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Old 09-11-2012, 09:41 PM    (permalink
Eazy Picks
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Default 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.


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.
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