Week One Observations!
New Orleans 14, Minnesota 9
This was a great opener. The Saints moved the ball a lot better than their 14 points would indicate, but outside of the second quarter they did a very solid job of using short passes to control the clock and keep the Vikings offense on the bench. When the Vikings Were on offense it was rather hilarious listening to Collinsworth and Michaels say things about the "rusty offense" of the Vikings without coming and saying "maybe they'd look more crisp if their QB hadn't spent the summer on that f*%king tractor." Good to see the Great Viking Collapse of 2010 has started. GEAUX SAINTS!
Tennessee 38, Oakland 13
I'm really not surprised that Raiders fans thought they'd be a playoff team this year. Much like Bears fans they've been so preoccupied with the belief that quarterback was the only glaring hole on a team that had so many of them. Once they got Jason Campbell (known in some circles as the Black Kyle Orton) to "manage" the games that JaMarcus used to blow with regularity they (and sadly many legitimate media members) believed they'd be back to respectability. Well, ha. Tennessee certainly picked up where they left off, and Vince Young has finally found his niche as a game manager himself, with the Titans keeping his throws limited and manageable and Chris Johnson ripping up the world to keep the chains moving.
NY Giants 31, Carolina 18
Carolina has an inexperienced quarterback (backed up by a rookie), no proven wideouts behind Steve Smith, a weak defensive line, and a porous secondary. Naturally Peter King chose them as his darkhorse team in the NFC. They have all the makings of a team that will finally get John Fox fired. The Giants defense certainly looked better than they did during their late season collapse last year, but it remains to be seen whether they had more to do with Matt Moore not being all that good or them forcing him into not looking all that good.
Houston 34, Indy 24
I'd like to act like the only bastard that predicted this one, but many others did as well. And they put it in print. But that doesn't matter, so I'm the only one who called this. Bow to my genius. This will finally be the year that franchise breaks through. I don't think this is the start of an inevitable Colts decline into oblivion, but they're certainly not going to be the automatic 12+ win team of old.
Jacksonville 24, Denver 17
Giggity. Oh how I enjoy your failures, Josh McDaniels. Also, this year the inevitable Kyle Orton-Jay Cutler Record Comparison has been delayed for at least a week, which is nice. Jacksonville's probably still not good enough to head back to the playoffs and save Del Rio's job.
Pittsburgh 15, Atlanta 9
Pittsburgh's defense is undeniably good, but I'm still a bit concerned with the disappearance of the Falcons offense. Matt Ryan's inconsistent performance since week five of last season is a bit puzzling. It's hard to say he's going through some kind of Mirer (or should I say Sanchez) like straight-regression, but he's certainly appeared to hit a wall in his development. He's gone from "The Next Tom Brady" to a Neil O'Donell-esque mediocrity over his last 10-11 games. Dennis Dixon looked not-awful, so perhaps the curse that my colleague Iggins! placed on him when he was single-handedly destroying Heisman campaigns with his endorsement in 2007 has finally been lifted.*
Miami 15, Buffalo 10
Buffalo really, really blows. But I don't get why some people are so high on Miami. I can't really believe anyone's that impressed with Chad Henne. Also, Trent Edwards: 34 attempts, 139 yards. My God, that man makes Shane Matthews look like Daryle Lamonica.
New England 38, Cincinnati 24
This was one of the more misleading games of the weekend. Cincy actually had the edge in total yards, time of possession, and first downs, but committed a few costly turnovers and allowed return TDs on an interception and a kick off. I know we all hoped for the demise of the Patriots, but you knew it wasn't going to be that easy. They aren't as good as they once were, but the Bengals aren't as bad as this score would indicate. They'll still be tough.
Tampa bay 17, Cleveland 14
I can't even pity Cleveland anymore. When you sign Jake Delhomme after he was statistically the second-worst QB in the league after JaMarcus Russell last year, well, you deserve nothing but scorn and contempt. I'm beginning to form two Major League type scenarios in the NFL. The Bills are starting Trent Edwards and hiring Chan Gailey in order to make their fans hate them enough that they won't protest when they move to Toronto permanently, while Holmgren wants to crash the Browns even further so he can fire Mangini and completely rebuild the team. Take it with the grain of salt that is facing the Browns defense, but Josh Freeman looks like he may end up being the best of the Stafford-Sanchez-Freeman trio, considering Stafford's inability to stay on the field and Sanchez's suckitude.
