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    NFL Preview: In-Depth Analysis

    Last updated on 8/6/2013
    Last Updated: 9/8/2013 12:33 PM ET

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    The Predictalator has already played the 2013 NFL season 50,000 times before it's actually played. The San Francisco 49ers lead the way as the most likely Super Bowl Champions, winning it all league-high 20.1% of the time. In the most likely Super Bowl, San Francisco defeats the Denver Broncos 60.6% of the time and by an average score of 31-27. Denver, the AFC's top-seed, wins the Super Bowl 14.6% of the time. The Green Bay Packers (10.5%), New England Patriots (8.9%), Seattle Seahawks (7.2%) and Houston Texans (7.1%) follow the 49ers and Broncos in Super Bowl likelihood. No other team has a greater than 3% chance to win the Super Bowl. However, there are 11 teams that win the championship between 1.5% and 3% of the time, including some teams that did not even make the playoffs last year like the Carolina PanthersSt. Louis RamsChicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.

    Below, we explain How This Works and break down every team division-by-division. In each team's preview, the "Most Important" players are those whose play is most critical to the team's success. Typically, they will be young, injury-prone and/or inconsistent players who could just as likely play well and help the team as play poorly or miss games to hurt the team. Also, the Offensive and Defensive Rankings are based on how many points a team would score (offense) or allow (defense) if each team played the same, league-average schedule.

    Since launching in January 2010, this technology is over 60% against-the-spread with NFL Locks of the Week (40-24 ATS), 55% ATS (431-353 ATS) picking all NFL games, and over 62% ATS and Over/Under (46-28 ATS and O/U) with highlighted NFL picks all-time with greater than 60% confidence. And finally, with a perfect 2011 postseason, the Predictalator is now 26-8 against-the-spread in NFL playoff games, while playable O/U team win total picks are 49-35 (58% O/U) all-time. Check out the Shop now to learn more.

    See: How This WorksSeason Summary and Division Previews: AFC EastAFC NorthAFC WestAFC SouthNFC EastNFC NorthNFC West and NFC South

    How This Works
    Just as the Predictalator plays each individual NFL game 50,000 times before it's actually played, it can also play the entire NFL season 50,000 times before it's actually played. The actual 2013 regular season and playoff schedules have been played 50,000 times, allowing us to compute average records and likelihoods of each team making the playoffs, winning its division and bringing home the Super Bowl trophy.

    The Predictalator's technology is built to handle such a demanding task. Making sure that we have the best possible inputs for players' statistics, progression over time and age, roles, health and playing time as well as teams' coaching styles and weather are keys to the accuracy of the output.

    In general, we apply strength-of-schedule-adjusted, relevant statistics from every player's career (weighted more heavily on the most recent 16 games) to a fairly traditional player development curve that considers age and previous playing time. Not only does this development curve help to set average inputs, it combines with health history to dictate the variance ("boom or bust" potential) of a player's inputs.

    Playing time estimation is more of an art than a science for all players who are expected to see significant starting time in 2013. That being said, gaps have been filled in by our best approximations of average bench and role players on teams.

    Once that math and statistical analysis is evaluated, importing a schedule and running the games 50,000 times each is simple.

    See: How This WorksSeason Summary and Division Previews: AFC EastAFC NorthAFC WestAFC SouthNFC EastNFC NorthNFC West and NFC South

