Immunity to respiratory virus infection is governed by complex biological networks that influence disease progression and pathogenesis. Systems biology provides an opportunity to explore and understand these multifaceted interactions based on integration and modeling of multiple biological parameters. In this review, we describe new and refined systems-based approaches used to model, identify, and validate novel targets within complex networks following influenza and coronavirus infection. In addition, we propose avenues for extension and expansion that can revolutionize our understanding of infectious disease processes. Together, we hope to provide a window into the unique and expansive opportunity presented by systems biology to understand complex disease processes within the context of infectious diseases.