Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week One Recap

Let's take a look back at the Week One games, and some headlines from each.

Pittsburgh Steelers 13, Tennessee Titans 10
Both defenses came out in championship form. Losing Troy Polamalu, even for a few weeks, is devastating for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the league. The Titans offense is not ready for big time defenses.

Atlanta Falcons 19, Miami Dolphins 7
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is a genius: Mike Peterson and Tony Gonzalez in the same off season? As Chad Johnson would say, Child Please. The Dolphins need a good consistent offense if they want to build on last year; Wildcat and gadget plays won't work as well the second year.

Baltimore Ravens 38, Kansas City Chiefs 24
The Chiefs are better than I thought, hanging in with a really good team; imagine them with Cassel actually playing. The Ravens explode on offense while the defense looks average against a lesser opponent? When the D hits their stride, watch out for Baltimore.

Philadelphia Eagles 38, Carolina Panthers 10
Jake Delhomme has run out of time; if he can't play even decent ball against good teams, he's got to go. That offense is too talented to lose because of the QB. The Eagles are for real, as long as McNabb's ribs don't keep him out for long. With that in mind, Vick looms large in Philly.

Denver Broncos 12, Cincinnati Bengals 7
Where was Cincy's offense, with all those great receivers? This was an ugly, sloppy game that neither team deserved to win. The fluke play at the end doesn't change that. Despite all of that, the Bengals' offense found its rhythm at the end of the game and could be solid if they maintain it.

Minnesota Vikings 34, Cleveland Browns 20
Adrian Peterson is one of the great ones, and his 64-yard demolition derby in the fourth quarter proves is. The Vikings didn't need Brett Favre; they can find a cheaper QB to throw short passes to talented playmakers (Percy Harvin, anyone?), and can make smart decisions (which Favre will do less as the season goes on). The only thing the Browns do well is return kicks.

New York Jets 24, Houston Texans 7
Either the Jets defense is that good, or the Texans offense isn't ready to explode yet. Jets fans will finally be able to rejoice in their QB. Houston's defense, their Achilles Heel last year, remains a work in progress.

Indianapolis Colts 14, Jacksonville Jaguars 12
Typical Colts/Jags: low scoring, hard hitting, Colts win. Jacksonville needs a decent passing game to compete, but MJD always gives them a chance (and does the shopping cart!!). I don't trust the Colts defense in a big spot.

New Orleans Saints 45, Detroit Lions 27
Surprise, Matt Stafford plays like a rookie. The kid should be learning from Daunte Culpepper, not getting killed by the Saints. Drew Brees is insanely good, and has laser accuracy on any throw at any level. He's as good as Manning and Brady, and maybe even better. Six TDs to one INT? Please.

Dallas Cowboys 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
The Dallas offense is ready to roll, even without TO. Granted, they played the Bucs, whose offense looked surprisingly crisp, but whose defense is in full rebuilding mode. Receivers won't be that open against better teams. Regardless, there are a lot of sighs of relief being breathed in the Dallas front office.

San Francisco 49ers 20, Arizona Cardinals 16
That Niners defense is really good, and Singletary is the right man to lead them. Old man Kurt Warner can still throw boneheaded interceptions with the best of 'em. Sorry Kurt, but Fitzgerald and Boldin deserve better (sit down, Matt Leinart, I didn't mean you!). San Fran will surprise quite a few people this year.

New York Giants 23, Washington Redskins 17
The Giants' defensive front 7 is in playoff form. The back 4 isn't (and isn't healthy). People can stop chirping about New York's receivers, and start chirping about the short-yardage playcalling. Washington is exactly what they were last year: a good, stout defensive team with no offensive help (call them Johan Santana Moss. Zing!)

Seattle Seahawks 28, St. Louis Rams 0
Why was I so worried about the Rams' defense? It was the lousy offense that laid the egg here. There are too many good players on that side of the ball for this to happen. The D will give up points, especially to improved teams like Seattle, but Jackson, Bulger, and Avery cannot let this happen again. Seattle, meanwhile, looks like the Seahawks of recent years, and should keep Arizona where they belong in this division.

Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 15
There are 2 Brett Favres in the NFC North! What?! Jay Cutler's 4 INT night washes away that preseason of good feelings. Aaron Rodgers is a star, and the Green Bay offense will be very good. The Packers executed the switch to a 3-4 defense incredibly well, while the Bears losing Urlacher for the year almost kills their chances.

New England Patriots 25, Buffalo Bills 24
Okay, I grossly overrated the Patriots and grossly underrated the Bills. Nonetheless, this was classic Buffalo: they play their hearts out against a better team, take them to the mat, and lose because of one play (McLovin's fumble?! Take a knee, dude!). The Pats looked awful until the fourth quarter, and Belichick better keep a close eye on that defense of his.

San Diego Chargers 24, Oakland Raiders 20
As I thought, the Chargers were out of sync for the first half, but pulled it together in the second. I give a world of credit to the Raiders, who apparently know how to play football. Richard Seymour is a huge difference maker, and made the whole defense play with better poise and maturity. Jamarcus Russell still can't throw to WRs. Louis Murphy looked like a first round pick, while Darius Heyward-Bay looked like the invisible man.

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