The NFL regular season is fast approaching as the preseason thankfully will soon be over. As such, its time for the NFL 2013 Preview because the season looks like it will be one of the most competitive in history.
The 2013 NFL season will see several new coaches bring new philosophies to their teams while the league tries to adjust to the new “pistol” offense that became popular in both San Francisco and Seattle. Coach Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles is bringing his fast break offense from the college ranks to the NFL and if its anything like the Buffalo Bills’ fast break offense during the Jim Kelly years the Eagles will become the team to watch.
The NFC is going to be an incredibly competitive division this year because of the varying styles of philosophy. The majority of the teams are making sure that they can pass the ball very effectively but several teams have been also turning back to a semblance of old-time football as they are looking to shorten the game and run the ball and be very physical.
There is no true favorite in the NFC East as all four of the teams in this division can beat the other on any given day. The NFC East might as well be called the All Drama division because you have the media circus with the Dallas Cowboys and the injury concerns in Washington with Robert Griffin III. This division also has the defensive woes of the New York Giants and a Philadelphia Eagle team with new head coach in Chip Kelly.
The NFC South welcomes back Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints into the head coaching seat after his year long suspension and he has the pleasure of taking on an Atlanta Falcons team that has their focus set on getting to the Super Bowl after coming one game short. This division also has a Tampa Bay team that has significantly upgraded its defense and a rejuvenated New Orleans team.
The NFC North is a division where three marquee quarterbacks will try to lead their teams to success but it will be difficult if they don’t receive support from their defense. The Chicago Bears have a new coach who will try to improve the offense while hoping that the defense can return to its dominant form. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers have exceptional quarterback play and offensive production but in 2012 received horrendous defensive play. Will this situation improve in 2013? The Minnesota Vikings have the most questions at quarterback but the best running back and they seem to be unwilling to follow the pass happy trend of the league. It will be very interesting to see if they are successful because teams will have to adapt to the fact that this is one of the few teams that will be a run dominant team.
No one can legitimately pick a dominant team in the NFC but don’t be surprised if the injuries to the San Francisco wideout corps undermine their offense and leave them out of the playoff picture.
American Football Conference
The AFC East looks unsettled for the first time in many years because of the personnel losses that the New England Patriots have suffered this past offseason. However, because of the questions at quarterback position for the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets the Patriots still should be looked at as the favorite in this division.
The AFC North looks like its experiencing a change back to the 1980s when Cincinnati was considered a difficult team to play. The reigning NFL Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens will be the favorites to win the division but the Bengals made the playoffs last year and have the potential to be serious contenders this season. Cleveland has undergone a coaching change and they are have concerns at quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers have unfortunately become old on defense and are no longer viewed as an intimidating defense.
The AFC South is dominated by the Houston Texans. This is a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations but that has been the situation for the past two years. In many respects its a make or break year for coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Matt Schaub. The Tennessee Titans, the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars all are improving teams but are not considered true threats for the playoffs because of their youth and questions on both sides of the ball.
The AFC West is without question considered the weakest division in the AFC and arguably the entire league. The Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning are head and shoulders above their competition. The Oakland Raiders take the field this season with Matt Flynn as their quarterback. He is throwing to an unproven wide receivers and the defense of this team is one of the worst in the league. Kansas City has a new coach in Andy Reid and a new quarterback in Alex Smith and questions about their defense. They will win only if their defensive pass coverage improves significantly. The San Diego Chargers are a one dimensional offense as their running game has been nonexistent since LaDainian Tomlinson left the team. In the NFL if you have no balance your team will have significant problems. Their new coach Mike McCoy has many problems on this team.
There is no one favorite in the AFC this season but do not be surprised if the Denver Broncos, the team that lost in the playoffs last season to the Baltimore Ravens are the 2013-14 AFC Super Bowl representative.
The 2013 NFL season will be one of the best seasons in the NFL as parity rules the league. In most games you will be able to literally throw a coin in the air to pick a potential winner because the talent level in the league is spread equally. The dominant teams will be the ones that are able to stay healthy throughout the season.
The best time of the year is here as the NFL season is almost upon us. Sit back and enjoy one of the best seasons in NFL history.