NFL Scores Week 1: Talented Teams Who Looked Sloppy on Sunday

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws to a receiver throws to a receiver as he is pressured by defensive back T.J. Ward #43 of the Cleveland Browns during the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The NFL's opening week tends to be a fifth preseason game for some teams as they get their feet under them in "real" action.

Regardless of talent or expectations, Week 1 always presents a few challenges. First impressions are important, and every professional franchise is out to prove itself for the upcoming season.

So while Sunday's early games held good fortune for some teams, other squads were still shaking off the rust.

Let's take a look at three talented teams that didn't put their best foot forward in their opening matchups.


Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles barely beat the Cleveland Browns, even with Brandon Weeden's 5.1 quarterback rating working in their favor.

Michael Vick's performance was a big reason for that. Not only did he match Weeden with four interceptions, but he fumbled the ball twice. Whether he lost the fumbles or not, they didn't do the Eagles offense any favors.

The Philadelphia defense did an excellent job as a hole, but the team turned in a lackluster performance. On top of their turnovers, the Eagles committed 12 penalties for 110 yards.

A win is a win, but this game shouldn't have been close. Weeden was awful in his rookie debut, and a consistent performance from the Birds would have put the score more in their favor.

If the Eagles don't pick up the pieces in Week 2, they won't be so lucky against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens' defense will be fierce, and they will take advantage of any Vick mishaps.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints' loss to the Washington Redskins is a minor upset, but the play of their defense is more upsetting. Talented or not, Robert Griffin III is still a rookie.

New Orleans didn't really get into this game until late in the second quarter. By then, they were down 20-7 and RG3 was well on his way to an outstanding debut.

It's not like the Saints defense has ever established itself as an elite unit, but this feels different. The franchise faced a multitude of distractions this offseason, and a hot start seemed necessary.

Now they will play the Carolina Panthers next week in an effort to right the ship.

Each team committed 12 penalties, but the Saints are held to a higher standard. Drew Brees didn't help matters with his two interceptions, and the defense gave up 464 total yards.

All in all, this was a game New Orleans would likely rather forget.


Detroit Lions

Most of this comes down to Matthew Stafford's three interceptions, but sloppy is sloppy. Detroit was heavily favored over St. Louis, and the Lions would have lost without some late-game heroics.

Stafford did orchestrate the game's decisive drive, but he was also the reason the game was so close. Cortland Finnegan took one of the interceptions the other way for a touchdown, and Stafford couldn't get into a consistent rhythm for most of the game.

Defensively, the Lions did a fairly good job. That said, Sam Bradford had a 100-plus QB rating, and he avoided committing any turnovers.

St. Louis is coming off of a two-win season, and the Lions are one of football's most exciting squads. The Rams defense sat on Detroit's aerial attack, and Stafford struggled in a few critical moments.

Detroit shouldn't be as concerned as others, but it can't completely rely on its passing attack this season. Kevin Smith's rushing game was encouraging, and the Lions must build on that.