    Season Summary

    The San Francisco 49ers were just a few yards (and/or a called defensive holding penalty) away from winning the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. Despite losing star wide receiver Michael Crabtree to an achilles injury, watching Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson (Tampa Bay) walk in free agency and playing in a division that we project to place three teams into the 2013 postseason, the incredibly well balanced 49ers enter the 2013 season as the overall favorites. With an offseason that saw other 2013 favorites like New England (tight ends), Denver (offensive line) and Seattle (receivers) struggle with major health and off the field issues, the 49ers stand alone atop a depleted list of NFL contenders (a list of contenders that appears to also include the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans). Even assuming starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick regresses a bit, especially without Crabtree from his mind-boggling second half and postseason from 2012 (169-of-272, 62.1% for 2,406 pass yards, 8.85 yards-per-pass and 502 rush yards on 67 carries, 7.5 yards-per-carry with 19 total TDs and five interceptions), San Francisco still projects to win a league-high 10.9 games and make the playoffs 84.4% of the time. The 49ers go on to rank in the top ten in all four of our offensive and defensive efficiency metrics, making the Super Bowl 30.8% of the time, while winning it 20.1% of the time.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams - replacing the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings respectively - represent new teams in our most likely playoffs that did not make last year's post-season. That being said, there are some other teams to watch as well. The Miami Dolphins win fewer games on average than the Steelers, but, as the clear second best team in the division, Miami actually makes the playoffs about 10% more often than Pittsburgh. In a similar situation, though as part of the most competitive division in the league - all four teams in the NFC South win between 7.5 and 8.4 games - the Carolina Panthers are more likely to make the playoffs than an up-and-coming St. Louis Rams team mired behind two of the league's best three teams in the NFC West. Overall, just Denver (91%), San Francisco (84%), Houston (79%), New England (79%) and Green Bay (70%) are more likely than not to make the postseason. On the other end of the league, the Jacksonville Jaguars (3%) and Oakland Raiders (2%) are the only teams to make the playoffs less than 7% of the time. 

    Based on the analysis, here is the projected NFL 2013 Playoff bracket. It should be noted however, that this exact bracket only occurred 314 of the 50,000 seasons played by the Predictalator:

    AFC

    Wild Card Round
    #6 Pittsburgh 20 @ #3 Houston 23
    #5 Baltimore 23 @ #4 Cincinnati 24

    Divisional Round
    #3 Houston 27 @ #2 New England 31
    #4 Cincinnati 21 @ #1 Denver 26

    AFC Championship 
    #2 New England 28 @ #1 Denver 30

    NFC

    Wild Card Round

    #6 St. Louis 21 @ #3 New York Giants 23
    #5 Seattle 27 @ #4 Atlanta 26

    Divisional Round
    #5 Seattle 23 @ #1 San Francisco 28
    #3 New York Giants 24 @ #2 Green Bay 31 

    NFC Championship 
    #2 Green Bay 27 @ #1 San Francisco 32

    Super Bowl
    San Francisco 31 over Denver 27

    Other Info:
    Teams that should surprise (good): St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins
    Teams that should surprise (bad): New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys
    Most Important Player (AFC): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
    Most Important Player (NFC): Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
    Most Important Rookie (AFC): D.J. Fluker, OT, San Diego Chargers
    Most Important Rookie (NFC): Justin Pugh, OT, New York Giants

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    AFC East Preview

    New England Patriots
    Power Rank: 5
    Offensive Rank: 2
    Defensive Rank: 28
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 9.9 - 6.1
    Playoff Probabilities: 78.6%
    Super Bowl Win%: 8.9%
    Biggest Strength: Belichick-Brady Brain Trust
    Greatest Weakness: Pass Catchers
    Most Important Offensive Player: Rob Gronkowski
    Most Important Defensive Player: Alfonzo Dennard
    Fantasy Stud: Tom Brady
    Fantasy Dud: Michael Jenkins
    Fantasy Sleeper: Kenbrell Thompkins

    Miami Dolphins
    Power Rank: 18
    Offensive Rank: 24
    Defensive Rank: 6
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8 - 8.0
    Playoff Probabilities: 45.3%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.4%
    Biggest Strength: Offseason Upgrades (from Free Agency and Experience)
    Greatest Weakness: Passing Game
    Most Important Offensive Player: Ryan Tannehill
    Most Important Defensive Player: Brent Grimes
    Fantasy Stud: Lamar Miller
    Fantasy Dud: Brandon Gibson
    Fantasy Sleeper: Dustin Keller

    New York Jets
    Power Rank: 29
    Offensive Rank: 32
    Defensive Rank: 2
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 7.2 - 8.8
    Playoff Probabilities: 24.5%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.4%
    Biggest Strength: Defense
    Greatest Weakness: Skill Position Players
    Most Important Offensive Player: Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith
    Most Important Defensive Player: Kyle Wilson
    Fantasy Stud: Defense
    Fantasy Dud: Everyone Else
    Fantasy Sleeper: Chris Ivory

