Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NFL Week 1 Review

Team of the Week: San Francisco 49ers
In the first week of the season, I like to look for teams that make a statement. And I think San Francisco made the biggest statement. They went into Lambeau on opening day and handled the Green Bay Packers rather easily. The score makes the game seem closer than it actually was. The 49ers shut down the Packers offensive attack. They had constant pressure in Aaron Rodgers face all day and made the Packers run game non-existent. San Francisco was a botched punt return away from going to the Super Bowl last year, and they returned the majority of their starters on both side of the ball this year. The offense has more weapons. Randy Moss played well yesterday and Alex Smith continues to be a solid game manager. He won't put up spectacular stats but he is a solid starter who plays well with the talent around him. San Fran looks like the team to beat in the NFC.

Game of the Week: Minnesota 26  Jacksonville 23 (OT)
-Who would have thought that quite possibly the least intriguing game of the week would wind up being the best one? Minnesota took a five point lead in the 4th quarter before Blaine Gabbert of all QBs lead a 6 play, 76 yard TD drive in just under one minute to give Jacksonville a lead. Minnesota then went 32 yards in three plays and allowed Blair Walsh to tie the game on a 55 yard field goal. Then we saw the new OT rules come into effect but the Jags could not convert after Minnesota's field goal. It may be the most interesting game these two teams play all year.

The Jon Gruden "Let Me Tell You About These Guys" 3 Stars
3. Matt Ryan
Ryan needed to shake off a bad Playoff performance last year against the Giants, and he did just that against the Chiefs. Ryan threw for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns in Atlanta's win over Kansas City. The NFC South, in my opinion, is the Falcons division to lose. As the Saints showed yesterday, they may not be as good as people think. And Carolina stumbled out of the gate against Tampa Bay. Ryan has plenty of weapons surrounding him so there is no excuse for bad play. The Falcons face a big test next week with the Denver Broncos coming to town.

2. Adrian Peterson
AP tore his ACL in Week 17 last year. Nine months later, Peterson was back on the field and looked pretty much like his normal self in the Vikings overtime win over Jacksonville. Peterson ran the ball 17 times for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. To come back from an ACL tear and perform as well as Peterson did was quite admirable. The Vikings offense will go as far as Peterson will take them this year.

1. Robert Griffin
For anyone who would listen to me, I have been telling them constantly that I think Robert Griffin will be a very good QB this year and in the future. I think he is a better version of Mike Vick. His arm strength and mobility are very good. But I did not expect to see the performance I saw from Griffin against the Saints. The kid just kept making play after play. He easily outplayed Drew Brees. When the Saints cut the lead to 8, Griffin lead the Redskins down field in 3 minutes to give the Redskins the double digit lead again. The Redskins will cause some problems in the NFC East this year.

The Matt Millen "What Were They Thinking" Goats of the Week

3. Mario Williams
Williams was brought in to be a pass rushing force for the Bills this year. What was his stat line against the Jets? One tackle. Williams could not get anything going all game against a vastly inferior opposition from the Jets offensive line. And after the game? Williams complained about being held and getting hands to the face all game. Mario, I love you for choosing the Bills. But you are paid to beat the opposition. Not complain when you can't.

2. Titus Young
The Lions were expecting a breakout season from Young. But instead of having a big first game, what does Young do? He goes and gives a headbutt to Rams CB Janoris Jenkins. Not only that, but he did it right in front of his own head coach Jim Schwartz. Schwartz benched Young for the rest of the game and you have to wonder if this will affect Young's playing time going forward. The Lions have had multiple mental lapses during the off-season and it wasn't a good way to start for Young and the Lions. The Lions won but they should have easily beaten the Rams.

1. Cleveland Browns Offense
The Browns defense did everything they possibly could to keep the team in the game. They picked off Mike Vick 4 times and even helped the offense out by returning one for the touchdown. Brandon Weeden looked like a rookie QB nowhere near ready to start a game. What was Brandon Weeden's final stat line? 12-35, 118 yards, no touchdowns and 4 interceptions. That gave him a QB rating of 5.1. Cleveland only mustered 210 yards of total offense. Their longest drive was 6 plays for 53 yards that ended with an interception. It is going to be a very long season for Cleveland fans.

Other Week 1 Notes
-I've gone this far without mentioning Peyton Manning. Well, he looks just like he did two years ago. It seriously looked like he didn't miss a beat. Manning made quick decisions with the ball and looked like his old self calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. I specifically liked how he called two audibles near the goal line when it looked like Troy Polamalu was blitzing. He called a timeout after still not seeing what he liked. Then they converted on the next play. If the Broncos defense could have gotten off the field on third down, they would have won the game by a wider margin. But the Broncos showed last night that they will be the team to beat in the AFC West.

-Yes it is only Week 1, but it looks like the toughest division to call will be the NFC East. The Eagles looked terrible against a weak Browns team. The Cowboys went into New York and defeated the Giants. And the Redskins went into New Orleans and beat the high powered Saints offense. These teams are going to beat up on each other this year. It would not surprise me if the winner of the division ended up 9-7. I still like the Giants. They've shown their ability to pull out tough games late in the season and Eli Manning knows how to win big games late. The Redskins will pull off a couple upsets along the way. The Eagles and Cowboys will play really good one week then terrible the next like they have in the past. I don't see any team pulling away with this division.

-It is only Week 1, and we are starting to get people asking whether or not Joe Flacco is elite again. Yes, Flacco had a good game against a good defense in Cincinnati. But everybody has surprisingly good games. Flacco has still not won his team a Super Bowl like Eli Manning has. To be, Flacco is a solid starting QB who will have good games like he did this Monday and bad games like I'm sure he will throughout the season. I can name at least 10 QBs I would rather have besides Flacco, so I would in no way say that he is an elite QB.

The Booker T FAB FIVE
1. San Franciso 49ers
2. New England Patriots
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Houston Texans
5. Chicago Bears

The King Booker Peasant 5
28. Buffalo Bills
29. Seattle Seahawks
30. Indianapolis Colts
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Cleveland Browns

3 Games I'd Like To See Next Week
Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers: Packers have a legit shot of starting 0-2
Detroit Lions vs San Francisco 49ers: The Handshake Part 2
Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons: Lets see how Peyton performs on the road

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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