It’s official, the first week of the NFL season has already come and left us. For those of you who were so moved by your team’s performance in Week One and have an eager sense of optimism, just remember there’s 16 weeks until the playoffs start. But no reason to rush past America’s favorite sports season, instead lets break it down as I go over what did and did not impress me in the opening week.
NEW YORK TEAMS FIRST…
Cowboys @ Giants – Good Tony (Romo) showed up at MetLife stadium for the NFL’s primetime opener, spoiling the Giants Superbowl ceremony.
Did you know since the NFL started having the Superbowl winners open up the NFL season, the Giants are the first team to lose on the opening night? Previous Superbowl winners were 8-0.
More impressive than Tony Romo for me in this game were the Cowboys new and improved cornerbacks. (Brandon Carr & Morris Claiborne) Jerry Jones did a lot to move up in the draft to get Claiborne and so far it looks like the move will pay off.
On the Giants end, Victor Cruz looked like an undrafted free agent out of UMass with three drops in the game. Cruz has a history of drops, but more importantly he has a history of making incredible plays that make everyone forget about the rest. I’m confident it won’t be long before we see those plays again.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WEEK TWO: The Giants host the 1-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs held the Panthers to only 10 yards rushing this week under new head coach Greg Schiano. The Giants must find a way to break apart this tough Bucs defense or they will be 0-2. I expect Eli Manning to have a big game.
The Dallas Cowboys go on the road to Seattle. The Seahawks (0-1) were given a chance to win by the replacement refs, (The refs only big blunder all week) but justice was served as Russell Wilson’s pass went through the hands of Braylon Edwards. Seattle is not an easy place to win, but if the Cowboys look as stout as they did against the Giants this week, it’s very possible.
Bills @ Jets – Not many people were giving the Jets a chance going into this game. Their offense looked dismal in the preseason with the starting unit not scoring a single touchdown. The only hope the Jets were supposed to have was that their defense could hold Buffalo enough to capture a 16-13 win, but Bills fans weren’t worried because they have Stevie Johnson at wide receiver and he (I’m quoting Bills fans here) “owns Revis” the Jets All-Pro cornerback because he was the only receiver to have a touchdown catch against Revis last season.
Buffalo was coming in with their highest expectations in years because they have a new and improved defense by adding Mario Williams to bolster that pass rush. Williams signed a contract for $100 million in the off-season with Buffalo. By time the game ended Bills fans had to be having visions of Albert Haynesworth when he signed a fat contract with Washington years back and was a bust. Williams was a non-factor the entire game only recording one tackle. I’m not going to say this is foreshadowing his Buffalo career, but he certainly seemed like he checked out of this game early and that cannot happen against Kansas City in week two.
The Jets flourished in all aspects of the game. Their offense was moving, the defense was electric, and Tim Tebow excelled as a punt protector. (okay that last part was a joke) This may have been Sanchez’s best game as a member of the Jets. He connected with all of his targets including the raw rookie Stephen Hill on two touchdown passes.
The defense looked like it was out to prove a point. They looked fast and they hit hard. New Jets safety LaRon Landry “the incredible bulk” hit Bills running back Fred Jackson so hard that he’ll miss the next 2-4 weeks, which may be a blessing for the Bills because backup running back C.J. Spiller came in and ran all over the Jets, although the score was already 21-0 when he entered and the Jets played a very vanilla defense in the fourth quarter, but nonetheless he filled up the stat sheet.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WEEK TWO: It’s funny how stats work. The Jets set records in the preseason for having such a bad offense and after week one of the regular season they have the best offense in the NFL. Lets hope they didn’t rack up all their points in week one because they have the Steelers in week two. Though the Steelers defense is aging it’s still tough to win in Heinz Field. The Steelers lost to Peyton Manning and the Broncos Sunday night, they’ll be playing hard and hoping not to fall to 0-2. The Jets have been called a circus all season, if they want respect they have to beat the Steelers on the road.
As for the Bills they are home hosting Kansas City. I’m not as high on Kansas City as most people are, especially since they gave up 40 points to the Falcons in their home opener. It will be an interesting matchup as both teams will be playing with something to prove.
Eagles @ Browns – This game was a near disaster for the Eagles. This should’ve been a walk in the park for the Eagles but instead the two teams combined to throw eight interceptions. Four of those coming from Michael Vick who declared this team a “dynasty” before they’ve ever won a Superbowl. The Eagles are certainly a talented team, but when will they get it together? They’re lucky they were playing a team who will be competing for a top three draft pick next season or they’d already be 0-1 before facing the Ravens in a very tough home opener. If Vick throws four picks against the Ravens he will find his team trailing by double digits before halftime.
Redskins @ Saints – I don’t think anyone would’ve expected Robert Griffin the third to go into the Super Dome and beat the Saints. Is he just that good or is it beginners lucky? To beat the Saints especially in the dome you need to play a near perfect game and that’s what the NFL saw from Griffin in his NFL debut. The Saints fans even gave him a standing ovation after the game. It was a great move by the Saints fans, and it was great for the NFL.
49ers @ Packers – I called this one correctly when I said the Niners would take this one on the road. The Niners are stacked in all sides of the ball. Alex Smith looked good again and the defense looked incredible. It may not be too early to say the Niners are the team to beat in the NFC, but they certainly looked like they could be, especially if Alex Smith continues to grow as a quarterback. They host the Lions on Sunday night football in week two. The great offense verse the great defense should be fun to watch.
Peyton Manning looked like he didn’t lose a step against the Steelers this week. Vintage Peyton. Playing for the Broncos and finally having a defense behind him can make the Broncos a very dangerous team. Not many quarterbacks can sit on the bench for 56 minutes and come in and score a touchdown in 36 seconds. He is just that good, and it was a gift to a fan of the NFL to see him back.