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Ask the Expert: Pete Prisco

Reggie Roberts: Seattle QB Russell Wilson and San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick both emerged in 2012 to lead their respective teams to the playoffs.  What do you predict for both quarterbacks in 2013?

Pete Prisco:The thing I see coming for both is adjusting to teams getting more prepared to face the read-option. That will put a lot of pressure on both players to be good inside the pocket. If these are two franchise passers, you want to limit their hits. I think both are impressive passers, but I want to see more when they can't run the way they do. Will they be as good? I think they play on two good teams, but this talk of being great quarterbacks already is happening too fast. Way too fast.

RR: What are the three best storylines that you will be closely following during the 2013 season?

PP:The read-option is No. 1. How will teams defend now that they've had a long time to prepare for it? And what will teams that run it do that we haven't seen? I am a big believer that this is a fad, and it will be figured out. Storyline number two is the up-tempo offense. I don't mean just the read-option teams, but a lot of teams will play fast. I think that will lead to more points scored than we've ever seen. And the third storyline of the 2013 season will be in addition to Kaepernick and Wilson, what can we expect from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III? Odds are one of them won't have the type of season we expect. 

RR: Give me your take on how good the Eagles will be this season under first-year head coach Chip Kelly.

PP: The Eagles will be exciting to watch.  I think they will score a lot of points on offense.  They will play fast and Mike Vick fits the scheme.  But I also think they will struggle on defense.  They have major problems on that side of the ball.  So look for a lot of shootouts for the Eagles this season.

RR: Bruce Arians is now the head man in charge in Arizona.  Can he make the same kind of impact as the head coach of the Cardinals that he made as the interim head coach in Indianapolis? PP:Arians will do a good job with the Cardinals, and might have them pushing for a playoff spot. He has the perfect quarterback for his deep-ball offense in Carson Palmer. I don't know if it will quite be as good as it was in Indy, but Arians will have this team much improved over a year ago.

RR: Let's switch to the NFC South.  You spent some time in Flowery Branch over the summer with the Falcons.  How good can this team be this season? PP:I picked them to go to the Super Bowl, so I think they will be pretty good. They are a talented team at a lot of key spots. The offense should be explosive — provided the right side of the line holds up. The key is the improvement on defense. What do they get out of the pass rush? I like the young cornerbacks because I prefer youth over old and slow, so their young corners make sense. Matt Ryan will have a big-time year throwing the football and the addition of Steven Jackson will help them burn clock late in games. This is a Super Bowl team.

RR: How good will the Dallas Cowboys be this season with the changes they've made on both sides of the ball along coupled with the play-calling modifications they made on offense?

PP: There is no doubt the Cowboys have talent. They have a quality passer in Tony Romo, an elite pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware, and a big-play star in Dez Bryant. It's how they fill in around those guys that will decide this team's fate. Have they improved enough inside on the offensive line? Who else will compliment Ware along the front seven? I think taking the play-calling duties away from Jason Garrett was smart. Shaking things up for Romo is a good thing. I think the Cowboys will push in the NFC East, but they will fall short of the playoffs.

RR: And finally, give us your six playoff teams from the AFC and your six from the NFC?

PP:AFC: Patriots, Bengals, Broncos, Texans, Steelers, Ravens. NFC: Packers, Falcons, Giants, 49ers, Seahawks, Saints.

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