    Buffalo Bills
    Power Rank: 26
    Offensive Rank: 21
    Defensive Rank: 23
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 7 - 9.0
    Playoff Probabilities: 28.6%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.6%
    Biggest Strength: Explosive Playmakers (Offense and Defense)
    Greatest Weakness: Run Defense
    Most Important Offensive Player: Kevin Kolb/EJ Manuel
    Most Important Defensive Player: Mario Williams
    Fantasy Stud: C.J. Spiller
    Fantasy Dud: Scott Chandler
    Fantasy Sleeper: T.J. Graham

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    AFC North Preview

    Cincinnati Bengals
    Power Rank: 15
    Offensive Rank: 23
    Defensive Rank: 7
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.4 - 7.6
    Playoff Probabilities: 44.1%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.6%
    Biggest Strength: Pass Rush
    Greatest Weakness: Defensive Back Seven
    Most Important Offensive Player: Andre Smith
    Most Important Defensive Player: Taylor Mays/Shawn Williams
    Fantasy Stud: A.J. Green
    Fantasy Dud: Andy Dalton
    Fantasy Sleeper: Giovani Bernard

    Baltimore Ravens
    Power Rank: 12
    Offensive Rank: 5
    Defensive Rank: 32
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 8
    Projected Record: 8.3 - 7.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 45.7%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.6%
    Biggest Strength: Incredible Balance
    Greatest Weakness: Offseason Losses/Lack of Elite Facet
    Most Important Offensive Player: Jacoby Jones
    Most Important Defensive Player: Elvis Dumervil
    Fantasy Stud: Ray Rice
    Fantasy Dud: Jacoby Jones
    Fantasy Sleeper: Tommy Streeter

    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Power Rank: 17
    Offensive Rank: 26
    Defensive Rank: 1
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.3 - 7.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 35.8%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.6%
    Biggest Strength: Pass Defense
    Greatest Weakness: Age and Health Concerns
    Most Important Offensive Player: Mike Adams
    Most Important Defensive Player: Troy Polamalu
    Fantasy Stud: Defense
    Fantasy Dud: Shaun Suisham
    Fantasy Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders

    Cleveland Browns
    Power Rank: 27
    Offensive Rank: 28
    Defensive Rank: 13
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 8
    Projected Record: 6.8 - 9.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 14.1%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.3%
    Biggest Strength: Youth and Athleticism
    Greatest Weakness: Difficult Schedule/Division
    Most Important Offensive Player: Brandon Weeden
    Most Important Defensive Player: Phil Taylor
    Fantasy Stud: Trent Richardson
    Fantasy Dud: Brandon Weeden
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jordan Cameron

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    AFC South Preview

    Houston Texans
    Power Rank: 6
    Offensive Rank: 7
    Defensive Rank: 24
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 9.6 - 6.4
    Playoff Probabilities: 79.3%
    Super Bowl Win%: 7.1%
    Biggest Strength: Explosive Playmakers (Offense and Defense)
    Greatest Weakness: Fragility
    Most Important Offensive Player: DeAndre Hopkins
    Most Important Defensive Player: Brian Cushing
    Fantasy Stud: Andre Johnson
    Fantasy Dud: Matt Schaub
    Fantasy Sleeper: Randy Bullock

    Indianapolis Colts
    Power Rank: 21
    Offensive Rank: 12
    Defensive Rank: 15
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 8.1 - 7.9
    Playoff Probabilities: 38.6%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.3%
    Biggest Strength: Maturation of Andrew Luck
    Greatest Weakness: Much Tougher Schedule than 2012
    Most Important Offensive Player: Gosder Cherilus
    Most Important Defensive Player: LaRon Landry
    Fantasy Stud: Andrew Luck
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Coby Fleener

