Inside This Week’s SI 2013 NFL Preview: Peter King’s Predictions

Peter King says RG3 will win the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year.

Peter King says RG3 will win the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s 2013 NFL Preview—on newsstands now—breaks down the 2013 NFL season with 68 pages of scouting reports chock full of analysis, stats and conference power rankings for all 32 teams, as well as the annual predictions from TheMMQB.com editor and SI senior writer Peter King. Who will take home the Lombardi Trophy this year? King predicts that the Patriots, led by 2013 MVP Tom Brady, will defeat the Seahawks 30-23 in Super Bowl XLVIII. “Brady’s mastery of the up-temp game and his team’s ability to seamlessly incorporate new skill players explain why SI is picking the Pats win the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season,” says King. (PAGE 70)

PETER KING’S PREDICTIONS (PAGE 68)

REGULAR SEASON
*Wild-card team

AFC EAST
1. Patriots (12–4)
2. Bills (7–9)
3. Dolphins (6–10)
4. Jets (3–13)

AFC NORTH
1. Bengals (10–6)
2. Ravens (10–6)*
3. Browns (7–9)
4. Steelers (7–9)

AFC SOUTH
1. Colts (10–6)
2. Texans (10–6)*
3. Titans (7–9)
4. Jaguars (4–12)

AFC WEST
1. Broncos (11–5)
2. Chiefs (7–9)
3. Chargers (5–11)
4. Raiders (3–13)

NFC EAST
1. Giants (9–7)
2. Redskins (9–7)
3. Eagles (8–8)
4. Cowboys (7–9)

NFC NORTH
1. Packers (10-6)
2. Vikings (9–7)
3. Bears (8–8)
4. Lions (6–10)

NFC SOUTH
1. Falcons (10–6)
2. Saints (10–6)*
3. Buccaneers (8–8)
4. Panthers (6–10)

NFC WEST
1. 49ers (11–5)
2. Seahawks (11–5)*
3. Rams (8–8)
4. Cardinals (7–9)

PLAYOFFS

AFC WILD-CARD ROUND
Bengals (3) 20, Texans (6) 16
Ravens (5) 24, Colts (4) 20

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Patriots (1) 23, Ravens 20
Broncos (2) 20, Bengals 13

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Patriots 30, Broncos 27

NFC WILD-CARD ROUND
Saints (6) 33, Packers (3) 27
Seahawks (5) 27, Giants (4) 17

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
49ers (1) 34, Saints 23
Seahawks 31, Falcons (2) 27

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Seahawks 27, 49ers 22

SUPER BOWL XLVIII
Patriots 30, Seahawks 23

2013 AWARDS

Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

Offensive Player of the Year: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

Defensive Player of the Year: Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Tyrann Mathieu, FS, Cardinals

Comeback Player of the Year: Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins

Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, Saints


Sports Illustrated Launches TheMMQB.com – a New Multiplatform Digital Franchise Devoted to Football and Edited by Peter King

MMQBlogo_sq_fullcolorLightSPORTS ILLUSTRATED today introduced The MMQB (TheMMQB.com), a new, digital franchise led by award-winning SI senior writer Peter King that is devoted to NFL coverage. The franchise, an offshoot of King’s popular Monday Morning Quarterback column, will deliver insight, access and analysis from a team of reporters that will set a standard for future multimedia NFL coverage.

“We are aiming to be the thinking man’s website dedicated to covering the NFL in a more modern way,” said King. “We will combine the great SI storytelling style with an added emphasis on video, social media and photography.”

King, who will continue to write Monday Morning Quarterback, in addition to producing other stories and videos each week, will be joined by SI newcomers Greg Bedard, Robert Klemko and Jenny Vrentas to form the nucleus of The MMQB editorial team. Bedard will focus on trends and tactics that are shaping the game. Vrentas will write feature articles and contribute regularly on the critical health, safety and legal issues confronting the NFL. Klemko will concentrate on the league’s most important news stories and go inside the lives of players off the field. “10 Things I Think I Think,” a well-known component of King’s MMQB column, will become 10@10, a daily feature whose contributors will include NFL personalities. The individual entries will be tailored for sharing on Twitter, and the column will be posted at 10 a.m. ET. And for a feature called 3@3, an NFL player, coach or executive will respond to three questions, which will be posted weekdays at 3 p.m. ET.

Other regular contributors include SI media reporter Richard Deitsch, who will look at how the NFL is covered and how it interacts with fans through media; SI senior writer Don Banks will dive into the league’s hottest issues on and off the field in a column called The Conscience; SI senior writer Jim Trotter’s column, The Takeaway, will focus on what’s happening on the West Coast; and former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt will write a weekly column that provides insight into the business of football and the inner workings of NFL front offices. In addition, SI’s video group will fully support TheMMQB.com by producing short- and long-form original stories and companion pieces using the site’s entire editorial team.

