Gibberman: Week 1 thoughts and observations
Week 1 Thoughts and Observations
In the NCAA tournament when all of the #1 seeds make it to the final four the expression “it was chalk” gets used. In a league that has gained a reputation for being unpredictable the National Football League’s first Sunday went chalk. The two biggest upsets were the San Francisco 49ers taking down the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium (the two teams always play close, competitive games) and the New York Jets dominating the Houston Texans in Houston where the Texans had a 12-4 record the past two seasons. The rest of the games went according to plan; the Vikings, Falcons, Saints, Colts, Cowboys, Ravens, Eagles, Giants, and Seahawks were expected to win. The Packers-Bears game and Broncos-Bengals contest were toss ups.
Sunday is Fun-day! There is nothing like taking in a full slate of NFL games while enjoying a couple beers. Here is your Week One 12-pack:
1. Fans, do not read into your team’s week one game too much. Arizona Cardinals fans don’t throw yourself over the bridge there is still a lot of football to be played, Seattle Seahawks fans you beat the Rams you are not the favorites in the NFC West for taking down that pathetic team, and New York Jets fans-Mark Sanchez will not become a Super Bowl winning QB in his rookie season-he played great, but their will be growing pains.
2. I wrote it in my NFL preview and I want to reiterate here, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco is the real deal. I understand he played against the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Ravens offense has talented weapons and now Flacco has matured enough to get the ball into their hands. The Ravens are a very dangerous team.
3. The Carolina Panthers are in trouble. They look like a team that still has not recovered from the beating the Cardinals gave them in Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs. Some boxers never are the same after they get knocked out, I think the Cardinals delivered the Panthers their knock-out blow.
4. The Green Bay Packers finally won a close game. Aaron Rodgers struggled the entire game, but made a big play when it counted late in the 4th quarter hitting Greg Jennings for the game winning touchdown. If the Packers continue to find ways to win close games they are going to be a force to be wrecking with.
5. The Houston Texans make the experts look stupid every single season. I have no idea why people pick them as the team to get over the hump every single season; it’s not going to happen for a while. The AFC South is a tough division; the Texans have no chance at moving past the Colts or Titans in the near future.
6. I know in #1 I told Jets fans not to expect Mark Sanchez to lead them to a Super Bowl this year, but the Green and White have found their franchise QB. Sanchez is poised, has a remarkable feel for pressure in the pocket, and can make all of the throws. Once the Jets get him a #1 WR, watch out for the youngster from USC.
7. The Miami Dolphins are in trouble. They needed to win their opening game against the Atlanta Falcons. Coming up next are the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers, that has 0-3 written all over it. The Chad Henne era could be coming quicker than Dolphins management wanted it to.
8. The New York Giants offense is very diverse. They do not have a superstar, but they have a solid TE, 4 wide receiver’s who Manning can spread the ball around too, and two above average RB’s that compliment each other well. If Eli keeps the turnovers to a minimum the Giants can succeed without a true #1 WR.
9. Teams that play the Vikings need to force Brett Favre to beat them. Put eight in the box and dare Favre to throw, he has a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder and has admitted that he doubts he can make it through a full season. If I am a defensive coordinator playing the Vikings I will concentrate on stopping Adrian Peterson and challenge Brett Favre.
10. Jay Cutler is a turnover machine. He threw four picks against the Packers and had three to four more passes that could have been intercepted. In his two full seasons as a starter he had 14 and 18 INT’s. For the Bears to compete in the very competitive NFC North, Cutler needs to protect the ball better.
11. I actually feel bad for Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. The guy wants to win more than any owner in the NFL, he puts tons of money into his team, but they can’t get it right. The Redskins are stuck in the tough NFC East and they can’t get over the hump.
12. The other rookie QB, Matt Stafford of the Detroit Lions got his first taste of real NFL action. The difference between him and Sanchez is that Sanchez is surrounded by a veteran O-line and has two qualities running backs. Detroit has some pieces in place, but they are still a couple years away from getting Stafford the tools he needs to become a Pro Bowl QB.
The NFL could not have picked two worse Monday Night games for Week 1. The Patriots are going wallop the Bills and the Chargers are going to smoke the Raiders. Both games will be over before halftime.
Where did the Denver Broncos come from and how in the world did they win that game? I had the Bengals pegged as a team that I thought could make some noise as a surprise this season. I’m not giving up on them yet, but I was disappointed with how the offense performed against a Denver Broncos team that was in turmoil. Big props to Brandon Stokley-that was an incredible play and congrats to Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniel on his first NFL win.
On the offensive side of the ball New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin both made immediate impacts. Arizona Cardinals RB Beanie Wells has the talent to. Even though 2nd year man Tim Hightower had a solid game, I expect Wells to be more involved in the Cards week 2 game plan.
Play of the Week
Adrian Peterson’s 64 yard touchdown run against the Cleveland Browns. All Day is a beast with a blend of size, speed, and strength that we haven’t seen in a running back in a long time.