    Tennessee Titans
    Power Rank: 30
    Offensive Rank: 30
    Defensive Rank: 26
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 5.7 - 10.3
    Playoff Probabilities: 6.2%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.1%
    Biggest Strength: Promising Running Game
    Greatest Weakness: Defense
    Most Important Offensive Player: Jake Locker
    Most Important Defensive Player: Zach Brown
    Fantasy Stud: Chris Johnson
    Fantasy Dud: Rob Bironas
    Fantasy Sleeper: Delanie Walker

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Power Rank: 31
    Offensive Rank: 31
    Defensive Rank: 25
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 4.9 - 11.1
    Playoff Probabilities: 2.6%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.1%
    Biggest Strength: Not the Oakland Raiders (actually, the run defense is pretty good)
    Greatest Weakness: Lack of Quarterback
    Most Important Offensive Player: Blaine Gabbert/Chad Henne
    Most Important Defensive Player: Marcus Trufant
    Fantasy Stud: Cecil Shorts III
    Fantasy Dud: Quarterback
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jordan Shipley

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    AFC West Preview

    Denver Broncos
    Power Rank: 4
    Offensive Rank: 8
    Defensive Rank: 18
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 4
    Projected Record: 10.8 - 5.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 91.1%
    Super Bowl Win%: 14.6%
    Biggest Strength: Peyton Manning (and his weapons)
    Greatest Weakness: Offensive Line/Health Concerns
    Most Important Offensive Player: Ryan Clady
    Most Important Defensive Player: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
    Fantasy Stud: Peyton Manning
    Fantasy Dud: NONE
    Fantasy Sleeper: Ronnie Hillman

    San Diego Chargers
    Power Rank: 24
    Offensive Rank: 19
    Defensive Rank: 27
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected Record: 7.9 - 8.1
    Playoff Probabilities: 32.3%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.8%
    Biggest Strength: Defensive Front 7
    Greatest Weakness: Offensive Line (particularly in run game)
    Most Important Offensive Player: D.J. Fluker
    Most Important Defensive Player: Derek Cox
    Fantasy Stud: Antonio Gates
    Fantasy Dud: Malcom Floyd
    Fantasy Sleeper: Danny Woodhead

    Kansas City Chiefs
    Power Rank: 25
    Offensive Rank: 16
    Defensive Rank: 17
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 4
    Projected Record: 7.7 - 8.3
    Playoff Probabilities: 31.1%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.6%
    Biggest Strength: Explosive Playmakers (Offense and Defense)/Easy Schedule
    Greatest Weakness: Defensive Line
    Most Important Offensive Player: Alex Smith
    Most Important Defensive Player: Justin Houston
    Fantasy Stud: Jamaal Charles
    Fantasy Dud: Jonathan Baldwin
    Fantasy Sleeper: Travis Kelce

    Oakland Raiders
    Power Rank: 32
    Offensive Rank: 29
    Defensive Rank: 21
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected Record: 4.8 - 11.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 2.3%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.0%
    Biggest Strength: Easy Schedule
    Greatest Weakness: Everything on the Field
    Most Important Offensive Player: Darren McFadden
    Most Important Defensive Player: D.J. Hayden
    Fantasy Stud: Sebastian Janikowski
    Fantasy Dud: Tight End
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jacoby Ford

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    NFC East Preview

    New York Giants
    Power Rank: 11
    Offensive Rank: 15
    Defensive Rank: 8
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 3
    Projected Record: 8.5 - 7.5
    Playoff Probabilities: 48.8%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.8%
    Biggest Strength: Weak Schedule
    Greatest Weakness: Defensive Back Seven
    Most Important Offensive Player: Justin Pugh
    Most Important Defensive Player: Jason-Pierre Paul
    Fantasy Stud: Victor Cruz
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Brandon Myers

    Washington Redskins
    Power Rank: 14
    Offensive Rank: 9
    Defensive Rank: 30
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.3 - 7.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 38.8%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.0%
    Biggest Strength: Run Offense
    Greatest Weakness: Overly Aggressive Secondary (too many big plays allowed)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Robert Griffin III
    Most Important Defensive Player: Brian Orakpo
    Fantasy Stud: Alfred Morris
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Kirk Cousins

