NFL Week 1 Breakdown
Sunday, September 12, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
It's that time of year again, where the pigskins fly with abandon and burly men attempt to wrangle one another for our amusement. Which means, of course, that it's time for my usual NFL weekly breakdown posts to return.

Keep in mind that it was Week 1, and a lot of teams sure played like it, so while I had to pick teams I liked this week and teams I didn't, don't think that these are season-long predictions. There will be teams that struggled in week 1 that will probably get a lot better in the coming weeks (maybe Indy, Dallas, Minnesota), and teams that played well but could always fall apart later on (Seattle, Houston, Miami).

Uh, about that crown we handed you... So, there were several people ready to coronate the San Francisco 49ers as the NFC West champs going into the season. At the same time they seemingly wrote off the Seattle Seahawks, who once upon a time dominated the division for several years in a row during the mid-2000s. Of course, it's only week 1, but Mike Singletary cannot be happy with his team's performance. Some in the sports media had predicted that this would be the year that Alex Smith justified his first round draft pick status, but after a decent start, he looked confused and panicked in the pocket.

Meanwhile in the AFC West, many were also praising the Oakland Raiders and picking them to make a playoff run. Again, it's only one week and there's certainly no shame in losing to the Tennessee Titans. However, it was the WAY the Raiders lost that should cause alarm. The game wasn't close at all, Jason Campbell was under heavy pressure the whole time, and the defense was helpless to stop Chris Johnson.

Welcome to Heartbreak City 2010. I understand the actual NFL rule about possession while making a catch, and by the letter of the law, yes, the Calvin Johnson catch in the end zone was technically incomplete. But boy... when a guy makes a clean catch with two hands, plants both feet and then falls, still holding the ball, with his knee hitting cleanly before he rolls over, it's hard to stomach the fact that that isn't a game-winning catch just because he seems to lose the ball as he pushes himself up. While they lost, they could have at least taken solace in the fact that they actually showed some sparks of life, playing occasionally solid defense and actually putting points on the board. Unfortunately, Detroit can't seem to get a break. They also must deal with the pain of knowing that their young QB Matthew Stafford may now be out for up to 6 weeks. When you look at the schedule of the next 6 games, it's a fairly horrifying list of teams: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Green Bay and the New York Giants, with only the St Louis Rams looking like they might at least allow Detroit to stay in the game. It could be another long frustrating season for the Lions, since a 0-6 start is looking likely. When you have a schedule like this, you have GOT to win games like the one against Chicago.

There is no B-R-E-T-T in "Team". Can we please stop acting like there are no consequences to skipping training camp now? Because there were several plays in the Minnesota/New Orleans game where a QB who was in training camp shape and had weeks of work with his receivers might have pulled out a victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. Brett Favre took a couple critical sacks because he was simply unable to avoid a lone defender rushing him. He was also clearly out of sync with his receivers, which isn't really surprising given that he's barely played with them since last January. Of course, the blame doesn't fall solely on Favre. You also have to question Brad Childress, who allowed the "One man really is more important than the other 52 guys" atmosphere to take hold of his team. The reasoning behind allowing one person to skip the hard work that the other 52 guys are expected to put in is that a guy like Favre will win you 2-3 more games a year simply by his presence in the lineup. However, you can't really look at the game from Thursday without wondering if perhaps Tavaris Jackson, who put the time in in training camp working with the first team offense, might have made those one or two extra plays that might have made a difference in the extremely close game.

Studs of the week. If you heard a scream coming from somewhere in Alexandria, VA this Sunday, it was probably me, watching Arian Foster destroy my fantasy football team in two different leagues. Foster posted obscene numbers (231 rushing yds, 3 TDs) while powering his team to victory over the Colts. However, Peyton Manning did his best to overcome his defense's failings, throwing 433 yds for 3 TDs. Meanwhile, while Green Bay's vaunting offense stuttered at key moments in the end, Clay Matthews (7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) played like a beast on defense, making several key plays to help his team squeak out the win. Matt Forte was just the worst last year, fantasy-wise, but he came out roaring this season with 201 yds from scrimmage and 2 TDs. Finally, the last stud of the week award goes to the doctor that operated on Wes Welker's knee, since the speedy receiver seems to have made a miraculously recovery from his devastating knee injury suffered at the end of last season.

Also candidate for stud of the week: the Titans' cheerleader-devouring mascot.

Duds of the week. If he wanted to validate the Eagles' decision to trade Donovan McNabb or keep Michael Vick in the #2 slot, Kevin Kolb (5/10, 24 yds passing) sure failed. The Eagles starting QB made some very poor throws and didn't look comfortable at all in the pocket, before leaving the game with a concussion. To make matters worse, the team instantly perked up when Vick took the reins. Rookie RB CJ Spiller was supposed to be the one bright spot on the Bills lineup, but he finished the day with just 6 yds on 7 carries.

Teams I like this week. The New Orleans Saints look just as good as last year, and played some tough defense against the Vikings. Also, I still worship at the altar of the Breesus. I also like the Seattle Seahawks, who stomped on the 49ers. If you look at their schedule, Seattle could conceivably post a 8-8 to 10-6 record this season. Finally, I like the Houston Texans, who not only showed they could get over the mental hurdle of defeating their hated rivals (improving now to 2-15 against the Colts), but also that they have a rushing game to go with their normally awesome passing game.

Teams I don't like this week. I had hoped for better things for the Oakland Raiders, not only because their fans have suffered so long, but because I have always had a soft spot for QB Jason Campbell, who I think has never gotten a fair chance in his career. Alas, they look like the same team that hasn't won over 4 games in last past few seasons. Meanwhile, for the love of God, will someone PLEASE take over clock management from Andy Reid, because he costs this Philadelphia Eagles 1 to 2 victories a year with his bizarre mismanagement of the team time outs. Lastly, I see that the Dallas Cowboys are the same undisciplined team that squandered their talent last year. Foolish penalties, mental mistakes, lack of focus - these all speak to a team that needs a firmer hand than perhaps Wade Phillips can provide.



photo credits (ohgoddontsueme)
- Cheerleaders (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
- Megatron's non-catch (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
- Arian Foster (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)
- Jason Campbell gets sacked. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
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