As usual Week 1 of the NFL season brought about some surprises. It was great to see Peyton Manning back to his old self. Whether you’re a fan of his or not, he is great for the league. Apparently no one told RGIII that the NFL was different from College. He looked spectacular in the opener thanks to a great game plan by Coach Mike Shanahan. The 49ers look like a team destined for the Super Bowl. Now we’re onto week 2, where we find out if what was fluke becomes fact. Once is lucky, twice is good:
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
The Packers looked vulnerable against the 49ers in Week 1. San Fran’s defense eliminated the Packers’ running game and made them one-dimensional on offense. Still too many drops from the Packers receivers. The Bears offense is lethal now that Cutler has Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Everything points to a classic in Green Bay Wisconsin on Thursday night. Take the Pack in cheese country.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills
I picked both teams to win last week and neither was close. The Chiefs were missing some key defensive players (CB Brandon Flowers & OLB Tamba Hali), but the Bills simply got manhandled. The Chiefs offense is better than New York’s. I thought the Bills D-line would make more of an impact last week than they did.
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Battle of Ohio. For as well as the Browns defense played last week, their offense played twice as poor. QB Brandon Weeden had a QB Rating of 5.1 which looks more like an ERA from his pitching days. The Bengals are not at Baltimore’s level, but at home they should be able to handle the Browns. CB Joe Haden is out for the Browns which means AJ Green draws a favourable matchup.
Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts
Neither team is a contender, but the Vikings are more established in what they do. The Colts defense is adapting to a new scheme and did very little against the Bears run game last week. Adrian Peterson should have a strong game and Christian Ponder won’t have to deal with Dwight Freeney. Expect Luck to do well against a weak Vikings secondary, but after last week, I’m not ready to give him the W just yet.
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
The Raiders need to stop taking penalties. It’s ridiculous that they have an ‘organizational’ problem with penalties. Darren McFadden looked great and the Raiders defense held the Chargers to one touchdown. The Dolphins offense doesn’t scare anyone.
Arizona Cardinals @ New England Patriots
Bill Belichick said Larry Fitzgerald might be the best receiver ever. He’ll need to channel every ounce of his inner Jerry Rice if they’re going to upset the Patriots. The Pats haven’t lost a home opener in 8 years. Kevin Kolb will likely start for the Cardinals, but even he has yet to get a vote of confidence from Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt. One thing to watch for: the Cardinals defensive line is very strong with Calais Campbell, Dan Williams and Darnell Docket). Don’t expect the Pats offense to have a big game on the ground. Patrick Peterson was a Pro Bowl returner last year. He looked like a Pro Bowl corner last week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants
The Bucs defense looked like an inspired bunch against the Panthers. They have a strong foundation of talented young players that makes them capable of an upset week in and week out. With only Doug Martin healthy for the Bucs, it will come down to what Josh Freeman can do in the passing game. I think the Giants pass rush wins that battle and Eli has an efficient day leading the G-men to a win.