Even the best of teams can start slowly in the NFL. Week 1 is rarely an indication of how a season will play out, and a bit of off-season rust can slow down the best of offenses or leave a solid defense scratching its head at too many touchdowns allowed.
So I'm never shocked when good teams lose in Week 1. But if they keep the losing streak going?
That's when you've got problems.
But no worries for fans of the following teams—I think Week 1 was merely a temporary setback in what will be an otherwise successful season. So give them a mulligan and get ready for Week 2. Things are going to get better.
Green Bay Packers
After a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, things don't get easier for the Packers with the Chicago Bears coming to town on Thursday night. Believe it or not, the team that lost just once in the regular season ago could start this year 0-2.
But I don't see it happening. The Packers are 7-2 against the Bears with Aaron Rodgers behind the helm. Yes, they lost to the 49ers at home, but that doesn't mean it's any less difficult for opponents to play there. And the Packers certainly won't want to be embarrassed in front of the home phones twice to start the season.
Rodgers and company will get the offense working efficiently once again. The Packers will blitz Jay Cutler every time he drops back to pass. And the NFL week will begin with a familiar refrain on Thursday night: the Packers winning.
New Orleans Saints
Losing to the Washington Redskins in the Superdome was shocking enough, but if they also fall to the Carolina Panthers and fall to 0-2, I think we'll all have to admit that Bountygate and the loss of Sean Payton for the year has taken its toll.
I just don't think Drew Brees will allow that to happen. In two game wins against the Panthers last season, Brees threw for 748 yards, seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. And while I think Cam Newton is a special talent, I also believe teams have figured out how to slow him down.
Look for the Saints to recover in a big way in Carolina on Sunday.
New York Giants
I feel bad for Josh Freeman in this game.
I feel bad for him because the Giants are going to ratchet up the pass rush. I feel bad for him because Eli Manning and company are going to hit the ground running and put points on the board. I feel bad for him because the Giants are going to be really, really focused after losing to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.
The Bucs looked like a good football team on Sunday, but having to face the defending champions a week after a loss to an NFC East rival?
Well, that's a recipe for disaster for Tampa Bay. Eli and company are going to come out guns slinging in this one.
The New York Jets won't score 48 points again this season. The Steelers get Ryan Clark back and will certainly be relieved Mark Sanchez and not Peyton Manning is playing in this one. It's a home game.
While I believe this is the year the Steelers will start to naturally regress, I don't think the Jets are going to be the team that sends them down that path. Let's just say I think Week 1 was an aberration for Rex Ryan's club.
Look for the Steelers to bounce back in this one. And for the Jets' offense to, you know, come back to Earth.
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