NFL 2013 Season Preview
Only a week of football has been played thus far, and fantasy dream teams across the board have already been shattered. It’s always intriguing to start thinking about potential championship matchups this early in the season and to start looking out for which teams are going to stand out.
After one game, it is tough to predict how the season to play out. However, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Denver Broncos have stood out the most in their conferences. A matchup that football fans have been awaiting for ages is starting to become very possible this year. Arguably, the best throwing quarterback of all time versus the best rushing quarterback of all time.
In the AFC, Peyton Manning is again playing at a level difficult to maintain even in a video game. After last year’s devastating overtime loss to the champion Baltimore Ravens team, it’s easy to tell even this early on that Manning and the Broncos want revenge. To say that Manning will not drive his team to the 2014 Super Bowl by sheer willpower himself would be ridiculous. In his season opener against the Ravens, Manning threw a record-tying 7 touchdown passes; almost unheard of in a single game, let alone one that features Manning against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Even without two of their best defensive players (Von Miller and Champ Bailey), the Broncos are determined to prove just how superior and determined they are this season. Denver has its eyes on the prize this year and is not settling for anything less than a shot at the title.
In the NFC, soaring above the rest in week 1 were the Philadelphia Eagles, whose new offense under head coach Chip Kelly will give defenses across the league a run for their money. Over the years, Vick has been notorious for his selfish rush play and was under the spotlight for years being criticized for his style of play. Chip Kelly’s new offense allows Vick much more pocket performance play and with an arm like his, he’s seemingly unstoppable as defenses scatter across the field trying to read his plays.
The stage hasn’t quite been set for Super Bowl XLVIII, but it’s definitely something fans everywhere can dream about. Obviously, it’s too soon to make such assumptions but after their Week 1 performances, it’d be hard to argue otherwise. Chip Kelly’s offense is almost too perfect a fit for Michael Vick’s offensive abilities; inevitably they’ll be crushing teams with such offensive prowess. Until teams can find an answer to Kelly’s unorthodox up-tempo offense, it’s tough to say that the Eagles can be stopped this year.
There’s no guarantee that these two teams will meet in the Super Bowl this year, but one can only ponder the possibilities. If you think about it, no other defense in the AFC can handle a quarterback of Manning’s caliber. The only other real threat in the AFC division if you think about it is the New England Patriots, whose thin offensive line and inconsistent receivers have really exposed their hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady.
Even with their history of winning, the Patriots are looking sloppier than ever and are doubtful that Brady can connect with his receivers regularly all season. With the loss of the great Wes Welker to the Broncos, the Patriots could barely pull out their first two wins of the season against two sub par teams, and Brady has not looked like his usual MVP candidate self.
Since the NFC is much deeper, the Eagles are going to have a much harder time winning the conference, with the likes of the Saints, 49ers, Packers and Seahawks fighting for the conference title.
Kaepernick will be phenomenal once again, the Packers will again show their depth and resilience, and the Seahawks under former USC head coach Pete Carol are bound to be in the mix at the end of the season. All of these teams have potential to win the NFC title, but based on their week 1 performance, it would be hard to argue that the conference title is not the Eagles’ to lose.