NFL News: Player News and Updates for 9/4/13
2013-09-03 11:00:00 EDT
The official countdown to the start of the 2013 NFL season stands at just one day. The anticipation is high, and as a result there will be plenty to talk about in the hours before the Broncos and Ravens kick off. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ongoing storylines from around the league and see what we can be expecting for the opening week. Here’s the latest.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: Even though he marched through the 2012 playoffs with a near-perfect passing line–not to mention the fact that he’s the reigning Super Bowl MVP–Flacco still has a lot to prove this season. He’s frequently grouped outside the top tier of NFL passers and doesn’t get much credit for his team’s success. He’s also playing under the first year of his $120 million-dollar contract, which sends expectations through the roof.
Even though he’s working with some new faces on offense, Flacco can rest assured in his record. He and coach John Harbaugh are 5-0 in season openers during their tenure together. In that span, Flacco has thitemn seven TDs and two interceptions. Expect a potentially high-scoring affair tomoritem.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams: The NFC West will be a very interesting–and competitive–division this season. They’ll be getting things started with a bang on Sunday, when the Rams host the Cardinals. Bradford faces a tough challenge against Arizona’s stingy pass defense, but he goes into the matchup better equipped this year.
With the one-two punch of Chris Givens and Tavon Austin, Bradford has a pair of reliable receivers on hand, and also gains a safety valve underneath in the form of ex-Titan Jared Cook. His 10.2 yards per attempt during the preseason should give Rams fans some hope that they can contend in one of the best overall divisions in football.
Giants Explore RB Options: Yesterday, the Giants worked out a pair of recently-released running backs in an effort to bolster their own ranks. Ex-Cardinal Beanie Wells and Ex-Steeler Jonathan Dwyer showed off their stuff, each trying to get a position with the Giants taking over the backup job from the injured Andre Bitemn. Both players have been around a while, and should be able to fit right in if picked up.
Meanwhile, Bitemn was originally expected to miss 4-6 weeks with his fractured leg, but was placed on short-term IR by the team. That means he’s not eligible to return until after Week 8, but since the Giants are on a bye in Week 9, he’ll see his first action the following game.
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Romo-Manning Duel: Speaking of the Giants, their Week 1 matchup could end up having some big implications down the road within their division. They’re set to face the Cowboys, and Tony Romo is looking to make an early statement after a mediocre season in 2012. He was productive but mistake-prone in their two meetings with the Giants last year, tallying 744 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.
As for Eli Manning, he wasn’t able to make much of an impact on the stat sheet against Dallas last year, with a combined 36-of 62 line, 405 yards, one TD and one pick in the two games. That said, Manning is usually a hot starter statistically over his first handful of games, so we could se some big numbers on both sides of this one.
Manuel to Start: According to a report that came out yesterday, the Bills are ready to deem rookie QB E.J. Manuel healthy and ready to go as the team’s starter for Week 1 against the Patriots. We should hear an official announcement from the team today. Manuel has been recovering from minor knee surgery since August 18, and since then the Bills haven’t had much luck in the QB department, having to rely on undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in the interim. They’ll face a tough task out of the gate, as the Patriots always manage to put up points.
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