Power 10 + Week 1 Storylines
Week 1 Power Ten
1. San Francisco 49ers, 1-0 (3) - The Niners made a big statement by opening the season with a convincing win at Lambeau. The 49ers were in control all game and were able to withstand a couple crucial blown calls that went against them and a furious rally from the Packers. Randy Moss didn't do anything spectacular, but he did catch a touchdown and didn't look like an old man out there. Alex Smith seems to have good command of the offense and the defense doesn't seem to have lost anything.
2. New England Patriots, 1-0 (2) - The Patriots got immediate results from their highly-touted defensive rookies and Tom Brady looks as good as ever. Their week 3 showdown with Baltimore will be a good test.
3. Baltimore Ravens, 1-0 (5) - The Ravens looked great in all phases in a convincing MNF win against the Bengals. Joe Flacco seems poised for a breakout year.
4. Green Bay Packers, 0-1 (1) - The Packers shouldn't be too discouraged after losing a close game to a very tough 49er team, but they should be legitimately concerned about their defense and run game. The 49ers had a lot of success running the ball and Alex Smith was highly efficient marching the team down the field. The 49ers do have an excellent run defense, but its not good when your QB leads the team with 27 rushing yards.
5. New York Giants, 0-1 (3) - Definitely not the way the Giants wanted to start the year, but you have to give the defending champs the benefit of the doubt. Their loss to the Cowboys shouldn't be a shocker to anyone, but everyone knows how good this team can be when they get on a roll.
6. Houston Texans, 1-0 (9) - You can't draw a whole lot from a win over the Dolphins, but it was good to see Matt Schaub back out there throwing the ball to Andre Johnson. Both players had big games in a dominating week 1 win.
7. Atlanta Falcons, 1-0 (11) - Mike Smith's squad look like they mean business this year. Their opener against the Chiefs was considered one of the more evenly matched games of the week, yet the Falcons walked into Arrowhead and took control right from the start. Their passing attack has really blossomed and it looks like their big trade for Julio Jones last year is going to pay dividends.
8. Philadelphia Eagles, 1-0 (6) - Very sloppy start against a team they were supposed to mop the floor with. You have to give them credit for gutting out a win when they were trailing in the fourth quarter, but this is clearly a team that still needs a lot of work before they reach their potential.
9. Chicago Bears, 1-0 (12) - Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler picked up right where they left off in Denver, hooking up nine times for 119 yards and a TD. The defense gave Andrew Luck a not-so-friendly welcome-to-the-NFL greeting.
10. Denver Broncos, 1-0 (13) - Peyton Manning is back. Peyton Manning is back. Lemme say it one more time. Peyton Manning is back. Great win for the Broncos against the Steelers on primetime football. Bronco nation is excited and they should be. Their third down defense did give cause for concern, but let's see how it does against a QB not named Ben Roethlisberger.
WEEK 1 STORIES
1. The Falcons Offense is For Real
The Chiefs do not, by any means, have a bad pass defense. That didn't stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons from dropping a 40-burger on them. Opposing QBs averaged a rating under 80 against the Chiefs last year, yet Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and 3 TDs with a rating of 136. Julio Jones finished 2011 strong, looked very impressive in the preseason and started his second year with a 100-yard, 2 TD performance. Roddy White is as good as any receiver in the league at working the middle of the field on intermediate routes and Jones looks like he is going to be one of the league's best big-play receivers. Matt Ryan looks very comfortable in the offense and you get the feeling the Falcons aren't afraid to shoot it out.
2. Same Old Peyton
Peyton Manning couldn't have done a better job of silencing questions about his health, arm strength and chemistry with his teammates. His Sunday Night Football performance reminded everyone that it is football IQ, timing, accuracy and passing touch that have made him one of the best quarterbacks ever and he hasn't lost any of that. He looked like vintage Peyton down the stretch as he led the Broncos to a big win over the Steelers.
3. Michael Vick and the Eagle offense is still out of sync
After the game, Vick spoke about how great teams have to win ugly to grow and how the Browns have a good defense. It's good to show respect to your opponent and they did a great job pulling the win out at the end, but the Eagles will go up against much better defenses than Cleveland and they need to play better. The Eagles just can't seem to find their rhythm and Vick is not doing a good job taking care of the ball. We have seen how scary this offense can be when they are clicking, but they were very inconsistent last year and their 2012 opener was not encouraging.
