Found September 06, 2013 on The Sports Headquarters:
Last year saw two phenomenal individual performances from offensive players. Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s NFL record for receiving yards in a season and Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of Eric Dickerson’s elusive mark for rushing yards in a season. In part both of those records came about through the sheer necessity of them being the only weapon on their team but they were impressive feats nonetheless. What will be interesting to see this year, is whether or not those players can back up their efforts in 2013 and it all kicks off with a matchup between the two teams in week 1. After falling just short of the record last year, Peterson has made no secret of his desire to break through the ceiling and become the single season record holder. Combine that with his intention to break Emmitt Smith’s NFL career yardage mark, he will need to reach that 2000 yard plateau at least once more in his career. No player who has gone over that mark has been able to back up their performance which makes it very unlikely for Peterson to do so. Working in his favour this year, is the fact that he remains far and away the Vikings best offensive weapon. After posting two 100 yard games against the Lions last season, Peterson has to be feeling confident about his chances to get this season off to a good start. What will get in his way however is how he recovers from his intensive workload last season. After posting 370 carries last season (including playoffs) and with the mental drain of returning from a gruesome knee injury, Peterson will have needed every minute of the offseason to get ready for this round. While the record mark is most likely going to elude him, Peterson’s phenomenal physical skills mean he will top 1500 yards this year and contend for another NFL MVP award. On the other sideline will be Calvin Johnson, who enjoyed a much more successful season personally as he broke Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season. Unfortunately that historic level of production was borne out of necessity as nobody else on the Lions seemed capable of catching a pass. With an ineffective running game providing little to no support as well, Johnson was targeted over 200 times occasionally carrying the offense himself. All that lead to was a 4-12 record and an empty calendar come January. First and foremost, the Lions will be hoping that their superstar receiver can get healthy after battling a knee injury this preseason. All signs suggest he should be fine by Sunday but when he is on the field, somebody else will need to step up and take the pressure off Johnson. With the return of players like Nate Burleson, Johnson will have some of the stress removed from his shoulders. Johnson will still have his big games from time to time but he will not have to put up 100 yards every week. Look for Johnson to post numbers in the range of 1200-1300 yards and his touchdowns will likely double from last season’s 5 as teams can’t focus solely on him in the red zone.
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