There’s Labor Day—Then There’s NFL Kickoff Weekend (By: @BWMahoney213)
For most guys, this is the most preferred weekend of September. The 2013 NFL Season opened up in a high-powered matchup of the reigning (and now Ray Lewis-less) Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos to face QB Peyton Manning and his brigade of offensive weapons for 7, yes, 7 TD passes in a 49-27 trouncing over Baltimore.
Another game that stirred plenty of buzz (and if they clash again in the NFC playoffs, look out!) was the San Francisco 49ers against the Green Bay Packers. QB Colin Kaepernick has more gonads than tattoos when rushing down the field with LB Clay Matthews in the trenches. One play in particular had Matthews leap off of his feet and shove the running Kaepernick further down toward the sideline, out of bounds. That’s when pushing and shoving ensued. Matthews earlier in the week made some comments about defending the Pro Option Offense and attacking the quarterback at every length, which would likely be a lit match to the intensity of that sideline scuffle. The 49ers ended up winning the game on their home turf, 34-28.
America’s other prominent NFC matchup featured the Sunday night stage of the Dallas Cowboys hosting the New York Giants. Tony Romo, a recent recipient of a new contract extension, had the last laugh in a comical performance by both teams in a 36-31 Cowboys victory. Eli Manning was not in championship form (aside from 450 yards of passing) as he threw 3 costly interceptions.
Bounty in New Orleans? Not any longer as Saints head coach Sean Payton served his 1 year suspension and returned to the Big Easy with a victory that was nothing but difficult against a potent Atlanta Falcons team. With additions to both the New Orleans defense (defensive coordinator Rob Ryan) and the Atlanta offense (Pro Bowl RB Steven Jackson), sparks were flying down to the wire with a last minute Falcons’ drive that failed on 4th down throw from Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez in the endzone. Saints’ CB Roman Harper picked it off (his second turnover of the day) to seal the deal for an uplifting Saints’ win.
Monday Night games include the Washington Redskins hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in D.C. This game features Robert Griffin III’s highly anticipated return from his ACL injury he suffered last January during the NFC playoffs. Meanwhile, the Eagles pave the way to a new era as Andy Reid will not be standing on the Eagles’ sideline for the first time in 15 years. It’s the first official game of the Chip Kelly era and every ravenous Eagles fan wants to know what he will do differently. The second game on tap to the Monday Night opener features the Houston Texans against the San Diego Chargers.