4. QB Controversy in Arizona
The Cardinals gave up a lot to get QB Kevin Kolb, but he failed to earn the confidence of coach Ken Whisenhunt, who gave the starting job to John Skelton. Skelton played poorly against the Seahawks before being carted off in the second half, opening the door for Kolb to step in and reclaim the starting job. Late in the fourth, Kolb threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Andre Roberts to cap off a great relief effort. It seems as though Skelton's injury is not serious, which means Kolb may have a small window to prove himself to Whisenhunt. The Cardinals will have to play the Patriots and Eagles the next 2 weeks, which makes for a very tough test for Kolb.
5. The Lions need to find offensive balance
The Lions escaped with a victory against the Rams, but having Mathew Stafford throw the ball 50 times a game is probably not a recipe for success. Stafford is an excellent young QB, but he can't take care of the ball like a Tom Brady or Drew Brees. The Lions offense has become too one-dimensional and teams will be focusing hard on taking away Calvin Johnson. They may be missing some players at running back right now, but they can't just abandon their ground attack.
6. The Raven offense is clicking
Joe Flacco looked more in command of the offense than ever, and he seems to have a great arsenal of weapons at his disposal. The running game is great with Ray Rice and the offense had a very nice rhythm to it. Flacco loves to work the ball to his TEs, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, over the middle of the field. The receivers are working hard blocking in the run game and Flacco is rewarding by delivering accurate, catchable passes. They looked smooth in the hurry-up, and if they can keep moving the ball like this, it will put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses against their stellar defense.
7. Randall Cobb will play a prominent role in Green Bay
Randall Cobb continued to make his mark on special teams, scoring an opening-day return touchdown for the second year straight. However, it seems like the Packers plan on using him for a lot more than just returns this year. He is the Packers 5th option at receiver because they are so strong at the position, but the coaching staff clearly wants to find ways to get him the ball. The Packers don't seem to be very comfortable with any of their running backs right now, and are experimenting with a shotgun package featuring Cobb in the backfield. Cobb is a great open-field runner and caught nine passes in the opener, most of them coming out of the backfield. His presence on the underneath routes adds another dimension to an already potent offense and opens things up for deep passes to other receivers. If they can work in some draws and sweeps and Cobb can prove himself a capable pass-protector, this will be a very tough package to stop.
8. Buffalo snake-bitten?
The injuries that plagued the Bills last year have started early this year. Fred Jackson, who missed most of the second half last year, has already been sidelined for a few weeks. The good news is HB CJ Spiller did a great job in relief last week, rushing for 169 yards on just 14 carries. The bad news is the Bills let the Jets pile up 41 points on their revamped defense. The Bills can turn things around by winning their home opener against the Chiefs, but this was a very discouraging start for a team looking to turn the corner.
9. The Giants need to get back to work
The Giants can't afford to be cocky after winning their Super Bowl and will definitely not be able to coast into the playoffs. They lost some key players in the off-season, have a very tough schedule in front of them, and are already by themselves at the bottom of their division. The Cowboys and Redskins were two of the most impressive teams in week 1 and the Eagles have one of the best teams in the league on paper. The Giants probably won't be able to struggle like they did last regular season and still win their division. The Giants are the classic example of a team that plays to their competition, whether they are playing a strong or weak opponent. There's no team in the league the Giants aren't capable of beating, but Coughlin needs to get this team to play its best consistently.
10. Auspicious start for the Redskins
Of the five rookie QBs to start week 1, Robert Griffin III was the only one to notch a win. And what an impressive win it was, going into the Superdome and taking down the New Orleans Saints. Mike Shanahan had a great gameplan offensively and Griffin looked composed and confident in his near-perfect debut. They got him into rhythm early with a series of screen passes, but later they opened up the offense for him and he was able to make big throws whenever the team needed it. Another big positive for the Skins was there dominance on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Saints' run game was non-existent and Washington did a great job establishing the run and controlling the pace of the game. After week 1, Shanahan is looking like a genius. It's a long season though, and it's hard to see this group continuing their success. The Redskins actually got off to a pretty good start last year before falling apart and finishing last in their division.
Personally I would have Houston over NYG and GB. They're a very good team and won. Its just week one but if you're week by week then I think this week they deserve a higher slot.
i feel ya but I dont like to get too carried away with week one, theres always rust to be shaken off and stuff. besides, the Texans beat the Dolphins, who could end up being the worst team in the league this year. The Packer lost to the niners, who I have number 1, and I still gotta give the Giants respect for winning the SB.
Didnt read all of it, just the Packers related notes.
Cobb isnt the 5th option, hes looking more like the 3rd but I dont think theyre going to have him in the backfield protecting Rodgers and picking up blitzes. If hes back there, hes coming out one way or another. Cant rely on him to pass pro as ideal as that may sound.