TheMMQB.com was developed by Time Inc./SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and utilizes a responsive design that optimizes the user experience across mobile, tablet and desktop platforms, with deep integration to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The forward-looking design allows users to easily access the “river” of content to keep up to date on the latest stories and videos, as well as find and search archived content.

“We’re thrilled to launch another digital franchise under the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED umbrella, especially one being led by our most popular writer about the most popular sport,” said Paul Fichtenbaum, the Editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group. “In many ways this represents a natural evolution for us.”

This launch follows the recent successful debuts of SwimDaily.com and ExtraMustard.com, adding to the SI Digital Network. Gillette Clear Gel anti-perspirant/deodorant and Windows 8 are launch sponsors of the site. SI will support TheMMQB.com with new social extensions across Twitter (@theMMQB), Facebook, Google+, Instagram (@theMMQB) and more.


SI Now Powered by Ford Debuts Today at 1:00 p.m. ET on SI.com

SI_Now_HighResToday at 1:00 p.m. ET SI Now Powered by Ford will debut on SI.com. The guests on the debut live, 30-minute sports talk show include NBC News’ Willie Geist and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and Chris Mannix.

Viewers are encouraged to submit questions for guests via Twitter using @SINowLive or #SINow. SI Now Powered by Ford is hosted by SI’s Maggie Gray and airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. ET on SI.com. SI Now Powered by Ford broadcasts from Time Inc’s NYC headquarters in Rockefeller Center and is produced by Joe Lynch (Senior Producer) and Ian Orefice (Executive Producer, Time Inc. News and Sports).

For ongoing guest updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the show follow @SINowLive on Twitter.


SI.com Week in Review

SI.com®With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full steam, daily baseball games and much more in the world of sports, there’s a chance you couldn’t get to all of the great content on SI.com this week. Inside SI has you covered. Here’s a selection of some of the top Sports Illustrated stories and video productions from the past week.

Miscellaneous

SI announced 10 finalists for its inaugural College Athlete of the Year.

Richard Deitsch reviews Fox Sports 1’s new big hires and more in his weekly Media Circus column.

Jeff Pearlman  reminisces about the USFL 30 years later

NBA

Ian Thompson says Steph Curry is the latest to establish himself as a star in the playoffs.

Lee Jenkins writes that Kevin Durant can only do so much for OKC.

Rob Mahoney lists five players who have disappointed in the playoffs so far. He also notes the biggest surprises of the playoffs so far.

Do the NBA Playoffs Underdogs stand a chance? Chris Mannix and Maggie Gray discuss the Warriors and Bulls (video).

Mannix discusses how the injuries of Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Amar’e Stoudemire have affected their respective teams (video).

NHL

Sara Kwak says the Isles vs. Penguins has been the most thrilling series so far.

Allan Muir says the Senators showed their superiority over the shorthanded Habs.

While this week’s SI cover man Sidney Crosby worked his magic in the Penguins’ Game 5 Win, Eli Bernstein says the play of both goalies proved to be the difference.

Stu Hackel on how the NHL may change their policy on head shots.

MLB

Tom Verducci says expensive free agents are once again failing to meet expectations.

Jay Jaffe says Matt Harvey is fastest-starting Mets ace ever.

Cliff Cocoran provides this week’s Awards Watch.

SI.com’s Tom Verducci takes a look at the increasing strikeout rate around the MLB and asks if the Braves’ power can overcome their swing-and-miss ways (video).

The Tigers top Joe Lemire’s power rankings.

NFL

Peter King notes differing draft strategies, who will control the ’14 draft and more in this week’s MMQB.

Jim Trotter writes on how the California workers comp bill will have a lasting effect on NFL players.

Don Banks asks if betters days are coming for minority hires in the NFL?

Chris Burke on each team’s most pressing question as minicamp looms.

Golf

Micahael Bamberger writes that TV saved Tiger Woods from withdrawing from the Masters.

Gary Van Sickle says McIlroy, Stricker and Scott make TPC Sawgrass look easy

Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Adam Scott, Justin Leonard and others talk ship in the Players Champions Confidential.
College Football

Andy Staples takes a stab at his post spring top 25.

Holly Anderson hands out her Sixth annual Switzies, which celebrate the ‘best’ of the 2013 offseason.

Stewart Mandel on how Ohio State aims to break the SEC’s title streak in 2013.

College Basketball

Rick Pitino talks Kentucky Derby, Final Four and 2013-14’s prospects in a Q&A with Pete Thamel.

