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2013 NFL predictions: NFC West reps, Broncos own title games

  • By NFL.com
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On the cusp of the 2013 NFL season, our analysts provide their predictions, including the winners of individual awards, playoff teams for each conference and picks for Championship Sunday/Super Bowl XLVIII.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Judy Battista: Broncos over Texans. It's simple: The more explosive offense -- and the better quarterback -- prevails over the more balanced team.

Gil Brandt: Bengals over Broncos. The Bengals survive this battle between their stout defense (and pass rush) and the Broncos' Peyton Manning-led offensive attack.

Albert Breer: Bengals over Ravens. Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard will help Andy Dalton up his game enough to get this loaded group to the big stage -- and knock out the AFC North's bully in the process.

Bucky Brooks: Broncos over Bengals. Peyton Manning turns back the clock by putting on a brilliant display against the Bengals' vaunted defense, giving the Broncos a spot in the title game held in Eli's house.

Jeff Darlington: Broncos over Texans. Whether he says so or not, John Fox had to have learned his lesson last January. Peyton Manning won't be taking a knee here; he'll be winning a dramatic playoff game with brilliant play down the stretch.

Elliot Harrison: Broncos over Texans. Denver wins on the strength of an opportunistic defense converting Matt Schaub errors into points. Peyton Manning is not fooled by Wade Phillips' blitz packages.

Daniel Jeremiah: Patriots over Colts. Andrew Luck will pull off two upsets in the postseason, but he'll run out of magic in Foxborough. Tom Brady will return to the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the last 13 years.

Kimberly Jones: Broncos over Bengals. Peyton & Co. don't fall a play short this time. And game-time temperature will be in the double-digits.

Ian Rapoport: Broncos over Bengals. Peyton Manning isn't walking into the sunset just yet, but he'll make at least one more Super Bowl appearance before he does.

Adam Schein: Texans over Ravens. Matt Schaub takes a major step in his career, akin to what Joe Flacco did last season.

Michael Silver: Bengals over Broncos. Geno Atkins and friends harass Peyton Manning, and the Bengals' young offensive playmakers make Denver's defense look tired and ineffective.



NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Judy Battista: Seahawks over 49ers. The Seattle defense will stymie San Francisco's offense, and the difficulty of returning to a Super Bowl after losing one allows the Seahawks to vault over their division rival.

Gil Brandt: Seahawks over Falcons. I think the Seahawks will win this rematch of last season's divisional playoff match, thanks to their superior defense.

Albert Breer: 49ers over Seahawks. The best new rivalry in the NFL gets a third installment this season. And the Niners win out, with Michael Crabtree helping the club find a new gear in January.

Bucky Brooks: 49ers over Seahawks. In a battle of heavyweights, Colin Kaepernick pushes the 49ers over the top with an epic postseason performance as a runner/passer.

Jeff Darlington: Falcons over 49ers. With a win in this Championship Sunday rematch, the Falcons get the Super Bowl shot that escaped them during an epic game last January.

Elliot Harrison: Seahawks over 49ers. Playing in Seattle proves to be just too much for a hot San Francisco team with a still-developing quarterback. The Seahawks' defense will be playing better than any other side in football at this point.

Daniel Jeremiah: Falcons over Seahawks. The Falcons create a few turnovers, and Julio Jones proves to be the X-factor in a very close game.

Kimberly Jones: 49ers over Packers. With his feet and/or his arm, Colin Kaepernick torments the Green Bay defense once again.

Ian Rapoport: 49ers over Packers. At the end of a long, long season, few can hang with the 49ers' brutally physical ways.

Adam Schein: Falcons over 49ers. Atlanta beats San Francisco in a rematch from last season. The game is again in Atlanta, with the Falcons again claiming the No. 1 seed. Matt Ryan hits Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown on the final drive for redemption.

Michael Silver: Seahawks over 49ers. The third matchup between these riled-up rivals is the most charged and competitive. In the end, there's just too much Russell Wilson for the Niners to handle.

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