NFL Week 1 is in the books and what a week it was. Before we move any further I want to state that people overreact more in Week 1 than at any point in the NFL season. Everyone wants to crown a team with a good showing as a playoff contender and write off those that lose a game by 3 points. So be careful, just because a team has a big win in Week 1 does not mean they will hold up.
I went an average 8-8 last week, which is satisfying for now. Week 1 is a feeling out process and business will pick up a bit more heading into Week 2 but first, this is what we learned in Week 1.
The Cowboys are for real (for now). Yes, I picked them to win the NFC East but I did not expect them to physically manhandle the Giants defense up and down the field. Romo’s passes to Ogletree were a thing of beauty. That said, beware the Romo Coaster. Dallas has the tendency to blow you away one week then poop the bed the next. Until we see the same consistency week in and week out, be wary of picking them.
Atlanta manhandled the Chiefs but do not get too excited. The Chiefs were missing their top defensive back allowing Ryan to tee off on the weakened secondary, and their top linebacker, which took away an effective pass rush. We still do not know what we have in Atlanta. Wait until after the Broncos game to start making bold predictions about the Dirty Bird’s success.
If you are a fan of bad Quarterback play, look no further than Cleveland. When your starting quarterback is tackled by a giant American flag during warm ups, that should be taken as a strong omen.
On the other side of the coin, Michael Vick was absolutely awful as well. The Eagles played with no heart and a lot of luck. Had Cleveland’s defense been ¾ competent instead of only ½ competent, the Eagles would be 0-1.
Alert: The Redskins have a competent quarterback. Watching RGIII play Sunday was unbelievable. Everything that could go right for him did. Imagine what the score would have been had Garcon not gone out following the 80 yard touchdown run. Having said that, do not set expectations too high. The Redskins offense is tailor-made for RGIII and is based off the Baylor playbook. RGIII took most of his snaps in the shotgun and pistol formations. It will work well for the first half of the season but as defenses get game tape to study and prepare for it, production will taper off. RGIII is the real deal but I think he will struggle towards the end of the season. However, if he does not struggle, the Redskins make the playoffs. Now having said that I am going to go wave a dead chicken across my left leg to undo the jinx I inevitably placed on my beloved team.
Detroit is lucky to have escaped the Goats at home. Say what you will but the Rams put up a fight on the road I did not know they had in them. They will not be a playoff contender but the Rams have the ability to be part of some upset specials later in the year.
Tennessee did the best they could at the most balanced offensive attack the Patriots have fielded in years. The last few seasons everyone knew the Pats would throw the ball on 90% of its offensive plays. In Week 1, they unleashed a decent running game to open up the passing game. The Pats are going to be even more dangerous than in years past. Another trip to the Super Bowl is not out of the question.
Miami’s quarterback play was almost as awful as Cleveland’s was. Does anyone know what the over/under is on Matt Moore coming in by Week 5 followed by a Donovan McNabb or Jake Delhomme signing to come in and “compete”.
The Jets-Bills game left me with more questions than answers. I am still not convinced the Jets are very good. Buffalo played worse than I thought possible and it harkened back to the end of the 2011 season where they performed disastrously on a regular basis. The Jets made the most of several Bills’ mistakes that helped them pick up the victory. You have to wonder if Mario Williams is happy he took that big money deal with the Bills.
Minnesota is lucky to have escaped with a win. Their defense is extremely soft and needs help if they are going to survive in the NFC North with the Packers, Lions, and Bears.
Chicago’s Cutler started slow going 1-12 in passing, but followed it up with a high-powered air attack that was unusually accurate for him. If the Bears’ defense holds up, they have the ability to win the division.
Carolina lost that game to Tampa Bay and has a poor game plan to blame it on. What they were trying to do passing the ball against one of the league’s worst rushing defense teams is beyond me. Why would you be throwing the ball 90% of the game when last year your rushing attack was one of the highlights is pure stupidity and arrogance on the coach’s part. If Carolina keeps their current offensive scheme, they are doomed for the cellar.
Arizona should not have won Sunday. They were handed the win because two Seattle receivers dropped the game-winning touchdown on the final drive.
The Green Bay – San Francisco game was by far the most surprising. The Packers were dominated on both sides of the ball for the majority of the game. The 49ers defense looks better than last year and their ground game has improved even more. The Pack’s defense was also lousy and their lack of running game left them no options to counteract a strong 49er secondary. If the Packers want to make the playoffs, they need to find a running game. Last year the defense played from ahead, this year it looks like they will play from behind and are not built for it.