Cobb is a pretty stout guy, hes listed at 5-10, 192, but thats probly his rookie weight he could have easily gained weight, especially if they have been planning this package, he could easily be up over 200 by now, even 210 who knows. Thats a reasonable weight and height for a running back. i dunno maybe itll fade away but I see a lot of potential in that package.
they got plenty of good options at WR and TE, but none of those guys can play the position they have in this package like Cobb can. I dunno, it seems like GB coaching staff really likes this kid, we'll see how good he really is. The Packers look like theyre gonna give him the opportunity to show it.
Not a bad writeup. I can't, and don't really want to, argue with the 49ers over the Pats at this point. New England did all they could do and looked very impressive doing it but the 49ers knocked off the Packers in Lambeau so I'm ok with them being 1 at this point.
The only issue I see is no Dallas in the top 10, especially if NYG are 5. Dallas looked good defensively and when they got into a rythym they could throw it and run it. I would most definitely rank them above Philadelphia at this point
if i was basing it on just week 1, Dallas is definitely ahead of philly and NYG...but I dont wanna get too carried away w just one week, Dallas is a team known for looking great at times and falling apart at other times, so I still need to see more from them. I cant throw the defending SB champs out of the top 10 just cuz they lost their opener. The Giants have proved they are a resilient group and they deserve that respect...With Philly I dunno I still think in my head that this group is gonna do great things I still have confidence in Vick, maybe its misguided at this point but Im still giving them the benefit of the doubt. But they did drop 2 spots after winning a game, which shows I do think their week 1 performance was concerning.
I think Philly is ranked way too high. They SHOULD'VE been better last year, but they weren't. They SHOULD'VE stomped the Browns, but they didn't. They don't get to face Brandon Weeden every week.
The only controversy in Arizona is that they even have to pay a QB. Neither of their guys can stay healthy. Neither of them can consistently run an offense (with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd...).
I'm honestly not sure if JaMarcus Russel could come in, be 400 pounds, not give a ****, and play better than either of those guys.
If the Eagles dont start to play better, they will drop...
But theres a reason why they get ranked so high.
First off, Andy Reid is an excellent coach and throughout his tenure, the Eagles have been by far the most consistently succesful team in their divison. In 13 years with the Eagles, Andy Reid has led his team to the playoffs in 9 of them. Im pretty sure the only coach who can touch him there is bellichick. There are some young coaches like Tomlin and Harbaugh who are having great consistent success, but they havent sustained for nearly as long as Reid. And in terms of the NFC East, no team has been nearly as succesful. Sure, the Giants have the two SBs, but theyre not even in the playoff hunt half the time. In 13 years, the Eagles have only had 2 losing seasons with Reid.
Aside from that, theyve got a lot of talent. Jason Babin + Trent Cole+Cullen Jenkins gives them one of the best pass-rushing DLs in the league, maybe the best. Nmandi and DRC are one of the best corner duos in the league. Demeco Ryans gives them the legit player theyve been missing at MLB.
Michael Vick and Desean Jackson are two of the most controversial guys in the league, because when theyre on, they are amazing, but inconsistency, injuries, lack of focus, whatever, they just havent been playing up to potential. Some people, like me, still believe in them, because at the end of the day I think they are both intelligent football players and not just great athletes. Regardless of these two controversial players, you have to consider LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and Jason Avant cuz that is a great group of guys to complement Vick and Desean. Its all about whether or not this team can come together...And that all comes back to the coach, and at the end of the day you have to believe in Andy Reid, the guy has done nothing but deliver winning seasons.
I was going to comment about the odd ranking of the Eagles, then I read this... Now, I'm just assuming you're an Eagles fan, which would explain everything.
Anyway, I think the Broncos are legit Super Bowl contenders. 1) They have Peyton Manning and 2) They have a good team. If I were to rank the teams (off the top of my head)...
1. 49ers (both sides of the ball are improved over last season)
Where is the week 2 edition?
No, not an Eagle fan. Sadly, Im a Raider fan lol
What I was trying to say is in terms of regular season, under the past 13 years where Andy Reid has been the coach, the eagles have been undoubtedly the best team in the NFC East. 13 years, 2 losing seasons, you cant beat that. The Patriots may not even be able to top that...The Giants have had great success over that same period, they were pretty good under Fassell and have been great under coughlin, but havent had as consistent success as the Eagles..
And yes no superbowls, but its way too early in the season to even be talking superbowl...but just in terms of this eagle team and what to expect from them this year, everyone wants to point to their dissapointing 2011 season and their lackluster week 1 and say they dont deserve respect...well they have one of the best teams on paper in the league, and sure paper doesnt garuntee anything, but when the team is coached by a guy with andy reids track record, it does allow for some benefit of the doubt.
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