After a long layoff, the NFL finally returned last Sunday. Here’s my thoughts.
I’ve already had to eat my words on the breakout player of the year. Gabbert was awful, and he lacerated his hand. He’s already been replaced by Chad Henne due to injury, but if Henne is at least mediocre, he could win the starting job. After a pathetic showing against, the Chiefs, the Jaguars look to be the doormats of the NFL. It’s going to be a long season in Jacksonville, with only the hope of Teddy Bridgewater or Jadeveon Clowney in next year’s draft keeping Jaguar’s fans sane.
The Raiders might not be as bad as we all thought. Terrelle Pryor has sparked the offense somewhat in a close loss to the Colts, a playoff team a year ago. Pryor has a tremendous work ethic and refuses to be the next JaMarcus Russel. Still, the team is too short on talent to make the playoffs or a major impact in the AFC West. However, with wise drafting and smart transactions (not exactly something the Raiders are known for), they could build a team around Pryor and contend in a few years.
Early favorites for the Superbowl, the Niners and the Broncos, both impressed. The Broncos cruised to victory over the defending champions behind the arm of Peyton Manning. The Niners beat a very good Packers team after a flawless performance by Colin Kaepernick and a stellar game from offseason acquistiton Anquan Boldin.
The Chiefs look to be an improving team. The offense has a few quality playmakers and is shaping up nicely. The defense shut out Jacksonville, which wasn’t exactly a challenge, but they need to continue to improve if they want to make the playoffs in the next few years.
The Steelers look like the 3rd worst team in the NFL in terms of talent. The backfield is a mess, and Ben Rothliesberger had no one to throw to. An injury to Big Ben could plummet them to a 2-14 team. The Steelers are just 2 years removed from a Super Bowl appearance but appear to be on the decline, rapidly.
The Eagles new fast paced, college oriented offense looks to gel with the talent on the team. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson are all elite speedsters. The defense faltered late against the Redskins and almost blew a 26 point lead. That will need to improve if they want to come out on top in the NFC East. Chip Kelly is playing to the team strengths, and Philedalphia is hoping to ride that to 9 wins and a playoff berth.
The complete lack of a run game emerged as a major flaw for the New York Giants. One of Eli Manning’s interceptions ended up being a pick 6 and the difference maker in the game. That pass bounced off Da’Rel Scott’s hands and straight up into the air, an easy interception for the Dallas cornerback. Eli will once again have to carry this team. The defense looked shaky as Tony Romo threaded the needed smoothly through the secondary without much trouble. The pass defense will need to improve. The starting tailback, speedster David Wilson, had a horrific game. He needs to call up Tiki Barber and learn how to not cough up the ball. This Giants team is walking on thin ice. The passing game is the only consistent part of the team.
The Buccaneers are loaded with talent, but can’t seem to capatalize. Josh Freeman’s days under center are numbered. He consistently fails to produce, even with a plethora of offensive weapons. The Buccaneers have huge upside and a shutdown secondary, but need more consistency from the quarterback position to win games. They threw away a week one game to the Jets due to poor discipline. Still, it’s hard not to like a team loaded with weapons such as Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Darrelle Revis, and Dashon Goldson. Freeman is 1 for 5 for sucessful years in the NFL. He is the critical piece, the missing element in this team. If he picks up his play, this team has the talent to go places.
Geno Smith has looked solid in his NFL action so far. He hasn’t been anything special, but Jets fans will take a W any way they can get it. Just remember, Mark Sanchez took the Jets to 2 straight AFC championship games before falling off. Hopefully Smith can connect with his offensive weapons in Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller.
The Texans looked scary in their comeback win over the chargers. The team has a Hall of Fame wide receiver in Andre Johnson and tons of other options in a loaded offense. The defense will strengthen with the return of Brian Cushing and the addition of Ed Reed. The Texans could be dark horse candidates for the Super Bowl
Week 2 is almost here!