The 2012-13 NFL season introduced a class of hybrid quarterbacks meshing pocket-passing with blistering speed. Five of the twelve previous seasons’ championship contenders were led by a new prototype quarterback [ i.e. Washington, Seattle, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Green Bay]. These high-octane offenses proved to stimulate crowds and stymie defenses. The 2013-14 season seems to suggest a similar trend.
Led by Oregon aficionado Chip Kelly, the offense of the Philadelphia Eagles has produced a daunting offensive style akin to many current college football programs. The fast-paced, no huddle system has been proven to fluster defensive coordinators. This system, in concert with a quality quarterback, enables running backs and wide receivers full reign up and down the field. LeSean McCoy (RB) and DeSean Jackson (WR) each lead the league for their respective positions for total yards gained. Their statistics prove the effectiveness of this new, high-speed game. Chip Kelly’s revolutionary modus operandi is sure to be mimicked throughout the league, which promises for an exciting future for the NFL.
After the first two weeks of the 2013-14 season, most of the traditional NFC/AFC powerhouses remain in a comfortable position moving forward. There are, however, a few atypical Week 2 standouts. The New York Giants and the Washington Redskins have fallen back in the NFC East Division after starting 0-2. The Pittsburgh Steelers sit at 0-2. After signing a six-year $120.6 million deal, Joe Flacco has led the reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to a 1-1 record, while Peyton Manning continues to blaze a victorious path (2-0) following his first year back from a controversial neck surgery. Peyton’s confidence is reflected in his numbers. In a year brimming with star-studded hybrid quarterbacks, Peyton and the Denver Broncos have clinically dissected the defensive schemes of the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants, two historically defensive teams.
Week 3 begins this Thursday as Head Coach Andy Reid makes his triumphant return to Lincoln Financial Field where he and the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs will try to hand a second straight loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s up to Chip Kelly, Michael Vick, and the Eagles offense to set the pace and strike early against a Chiefs defensive squad that has allowed only 18 points in their first two games.
On Sunday, the only divisional matchup will be happening at 4:25pm when the New York Jets take on the Buffalo Bills. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan will start Geno Smith at quarterback following a preseason riddled with questions surrounding the quarterback battle between Smith and former University of Southern California standout Mark Sanchez. After Week 2, the Buffalo Bills are riding the victory tide following a last second touchdown pass from E.J. Manuel to Stevie Johnson resulting in a 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers. Mario Williams, the former Defensive End #1 Pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, leads the league in sacks with 4.5. Williams may prove to be a nightmare for the historically indecisive New York Jets offense as he continues to inch closer to Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season record of 22.5 sacks set back in 2011.
The only other divisional matchup will take place on Monday Night Football. The Denver Broncos (2-0) will host the Oakland Raiders (1-1. Following an outstanding Week 2 performance against his little brother Eli, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have a good chance to pad their stats once again. The Bleacher Report ranks Denver #1 overall while Oakland sits at #28 after Week 2. Is it too early to cast votes for League MVP? I don’t expect Peyton to play more than two quarters in this game, unless he aims to break records this season.