Seattle 31, San Francisco 6
My god. That was brutal. I didn't think the 49ers had the offense to threaten a deep playoff run, but I too was one of the ones who thought they'd slide into Cardinals vacated throne of One-Eyed Team in the Division of the Blind. Apparently not. At least this should shut up the Bears fans who keep thinking that Mike Singletary's FIAR AND PASHUN would fix all that ails the Bears.
Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 20
I'm a pretty noted critic of Michael Vick's shortcomings as a quarterback and human being, but I will admit that as a back-up quarterback his entry into a game against an unprepared defense is a coordinator's nightmare. If he were to take over the starting job I think he'd regress back to his old ways (which he showcased a few times Sunday even in a pretty good overall performance, notably when he attempted to throw to a double-covered DeSean Jackson in the end zone despite having both two open receivers and room to run for the TD), but he's certainly interesting off the bench. Hopefully Kolb and Vick serve Philly fans a big pile of fail for their ignorant desire to be rid of Donovan McNabb. Since they failed to do the one thing that would have placated me this year (beating the Packers), I will continue to give them a hearty fuck you. On the Green Bay side, Aaron Rodgers looked less murder-ific than he did in his terrifying preseason and they just lost Ryan Grant for the season, so maybe I can hold on to hope.
Arizona 17, St. Louis 13
I did not watch this game. I can only assume I should be grateful for that fact. Derek Anderson's 53% completions against the Rams defense comforts me, since it's nice in this chaotic world to have occasional reminders that some things never change, like Derek Anderson being about as accurate as my preseason predictions.
Washington 13, Dallas 7
I don't think either of these teams are that good. I'm also hoping Marc Colombo is still far, far too injured to prevent a Julius Peppers-Alex Barron match up on Sunday.
Baltimore 10, New York Jets 9
I'm going to come out right here and say that I've hated Mark Sanchez since before the draft last year. His arm is average at best, his accuracy less so, and he's nothing more than another overrated robot from the USC QB factory. I was all set this year to write a nice statistic comparison between him and Rick Mirer (both started hot their rookie years, both regressed from the second defenses adjusted to them) when NFL.com somehow beat me to it. However, they can't beat me to the nickname of Rico Mirerez, which shall now replace all mentions of Mark Sanchez on this website (except for that explanatory mention of Rico Mirerez). So yeah, I feel pretty confident that Mirerez will keep the Jets from coming close to matching their bold preseason predictions.
Oh, and the Ravens are pretty good.
Kansas City 21, San Diego 14
The Chiefs defense is much improved. This is true. They also have some nice playmakers in Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster. However, they aren't that good. Matt Cassel is still a very mediocre QB and the offensive line still isn't that good. 8 wins would be a remarkable accomplishment. As for the Chargers? Well, they certainly missed Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill, but that doesn't explain the multiple incidences of f*&ktardery that led to some pretty hilarious Philip Rivers meltdowns. Also, as you'd know if you were following the SKO twitter, I wondered last night what the media reaction would be if Cutler threw a hissyfit and kicked the ball twice like Rivers did while red-assing his own teammates. I'm betting the Sun Times would feature the headline TEAM CANCER while Rick Morrissey pinned the article on the wall above his bed in order to read it while making love to his wife. Florio would end up with blisters from furiously typing seven or eight hundred diatribes against him, considering that asswipe posted this right before Cutler served him a fresh plate of crow with his 372 yard, 108 rating performance. Anyway, my point is that Philip Rivers is a dickhead and I laugh that he lost. Damn, the NFC and AFC West are two very, very bad divisions.
*- Seriously, he was like a soul reaper in 2007. He endorsed Matt Ryan for Heisman the week that Florida State ended their undefeated season, he touted Dennis Dixon mere Days before he shredded his knee, his preseason Brian Brohm prediction has never recovered....truly his tainted soul brings nothing but doom.