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    PREDICTIONS

    Globe picks for 2013 NFL season

    Who will hold the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season?
    Seth Wenig/AP
    Who will hold the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season?

    Our football staffers make their picks for the 2013 season:

    Christopher L. Gasper

    Patriots: 11-5. Tom Brady will make it work on offense. But there are some very good quarterbacks on the schedule. That doesn’t bode well for a defense that since 2010 has allowed more comfortable air travel than some airlines.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

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    AFC North: Steelers

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    AFC South: Texans

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Chiefs and Bengals

    NFC East: Giants

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    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Falcons

    NFC West: 49ers

    NFC wild cards: Saints and Seahawks

    Super Bowl: Falcons over Steelers. BC alum Matt Ryan lives up to his nickname “Matty Ice” in frigid conditions as fans shiver their way through a Super Bowl that could have been played in a meat locker, which would be more picturesque than New Jersey in February.

    Awards forecast:

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    MVP — Drew Brees, QB, Saints

    Most underrated player — Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs

    Most overrated player — Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

    Ben Volin

    Patriots: 11-5. The Patriots might have a few hiccups on the road at Cincinnati, Houston, or Baltimore, but will easily coast to another division title.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

    AFC North: Bengals

    AFC South: Colts

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Texans and Ravens

    NFC East: Giants

    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Falcons

    NFC West: 49ers

    NFC wild cards: Seahawks and Lions

    Super Bowl: 49ers over Broncos. Jim Harbaugh’s teams have reached the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl, and finally get over the top with a championship against Peyton Manning’s Broncos.

    Awards forecast:

    MVP — Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

    Most underrated player — Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers

    Most overrated player — Jay Cutler, QB, Bears

    Dan Shaughnessy

    Patriots: 12-4. Ho-hum. Winning the putrid AFC East is like getting 200 points to sign your name on the SAT. The Patriots have three playoff wins since 18-0 — none of them impressive. See you in January.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

    AFC North: Ravens

    AFC South: Texans

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Dolphins and Steelers

    NFC East: Giants

    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Saints

    NFC West: 49ers

    NFC wild cards: Redskins and Seahawks

    Super Bowl: 49ers over Broncos. Wes Welker drops game-winning TD and gets ripped by Mrs. Manning.

    Awards forecast:

    MVP — Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

    Most underrated player — Matt Simms, QB, Jets

    Most overrated player — Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins

    Shalise Manza Young

    Patriots: 11-5. The Dolphins look like they’ll pose a challenge in the AFC East, but the Jets and Bills are serious works in progress. New England’s non-division schedule is not going to be easy, with several tough road games.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

    AFC North: Bengals

    AFC South: Texans

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Colts and Steelers

    NFC East: Giants

    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Falcons

    NFC West: Seahawks

    NFC wild cards: 49ers and Bears

    Super Bowl: Seahawks over Broncos. Peyton Manning will get another shot to tie his little brother in Super Bowl rings, but Seattle’s young quarterback, Russell Wilson, and stellar secondary will win the day for Seattle.

    Awards forecast:

    MVP — Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

    Most underrated player — Rob Ninkovich, DE, Patriots

    Most overrated player — Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens

    Michael Whitmer

    Patriots: 11-5. All predicated on Tom Brady staying healthy. Cupcake division (as always), but some tough road games. Offense will surprise, though.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

    AFC North: Bengals

    AFC South: Texans

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Chiefs and Colts

    NFC East: Giants

    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Falcons

    NFC West: Seahawks

    NFC wild cards: Saints and 49ers

    Super Bowl: Broncos over Seahawks. How would Patriots fans react to Wes Welker winning the ring he came to New England for? Happily, I’m guessing.

    Awards forecast:

    MVP — Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos

    Most underrated player — Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

    Most overrated player — Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

    Jim McBride

    Patriots: 10-6. The “AFC East Champions” T-shirts and hats were printed in June. But to go any further, they have to find a way to make opposing QBs uncomfortable.

    Playoff forecast:

    AFC East: Patriots

    AFC North: Ravens

    AFC South: Colts

    AFC West: Broncos

    AFC wild cards: Texans and Bengals

    NFC East: Giants

    NFC North: Packers

    NFC South: Falcons

    NFC West: 49ers

    NFC wild cards: Seahawks and Saints

    Super Bowl: Patriots over 49ers. The division schedule is a joke, but the rest of the slate is pretty tough (check out the QBs on that list). The pups will take their lumps, but come December, these Patriots will be battle-tested and ready.

    Awards forecast:

    MVP — Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

    Most underrated player — Lance Briggs, LB, Bears.

    Most overrated player — Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys.