Week 1 Surprises:
Ravens: Pure dominance of the Ravens over the Steelers. These 2 teams are known for having extremely evenly matched games, where one mistake or field position battle can yield the difference. Something like the last 7 games played by these teams have had a difference of 4 points or less. Not this week, the Ravens crushed the Steelers 35-7. Not to take away from Flacco’s 3 TD’s, but what’s even more impressive is how they ran the ball. The Steelers perennially have one of the best Run defenses in the league. On Sunday the Ravens attacked them by running it 31 times, and got 170 yards on the ground.
Bills: Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! Somehow Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the league in TD passes right now, and the lowly Bills (which FMQB predicted to get last in the league) are 2nd in the league in scoring (behind only the Super Bowl champs). What’s even better is they went into a stadium that’s notoriously hard to win at (Chiefs were 7-1 at home last year), and romped a team who was in the playoffs last year.
Colts: I’m surprised they even scored 7 points! Way to go without Manning. I know it’s only Week 1, but props to the Texans, you just won the AFC South.
Cam Newton: As any weekly readers know, I am not a fan of Cam Newton. I don’t know if it’s the fact that has horrible accuracy (and performance in the preseason), that he cheated in college (allegedly…twice), or the fact that with his good looks and talent he feels he’s God’s gift to man, but whatever the reason I just don’t like him. But after Sunday, all I can say is “wow.” The NFL has had a slew of Rookie QB’s do very well recently, which makes it hard for any other rookies to impress. Most people are used to Elway, Aikman, and Manning struggle in their first year only to become Hall of Fame caliber superstars later. But now we are running into the Roethlisbergers, Ryans, and Flaccos of the the world who have success right out of the gate. But to see Cam Newton complete 65% of his passes and tie the Rookie record for most passing yards (422) all during his first start with a team that won 2 games last year?!?! Once again, all I can say is “wow.” They should have won that game, let’s just see if he can keep it up the rest of the year.
Predictions already going awry:
Kickoff rule hasn’t been effective. Believe it or not, the NFL just tied the record for the amount of kick returns for TD’s in the opening weekend (with 3). Perhaps they are getting more exciting, it adds an “all or bust” mentality to the play. You either get tackled at the 10 yard line and look horrible, or you run it back for a score. Dare I say, looking at it this way makes the play more exciting! It’s like the 2-point conversion or going for it on 4th down; teams will have to take risks to make big plays.
Alright I said it, Packers will miss the playoffs. Already pointed it out last week, but right now they are my favorites to repeat as champions. They looked solid in all aspects of the game.
Predictions already looking good:
Early FMQB predicted that the Steelers wouldn’t make the playoffs. The Ravens now control the division and Pittsburgh looked horrible in their loss to them Sunday.
FMQB predicted that Manning would miss his first start, and the Colts would miss the playoffs. Other than a garbage time TD, the Colts couldn’t even score on offense all day.
McNabb will be benched for Ponder by Week 6: McNabb had 39 yards passing on Sunday…Yes I said 39 yards. Granted the Vikings never had the ball on Sunday, but he was only given the ability to throw the ball 15 times. Until a late completion, McNabb was actually very close to rushing for more yards than he passed for.
Jay Cutler was sacked 5 times on Sunday, Julio Jones caught 5 balls. So my question from last week is actually a PUSH.
Stat of the Week #1:
Michael Vick is tied for 7th place with Adrian Peterson for rushing yards.
Stat of the Week #2:
The Steelers had as many turnovers as points!
Give Romo the Heimlich, he’s choking:
This is the second year in a row that the Cowboys have blown an opportunity to win their opening game (on a Sunday night) due to bad mistakes. Cowboys had a chance to go up by 21 in the 4th quarter, but their next three possessions ended like this. Romo fumbles in redzone, Jets score TD. Cowboys go 3 and out and punt, Jets block punt and return for TD. Romo has less than a minute to try and win or go to OT, throws INT at 40 yard line, Jets K Nick Folk (who the Cowboys cut!) nails the winning FG. With one Hail Mary attempt left, Romo isn’t ready for the snap and fumbles on the last play of the game. Hate to say it, but the Cowboys would have probably won if Romo had taken a knee with 8 minutes left in the game.
Proof it’s a Pass-Happy League:
I was utterly amazed at the passing numbers put up on opening weekend (and no Donovan, not your measly 39 yards). Four players had over 400 yards passing, and 14 players were above the 300 mark. Tom Brady had an astronomical 517 yards on opening night! He is literally on pace for a 4000 yard season by week 12. We are setting up for a year with astronomical statistics. For the Chinese calendar, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. I hereby proclaim 2011 the Year of the Pass for the NFL.
Stat of the Week #3:
2 of the 4 players with 400+ yards were Cam Newton and Chad Henne.
Stat of the Week #4:
Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the league in passer rating.
Week 2 Excitement:
Bears at Saints
Two playoff teams from last year, both teams have a great shot at winning their division, great defense vs. great offense. Which one holds out?
Let’s try this again. Over/Under Amount of times Cutler is sacked vs. TD passes by Drew Brees?
Chargers at Patriots
I remember the rivalry these teams had 3-4 years ago when they met in the playoffs every year. Remember the calm and collected LaDainian Tomlinson getting livid at the Patriots dancing on the field during the 2008 AFC Championship game. Once again these teams are looking good (SD usually starts off slow, I know they barely won against the Vikings, but they’re off to their best start in years).
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Vick returns to Atlanta and will actually play this time, enough said. Over/Under amount of dogfighting protesters (get over it already) vs. Vick rushing yards?
Proof of Parity in the NFL:
Teams that could easily be 2-0, Lions, Raiders/Bills, Redskins, and Texans
Teams that could easily be 0-2, Falcons, Saints, Giants (gotta throw that in there against my Rams, but they do have a legitimate shot!)
In my opinion, the NFC South right now is the toughest division in Football. Kudos to Patriots/Jets, Ravens/Steelers, and Bears/Packers, but having the Falcons and Saints make the playoffs last year, while the Buccaneers miss out even though going 10-6 shows the dominance of the division. There is a VERY good chance that after this week, every team in the division will be 0-2. How the tide changes from year to year.