5 Biggest Surprises So Far in 2013 NFL Season
5 Biggest Surprises so Far in 2013 Season
Every year, fans and analysts alike try to predict results from the upcoming NFL season. This usually takes into account historical results where traditional contenders are expected to compete once again. Players have a reputation for performing every year so when their collective team fails to show up, there is great surprise.
From that perspective, certain franchises each season disappoint despite high expectations. Such an example would be the 2010 Minnesota Vikings. Prior to Week 1, defensive end Jarred Allen and company went down to Mississippi and retrieved quarterback Brett Favre for one more season. Of course 2009 saw them have a borderline-magical run to the NFC Championship Game. Many fans expected Minnesota to make another run that second year. Other circumstances doomed them such as No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice announcing he would undergo hip surgery just a day before opening kickoff. Favre’s offensive line also failed to protect him and all of those hits he took over 20 years finally took their toll. A 6-10 finish still stunned fans.
Several disappointments have marked this season as four teams remain without a victory. I don’t really view the Jacksonville Jaguars as one of these shocking developments though. Blaine Gabbert has proven that he simply is not the answer at quarterback. Maurice Jones-Drew appears a step slower and defensively things are just sad. These other three teams are somewhat of a surprise as far as how bad they have performed. One quarterback, of course, has stood out above the rest. Here are five of 2013’s most surprising occurrences so far.
5. Peyton Manning’s Start
Just to be clear, I am not surprised that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is still fantastic despite being 37 years old. What deserves some consideration though is the numbers. For throwing as often as he does each game, he has yet to be picked off. This pace will likely decrease, but Manning remains on track to register 64 passing touchdowns this season. Again, that probably won’t happen, but it is amazing just how great this performance has been. With all of the dynamic receivers in Eric Decker, Damarius Thomas and Wes Welker, this offense will continue to electrify. p>
4. Pittsburgh Steelers Start 0-4
This defense lost a lot last year, especially in linebacker James Harrison’s leadership. Receiver Mike Wallace’s departure also damaged the Pittsburgh Steelers. There were expectations that they would fall off. However, starting with a record of 0-4 and losing to quarterback Matt Cassel and the Vikings, represented a new low. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger still represents a strong starter so it is stunning that they are this bad.
3. The Undefeated Kansas City Chiefs
There was a tremendous upgrade in head coach Andy Reid. He of course brought the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championship games. His sound coaching and easy-going personality are exactly what his Kansas City Chiefs franchise needed. I thought that while Alex Smith brings a safe approach, it would be difficult to win too many games with him. While they still need to show they are contenders by beating Denver at some point, this is a respectable team. Weapons like Jamal Charles, Dexter McCluster and obviously Dewayne Bowe create a lot of excitement.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Failures
Quarterback Josh Freeman was considered shaky coming into this season. Just how much he struggled should be considered shocking. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also invested a lot in Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis to upgrade their secondary. A soap-opera atmosphere involving now former quarterback Josh Freeman certainty didn't help matters.
1. New York Giants Still Search for Victory
In his 10th season, Eli Manning has taken a bad turn statistically. It is not all his fault as the New York Giants’ offensive line has been horrible. Defensive prowess that became a staple of those Super Bowl team is missing. There seems to be no pass rush and the Giants will likely struggle.