    Dallas Cowboys
    Power Rank: 20
    Offensive Rank: 14
    Defensive Rank: 12
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected Record: 7.6 - 8.4
    Playoff Probabilities: 33.7%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.0%
    Biggest Strength: Explosive Offensive Playmakers
    Greatest Weakness: Being Average (or just below in everything else)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Tyron Smith
    Most Important Defensive Player: Sean Lee
    Fantasy Stud: Dez Bryant
    Fantasy Dud: Defensive
    Fantasy Sleeper: Terrance Williams

    Philadelphia Eagles
    Power Rank: 22
    Offensive Rank: 11
    Defensive Rank: 29
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 4
    Projected Record: 7.3 - 8.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 22.8%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.5%
    Biggest Strength: Speed and Tempo
    Greatest Weakness: Uncertainty - Do Pieces Fit and How Long Will New System Take
    Most Important Offensive Player: Michael Vick/Nick Foles
    Most Important Defensive Player: Trent Cole/Connor Barwin
    Fantasy Stud: LeSean McCoy
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Zach Ertz

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    NFC North Preview

    Green Bay Packers
    Power Rank: 2
    Offensive Rank: 1
    Defensive Rank: 22
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 10.3 - 5.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 69.7%
    Super Bowl Win%: 10.5%
    Biggest Strength: McCarthy - Rodgers Brain Trust
    Greatest Weakness: Offensive Line
    Most Important Offensive Player: Left Tackle (not known at time of posting after Bulaga injury)
    Most Important Defensive Player: Nick Perry
    Fantasy Stud: Aaron Rodgers
    Fantasy Dud: Alex Green/DuJuan Harris
    Fantasy Sleeper: Johnathan Franklin

    Chicago Bears
    Power Rank: 13
    Offensive Rank: 17
    Defensive Rank: 11
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 8.3 - 7.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 32.9%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.8%
    Biggest Strength: Pass Defense
    Greatest Weakness: Offensive Line
    Most Important Offensive Player: Jermon Bushrod
    Most Important Defensive Player: D.J. Williams/Jon Bostic
    Fantasy Stud: Brandon Marshall
    Fantasy Dud: Earl Bennett
    Fantasy Sleeper: Martellus Bennett

    Detroit Lions
    Power Rank: 16
    Offensive Rank: 10
    Defensive Rank: 20
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 7.8 - 8.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 21.9%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.8%
    Biggest Strength: Megatron (and the Pass Rush)
    Greatest Weakness: Running Game (offense and defense)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Reggie Bush
    Most Important Defensive Player: Stephen Tulloch
    Fantasy Stud: Calvin Johnson
    Fantasy Dud: Mikel Leshoure
    Fantasy Sleeper: Defense

    Minnesota Vikings
    Power Rank: 23
    Offensive Rank: 25
    Defensive Rank: 14
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 8
    Projected Record: 6.8 - 9.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 8.2%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.2%
    Biggest Strength: Adrian Peterson (and the Defensive Line)
    Greatest Weakness: Quarterback
    Most Important Offensive Player: Christian Ponder
    Most Important Defensive Player: Xavier Rhodes
    Fantasy Stud: Adrian Peterson
    Fantasy Dud: Jerome Simpson
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jarius Wright

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    NFC South Preview

    Atlanta Falcons
    Power Rank: 7
    Offensive Rank: 6
    Defensive Rank: 16
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.4 - 7.6
    Playoff Probabilities: 42.9%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.9%
    Biggest Strength: Explosive Passing Offense (especially at home)
    Greatest Weakness: Lack of Pass Rush (really, everything besides pass offense is questionable)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Steven Jackson
    Most Important Defensive Player: Osi Umenyiora
    Fantasy Stud: Julio Jones
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jacquizz Rodgers

    Carolina Panthers
    Power Rank: 9
    Offensive Rank: 18
    Defensive Rank: 4
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 8.3 - 7.7
    Playoff Probabilities: 38.5%
    Super Bowl Win%: 2.2%
    Biggest Strength: Cam Newton and the Linebackers
    Greatest Weakness: Defensive Secondary and Right Side of Offensive Line
    Most Important Offensive Player: Byron Bell
    Most Important Defensive Player: Josh Norman
    Fantasy Stud: Cam Newton
    Fantasy Dud: Jonathan Stewart/Mike Tolbert 
    Fantasy Sleeper: Domenik Hixon