Luke Winn gives out his second annual data-based hoops awards.

Tennis

Bruce Jenkins writes that Madrid red clay is a welcome sight after 2012 left all feeling blue

In his weekly mailbag, Jon Wertheim wonders if Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens can find peace.
Soccer

Grant Wahl provides updates on Alex Morgan, Frank Lampard and various MLS nuggets in his Planet Futbol Column.

Wahl writes that the sports world won’t be the same without Sir Alex Ferguson. Wahl also  talks about the legacy of Ferguson and discusses the future of the club in this SI.com video.

Jonathan Wilsion says David Moyes is a safe choice for Manchester United, but comes with risk.

Sid Lowe writes that Jose Mourinho’s separation from Real Madrid getting messy.

MMA & Boxing

Floyd Mayweather tops Chris Mannix’s Pound-For-Pound Top 15.

Floyd Mayweather talks about his title fight victory over Robert Guerrero, and looks ahead towards the rest of his multi-fight contract (video).

Jeff Wagenheim discusses Anderson Silva’s punishment, Johny Hendricks’ beard, and more in his MMA mailbag.

Racing

Lars Anderson on what we learned on a rainy, dark day at Talladega.

Carl Estes provides this week’s power rankings.


The Panic Room

The Panic Room

While NFC West powerhouse teams  San Francisco Forty Niners and Seattle Seahawks have made bold moves to boost their roster for the upcoming season, the Saint Louis Rams find themselves relying heavily on young raw talent, which made Day 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft crucial for the rising team. In a Sports Illustrated exclusive in this week’s magazine, Senior Writer Peter King gives a behind the scenes look at how the Rams managed the franchises most important day of the year with a little gambling and a lucky golden coin.

Included in this draft day timeline is:

  • The Rams desperate deal making that ensured their acquisition of the No. 8 pick in the draft and the subsequent drafting of West Virginia receiver-returner Tevon Austin, “a durable lightning bug and the most dangerous player on the board,” (PAGE 50) writes King.
  • The dramatic decision making process that led to the Rams trading their No. 22 overall pick in the first round for the No. 30 pick, a move that potentially put securing their favorite prospect, Alec Ogletree, in jeopardy. Ogletree’s agent Pat Dye warned, “you better not get cute or you’ll lose him.” (PAGE 51) The Rams got him at No. 30 still.
  • A breakdown of the sweat-educing stressful environment that was the climax of a nine month scouting process, an environment that “felt like Wall Street,” (PAGE 54) said Les Snead, the Rams General Manager.

Revolution 2013

King CombineIn this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Peter King reports from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis (PAGES 24-27), where he scouted the new kinds of players at critical positions that executives are looking for in this year’s draft. King believes the following evolving positions are the most essential:

- The athletic offensive tackle: With quarterbacks varying between pocket and mobile in today’s NFL, an athletic offensive tackle that can fend off both heavier ends and speed-rushers is needed in an offense. Think Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M, who could very well be the #1 pick to Kansas City.

- The three-down middle linebacker: Even with Ray Lewis departing the NFL, his style of linebacker play (sideline-to-sideline, every down playmaker) is as important as ever in the league. Alec Ogletree of Georgia best fits the mold, as he can rush the quarterback, chase down receivers and easily latch on to running backs.

- The physical corner who can run with speed guys:  Corners that can bump at the line are in demand in the NFL as quarterbacks sit in the pocket longer, waiting for the play to develop. They still have to hang with speed receivers once the play opens up, however, and Xavier Rhodes of Florida State, who bumps “like a five-year NFL vet” is the guy in this year’s draft.


Baltimore Ravens’ Wide Receiver Jacoby Jones on the Cover of This Week’s Sports Illustrated

2 11 13 SI CoverBaltimore Ravens’ wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones, who opened the second half of the Ravens Super Bowl XLVII victory over the 49ers with a postseason record 108-yard kickoff return for a TD, is on the cover of the Feb. 11, 2013, issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, on newsstands Wednesday.

This is the first time that Jones, who appears above the headline: “Fear the Bird. Revere the Bird”, has appeared on the SI cover and the 12th time that a member of the Ravens has appeared on the SI cover. You can purchase this week’s cover here.

Jones, a New Orleans native who also caught a 56 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the first half, set a number of Super Bowl records in Baltimore’s 34-31 victory over San Francisco, including most combined yards in a game (290) and longest play (his 108-yard kickoff return). Jones also tied a record with two plays of 50-or-more yards. Senior writer Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) writes:

“In the span of two game minutes, Jones had touched the ball twice, gained 164 yards, and scored two touchdowns.” (PAGE 31)


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