The year 2013 has been a good one for the Sporting Charts crew, not only is it our first full year in existence, we've also managed to hit a fair amount of predictions. We were bang on for the NHL playoffs this year, and had a good track record for the PGA majors...so without further ado here is our Super Bowl picks for the 2013-14 NFL season.
Green Bay Packers (Cory Wagner)
I'll be honest, I've picked Green Bay more than any other team in the last 5 seasons. But in 2014 the cold-weather trained Green Bay Packers will win the first ever Super Bowl to be played in cold weather (New York). There are 3 reasons why I like the Packers above any other team:
1) Injuries - There was no team even close to the number of injuries that the Packers endured in 2012. A statistic I follow at FootballOutsiders.com is Adjusted Games Lost. AGL is a statistic that quantifies how much teams were affected by injuries...and the Packers had one of the worst numbers ever recorded last year. Even half as many injuries this year, and they should be in much better shape.
2) Running game - it's tough to get too excited about a rookie running back, but the truth is that Green Bay has been a patchwork of runners over the last 5 years. Handing the rock to Eddie Lacey (along with other depth at RB) should provide more balance and consistency for Rodgers and company with the passing game.
3) Field goals - yup I said it, their kicking game. Mason Crosby was atrocious last year, it can't possibly get an worse...can it? Chalk them up for at least another 9-15 points this year, which could come in handy in those close divisional games...and especially the playoffs.
My team has been, and forever will be, the St. Louis Rams. Therefore, what I am about to proclaim disgusts me. The mere thought enrages every bone in my body and weakens me like an incidental shot to the gut during a game of pick-up. But we all must face our demons and this season the Seattle Seahawks will win the Super Bowl.
Champions learn to win in many ways. Seattle demonstrated in 2012 that they can destroy weaker opposition, play under the lights of a national audience and rally back from early deficits. Russell Wilson showed the poise of a champion far sooner than expected and the defense has turned a corner into an elite unit capable of enforcing their will upon opponents.
The Seahawks have drafted extremely well over the past few seasons adding key contributors on defense such as Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Bruce Irvin. The addition of veteran Cliff Avril will further elevate this intimidating D.
Detractors (i.e., St. Louis fans) will point to Seattle’s inability to win in someone else’s backyard. Analysts will remind you of Percy Harvin’s injury. But I believe the Seahawks will figure out their road issues about the same time Harvin returns – culminating in a shower of confetti early this February on the field at MetLife Stadium.
I’ve read the tea leaves, consulted five different psychic hotlines, and thrown a dart at a list of NFL teams. Mark it down, the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII will be the Atlanta Falcons.
The Matt Ryan/Mike Smith era in Atlanta is now entering its 6th season and over this period the Falcons have a combined regular season record of 56-24 (0.700) - only Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh have better records among active NFL coaches.
While dominant in the regular season, the Falcons have struggled in the playoffs going 1-4 in the Ryan/Smith era with their first win coming last season when they defeated the Seahawks in the NFC divisional playoffs. It's often said that, "in order to win, you must first learn how to lose," and the Falcons should be nothing but focused on the Super Bowl and doing whatever it takes to get there. And hopefully they are now fully aware of what it takes to get there.
The Falcons are one of the elite teams in the NFL with a potent offensive unit with the likes of Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and newest addition, veteran RB Steven Jackson. With a strong defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan, who will likely get the most out of his relatively young unit, the Falcons are a balanced team.
This is the year the Falcons get back to the Super Bowl and the first time the franchise wins it all.
NOTE: Scoring Efficiency measures the rate of drives that end up with scoring plays (scoring drives/drives) while Scoring Efficiency Differential compares the teams Scoring Efficiency to that of their opponents (Scoring Efficiency Against).
Who do you think is going to win it all this season? Let us know in the comments below!