    New Orleans Saints
    Power Rank: 10
    Offensive Rank: 3
    Defensive Rank: 31
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.1 - 7.9
    Playoff Probabilities: 28.9%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.5%
    Biggest Strength: Brees-Payton Brain Trust
    Greatest Weakness: Defense
    Most Important Offensive Player: Charles Brown
    Most Important Defensive Player: Everyone
    Fantasy Stud: Jimmy Graham
    Fantasy Dud: Defense
    Fantasy Sleeper: Nick Toon

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Power Rank: 19
    Offensive Rank: 22
    Defensive Rank: 9
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 5
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 7.5 - 8.5
    Playoff Probabilities: 18.6%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.6%
    Biggest Strength: Upgrades to Pass Defense
    Greatest Weakness: Brutal Division (Clear Weakest QB in NFC South)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Josh Freeman
    Most Important Defensive Player: Darrelle Revis
    Fantasy Stud: Doug Martin
    Fantasy Dud: Luke Stocker
    Fantasy Sleeper: Tom Crabtree

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

    NFC West Preview

    San Francisco 49ers
    Power Rank: 1
    Offensive Rank: 4
    Defensive Rank: 19
    Division Standing: 1
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 10.9 - 5.1
    Playoff Probabilities: 84.4%
    Super Bowl Win%: 20.1%
    Biggest Strength: Everything Except…
    Greatest Weakness: Wide Receiver and Secondary Concerns after Losing Crabtree, Goldson and Culliver
    Most Important Offensive Player: Vernon Davis
    Most Important Defensive Player: Justin Smith
    Fantasy Stud: Vernon Davis
    Fantasy Dud: Michael Crabtree
    Fantasy Sleeper: Phil Dawson

    Seattle Seahawks
    Power Rank: 3
    Offensive Rank: 13
    Defensive Rank: 10
    Division Standing: 2
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 9.8 - 6.2
    Playoff Probabilities: 66.3%
    Super Bowl Win%: 7.2%
    Biggest Strength: Everything Except…
    Greatest Weakness: Wide Receiver Concerns/Pass Rush Uncertainty
    Most Important Offensive Player: Russell Wilson
    Most Important Defensive Player: Malcolm Smith/Bruce Irvin
    Fantasy Stud: Marshawn Lynch
    Fantasy Dud: Percy Harvin
    Fantasy Sleeper: Golden Tate

    St. Louis Rams
    Power Rank: 8
    Offensive Rank: 20
    Defensive Rank: 3
    Division Standing: 3
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 6
    Projected Record: 8.6 - 7.4
    Playoff Probabilities: 35.9%
    Super Bowl Win%: 1.8%
    Biggest Strength: Youth and Athleticism (Especially on Defense)
    Greatest Weakness: Offensive Line (even with Jake Long)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Jake Long
    Most Important Defensive Player: T.J. McDonald
    Fantasy Stud: Defense
    Fantasy Dud: Running Back (stay away for now)
    Fantasy Sleeper: Stedman Bailey

    Arizona Cardinals
    Power Rank: 28
    Offensive Rank: 27
    Defensive Rank: 5
    Division Standing: 4
    2012 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected 2013 Playoff Teams on Schedule: 7
    Projected Record: 6.1 - 9.9
    Playoff Probabilities: 7.5%
    Super Bowl Win%: 0.1%
    Biggest Strength: Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson
    Greatest Weakness: Elite Division (plus just about everything else besides top two stars)
    Most Important Offensive Player: Carson Palmer
    Most Important Defensive Player: Daryl Washington/Karlos Dansby
    Fantasy Stud: Larry Fitzgerald
    Fantasy Dud: Running Back (stay away for now)
    Fantasy Sleeper: Rob Housler

    See: How This Works, Season Summary and Division Previews: AFC East, AFC North, AFC West, AFC South, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West and NFC South

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