With the introduction of the National Football League schedule the networks are sifting through the primetime and Sunday games to identify what they consider the best matchups. This year the traditional midweek opener does not have the defending Super Bowl Champion hosting the contest, but rather the Baltimore Ravens meeting the team they knocked off in the Divisional Playoff round last January at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Peyton Manning is also getting attention for an October 20th contest when he leads his Denver Broncos into Lucas Oil Stadium to meet both his old team, the Indianapolis Colts, and the quarterback that has replaced him as the toast of the town, Andrew Luck.
Another Divisional Playoff round rematch is scheduled for the opening weekend when the San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers. These two NFC squads also opened their seasons last year at Lambeau Field in a game won by the visitors.
But, from my perspective, great marquee value games based on outstanding teams with great quarterbacks has little to with what may well prove to be the most important games of 2013. Just as there was no way last Spring I could have called the Tennessee Titans game against the Indianapolis Colts to be the most important regular season game. Or that the postseason matchup between San Francisco and Green Bay would prove to be the most important game of playoffs.
Yet, those two games did emerge as the most important matchups based on being the highest rated regular and postseason contests of the season, and the Titans plus the points and 49ers giving a field goal on the spread did prove successful for bettors. While great matchups and important revenge battles are certainly interesting talk for this time of the year, what games will prove to be the most important and attractive will be determined not by pure talent, but more importantly the motivational factors and value on the point spread that will develop as the 2013 NFL season unfolds.
How teams benefit from the draft, what squads come together with the addition of key personnel and what coaches grab hold of a situation to maximize their squads potential will all play a role in landing two teams in Super Bowl XLVIII next February. The 49ers advanced to last year’s Super Bowl while playing the entire season without suffering an injury on the offensive line, that played a key role in their success and injuries will play an important role again this season.