2013 NFL Week 4 Preview — 5 Intriguing Storylines to Watch
Division races are starting to take shape as the NFL completes the first quarter of its 2013 schedule. Here are five intriguing storylines we’ll be watching this week:
Could Seahawks-Texans Be a Super Bowl Preview?
Reliant Stadium, Houston — 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29
No team has looked better than the Seattle Seahawks (3-0) thus far in the 2013 NFL season. With quarterback Russell Wilson guiding the offense and cornerback Richard Sherman locking down opponents on defense, Pete Carroll’s team has become an early favorite to win the NFC. The Houston Texans (2-1) haven’t been as impressive as Seattle, but any team with a defense anchored by J.J. Watt won’t be manhandled. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see this pairing again at Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey this February; it will just be much colder then than it will be in Houston on Sunday.
Peyton Manning’s Assault on the Record Book Continues
Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High, Denver — 4:25 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29
Just three weeks into the regular season, Denver Broncos (3-0) quarterback Peyton Manning has already accumulated some eye-popping statistics: 1,143 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and zero derp faces. Manning is probably salivating at the thought of facing a flimsy Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) defense that has allowed 323 passing yards and 28.7 points per game thus far. Chip Kelly may regret his high-speed offense against the Broncos—even if the Eagles manage to score, chances are slim they can keep up with Manning and Denver’s trio of game-breaking wide receivers, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.
The Patriots Face Their First Test
Georgia Dome, Atlanta — 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29
New England (3-0) has beaten the Bills, Jets and Buccaneers so far, but all of those teams stink. Despite their subpar record, Atlanta (1-2) is still one of the most talented teams in the NFC. It’s time for them to start proving it on the field, too. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could get his tight end back—no, not that one—as Rob Gronkowski may be healthy enough to play as hard on the field as he does in nightclubs.
A Battle of the Undefeated
Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans — 8:40 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30
Given that both teams finished 2012 with losing records, the New Orleans Saints (3-0) and Miami Dolphins (3-0) weren’t expected to still be perfect three weeks into 2013. Saints quarterback Drew Brees must find a way to beat a solid Dolphins defense. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill hopes to continue to mature against a New Orleans defense that has had a renaissance under coordinator Rob Ryan, whose rotund physique may have helped revive the restaurant industry in the Big Easy, too.
A Battle of the Very Defeated
Wembley Stadium, London — 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29
When the winless Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) face the winless Minnesota Vikings (0-3) at London’s Wembley Stadium, the teams won’t exactly be the best example of American football for British fans’ enjoyment. The way the anemic Steelers offense has struggled to score is rivaled by the manner in which the Vikings defense has been unable to stop opponents. Maybe it’s for best the Brits prefer soccer. At least the fans can enjoy Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson attacking a Pittsburgh defense led by Troy Polamalu.