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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

TPL Picks 2013

So here we are, September is upon us and so too at long, long last is the NFL season. Which means, we need to pick some winners!!

Our picks can be found after the jump, everything from division winners to the Super Bowl and player awards is covered, as well as our pick in the Battle for Bridgewater. We've each taken a moment to explain some of the riskier and more controversial picks. If you agree with us or fancy debating your side you can leave a comment or get hold of us on Twitter or join our Facebook group.





Toby Durant
Phil Gaskin
Gur Samuel
AFC East
New England Patriots

New England Patriots
New England Patriots
AFC North
Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
AFC South
Houston Texans

Houston Texans
Houston Texans
AFC West
Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins
Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North
Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
NFC South
Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
NFC West
Seattle Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
AFC Wildcards
Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Wildcards
San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears
AFC Champs
Denver Broncos

Houston Texans
Houston Texans
NFC Champs
Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks
New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl Champs
Seattle Seahawks
Houston Texans
Houston Texans




MVP
Aaron Rodgers

Drew Brees
Drew Brees
D Player of the Year
Luke Kuechly

Aldon Smith
Geno Atkins
Coach of the Year
Chip Kelly

Joe Philbin
Marvin Lewis
Rookies of the Year
Montee Ball, Jon Bostic

Tyler Eifert, Kevin Minter
DeAndre Hopkins, Jon Bostic
1st Overall Pick
Oakland Raiders
Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Jets



Why The Eagles & Kelly?

I love what I've seen from their offense so far in pre-season. They'll score a ton of points behind what could end up as the best O-Line in football. LeSean McCoy is going to enjoy the fast tempo and the zone runs, and a mobile offense should get the best out of Vick. No, the defense doesn't look great, and yes trusting Vick is going to bite me at some point, but I think Chip Kelly will have some surprises up his sleeve for the big moments and they'll run the crap out of the ball. The NFC East doesn't have a dominant team either, so it's definitely up for grabs. Turning the Eagles back into a play-off team in year 1 all but guarantees Kelly the Coach of the Year award.

Why Luke Kuechly?

I mean, have you seen this guy play football!? Kuechly is a monster in the middle of a defense that now has good defensive tackles to help protect him. He lead the NFL in tackles last year and has improved his coverage work. Just put the 1st half of his pre-season game against Baltimore on, this guy can do it all. Obviously he'll need a down year from JJ Watt, but it would be boring to just pick him right?

Why Seattle?

They've got a deep rotation on the defensive line, a young and FAST back 7 and an offense that's going to be a nightmare to play. Sure, losing Harvin hurts but they were putting up top numbers without him last year. Their offensive line is good, Lynch is a monster and backed up by Turbin and impressive rookie Christine Michael. Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love their quarterback? Well I do. He's awesome.

 - Toby Durant

Why Tyler Eifert?

There just aren't any offensive rookies that I'm really confident will have a big impact in 2013.

Whilst I'd love one of the big O-linemen to get a nod as OROY, the nature of the position means it'll take an outstanding season from one of the big LTs to get noticed and garner enough votes. Do I see Kansas City, Jacksonville or Oakland, all teams who look likely to start a rookie at LT, being good enough to give their big guys a chance? Nope.

The obvious place to look for offensive award winners is at QB, but there are slim pickings this year in the rookie class. With Geno Smith looking pretty poor in pre-season and EJ Manuel questionable for week one, neither guy surrounded by talent, you'd be hard pressed to give either the nod as a potential OROY.

In terms of running backs, there are so many questions. Which guys will have a feature role, who'll be in a committee system, will an offense put enough faith in running the ball to give them enough looks? No value for me there.

The popular choice for OROY is Tavon Austin. The highest selected offensive skill player, versatile, explosive, and with potential to make plays on special teams too, there are plenty of reasons to favour him, but his play in pre-season has been far from show-stopping, and the Rams fan side of me has seen too many false hopes come and go in St Louis to start getting excited by Austin just yet.

That pretty much leaves me with Eifert. Sure, tight ends never win any awards, but Eifert has looked strong in pre-season and on HBO's Hard Knocks, he's part of a passing offense that has other weapons to draw coverage away from him, and as a dynamic threat in the endzone, who's to say that a 10 TD season isn't within the realms of possibility? If he can put those numbers up, he might just win...

Why Houston?

Why not Houston? JJ Watt, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph. The AFC Divisional round 2 years running. A second receiver opposite Johnson to draw some coverage away. JJ Watt. Wade Phillips' defense looking as strong as ever.  Improved specialists with the addition of Shane Lechler in the off-season. JJ Watt. One of the most successful rushing attacks in the NFL, epitomizing how zone blocking and running should work. And JJ Watt.

- Phil Gaskin

Why not Seattle? Why Chicago?

Probably the most obvious omission in my predictions is the Seattle Seahawks. Don't get me wrong, I still expect them to be very good, but the NFC is so loaded that there'll be more than one very good team missing out on the playoffs, and I suspect it will be Seattle. My biggest concern is that, for as deep as their defensive line is, a huge number of players have picked up all sorts of injuries, all the way down the depth chart; it doesn't help either that most of their DL depth is concentrated at ends, when defensive tackle is arguably in greater need of being shored up, as their 10th-worst yards-per-carry-allowed can attest to.

Offensively, Sidney Rice - responsible for over a quarter of Seattle's receiving touchdowns last year - will be carrying an injury into the season, prized acquisition Percy Harvin won't even stop onto the field until November at the earliest, and it's fair to question how much longer Marshawn Lynch can bear the physical pounding he receives (and, for those who believe in that sort of thing, I'll throw it out there that 2012 was the first time in his career Lynch received 300 carries. Statistically, running backs don't do nearly as well the year following a 300-attempt campaign). Don't overlook Gus Bradley's departure either, and the effect that could have on the defense. Despite this, the Seahawks will still likely pick up ten wins this season - but that's not going to be enough to guarantee a wild card spot, as the Bears found out last year.

Speaking of which, it's Chicago who I do see nabbing the final seed in the NFC. I like what Marc Trestman could bring to the offense, and they've got a relatively easy run up to their Week 8 bye to smooth out any cracks. Mel Tucker is a good defensive co-ordinator, and he's got some serious talent to work with on that roster. Most importantly, there are too many key Bears players potentially hitting the free agency market in 2014 not to be playing out of their skins. The 'Contract Year Bump' might not be the best motivation for a player from a coach's perspective - you'd hope your players would be playing out of their skins regardless of the money involved - but it should be a huge factor for everyone involved in the team: there will be some very good players walking out of Chicago next April, so the coaching staff knows they need to get as much out of this year as possible. All those factors led to me giving Chicago the nod over Seattle for the final playoff spot.

- Gur Samuel

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