Well the NFL Season is off and running. In the first week of the 2011 National Football League season we saw an influx of offense, where a new NFL record was set, seeing 14 QB's pass for at least 300 yards. So far it appears the lockout has hurt the defensive units much more than it has their offensive counterparts. There were 9 teams, 8 in winning efforts, to score more than 30 points in their week one match-ups while only 3 teams scored fewer than 10 points.
I guess we'll have to wait and see if these trends continue for the rest of the year, after all it is only one week, and as the old saying goes, one week does not make a season. It'll be interesting in week 2 and moving forward though, to see how long it takes the defenses to catch up to the speed of these, albeit early, highly productive offenses from the first week.
Another thing I'll be keeping an eye out is to see just how accurate my predictions are from week to week. In week one I correctly predicted 11 of the 16 contests. 11-5 is not too shabby, at least I don't think it is.
The 5 games I could not foretell the future for were:
The Cincinnati over Cleveland game, where the Bengals victory was due in part to a complete lack of communication on the part of a huddling Dick Jauron led Browns defense, that allowed then QB Bruce Gradkowski to hit rookie AJ Green on a 40 yard TD pass to take the lead.
The Sunday night game between Dallas and the Jets, that saw a Cowboys team secure a 14 point lead late in the 3rd quarter only to see it slip away in the 4th, largely in part to some major league miscues on the part of Cowboys QB Tony Romo
The Sebastian Janikowski led Oakland Raiders team's victory over the Denver Broncos
The Washington Redskins victory over a severely battered NY Giants defensive squad. In this game perhaps we witnessed the second wind so to speak for Redskin QB Rex Grossman
And The Chicago Bears trouncing of the Atlanta Falcons rounds out my five losses for week one.
As far as the scores go, the closest I came to accurately predicting a game score, which is near impossible, or that's how I see it anyhow, was my prediction that Jacksonville would beat Tennessee by a score of 16-13 where the actual score was Jacksonville 16 and Tennessee 14. Not bad for my first week.
Onto Week 2's picks:
1. Oakland Vs. Buffalo.
Both teams got important week one victories. Buffalo decimated Oakland's division rival, and last years AFC West Champion KC Chiefs by 34 points, whereas Oakland defeated division rival Denver by a mere FG. Look for Oakland to feed the ball to RunDMC and Michael Bush in this one. I think Buffalo will be up to the task, and take advantage of a very youthful and injured Oakland secondary. I look for a 28-17 win for Buffalo.
2. Green Bay Vs. Carolina.
Cam Newton had what some are calling the most impressive first game for a rookie QB for all time. While I do like what Cam Newton offers both the Panthers and Non-NFC South fans alike, he did this against a pretty brutal Arizona secondary. This week he'll have to face off against a very good, if not the best, defensive unit in the NFL. I'm sure Clay Matthews is licking his chops for this one. Green Bay is too strong and this could get so out of hand, we may get to see the first Matt Flynn showcasing of the year. Pack wins easily. 35-7
3. KC Vs. Detroit.
Most would lay claim that Detroit has a much better offense and defense than Buffalo. That said I don't see another 34 point loss for the chiefs, but I don't see them competing much here either. Lions win before a frenzied Detroit crowd. 42-17
4. Cleveland Vs. Indianapolis
The Kerry Collins era got started in a rough way last week. Houston had their way with Indy in every sense of the word. Cleveland lost in somewhat heartbreaking fashion to the Bengals last week. While the safe pick may be to take the Browns here, I won't. I feel that Collins, who despite his 17 years in the NFL, is still a capable starter with a pretty decent arm. He'll have another week of work with the starters and listening to some interviews this week, it sounds as if some of the Colts players sounded like their pride was on the line. Colts 27 Browns 20
5. Tampa Bay Vs. Minnesota
Minnesota was terrible offensively last week against the Chargers. Tampa Bay never really got going with their style of game against the Lions. Things change this week. We'll see a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson once again for Minnesota and a healthy does of Legarrette Blount for Tampa Bay. I think Tampa's too talented here. Tampa Bay 17 Minnesota 13
6. Chicago Vs. New Orleans
Chicago is rallying beside their teammate in a time of need but New Orleans is sore from that Thursday night opener in Green Bay. They've had 10 days to iron out their wrinkles and despite the loss of Marques Colston I think, in a close game, the Saints march in this one, to a 31-24 victory over the Bears.
7. Jacksonville Vs. New York Jets
I was not impressed by either team last weekend. While both got their W's in week one, neither appeared dominant. Jacksonville, with Luke McCown at the helm staved off a Tennessee team's comeback attempt. On the other end NY came back against Dallas down by 14 in the 4th. That type of comeback fills a team. Not that NY needed anything more to handle the Jags this week though. 34-14 Jets over Jags
8. Seattle Vs. Pittsburgh
Not a long write up about this one. Seattle is going to continue being terrible and Pittsburgh was embarrassed against division foe Baltimore last week. We may get our first shutout of the year in Pittsburgh. 28-0 Steelers make a statement.
9. Baltimore Vs. Tennessee
Baltimore made their statement last week. It was a case of too little too late for the Titans. Baltimore wins with ease 21-10
10. Arizona Vs. Washington
Arizona put some points up last week, but they also let Cam Newton run wild. This should be a fun game to watch. Should be a ton of O in this one. But I think Washington is a better team right now and will ride to 2-0 on the shoulders of Tim Hightower and Rex Grossman. 34-30
11. Dallas Vs. San Francisco
Another game where I feel sorry for one of the teams. SF at 1-0 has to face a pissed off Cowboys team. While SF's defense is pretty good, Dallas will do enough to win the game. 14-10
12. Cincinnati Vs. Denver
This should be either a snooze fest or a blow out. If Denver plays like they did against Oakland on Monday Night it will give Cincinnati every opportunity to pull this one out, if Orton plays like the 2010 version this shouldn't be a contest. I'll game on the side of caution here and say Denver pulls out a 24-13 win over the Bengals
13. Houston Vs. Miami
NE showcased Miami's inability to defend the no-huddle. I expect the Texans to douse the fins with plenty more of it on Sunday. Texans 28-Miami 17
14. San Diego Vs. New England
I want to take SD here. I want to quote how SD always plays NE tough. But it's Tom Brady coming off a 500 yard performance, now playing at their home opener. Can't do it. Patriots win 42- 31
15. Philadelphia Vs. Atlanta
Kind of a story line here. Mike Vick returns to Atlanta as the starter. That's what this game is being billed as, despite the fact he played their a bit in mop up duty 2 years ago. But this game is all about Vick being effective. Atlanta was embarrassed in Chicago last week and will look to avenge that loss. Coming into the season both of these teams were being touted as, along with the Packers, as the cream of the NFC crop. Should be a good game but Philly is too strong not to take. 24-14 Eagles win.
16. St. Louis Vs. New York Giants.
Monday night game.
Neither team looked very good last week. Manning will have something to prove and I guess the same thing can be said about Bradford, but without his safety net in Danny Amendola and star RB Steven Jackson, he'll have to get the job done with Brandon Gibson and Cadillac Williams. Nicks may not play for the Giants, but in that case I really like Mario Manningham for both fantasy and real world stats. Giants win at home. 23-13
See you all next week for a recap of Week 2 and for Week 3's predictions. Happy Football Weekend!