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10 Things to Watch For in 2013 NFL Season

The NFL season is upon us. Last night, the Baltimore Ravens fell to the Denver Broncos, 49-27 while Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns to kick off the 2013 NFL season.

To get you prepared for the rest of the season, let’s take a look at 10 things to watch for in 2013:

1. Will the Baltimore Ravens repeat?

Last night, the Ravens didn’t look like the defending Super Bowl champions, as they fell to the Broncos. In their loss, it looked evident that Joe Flacco was missing his biggest weapons from last year. In the offseason, the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers and lost Dennis Pitta for the season in training camp. Plus, on defense, the Ravens didn’t look like the same physical defense from last year since Ray Lewis retired, and Ed Reed switched teams.

In 2013, it will be Joe Flacco’s team, and will he have enough to at least get the Ravens back to the playoffs?

2. NFL’s Opening Weekend

Later this weekend, several great games highlight Week 1. Green Bay travels to San Francisco to get revenge after a loss in last year’s playoffs. Sean Payton returns as the New Orleans Saints hosts the Atlanta Falcons. The New York Giants battle the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Lastly, in a doubleheader on Monday Night Football, Robert Griffin III comes back against the Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston takes on San Diego.

3. Will AP break 2,500?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson finished nine yards short of the NFL single-season rushing record in 2012. Now, Peterson wants more, and 2,500 yards. “I want to make it to the 2,500 club…it’s definitely out there. I feel like it’s definitely attainable. Enjoy this year because the record’s going down, with ease.” So, do you think he can do it?

4. J.J. Watt Wants to Create the 20-20-20 Club

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt hopes to improve on a fantastic 2012, and be even better in 2013 by creating the 20-20-20 club. Watt wants to get 20 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, and 20 batted balls. Last year, Watt had 20.5 sacks, 23.5 tackles for a loss and 16 batted balls.

5. Best Games of 2013

Week 1 has a few great games, as mentioned earlier, and each week will only get better as the season progresses.

  • September 15 – Peyton’s Broncos play Eli’s Giants.
  • September 13 and December 8 – the 49ers battle with the Seahawks.
  • September 19 – Andy Reid and his new team, the Chiefs travel to Reid’s old team, Philadelphia.
  • TIE – September 22 – Andrew Luck and his old, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton play their old coach, Jim Harbaugh, and the San Francisco 49ers. Plus, Ed Reed of the Houston Texans plays his old team, the Baltimore Ravens.
  • October 13 – Tom Brady and Drew Brees will air it out, and their coaches Bill Belichick and Sean Payton will try to outwit each other.
  • October 20 – Peyton plays the Colts again. It’s #18′s first game at Indianapolis since he left to play in the Mile High city.
  • October 27 and November 24 – Green Bay and Minnesota go head-to-head. The Packers and Vikings split during the regular season last year, the Packers beat the Vikings in the playoffs.
  • November 24 – it’s Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Football fans, enjoy this one, because there might not be many left.
  • November 25 – Two read-option quarterbacks, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III should entertain football fans for a night.
  • December 22 – it’s a rematch of the Super Bowl three years ago. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers face Big Ben and the Steelers again.

6. How will the second-year quarterbacks fare in 2013?

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson all guided their teams to the playoffs in 2013. Now, each of their teams have team’s that should compete again, but will a sophomore slump kick in?

7. Will the Denver Broncos Ride Peyton Manning to a Title?

Peyton Manning may not have too many years left, and John Elway brought more talent to Denver to try and help him out. The wide receiver position was upgraded from a year ago, as Manning has new acquisition, Wes Welker, to go along with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas to throw to in 2013. On defense, the Broncos will miss Elvis Dumervil, after his release, and will have to play without Von Miller for the first six games due to a suspension.

8. How will Tom Brady do with new wide receivers?

Tom Brady lost Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez. Plus, Rob Gronkowski will miss the first couple of weeks. Until Gronkowski gets healthy, Brady will have Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins, and Aaron Dobson to throw to. Plus, don’t count out undrafted rookie free agent Zach Sudfield, as he could become Brady’s new favorite tight end.

9. Surprise Teams in 2013?

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs may be the biggest surprise in 2013. The Chiefs had the first pick in the draft last year, but also had six Pro Bowlers. Now. the Chiefs have an experienced coach (Andy Reid), and a new quarterback (Alex Smith) that are ready to get back to winning.

In the NFC, the NFC West may belong to the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, but the St. Louis Rams may be ready to finally compete in the division. The Rams were 4-1-1 in the division last year, and now quarterback Sam Bradford finally has some weapons. Bradford will have speedy rookie Tavon Austin, along with Chris Givens and tight end Jared Cook to throw to in 2013.

10. Sam’s Playoff Predictions and his Super Bowl Pick:

AFC:
East: New England
North: Cincinnati
South: Indianapolis
West: Denver
Wild Cards: Houston, and Kansas City.

NFC:
East: Dallas
North: Green Bay
South: Atlanta
West: San Francisco.
Wild Cards: Washington, and Seattle.

Denver over Atlanta
Peyton Manning is this year’s MVP.

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