NFL Week 1 breakdown
Monday, September 08, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
So, week 1 of the NFL regular season is upon us, and already it's shaping up to be a crazy year. Allow me to share some observations. And yes, I know it's early, and anything could happen later in the season to change my opinion, but this is what I've got so far.

Tom Brady is probably done for the season. This is obviously one of the biggest stories from around the league. At around 1:35pm EST or so, you Jedis may have felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Those would be the fantasy football owners whose seasons just flashed before their eyes.

It's hard to understate how much this shakes up the entire AFC picture. First of all, within the AFC East, the Jets are suddenly the #1 contender to take the division. The Bills are now much more likely to make the playoffs (either by defeating the Jets for the division title, or claiming a wild card). Even the Dolphins can hold out hope at defeating the Patriots during the regular season.

Outside the division, suddenly the Chargers, Colts, or even Steelers now feel like they can win the #1 seed much more easily. Teams who were dreading matching up against the fearsome Brady-led passing attack now know all they need to do is contain Randy Moss.

Other signficant injuries of note. Titans QB Vince Young looks to be out for 2-4 weeks. To be honest, I'm not sure that's going to hurt the Titans much. Kerry Colllins is a capable QB, and frankly Young hasn't looked great, so it won't be hard to post better numbers. Nate Burleson, WR for the Seahawks, may miss time as well. For the already injury-devastated receiving corps of the Seahawks, this is a catastrophe. There is literally almost no one left to throw to on that team. Pity poor Matt Hasselbeck. Pity my fantasy team who was counting on Burleson to carry me at the WR spot one more week till Steve Smith comes back from his suspension.

Certain teams didn't get the memo about how they were supposed to suck this year. Teams on this list include the Chicago Bears - suddenly looking like the fierce 2006 Super Bowl team they were, instead of the disaster of 2007 - and the Atlanta Falcons, who shocked the Lions for the first win of young Matt Ryan's career. The Bears defense was its usual dominating self, taking advantage of Manning's obvious discomfort and rustiness. Kyle Orton was impressively cool and managed the game just the way they needed. Matt Forte looks like the real deal. Speaking of the real deal, Matt Ryan was exactly as advertised. His nickname in college was "Matty Ice" because of his coolness under pressure, and watching yesterday's game, it's no exaggeration. This kid is ready to start now, and though he won't face the Lions' lousy defense every week, he shows all the signs of being a true star within a few years. Michael Turner was also everything we thought he might be, absolutely destroying the Lions singlehandedly for 2 TDs and 220 yards. The Carolina Panthers also get credit for hanging tough and beating the Chargers without their star receiver (who's suspended 2 games for sucker punching a teammate).

Studs of the week. Willie Parker of the Steelers also had a field day proving all the critics wrong (many had him on their "don't draft him whatever you do!" lists this year), running for 138 yards and 3 TDs. Donovan McNabb also has a chip on his shoulder this year and absolutely tore it up against the terrible Rams. I thought he looked great at the end of last season and I think he'll be great again this year (assuming he stays healthy). Drew Brees was awesome, and so was his teammate Reggie Bush. I've already mentioned Michael Turner.

Teams I like this week.
I love when a team puts a good plan together, and then goes out and executes it perfectly. The Buffalo Bills played their kind of game, dominating on defense, being steady on offense, and owning special teams. This is why a lot of teams don't want to play them this year - they're a better team than their individual stats would suggest. I also liked the Atlanta Falcons, mostly because I felt really bad for them about last year (none of which they deserved), so it was nice to see something good finally happen for that club.

Teams I don't like this week. The Patriots have been avoiding the backup question for years, and it's finally caught up to them. After the QB injuries last year, the Patriots needed to go out and invest in a backup QB they can believe in. You can't tell me they think Matt Cassell is the best they could do. Also, they're insane if they don't consider having Daunte Culpepper work out for them. I also don't like the Redskins this year, who looked bad across the board (see my previous post).

I'll update this post after tonight's game.

***(pictures are AP photos taken from the ESPN site)
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