We Are Underway- The NFL once again opens another season and does not disappoint. A number of games in Week 1 either went down to the wire or saw teams come back from large deficits either to win or make a game of it. Some fans came away excited about their favorite teams' season prospects while others came away at least a little concerned. The best game of Week 1 was clearly the 49ers vs. Packers in San Francisco which did not disappoint the over 60,000 in attendance at Candlestick Park plus a national television audience. The game was a back and fourth thrill ride which is something the NFL would like to see more of (and can use more of too). Amongst the better games of this past weekend aside from the 49ers vs Packers were the Bills giving the Patriots all they could handle, the Rams rallying to defeat the Cardinals, the Bears and Bengals putting on a solid game as did the Saints and Falcons.
Kingshark Line Week 1- The Kingshark Line went 11-5 for the first week. Winners were Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis, Miami, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, New England, and Houston.
Week 2: NY Jets @ New England- We have the first NFL Network Thursday Night tilt of the season in a feature game which usually tests the stamina of teams with just three days rest. However, it's big business and when Roger Goodell says "Go", you "Go" and you never question it. You just do it. Both the Patriots and Jets are coming off of very tight games Sunday. New England got very hard street fight from the home standing Buffalo Bills and needed a last second field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to pull out a 23-21 victory. Tom Brady had quite the afternoon at the office with a 29 of 52 day netting 288 yards passing and two touchdowns. The New York Jets meanwhile pulled out a game against Tampa Bay 18-17 also on a last second field goal from Nick Folk. This came after Tampa's Lavonte David played the roll of Santa Claus in September with a bad penalty that set the Jets up for the win. It's just the second week of the season and this has the makings of a pretty good game. The Jets in recent past have played the Patriots fairly tough particularly in Foxboro. The Jets are probably thankful that this road game is early in the season. The one thing the Jets will have going for them is they are going to be playing with house money. If the Jets lose, it won't be all that big of a deal. If the Patriots lose meanwhile, it's a big deal. The Patriots got a good scare from Buffalo and should get a tough game from the Jets, and truthfully they probably expect as much. Right now, the Patriots are maybe not playing their best football but have more than enough to win their home opener. The Kingshark Line sees this game as New England 24, NY Jets 17. It will be a good one to watch for certain.
Thoughts On Teams- The Kingshark Line Impressions on some of the NFL teams after the first weekend...
Oakland Raiders- I did not pick the Raiders to do well at all in their first game at Indianapolis. However I will own the fact that I was wrong about how they would perform as I clearly did not expect much. I was left very impressed by how the Raiders and Terrelle Pryor played. I still feel Oakland is a six win team, but I can now see them maybe getting to seven. The Raiders need to make internal commitments to players and stick with them. That will build confidence from within.
Kansas City Chiefs- Even though it was Jacksonville, the Chiefs still looked solid Sunday and were very impressive. Alex Smith and Coach Andy Reid are going to work out just fine. With some hard work and good fortune maybe the Chiefs could challenge for a wild card spot. We will need to see a lot more first. However no doubt the Chiefs will be a team to watch this season.
Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are probably very happy to have the opener in Denver behind them. It was not good. However, I don't feel the Ravens are that bad of a team at all. This was a trap game right out of the gate. Since all teams in the AFC North lost in week 1, there is really no first or last place. The Ravens will rebound and get tougher as the season wears on.
Denver Broncos- Peyton Manning may not have another game like he did this past Thursday Night. That performance will be tough to top or even match. However, the Denver Broncos as a team left no doubt they are going to be the team to beat in the AFC. Do not be surprised if the AFC road to the Super Bowl goes through Denver, Colorado. If the Broncos host the AFC Title Game (just thinking ahead) and win it, they will be repaired well for the big game in February outdoors at the Meadowlands. First thing is first though, the Broncos must control the AFC West. They should have more than enough to overpower a rather weak division.
Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears- I put them together because both teams played each other Sunday and both left good impressions in an excellent game that could have gone either way. Both teams appeared ready to challenge in their divisions. Chicago will have the tougher task with rival Green Bay. The Bengals have the Ravens in their division, but look as the best team in their division to challenge the defending champions.
Green Bay Packers- Green Bay is in the class of the 49ers, Seattle and when they are on their game, the New York Giants in the NFC. The Packers despite the loss Sunday will be just fine and will challenge for the NFC crown without a doubt. The significance of the 49ers win could keep them out of Lambeau in January in the event of a tie breaker. The Packers are going to be a tough draw for any team on their schedule all season long.
Atlanta Falcons & New Orleans Saints - Both teams will be the main contenders for the NFC South. Which ever team does not win this division will be a wild card candidate. I like Atlanta, however New Orleans has a chip on it's shoulder and will be another tough draw for anyone on their schedule.
Houston Texans- Many people are talking about the San Diego Chargers epic collapse on Monday Night. However they are also missing the point of giving the Houston Texans credit for not giving up on a game on which they trailed 28-7 halfway through the third quarter on the road. The Texans got off to a bad start however still managed to finish strong. Monday's game should be a springboard for the Texans who are expected to challenge in the AFC.
Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers last season were a disappointing 8-8 if you go by the standards in which their franchise has set. A team with more Super Bowl wins (6) than any other franchise, you know there is great pride in the ranks of the franchise and their fan base. All of this, and the Steelers in their opener looked a lot like what Oakland did last year. Just everything that could have gone wrong did. However, all four teams in the AFC North are 0-1 and it's just one game...and what a lousy one it was against Tennessee.
Seattle Seahawks- If defensive coaches around the league want to find out how to shut down Russell Wilson & Company, look no further that what the Carolina Panthers did Sunday. The Panthers held a team that is a threat to score somewhere between 30 and 40 points each week to just 12. The Panthers kept the heat on Wilson all day long. Wilson was still able to make plays however more often than not had to improvise against a stingy Panther defense. This does not mean the Seahawks wont be dangerous. They are a very dangerous team and a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the NFC. However the message here is clear. If you want to stop the Seattle Seahawks, you first must find a way to stop Wilson. Not an easy assignment for anyone.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The only things that came to mind regarding their performance this past Sunday was the two things they may challenge this season, (1) The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-14; (2) The 2008 Detroit Lions 0-16. It's early, but I don't see where this teams wins will come from. If there are any, it won't be more than two or three and that's absolute best case scenario. Futility may be their middle name this season.
San Diego Chargers- I rap this article up by mentioning the Chargers. The reason is that this is one franchise who has found their worst enemy, and it is the Chargers. To be fair, new Head Coach Mike McCoy and new General Manager Tom Tolesco truly have their work cut out for them. They have a team on their hands right now that already may have played their best game of the season and yet still found a way to lose it. The Chargers are at best a five win team and after watching the Raiders performance at Indianapolis Sunday, there is no guarantee the Chargers will even be third in the AFC West. Norv Turner was a lousy Head Coach. Former General Manager AJ Smith however left this franchise in ruins with horrible drafts and just being a lousy businessman. When Smith left, on the way out the door he tipped over a gas can and threw a match behind it. Ultimately the Chargers may have to rebuild from the ground up. What will that be like? Look no further than Jacksonville, that's the Chargers once Philip Rivers retires or leaves.