NFL Preview: In-Depth Analysis

Last updated on 8/6/2013

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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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The Predictalator

The Predictalator is the most advanced sports forecasting software available today because it has the ability to account for all of the relevant statistical interactions of the players (playing or not playing/injured), coaches, officials, fans (home field advantage) and weather in each game.

04/21/2014 Highlight: Using the ResultsFinder for the week of April 14th - 20th, one could find that all highlighted, MLB "normal" or better picks went 22-16 (58% ML, O/U, RL). A normal $50 player utilizing our play value recommendations on these picks returned a profit of +$425 for the week

The week in the NBA was even stronger, particularly with the start of postseason play. Overall, for the week, normal or better picks went 3-1 (75% ATS and O/U), including starting the Playoffs 2-0 with such plays. New this, we have added halftime picks which have proven capable of providing strong opportunities to exploit the market. Over just eight NBA Playoff games thus far, halftime normal or better (and there are "better" halftime picks) against-the-spread plays were especially stron,g going 5-0 (100% ATS).

As the NBA and NHL postseason began, all highlighted, "normal" or better picks on the site, including halftimes, went 40-23 (63% ATS, ML, O/U and PL) for the week.

The Predictalator plays every game 50,000 times before it's actually played. This provides us the ability to assign probabilities to the likelihood of just about any outcome occurring in any contest including straight-up, against-the-spread and over/under winners of each game.

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