Posted 09/09/2008 at 11:00 PM
We finally made it to the regular season in the NFL, and something that I have learned over the years with all the "parody" in the league, we know nothing. Just when you think you have the league figured out, it shocks you.
Out of the four teams that were underdogs of at least nine points in the opening week, three of them covered, while two of them, Chicago and Carolina, picked up straight-up road victories over a pair of division champs from the AFC last season. And on an "Oh, by the way" note, the Bears and Panthers hook up this Sunday in Charlotte.
The other big dog that covered, but fell short in the win column, was Kansas City, who lost 17-10 at New England. But, obviously the biggest story to surface out of Week 1 was the torn ACL suffered by Patriots QB Tom Brady, who will miss the rest of the season, and ultimately alter the landscape of the league. To the dismay of Patriots fans, this could turn out to be a blessing for the league, a season after New England stole all the headlines basically since Spygate after Week 1 in '07, leading up to their Super Bowl appearance and potential perfect season (potential being the key word).
Baltimore and Tennessee covered as home dogs, against a pair of teams that may be a bit overrated, in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, respectively. Both the Bengals and Jaguars offenses each looked stagnant, as Carson Palmer failed to throw for 100 yards, while Jacksonville's potent running game rushed for only 33 yards.
The NFC West is now confirmed as the worst division in football, after the Seahawks got taken behind the woodshed in Buffalo, falling by 24 points to an upstart Bills team. Seattle has more problems than you think, with Matt Hasselbeck at less than 100%, no running game, and their top three receivers out due to injury. The Rams failed to show any life in a 38-3 drubbing at Philadelphia, as Donovan McNabb continues to shine with no real names at wide receiver. DeSean Jackson impressed with over 100 yards in his Eagles debut. I may be crazy, but with Seattle's injuries and St. Louis' ineptitude, I like Arizona as a sleeper to win the NFC West. Once again, it is only Week 2. And the Cardinals beat the Niners, who have pretty much nothing past Frank Gore. But, Arizona has a steady QB, RB, and two solid receivers. If the Cards could sure up their defense, is 9-7 or 10-6 too much to ask out of Bill Cowher's look-alike, Ken Whisenhunt?
The Cowboys dominated the Browns as a five-point road favorite, just proving the point that Dallas was that close to representing the NFC in the Super Bowl (if they could have beaten the Giants in the playoffs), and Cleveland was a complete mirage, as their explosive offense from a year ago looked completely out of sync.
The Saints are supposed to be a team that will be fighting the Cowboys for NFC supremacy this season, and needed a comeback to knock off the Bucs (and barely cover), as Reggie Bush proved that he may not be a great running back on this level, but he's a tremendous threat in the passing game, racking up 112 yards on eight catches, including the game-winning touchdown from Drew Brees.
I wasn't buying into Detroit as a road favorite (ever), with them traveling to Atlanta to battle a "rebuilding" Falcons team. Matt Ryan threw a first-quarter touchdown to Michael Jenkins, and Michael Turner proved he was worth the money with the huge deal he signed in the offseason (220 yards and 2 TD's), as the Falcons rolled the Lions, 34-21.
Brett Favre didn't put up his usual numbers, but he threw two touchdown passes in "Favre-like" fashion, as the Jets covered as road chalk at the Dolphins. Favre's old team, the Packers picked up where they left off last season, with Aaron Rodgers winning his debut for Green Bay, 24-19 over Minnesota. Rodgers looked comfortable after a slow start, with several nice passes to Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, who should thrive like they did with Favre.
I don't have much to say about the Steelers or Giants, as both won as home favorites. Pittsburgh rolled Houston as Willie Parker eclipsed his touchdown total from last year in one game with three scores. The Super Bowl Champs were in control of their nine-point win over the Redskins from the top, and I maintain that Jim Zorn could be this year's Cam Cameron with the confused look on his face for most of that game. I guess I did have something to say about those games after all.
We have to end this on a sour note, the Raiders. Darren McFadden didn't look good (until he got hurt), JaMarcus Russell looked shaky, and the entire Oakland team got manhandled by Jay Cutler, who threw for nearly 300 yards without his best receiver, Brandon Marshall, who will return next week following his one-game suspension.
Join me again next week, as everything you thought would happen in the NFL, doesn't happen the way you wanted it to.