Week 1 Review Part 1
A crazy week in the NFL. We have a QB throwing 7 touchdowns, a star Running-Back rushing 78 yards for a TD in his first play and a ridiculous amount of penalties….seriously insane.
Baltimore Ravens 27 Denver Broncos 49
Unbelievable game to open the season, just a shame the Superbowl Champs didn’t get to open up at home thanks to the Orioles. A couple of points about this game. Harbaugh should have thrown that challenge flag, that was a game changer. We can’t not talk about Mannings performance, which was nothing short of Herculean. You will probably not see a 7 Touchdown game for a long while. Manning managed to lead his team to a clear victory, even despite some stupid play by his team. Trevathan intercepted the ball ran the field and then at the one yard line dropped the ball. Giving the ball back to the Ravens who promptly scored. This coupled with a Welker drop would have spelt trouble for most teams. But Peyton is too special a player to let this stop him.
Some less obvious points. This Broncos Defence is still awesome, even without Dumervil (Now a Raven), Miller (suspended) and Bailey (injured). The Broncos run game however is a little worrying. The Running Back “committee”, ran for less than 67 yards. The Ravens….The Ravens really need some weapons on Offence. They cannot be relying on Stokley and Clark who are just awful. I still think the Ravens will be challengers, but it might take some time to find their rhythm. Also the difference Michael Oher makes is scary, they need him back, soon as possible. The Broncos look like the most complete team in that division and probably are.
Cincinnati Bengals 21 Chicago Bears 24
I would imagine I will be saying this a lot, but this was a great game. Cincinnati took control of the first 3 quarters, with the Bears pushing hard in the 4th to snatch the win. I think the first point to make is the Bears look for real. That O-line looks incredible. Cutler didn’t hit the ground once and the likes of Long and Bushrod, really manhandled a very good Defensive line. Cutler took some time to find his feet, but when he did he looked poised, in control and spread the ball around to a variety of Receivers. The Defence looked strong and Tillman looks set for another Pro-Bowl year.
For the Bengals, it is safe to say AJ Green is a truly great player. He made some unreal catches against Tillman and could even be pushing for top Receiver in the league rankings. The Bengals might have the Tight End position covered. Gresham is a monster and the Rookie Eifert looks pretty special, in fact this Offence is awesome, they have Green, Eifert, Sanu, Gresham, Green-Ellis and the Rookie Running Back Bernard, who looks mobile yet strong, very similar to Forte. The Defence looks stout, but in this game, they lost to the word of the day ‘penalties’. At the end of the first half Dre Kirkpatrick, pushed a player whilst out-of-bounds leading to a penalty that put the Bears in field goal range. This game was lost by 3 pts.
All in all both teams look great this season and both could be the best in their division, but I think it’ll take the Bears a little time to get used to the new systems.
New England Patriots 23 Buffalo Bills 21
I think it is fair to say, this game didn’t go as we expected. For the Patriots I think it is fair to say Amendola was the stand out player, who showed his toughness and came back after leaving the game with a groin strain. Edelman and Vereen also had good games and both were good for Yards after the catch. But there are some legitimate concerns in this team. Ridley continued as he left off in the Pre-season and coughed up the ball. My main concern with this team was a lack of accuracy from Brady, a lot of the drops from some of his team were inaccurate throws. Was this his fault or can his rookie Receivers not run the correct route? I guess we’ll see in future games, but hearing that Vereen is going to be out for a bit will force them into the game a bit more. When it comes down to it the team won and they will get better. Whilst this game does make my Pats for the Superbowl prediction look a tad foolish, I’m not massively concerned, especially with Gronk coming back.
The Bills look good and when I redo my power rankings, they will be moving up. The Pats made a serious effort to concentrate on the run game, which gave Manuel a chance to sling the ball around for a bit. Jackson and Johnson both had good games, but I think everyone is ignoring an obvious point. This Defence is really good. The front 7 get decent pressure, but the difference makers seem to be the secondary, which avid readers will know was an area of concern for me. Searcy in particular was a stand out player. A player who was put in to replace star free safety Jairus Byrd and performed outstandingly. The performance of this Defence meant that the Offence was regularly facing short yardage and taking the pressure off Manuel. Great game for the Bills and against any other team they might have gotten a W.
Seattle Seahawks 12 Carolina Panthers 7
Seattle fans worried about how close this game was, should relax a little. The Seahawks looked great. On Offence it seemed to take a while for them to get going. Looking at the opening Seahawks drive, it was clear they were struggling against a decent Panthers Defence. Wilson did a very good job of narrowly avoiding a safety by getting the ball out. The run game never seemed to get going, which is a slight worry for this team that has some money in the backfield in Lynch and Turbin. Eventually Wilson found his feet or in this case arm and got some rhythm to lead the Seahawks to a win. When the dust settled, Wilson had a decent game, in my opinion added by him choosing to use his arm rather than his legs, against a team that allowed very few running plays. Despite looking a little out of sorts (the supposed best secondary in the league?), the Defence deserved some credit for keeping the score low. I have a feeling this will be an anomaly for this team and we see some fireworks on Offence, but it is good to know that the Seahawks have a Defence and a QB that can take control of the game. One final point. After watching this game I will gladly eat some humble pie on Wilson. He threw for over 300 yards, which is what the Seahawks needed in this game. I’m still not sold that it lasts the season and I think everyone is a little high on the Seahawks, but he won this game for this team.
The Panthers front 7 kept them in this game and they are VERY GOOD. I usually talk about Offence first, but I think this Defence deserves some serious credit. They look strong enough to take the running game away from most teams, where I worry is their ability to stop the exceptional QBs in their Division. But if they can get some pressure on these guys, who knows. On Offence, I can’t help think one thing. REDZONE, they cannot punch the ball in. They can move the ball down field with efficiency but hit a dead-end in the redzone which will be a problem for this team. However Panthers fans, take heart. You are a lot better than anyone thought.
