Friday Morning Quarterback, Week 1
FMQB Excitement for Week 1:
Pittsburgh at Baltimore has been a great rivalry the past few years. And we’re opening it up on Week 1! Should be a pretty gritty game, prediction Steelers 9, Baltimore 6. If any TD’s are scored, it will be by Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed.
Indianapolis at Houston: We get to see the up and coming Texans take on the Manning-less Colts. It’s time to see whether the Colts can hang on without him. Take an early loss to the Texans though, and Houston controls the division.
Seattle at San Francisco: This sounds like a stupid game to be excited for, but for the lowly NFC West, this game is huge! The Rams don’t play anybody in the division until after week 8, so the division will start to take place early with this game.
Carolina at Arizona: I have little doubt that the Cardinals will pull this one off. I am more curious to see if Cam Newton can actually perform in the regular season. I was less than impressed with his preseason performance. Also curious to see how the new tandem of Kolb to Fitzgerald goes, they could have a huge game against Carolina.
Atlanta at Chicago: The #1 and #2 NFC seeds from last year face off in Week 1. Who wins this battle, # of catches by Julio Jones vs. times Jay Cutler is sacked?
Kickoff Rule Implications:
In 8 games last year at Lambeau, there were only 2 touchbacks. In one game this year at Lambeau, there were 8! Four times as many touchbacks in one game as the entire 2010 season. There should have been 9, if the Packers rookie had listened to his conscience and not ran the ball out from 8 yards deep in his endzone. Good thing he did though, that kickoff return was one of the more exciting ones I’ve ever seen!
On the other hand, did you see how frustrated Darren Sproles was getting with the new kickoff rule? Everytime Crosby would bang it 8 yards deep into the endzone, Sproles’ special teams buddy would tell him to kneel. Sproles was visibly upset at not being able to take it out (and with good merit, his talent later allowed him to return a punt for a TD). I have a feeling that the WR divas mantra of “give me the damn ball” will soon be replaced by the kick returners clamoring to “just let me run it out!”
Preseason Prediction gone right:
2 weeks ago before any announcement was made, I predicted that Peyton Manning’s consecutive streak would come to an end, and that the Colts would miss the playoffs. This past week, Manning was listed as Doubtful and just had neck surgery again, meaning he won’t be back in the near future. This past week all of the analysts are calling the Colts a sub .500 team without Manning. Time will tell if they miss the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
Preseason Prediction gone awry:
2 weeks ago I also predicted the Packers would miss the playoffs. After watching them play last night, I have a gut feeling that I could be WAY off the mark. The Packers looked incredibly sharp, scoring TD’s on their first 3 offensive drives. In all honesty, they should be favorites to repeat as champions! They have gained a speedy WR on offense, who turned out to be an outstanding returner as well. They also have Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley back from injury, when both were out most of last season. All in the meantime not losing anybody (besides Cullen Jenkins) in the marathon free agency that was the offseason. Somehow the Super Bowl champs have gotten better this year.
New TD Review rule:
There is a new rule saying that all TD’s with any question will be automatically reviewed upstairs. One concern is that this will slowdown the game after every score. Last night Devery Henderson caught a ball, and was extremely close to stepping out of bounds. Al Michaels had about as much time to look at 2 close replays of it before the Saints were already kicking the extra point. Way to go NFL!
FMQB Fantasy Update:
I am in a Pick-em league where you pick teams to win, but only get 4 picks, so I need to pick the teams that will FOR SURE win so I can stay in from week to week. This week I picked the Chiefs, Browns, and Texans for 3 of my picks. AAAHHHH! Those names scare me immensely until you see who they are playing, (Bills, Bengals, and a Manning-less Colts team). Guarantee those are the only times I pick those teams this season.
In one league I am playing my boss, let’s hope he doesn’t get too competitive because I am favored to win by a lot!
In another league, we only have 4 players. I thought it’d be cool to have a team of superstars, but instead it’s almost impossible to choose who to start! I currently have Brees and Brady, Peterson and Chris Johnson, Greg Jennings and Larry Fitzgerald, while Wes Welker and DeSean Jackson are riding my bench. Wow!
Record in perspective:
Last night Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees had monster nights, each throwing 3 TD passes. If they averaged that for every game for the rest of the season, they would still fall 2 short of Tom Brady’s record season in 2008, when he threw 50! Many people know that I am not a Tom Brady fan, but wow that is impressive. Brady had weapons that season, but still to have 16 outstanding performances in the NFL today is ridiculously remarkable. On a side note, Brees had 419 yards passing, on pace for a whopping 6700 in one season! Prediction? I bet Brees breaks the yardage record this year, and becomes the MVP.
Impressive Drive, Questionable Ending:
I was laying in bed last night, deciding whether I should watch the last 4 minutes of the game. The Saints were down by 15, but I figured it was the first game of the season, why not. The Saints scored a quick TD to pull within 8. After failing an onside kick with 2:15 left, they forced a Packers punt and got the ball back with 1:06 left in the game, no timeouts. With 80 yards to go and 66 seconds left, I wasn’t expecting much. Instead, Brees had 2 quick connections for 21 yds in under 11 seconds. The Packers obviously were guarding the sidelines, so Brees went to the middle, and had 2 more huge connections for 41 yds. They got down to the 9 yd line with time enough for one play, that is unheard of for 66 seconds to go 80 yards without some huge play in there. Even if the Saints didn’t win the game, their clock management was supreme. But here’s my question for Sean Payton. You have a top 3 QB in the league who’s thrown for 419 yards, wide receivers up the ying yang, and you just marched 80 yards relying on them. Why do you go to a rookie RB for the decisive play of the game? Hindsight is 20-20, but I was questioning it as they lined up for the play which screamed “We’re running it” to the Packers.