NFL Week 1 Notes: 2011
September 14, 2011 1:44 AM
Week 1 notes on the National Football League
1) The 2011 #1 draft pick, Cam Newton, kicked off his pro career by throwing over 400 yards in a loss to the Cardinals. Wow. Impressive. Rookie quarterbacks don't do that. And they certainly don't do that in their first game after an offseason shortened by 3 months thanks to an NFL lockout.
2) Ace of the week: Aaron Rodgers threw for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions and completed 77% of his passes in a win over the Saints. Rodgers really wanted to prove that his team did not need player-organized offseason workouts to be dominant.
Ass of the week: Tony Romo single-handedly lost the Game for the Cowboys with a fumble and an interception in the 4th quarter when the Cowboys had the lead. Romo has a bad habit of doing things like that.
3) The New Orleans Saints played a hell of a game with the Green Bay Packers, but lost 42-34. A shootout that Green Bay won thanks to a few timely defensive plays. It was fitting for the game to come down to a last second, 1-yard play because that was the story of the night. The Saints inability to gain 1 or 2 yards on 3rd and 4th down. Four times they tried it, and three times they got stymied. Those short yardage stops by the Packers, and the one turnover by the Saints were the difference in the game.
4) Why do NFL teams not see what every fan can see: Donovan McNabb is cooked, he's not a good quarterback anymore. Christian Ponder is destined to be starting for the Vikings before the season is out.
5) My Top 5: Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints and Bears face off on Sunday, should be a great game.
6) Pre-season I kept hearing about how the Browns are a team on the rise, and the Bengals are a mess. That's not what it looked like on the field. The Browns played a lot like the same old Browns, even though Colt McCoy looks like a pretty solid quarterback. In the other AFC North contest, the Ravens destroyed the Steelers. Baltimore meant business in that Game and Ray Rice was a stud.
7) Every NFC South team lost. That's a harsh blow to those of us who feel the NFC South is the best division in football. As much as I love to see the Falcons, Bucs, and Panthers lose games, I don't much like the entire division losing like that.
8) The Raiders are interesting again. They actually win games now. If they can finish 2nd in the AFC West they have a good chance to get into the playoffs.
Oh, and if you're a Broncos fan and you want Tim Tebow to be your starting quarterback, or if you're chanting his name during games, you're an idiot.
9) Fantasy tip: With Colston out for the next 4-6 weeks, it's difficult to know which reciever will emerge as a fantasy star. If Lance Moore gets back on the field, it's probably him. And I'd expect Jimmy Graham to get even more red zone targets with Colston out.
10) The Lions are an interesting team this year. I don't think they're a playoff team, but they kind of played like one against the Bucs. Detroit is one of a handful of NFC teams (Lions, Bucs, Cowboys, Rams) who could probably make the playoffs if they were in the AFC, but the NFC is super-tough.
Fearless Prediction: Stone-cold lock!
Saints 27, Bears 21
Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!
1) Holy crap! Darren Sproles showed everyone (with 250 all-purpose yards and a TD) what Reggie Bush was supposed to be doing on the Saints all those years.
2) Saints stat of the week: 4. Four times the Packers got into the redzone and four times the Packers scored touchdowns. The Saints defense needs to play better than that. Hold one of those possesions to a field goal, maybe get a turnover, something!
3) I love the Saints backfield this year. Mark Ingram runs hard and can wear down a defense. Pierre Thomas is healthy and looks like his usual tricky self, and Darren Sproles has the speed and big play ability that can break a game open.
For more Week 1 Saints coverage, read me at Black and Gold, All Day.