Week one of the 2013 NFL season is upon us, and after the Broncos summarily dismissed the Ravens Thursday night in the opener, it’s time to look ahead at some of the key matchups and storylines in the first slate of games.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Built in 2009, Cowboys Stadium, or, should I say, AT&T Stadium, has proven to be more of a home field advantage for the Giants then it has been for the Cowboys. Apparently, Eli Manning’s signature has staying power. The Giants are 4-0 at AT&T Park, and look to notch another win when they travel to Dallas Sunday night. But the Giants aren’t the only team protecting a streak, as Dallas is now 6-0 when facing New York in season openers. Something has to give. The fact that one of these streaks will come to an end Sunday night adds another wrinkle to an already embittered rivalry.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
I would imagine the Packers are still reeling from their 45-31 loss at the hands of the 49ers and the feet of Colin Kaepernick in last year’s NFC Divisional playoff round. They’ll get their chance at revenge this Sunday. This is arguably the most intriguing game of the week, as both teams are considered to be serious contenders for Super Bowl XLVIII. We’ll find out how Kaepernick adjusts without his favorite target from last season — Michael Crabtree — and if the acquisition of Anquan Boldin will be enough to overcome the loss. We also get a peak at what the Packers have learned in the offseason to combat the read-option offense, and if Jim Harbaugh’s mouth will have an influence on how the game is officiated.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets
It’s going take a couple of years before we know if John Idzik’s decision to trade Darelle Revis to the Buccaneers was smart or dumb. (I personally believe it was a sound move). Anyway, this is the first time in his career Revis will be lining up against his old team, and he’ll be doing it on a surgically repaired ACL. Rookie Geno Smith will start under center for the Jets, and will look to continue the trend of rookie quarterbacks who see success in their first season. And there’s nothing more entertaining than a Rex Ryan post-game press conference.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
I’ve already gone on record saying I think the Falcons will regress in 2013 and miss the playoffs. I also believe the Saints will improve with Sean Payton back calling the plays. Think about this: The Saints averaged the second most yards in 2012 without the best offensive signal caller in the game, so just imagine how explosive they’ll be with him back at the helm. Every team in the NFC South has gotten better in the offseason, other than the Falcons, whose only addition was replacing Michael Turner with 31-year-old Steven Jackson. Jackson will be an upgrade, but will Atlanta’s run blocking improve? We’ll find out Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
I can’t wait to see Robert Griffin III play Monday night, if only so people will stop talking about his knee. The Redskins are another team I think will take a step back in 2013. Their secondary is a mess, and the future of the franchise will rely upon the work of Dr. Andrews. Will also get a chance to see how Chip Kelley’s offense translates over to the NFL. (Note: if you have Lesean McCoy or Bryce Brown in your fantasy league, you’ll be getting a lot of points of your running backs this season). This matchup will determine who the bottom dwellers will be in the NFC East.