Sports Perspective: 2013 NFL Playoffs have early favorites - The Explorer: Sports

Sports Perspective: 2013 NFL Playoffs have early favorites

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Evan Hofmann

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 4:00 am

To make bold predictions regarding the outcomes of an entire NFL season is a daunting, if not foolish task to attempt. By its very nature, football is a sport of unpredictability. Prognosticators are made the fool, hoodwinked into believing that a team’s preseason rosters and strengths will weather the turbulent four months of grueling game play. In the unlikely event that a team does reach the playoffs unscathed, the delicate nature of each possession leaves ample opportunity for entire seasons to be lost as a result of one single mistake. There are, however, a handful of teams who are so deep, so well orchestrated, and so effectively coached that they could have their legs cut out from beneath them and would still be head and shoulders above the rest. Barring supernatural occurrences or divine intervention, one of these teams should be hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy come February.

In the AFC, the New England Patriots are a team that should never be written off in the postseason. As long as coach Bill Belicheck and QB Tom Brady are standing, the team has potential to make a splash when it counts. Also factoring into the Patriots favor is the fact that they play in a weak division. 

The Cincinnati Bengals ballclub has all the youth and talent to make it a promising season. They have a solid receiver in AJ Green, who should give quarterback Andy Dalton a valid passing option on the field. However, Dalton is still an unproven leader, and it will be interesting to see what success he can muster with this year’s squad. 

The Denver Broncos are the unanimous favorites coming out of the AFC. The team leader, quarterback, and future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning, is coming off of a restful offseason without significant injury or relocation. Manning is complemented by a slew of receivers in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Tvarres King. Given that Peyton Manning is now 37 years old, it is Super Bowl or bust for the deep Bronco team.

In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons are coming off a 13-3 season, and are stacked to the ceiling with offensive firepower led by quarterback Matt Ryan, receivers Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and running back Steven Jackson. The Falcons look to be a high scoring team, and a real threat come playoff time.

The San Francisco 49ers are a very deep football team led by Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick is the head of a new breed of elite quarterbacks who are destined to become the legends of tomorrow. Though the 49ers will be without Kaepernick’s favorite target, Michael Crabtree, due to an ACL injury, the team is still a major force in the NFC. 

Unfortunately for the 49ers, all roads lead to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The Seahawks are the team most likely to walk away with a Super Bowl victory this season. Head Coach Pete Carrol runs a quick and active defense, and a tough running game. Though the team will be without the services of receiver Percy Harvin for much of the season, the Seahawks young ace Russel Wilson has shown a limitless ceiling of potential. 

The league is stacked with squads that have the talent, the leadership, and the toughness to overcome the trials and tribulations of a full NFL season. These are the teams to keep a watchful eye on throughout the fall. Odds are, one of them will be bringing home 7 pounds of football shaped sterling silver at the end of the season.

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Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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