So many things went down in week 1 that I need to break it all down before I can look ahead to week 2.
Top 3 Teams From Week 1
New England Patriots (1-0) – Tom Brady to preseasons – “Who needs them?” The veteran QB looked great despite not knowing he’d play in week 1 until just days before the season began. The Superbowl champs made easy work of the Steelers behind a great performance from Rob Gronkowski, who caught three of Brady’s four passing TDs. The rush defense was one of the only concerns, allowing DeAngelo Williams to rise from the ashes in the wake of the Le’Veon Bell suspension. If week 1 is any indication of how the rest of the season will go, the rest of the East is not going to have as easy of a time as they thought overtaking the Pats as they thought before the suspension was overturned.
Buffalo Bills (1-0) – Can we talk about that defense? The Rex Ryan affect was swift and immediate. To shutdown an offensive juggernaut like Andrew Luck the way they did was impressive. And what about the showing by Tyrod Taylor?
Tennessee Titans (1-0) – Marcus Mariota (your AFC Offensive Player of the week) looked like a veteran in his first career start. He put up numbers impressive for any QB, let alone a rookie. But he didn’t do it alone. The team played well in all phases of the game.
3 Worst Teams From Week 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) – Their defense was not ready for rookie QB Marcus Mariota. Jamie’s Winston was outplayed by the guy picked behind him in this years draft. A nice surprise was the 100+ yard receiving game by Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the offensive end, but little help from the run game and no help from the defense spelled disaster from the start.
2. Oakland Raiders (0-1) – There was no pressure on Andy Dalton and it allowed his receiving core to walk all over them all day. The offense wasn’t pretty, barely scrapping 50 yards rushing, while losing their starting QB to injury. You can’t go down 33-0. Ever.
3. New Orleans Saints (0-1) – After a disappointing season a year ago, I thought the Saints would come out swinging in week 1. Arizona has a formidable defense, but a Drew Brees led offense should never have to settle for four field goals. They need a whole heck of a lot more from their run game, and obviously need to convert in the green/red zone.
3 Most Disappointing Teams From Week 1
- New York Giants (0-1) – They threw on 3rd and goal but kicked it on 4th and goal. I don’t get it either. IF you run on 3rd down, you run the clock down to a minute. Dallas has no time-outs left. If you go for it then on 4th and goal, and score, then dagger. If you go for it and you don’t score, they’re inside their five with what, 20 seconds? It’s a loss that will sting all season.
2. Detroit Lions (0-1) – They got off to such a great start that you thought they’d finally figured out their road struggles. Wrong. After being up 21-3 in the 2nd, they allowed Philip Rivers and company to score 30 straight points.
3. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) – I know it was a road game, and I never thought the Rams would be an easy out this season. But to give up 34 points the way they did, it was discouraging for the Legion of Boom. The offense figured it out in the fourth to force overtime, but the offensive line needs to protect Russell Wilson better.
Now that that’s done, I can look ahead to week 2 with my picks. I finished last week 10-6. I’d say that’s not bad considering there were so many strange outcomes. Here’s my outlook for week 2.
Thursday Night Football
- Broncos @ Chiefs: Peyton Manning didn’t throw an opening week TD for the first time in 12 years. Alex Smith had a big week one despite no touchdowns to wide-receivers. Both teams defenses looked good in week 1. Peyton Manning’s decline has definitely begun, but I can’t see home having a second straight poor outing in a row. Give me the road win for the future hall-of-gamer. DENVER WINS
Sunday 1PM Games
- Texans @ Panthers: Carolina won their first game of the season, but they didn’t do much offensively to impress me. Houston is already making a change at quarterback and didn’t do much defensively. But get JJ Watt back home and Ryan Mallet starting, I think the Panthers will be shut down enough to even up both teams records. HOUSTON WINS
- Buccaneers @ Saints: Both teams enter in at 0-1. Neither team looked good on defense, both has their moments on offense. Division match-ups are never easy, but I cannot see the Saints going down 0-2 a second year in a row, so give me the home team in an easy one. NEW ORLEANS WINS
- 49ers @ Steelers: When I looked at the schedule before the season, I thought week 1 would be one of the few opportunities San Francisco would have at a win. I still picked Minnesota, but I was right about the Niners in that respect. The biggest mistake the Steelers made in their week one loss was not covering Gronk. Roethlisberger looked good, the running game without Le’Veon Bell looked very good. The 49ers tight-ends are nowhere close to the talent of Gronk combined, so if the Steelers play their game, they should pick up their first win of the year. PITTSBURGH WINS
- Lions @ Vikings: I was excited to see the Vikings offense get to work in week 1, with Adrian Peterson returning and the addition of Mike Wallace to help out reigning ROY Teddy Bridgewater. Well, I was left underwhelmed. As for the Lions, as I said before, they were one of the more disappointing teams in week 1. I can’t see their defense being as bad as they were last week, so while Minnesota should score more than three points, I see a rare road win for Detroit this week. DETROIT WINS