The Broncos were nearly flawless Sunday night. They started slow but once the offense shifted into the signature Manning no-huddle, business picked up. Manning looked like the Manning of old zipping passes, audibling at the line, and grimacing on the sideline. If he stays healthy, the Broncos can go deep in the playoffs.
The Steelers on the other hand looked old. The window is closing on that defense and it is going to be time to rebuild soon enough.
Baltimore was flawless Monday night. Flacco threw well, Ray Rice ran well, the receivers did not drop passes, and the defense led by old Ed Reed and Ray Lewis looked phenomenal.
Thankfully, the Bungles lived up to expectations….overrated.
Let me spell this out. Oakland lost on Monday night. In true Norv Turner fashion, he won a game the Raiders lost because of an injury to their long snapper. The “back up” long snapper made three bonehead plays that results in perfect field position for the Chargers leading to points each time. Had that not happened, Raiders walk away winners. Only in a Norv game could the Chargers win off something so bizarre happening.
Now that we have explored Week 1, let us move into Week 2 predictions.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
This is a tough one to pick. Green Bay lost handily to the 49ers at home and the Bears come off a crushing home victory against the Bungles. Who do you take, the Packers and their anemic running game and defense, or a Bears team led by Cutler who went 1 – 12 before settling down in the second quarter? I have a hard time believing the Packers can go 0 – 2 but that is what I am going to predict. The Bears take down the Pack at Lambeau and cause mass hysteria on ESPN as all the talking heads start talking about how the Packers are “done”.
Winner: Chicago Bears by 3.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills
Here is another tough cookie. The Chiefs are missing some key players on defense but Buffalo looked horrendous against the Jets. I will punt.
Winner: Buffalo Bills by 3.
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Browns quarterback situation is laughable after The Weed’s Week 1 performance. Even the Bungles can’t mess this up…right?
Winner: Cincinnati by 7.
Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts
Whom are you supposed to pick here? Do you take the weak Colts defense or the weak Vikings defense? Do you have more faith in Christian Ponder or Andrew Luck? Ugh.
Winner: Minnesota by an ugly 1 point.
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
After Monday’s embarrassment, many people have been picking the Dolphins as an upset. Here is the problem with that: Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins will ride Tannehill into Week 5 before he is benched in favor of Matt Moore who will go down with a freak injury leading to a wacky free agent signing. The Raiders did enough on Monday to show they can compete on the road against a weak team.
Winner: Oakland Raiders by 3.
Arizona Cardinals @ New England Patriots
Who wrote the Pats schedule this year? How lucky can you get?
Winner: New England Patriots by 14.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants
The Bucs won Sunday but don’t read much into it. They still have a long way to go. The Super Bowl champs reclaim some mojo after an embarrassing loss on national television.
Winner: New York Giants by 7.
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick’s play alone should give you ease making this pick. He will look better after the Eagles go 1 – 5 to start the year.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens by 10.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
After the poor coaching job the Panthers dropped last week, I am hesitant to pick them. Picking them to win the NFC South may have been overreaching after that pitiful performance. They can turn it around but they have to game plan better.
Winner: New Orleans Saints by 3.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Matty S. tees off on Jacksonville.
Winner: Houston Texans by 14.
Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams
Even with all the upheaval, beating New Orleans in the Superdome is an accomplishment to hang your hat on. I hope that the ‘skins do not suffer a letdown game in Week 2.
Winner: Washington Redskins by 7.
Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks
Until the Romo coaster starts sliding down, it is probably safer to bet on the Cowboys.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys by 3.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I am at a loss for this game. I think the Jets looked better than they are and Pittsburgh disappointed on the national stage. Rarely do the Steelers suffer back-to-back losses so here we go.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers by 3.
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers
Isn’t it just like Norv to go 2-0 to start the year. *frustrated growl*
Winner: San Diego Chargers by 3.
Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers
The Lions nearly lost to the Goats at home and the 49ers killed the Packers in Green Bay. Fairly easy pick here.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers by 10.
Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons
I have flipped flopped on whom to pick since Sunday night. Do I take the Dirty Birds at home or the tough Broncos on the road? I am going to go with the Broncos and here is why. Manning his entire career at Indy played with an average and undersized defense. With a lackluster defense, he played in two Super Bowls and came out the victor in his first attempt. The Broncos defense is much better than the Colts ever have been and with the fastest receiver in football on his side (Thomas) I cannot pick against them unless it’s a game against the Ravens or Patriots at this time.
Winner: Denver Broncos by 6.