In a mere 16 days the NFL will be kicking off the 2013 season when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Denver Broncos in a rematch of last years thrilling AFC divisional playoff game.
With half of the remaining preseason games yet to be played, there are plenty of stories to follow as we head toward the regular season.
There has been a multitude of shake ups to multiple rosters in the league, which should make for a uniquely intriguing season.
How will the New England Patriots fare after having lost a good portion of their aerial attack? They still have Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck running the show, but losing Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez could doom the teams chances this season. Rob Gronkowski had at least four surgeries in the off-season and could miss a couple of games to start the season. Things have gone bad when Danny Amendola is the top target that Brady has to throw to. Perhaps the Patriots run atop the AFC East will come to an end.
Wes Welker bolted from New England and joined Peyton Manning in Denver. With one of the leagues best receivers joining an already explosive receiving corps in the mile-high city, Manning and the Broncos offense should be exciting to watch.
Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson has predicted a 2,500 yard season, which would obliterate the single-season rushing record. There is no doubt Peterson is the best back in the league, but 2,500 yards is a bit far fetched, even for him.
Speaking of guys in Minnesota, Peterson’s new teammate, receiver Greg Jennings, has filled headlines with his constant bad-mouthing of his former team and their quarterback. Jennings has constantly run down the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rogers, even going as far to say that he was ‘brainwashed’ while playing in Green Bay. The Vikings and Packers will meet twice in the regular season. Those games should be fun.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs have a new head coach in Andy Reid, who was fired after a dismal season in Philadelphia. Reid is not the only big name to join the Chiefs this off-season, as they also acquired former 49er quarterback Alex Smith to run the offense. Smith should bring some consistency to the passing attack that Matt Cassel never provided. If the Chiefs can stay healthy, look for them to make a playoff run this season.
Now with all of that to consider, my prediction for the 2013 season is that the Denver Broncos will beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Now the success of the 49ers rests on the shoulders of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This will be Kaepernick’s first full season as a starting quarterback in the league, so the pressure will be on him to produce. While he does not have a whole lot of targets to throw to, San Francisco has one of the most dangerous running games in NFL. That running game, paired with one of the stingiest defenses in the league will allow the 49ers to slow down the game and control the clock, leading to double-digits in the win column.
With Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker, Peyton has too many options for opposing defenses to cover. Even with Von Miller missing the first six games of the season, the Broncos defense will put up great numbers and shut down opposing teams. The Broncos passing attack, along with their strong defense will dominate the headlines this season, and Manning will lead Denver to it’s third Super Bowl championship.
NFL football is almost upon us again, so sit back and enjoy the show.