- Cardinals @ Bears: The Bears found a way to keep their week 1 match-up versus the Packers close despite an underwhelming performance by Jay Cutler. It was the run game that kept them in it, but now they face a defense fresh off a great performance against the Saints… on the road to boot. Carson Palmer looked great fresh off his ACL injury, and QB stability late is what doomed the Cards a season ago. ARIZONA WINS
- Patriots @ Bills: The winner moves to 2-0 and takes an early AFC East lead. This game will come down to the Bills ability to stop Rob Gronkowski, who showed the Steelers defense no mercy. I loved everything Buffalo did against Indy a week ago. I thought Tom Brady looked as sharp as ever, but I think a lot of what happened on Thursday night was adrenaline. I hated their run defense against Pittsburgh, so I expect LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams to combine for a big day. Give me the home team to hand the champs their first loss since week 17, also against the Bills. BUFFALO WINS
- Chargers @ Bengals: Both teams got great offensive performances from their quarterbacks to start the season. Philip Rivers threw for over 400 yards, despite two early picks, while Andy Dalton was even cleaner with no picks and two TDs. Cincinnati also had a better showing on defense, though San Diego did recover from a rough start. I like both of these teams to have good seasons, but only one can start the season 2-0. And based on consistency and where the game is taking place, give me the Bengals in a race to 30. CINCINNATI WINS
- Titans @ Browns: So the Browns lost their starter on an ill-advised scoring attempt, saw Johnny Manziel throw a bomb into the Jets secondary and lose by 21. And now they get a red-hot Titans team and their own young QB fresh off of a road win to open the season. And don’t think that win was all Mariota, Tennessee played well in all phases of the game. So give me the road team to drop the home team to 0-2. TENNESSEE WINS
- Falcons @ Giants: Atlanta nearly blew a double-digit lead at home to the Eagles, while New York did drop a double-digit lead on the road to the Cowboys. Roddy White is healthy and it makes the pairing of him and Julio Jones look nearly unstoppable. The Giants played well until they decided to forget how to run out a clock properly. Their defense forced a number of errors, and actually take advantage, something they didn’t do last season. Eli Manning saw a lot of dropped passes and only got help on the ground in the fourth quarter. They did enough to win, but shot themselves in the foot, and you know they will be extra hungry for their home opener. The Falcons defense struggled late, so there are holes to expose. Give me an embarrassed Giants squad to come out strong early. NEW YORK WINS
- Rams @ Redskins: The Rams are coming off an impressive OT victory over the NFC Champs. Putting up 34 on the Legion of Boom is reason enough to pick the Rams this week. Add the ever standing issues in Washington and it makes the decision easier. They say anyone can beat anyone on Any Given Sunday, but I’ll take the road team in this one. ST LOUIS WINS
Sunday 4/4:25 PM Games
- Dolphins @ Jaguars: I was a bit disappointed with the Dolphins offense against the Redskins a week ago. But the defense was great and they get what should be another easy one this week. Jacksonville’s offense can be a lot better than it was against Carolina, but I don’t see it being enough this week. MIAMI WINS
- Ravens @ Raiders: Baltimore lost more than just a game last week. They lost the heart of their defense when Terrell Suggs went down. Joe Flacco looked awful, and the run game didn’t look any better. I’ll chalk some of it up to a good showing by the Broncos defens. They stayed in it because of their own defense and that’s what they should have an easy time against Oakland this weekend. BALTIMORE WINS
- Cowboys @ Eagles: Both of these NFC East does did a lot of good things late I. Their games last weekend, but a lot of bad early. I think the Cowboys are the better team, but there’s something abuts these NFC East contests where the team that on paper should win, usually doesn’t. I should also mention DeMarco Murray will want to show why he should’ve been kept over the now injured Dez Bryant. PHILADELPHIA WINS
Sunday Night Football
- Seahawks @ Packers: It’s close, but above Pats/Bills, and Broncos/Chiefs, this is the game of the week. You’ve got the defending champs coming off a road loss to their division foes that saw them give up 34 points. Then you’ve got Aaron Rodgers who just doesn’t lose at home, coming off a nice road win that saw a magical reconnection with wideout James Jones. Oh and add the revenge Green Bay wants after losing in the NFC Champuonhip game last year. These two teams always play entertaining games and this should be no different. With no Kam Chancellor in the secondary again this weekend (should he continue his holdout), something is missing for the defending NFC champs. I don’t like it, but give me the Pack to drop the Hawks to a shocking 0-2. GREEN BAY WINS
Monday Night Football
- Jets @ Colts: Last week was one of the worst showings by Andrew Luck in his young career. The Bills defense was everywhere. And while the Jets defense is very good, their secondary was still torched by Manziel, who is no Luck. Not to mention that the Jets banged up on defense. The offense for New York was impressive behind Chris Ivory, so the Colts will have to figure out how to shut him down. But I like Andrew Luck too much to think they open 0-2. INDIANAPOLIS WINS