a championship push in 2013.
With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, it is time to start speculation about the rapidly approaching regular season—an event that is only one short summer away.
The following slides will be chronicling the ten best teams going into the 2013 season. Some of the teams will be obvious—like a few teams in the NFC West--while others will require deeper explanation. Regardless, it is highly likely that all of the following teams will make a substantial impact in 2013.
That being said, the NFL is one of the most unpredictable leagues in widely broadcast sports. There may be teams that will go the way of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles’ “Dream Team”, and there will undoubtedly be teams that surprise all of those who follow the league.
Without further ado, this will begin the top 10 most formidable teams going into the 2013 NFL regular season.
10: Chicago Bears
It’s got to happen eventually—the season where the Chicago Bears trump their injury woes and make a serious playoff push. While they did reach the NFC Championship in 2010, they have since been miserably unlucky with key injuries.
Earlier this offseason, the Bears finally heard QB Jay Cutler’s pleas for protection, and they made two solid offseason pick ups—Jermon Bushrod and the draft selection of Kyle Long.
If the Bears offensive line play can emerge from the abyss, then they could finally be able to reach the potential that their skill players give them.
9: Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that have been rising ever since their disastrous 2010 season—a 4-12 affair that saw mainstays Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer leave town.
But the Bengals quickly got younger, more capable talent in the 2011 NFL Draft with A.J Green and Andy Dalton.
The Bengals are a team that is solid on defense—a unit that got bolstered with veteran James Harrison—and stout on the offensive front.
Now that Dalton is surrounded by Green, Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert, Benjarvous Green-Ellis, and—pending his health—a ready-to-break-out Mohamed Sanu, the Bengals could be set to emerge as one of the AFC’s biggest contenders.
8: New England Patriots
As long as Tom Brady plays for the New England Patriots, then they will enjoy their spot as a top 10 NFL team.
However, the Patriots’ days as perennial Super Bowl contenders may have concluded. With Rob Gronkowski’s health in question and the departure of Wes Welker, there are still many questions that the Patriots will need to answer going into 2013.
Granted, Welker was not a Pro Bowl caliber receiver until joining New England in 2007, and Danny Amendola could fill in for the departed wideout wonderfully. But that is a question that will be answered in 2013. It also doesn’t help that Amendola has a history of injuries too.
With Gronkowski and Amendola’s health in flux—along with a defense that still needs some work—Brady’s squad will be at the low end of the league’s top third.
7: Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III is a quarterback that is the perfect combination of athleticism, arm strength, accuracy, and intelligence. That being said, he needs to learn when to get out of bounds.
His competitive spirit is commendable, but the young star needs to learn that--without the large frame of contemporary Cam Newton—going into tackles against linebackers will only result in injury.
If Griffin can remain healthy, then he has the ability to lead the Washington Redskins deep into the playoffs.
6: Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are a team that, for two years, has been stopped in the Divisional Round. However, Andre Johnson—even in his later years—is still proving that there is not only one wideout named Johnson who deserves recognition.
Moreover, many analysts are calling for DeAndre Hopkins—the rookie wide receiver from Clemson—to be an early impact player for the squad. If the young playmaker can reach his potential, teams will have a harder time deciding who to roll their coverage toward.
Their offense also has the best running back in the league whose name isn't Adrian Peterson in Arian Foster.
With a potent offense, and a defense-- that will benefit from the return of Brian Cushing—led by the fierce J.J Watt, the Texans could be easy number one seeds in the AFC in 2013.
5: Baltimore Ravens
Many people were declaring the Baltimore Ravens’ 2013 season as dead on arrival with the departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Dannell Ellerbee, and Cary Williams.
What people are forgetting is that the Ravens GM, Ozzie Newsome, is one of the best in professional sports. Surely, he has made offseason acquisitions—such as Elvis Dumervil—that will assist in the revitalizing of the Ravens once feared defense.
Fortune hasn’t been kind to defending Super Bowl Champions of recent memory, but if Newsome’s plan unfolds as he intends it to, the Ravens will be competitors once again.
4: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are a team that is on the cusp of being able to make it the Super Bowl. The return of Tony Gonzalez—along with the continued stellar play of Julio Jones and Roddy White-- will be a massive factor in the continued success of quarterback Matt Ryan.
Moreover, the addition of Steven Jackson will certainly aid in their rushing attack.
For the Falcons, the regular season hasn’t been the issue; it has been their inability to perform in the playoffs. In 2012, they were one half away from going to the Super Bowl—a crushing come-from-behind loss that they won’t forget going into the 2013 season.
3: Denver Broncos
It is hard to believe that it was only two short years ago that the Denver Broncos—coming off a forgettable 2010 season—selected linebacker Von Miller with the second overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Between then and now, you might have heard that the Broncos acquired four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in free agency and have emerged as one the most potent squads in the NFL.
Also, their receiving corps—consisting of Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas—will be one the league’s most lethal in 2013. Their skill positions were further bolstered with the draft selection of Wisconson's Montee Ball—a player who could emerge as one the great steals of the 2013 Draft.
The departure of Dumervil will hurt them, but the Broncos’ addition of Sylvester Williams in the draft will help aid their front seven. Moreover, Miller should continue to prove that he is one the best pass rushers of his generation—a 2011 draft class that may see the most busts in Canton since the 1989 draft class.
Denver was one blown coverage away from going to the AFC Championship game in 2012. Expect them to go deep in the playoffs in 2013.
2: Seattle Seahawks
I did an article about the Seattle Seahawks upon the release of the NFL’s regular season schedule.
Seattle is a team that looks destined to make a serious run in 2013. Not much can be said about them that hasn’t already been, but they are a team that looks solid all across the board. The one question with them is pass rush; Chris Clemons went down with an injury in 2012. But,the addition of Cliff Avril is proof that they are ready to plug someone else opposite Bruce Irvin into their stifling defense.
It seems as though Pete Carroll has finally proven that he can be a head coach in the NFL.
1: San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are a team that still is feeling the force of a Super Bowl loss. However, Jim Harbaugh is proving that he is constantly looking toward the future.
The 49ers made a solid first round draft acquisition with Eric Reid. Moreover, they could have landed the ultimate steal of 2013—Marcus Lattimore.
If Colin Kaepernick can sustain the breakout success that he had in 2012, the Niners could make a repeat run to the Super Bowl.