Miami Dolphins 23 Cleveland Browns 10
A messy game, but a very important win for the Dolphins. The Rushing game is going to be a problem for this team, unless Miller can get it together. For that to happen, the O-line needs to improve. All the chemistry we had begun to see in pre-season between Wallace and Tannehill amounted to nothing in this game. In fact it was last years hero, Hartline that caused the most damage on Offence. On Defence the Dolphins look great and like they could get even better. Dion Jordan is a monster, who will cause serious problems as Offences concentrate on Mr Wake. The Dolphins didn’t play a perfect game but the Defence was dominant enough to make the difference against a team that made even more mistakes.
A lot of people who didn’t watch this game will be very quick to blame Weeden. In truth, it wasn’t entirely his fault. Yes, he had 3 interceptions and yes, he only completed 50% of his passes, but there were a lot of dropped balls including on at least two of the interceptions. Richardson was the lone back and was disappointing to say the least. The real worry for this team, is how ordinary the O-line look. Ok they were up against an incredible D-line, but still they really struggled. There were some good points however. Jordan Cameron, by the end of this season could elevate himself to the level of some of the Elite Tight Ends in the game, he easily looked like their no. 1 target. The Defence looked good, still needs some work but looked solid. What I gained from this game is this. My outlandish prediction of the Browns making the playoffs, looks a touch in doubt, if they play to this level every game. But they wont. They’ll improve and push for a few more wins than everyone has them down for. In short, I am down on this team. But I am by no means out.
Minnesota Vikings 24 Detroit Lions 34
Adrian Petersons first play was unreal. Then he was kind of a non-factor. Vikings fans will no doubt have noticed that Ponder is definitely not the answer for this team. Every team knows what Peterson did last year, I think to be honest if I asked my nan, she would know. Every team will come at the Lions knowing to stop the run. If you have that kind of talent, what you then need is a QB that you can rely on not to turn the ball over and slowly move the chains. Ponder threw 3 interceptions. He did have a few bright moments though. He made Simpson a relevant entity and used him to move the chains. The Defence didn’t help this Offence. If you have a run based Offence, you NEED the D to be effective and keep the score low. There is no way you can ask a QB like ponder to win a shoot out against Stafford. This team has flashes of brilliance, but it seems that already there is an order in the NFC North.
There were some ups and downs for the Lions. Lets start with the ups. The Offence is explosive. Reggie Bush might be the signing of the season. He can line up anywhere and is a match up nightmare. He opens up the run game for Bell and will eventually take some of the attention away from Johnson which can only be a good thing. In Reggie Bush they have both bolstered their Receiving Corps and their Running Backs. The Defence looks stout. I’d like to see them against a slightly more explosive Offence, but they look ready for the season. Which leads me to the downs. Suh’s block was inexcusable and disgusting. There is fired up and there is dirty. I think by now we’ve figured out that he is just dirty, which is a shame considering how great a player he is. I am worried that this team still has serious discipline issues. Which in turn leads to Calvin Johnson’s non-touchdown. Yes it is a stupid rule, but if you have made that mistake, you cannot do it again. These mistakes and lack of discipline could lead to problems down the stretch.
Oakland Raiders 17 Indianapolis Colts 21
A close game that really shouldn’t have been this close. We have to start with Terrelle Pryor for the Raiders, who played a belter of a game, completing 217 yards with his arm and 112 with his feet. What they have in Pryor is a player that can cover some obvious faults with his natural abilities. My main question is, if you put Pryor up against any other Defence (except maybe the Jags), can he still be effective and I don’t think he can. Aside from Pryor, this team still is not great. But they do at least have someone who can handle pressure and most of the time keep them in the game, even if they’re behind. But regardless, I think this might be in the bottom 3 of the league.
If Luck hadn’t been eclipsed by Peyton, you would have to think this guy is on his way to an MVP. He threw zero interceptions, threw with accuracy and ran when he had the chance. Make no mistake, this is the year Luck shines amongst the other Rookies from last year. Looks like another big year for Wayne as well, but I do think Luck will spread it about a bit. Other than that you have to worry about this team a little bit. The Defence looks exactly as leaky as we expected and they look like they might go 0-2 against the Texans. If they do make it to the playoffs, it’s almost certainly going to be on the back of Luck.
Kansas City Chiefs 28 Jacksonville Jaguars 2
This is one of those games where we can’t tell if the Chiefs are good or The Jags are truly awful. For the Chiefs, Smith looked like Smith, a player I’m rooting for to do well. He didn’t turn the ball over but he also didn’t set the world on fire. Basically don’t expect any passes over 20 yards and the chains to be moved slowly, however do expect a big year from Charles. He looked his usual productive self, but has to be worried about getting injured again. The Chiefs Defence looks every bit as great as we thought they would kept Gabbert and MJD to some woeful stats. This Chiefs team has to at most be pushing for a Wild Card and there is no reason they couldn’t get it.
The Jags really are work in progress. From what I can tell, they need: A QB, A Running Back (other than MJD), a whole O-line and a whole new Secondary. This team is a mess. Gabbert, even healthy needs to be benched in favour of Henne. MJD looks like he’s set for an average season and has zero back up at Running Back. Every big play they made was brough back by (you guessed it), a bone-headed penalty. They could very well be the worst team in the league. That being said, I think the Defence is serviceable. They seem to hit hard and put some pressure on the Offence. When this team goes up against one of the top teams in the league, they will really struggle. Any confidence I have in this team is gone. I think they might be picking no. 1 in the draft next year.
Part 1 done. Part 2…up later.
Main Image: Dustin Bradford, Getty Images , The Associated Press
Featured Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images