Week 1 is in the books and some of the contenders looked like pretenders. Let’s see where the teams shape up with an eye towards our NFL picks this coming week.
1.) San Francisco 49’ers – Any time a team beats Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, they can’t possibly move down regardless of what the others teams did that week. So here they sit at the top of the heap as they not only won but covered the all-important number in NFL odds.
2.) Denver Broncos – Peyton has a new toy and his name is Wes Welker. It looked as though these two have been playing pass and catch forever as the Broncos throttled the World Champion Baltimore Ravens.
3.) Seattle Seahawks – A close victory over a seemingly mediocre team like the Panthers doesn’t normally warrant a climb in the rankings but damn that defense is good and they covered the number on the road.
4.) Houston Texans – Down 21 late in the third quarter to the Chargers in hostile territory the Texans roared back off the golden arm of Matt Schaub to secure the victory. Great comeback but where’s that defense?
5.) New England Patriots – Tom didn’t look so terrific when he fumbled a snap on the goal line but he did engineer his patented march in the waning moments to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat over the Bills.
6.) Green Bay Packers – So they dropped their opening game at Candlestick to the most feared team in the league. Cheesehead Nation should be more concerned with their defense surrendering over 400 yards through the air than the loss itself.
7.) New Orleans Saints – Defensive guru Rob Ryan is now on Sean Payton’s staff and his influence has already paid dividends as they held Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds in check for a big divisional win.
8.) Atlanta Falcons – Though the Falcons have to consider holding Drew Brees to only two touchdowns a moral victory, their offensive line looked porous as Matt Ryan was under duress throughout.
9.) Detroit Lions – I was high on Detroit and the addition of Reggie Bush as evidenced by my power rankings last week and my faith was rewarded in spades as the Lions dispatched the Vikings with a huge boost from Bush.
10.) Dallas Cowboys – Romo got banged up and the defense surrendered four TD’s through the air but the wins don’t have to be pretty to count as Dallas defeated their arch-rivals in front of the fan friendlies.
11.) Chicago Bears – Sluggish is a good word to describe the Bears’ play until they kicked it up a notch late in the third quarter to capture a gritty win over a good team in the Bengals.
12.) Philadelphia Eagles – Chip Kelly had even the fat guys on the couch watching at home winded as he brought his frenetic high octane offense on the road to topple the Skins.
13.) Baltimore Ravens – Maybe I’m being too hard on the World Champs. After all, losing to Peyton Manning at Mile High isn’t anything to be ashamed of but giving up seven, yes seven, touchdowns to even Manning is embarrassing particularly for a team whose success has been built on defense.
14.) Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid is on the sidelines and Alex Smith is pulling the trigger. Two new fresh faces for Chiefs fans and the results were encouraging as they blasted the lowly Jags in Jacksonville.
15.) Indianapolis Colts – Any win is a good win in the NFL, so they say, but when a team like the Raiders is putting a scare into you on your home turf, it doesn’t bode well.
16.) Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals bungled late in the game as they allowed the Bears to maul their way back to victory but damn that AJ Green is something else!
17.) Washington Redskins – RGIII threw for over 300 yards yet tossed two interceptions in the process as the Redskins gamely fought back but couldn’t recover from a big early deficit to the high flying Eagles.
18.) New York Giants – Eli tossed four touchdowns but that didn’t atone for his three picks as Big Blue went down to Dallas and lost a shootout at Cowboy Stadium.
19.) Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill was merely effective but the defense was ferocious, recording six sacks and stifling the Browns offense en route to a 23-10 win on the highway.
20.) Tennessee Titans – While the Tennessee offense won’t leave you slack-jawed, you’ve got to take note of their defense's quantum leap over last season as they smothered the Steelers on the road.
21.) San Diego Chargers – Norv Turner may be gone but the futility continues for the Chargers. Looking like they would pull an upset over the Texans by vaulting out to a three touchdown lead, they dashed the hopes of Bolts fans everywhere by choking down the stretch. What’s new?
22.) St. Louis Rams – Key free agent acquisition Jared Cook shook off some early jitters to lead the Rams over the Cardinals. Sam Bradford tossed for nearly 300 yards and two TD’s to make this year’s edition look downright intriguing.
23.) Carolina Panthers – They held Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in check until they surrendered their lead for good down the stretch. Defense looked good but Cam Newton needs more than 125 passing yards to get his team in the win column.
24.) Arizona Cardinals – The Cards may have fallen in their season opener but Carson Palmer looks like a breath of fresh air for a team that has played musical chairs at quarterback.
25.) Buffalo Bills – They gave the Patriots a huge run for their money but in the end, the Bills do what they always do. Lose.
26.) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are only this far up the scale because these rankings are not based purely on one game. But Pittsburgh not only looked lousy in their home loss to the Titans, they lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and linebacker Larry Foote for the season. This team is in trouble.
27.) New York Jets – Yaaaaay, the Jets are undefeated – until Friday morning after they play the Patriots. One win over the Bucs does not convince me that Gang Green is back.
28.) Tampa Bay Bucs – The Bucs lost due to a self-inflicted wound which was a late penalty allowing the Jets to get in range for what was ultimately the game winner. Bad teams make bad mistakes.
29.) Minnesota Vikings – The Vikes lost to a team in Detroit that should be a juggernaut this season so maybe this ranking is a tad low. However, we all know that if it weren’t for future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Peterson this team wouldn’t even be worth discussing.
30.) Oakland Raiders – Terrell Pryor must have been thinking, feet don’t fail me now, as he rushed his way to a franchise record for a quarterback by collecting 112 yards but tossed two critical picks in the red zone and took a debilitating sack late in the game. However, the kid’s got potential and maybe so too, do the Raiders.
31.) Cleveland Browns – Oh no Cleveland fans, not this bull sh** again. Just when you thought your team was on the incline with Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson having one year under their collective belts, they get beaten up by the Dolphins. Hey, it’s Cleveland, what do you expect?
32.) Jacksonville Jaguars – These Jaguars come as advertised – toothless.