The Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and a host of other NFL playoff hopefuls opened their 2013 seasons on a high note by earning victories in Week 1.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings were among those who will have to overcome 0-1 starts to reach the promised land.
As this ESPN Stats & Info tweet suggests, getting off to a winning start is usually a good indication of future success:
Since 1990- 54% of teams to start 1-0 in NFL make the playoffs, 25% of teams that start 0-1 make it— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 8, 2013
At the end of Week 1, 16 teams will be 1-0, and 16 teams will be 0-1. All 32 teams fall somewhere under the scope of collective judgement, leading to a fresh set of NFL power rankings before Monday night's games commence.
Week 1 Scores
|Denver Broncos 49, Baltimore Ravens 27||QB Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in Denver's route of the defending champions.|
|New England Patriots 23, Buffalo Bills 21||New England survived a major scare as QB Tom Brady engineered two scoring drives late in the fourth quarter.|
|Chicago Bears 24, Cincinnati Bengals 21||Chicago head coach Marc Trestman won his NFL debut as Cincinnati wasted a two-TD day from WR A.J. Green.|
|Miami Dolphins 23, Cleveland Browns 10||Miami scored 17 of its 23 points in the second half to start the season 1-0.|
|Detroit Lions 34, Minnesota Vikings 24||Detroit had 469 yards of total offense to negate three Adrian Peterson touchdowns on the afternoon.|
|Indianapolis Colts 21, Oakland Raiders 17||Oakland made things interesting in Terrell Pryor's debut as a starter, but it was Andrew Luck who had the last laugh with a game-winning TD run.|
|New Orleans Saints 23, Atlanta Falcons 17||The Saints win Round 1 of this fierce NFC South rivalry behind a big day from QB Drew Brees (357 yards passing, two TDs).|
|New York Jets 18, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17||Rex Ryan's bunch shook off the drama and won their season opener behind rookie QB Geno Smith's late heroics and a Nick Folk field goal.|
|Tennessee Titans 16, Pittsburgh Steelers 9||The Steelers were held to just 195 total yards by the Tennessee defense in an ugly opener at Heinz Field.|
|Seattle Seahawks 12, Carolina Panthers 7||Seattle trailed 7-6 as the fourth quarter began, but second-year QB Russell Wilson engineered a TD pass to lift the Seahawks over the Panthers.|
|Kansas City Chiefs 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 2||A blocked punt safety was the only blemish in QB Alex Smith's Kansas City debut. RB Jamaal Charles left the game with a quad injury but would later return.|
|St. Louis Rams 27, Arizona Cardinals 24||Arizona took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter, but St. Louis ripped off 14 straight points over the final 15 minutes to pick up the win.|
|San Francisco 49ers 34, Green Bay Packers 28||Colin Kaepernick (412 yards passing, 3 TDs) and Anquan Boldin (208 yards receiving, TD) starred for San Francisco in this Week 1 thriller.|
|Dallas Cowboys 36, New York Giants 31||Dallas forced six New York turnovers and survived a late comeback to beat the Giants for the first time in the new stadium.|
|Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins||Monday at 6:55 p.m. ET|
|Houston Texans at San Diego Chargers||Monday at 10:15 p.m. ET|
NFL Power Rankings (prior to Monday games)
|2||San Francisco 49ers|
|4||Green Bay Packers|
|7||New England Patriots|
|11||New Orleans Saints|
|15||St. Louis Rams|
|16||New York Giants|
|17||Kansas City Chiefs|
|25||San Diego Chargers|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|29||New York Jets|
Biggest Winner: Tennessee Titans
The Pittsburgh Steelers are generally heralded for their outstanding defensive efforts.
But Sunday at Heinz Field, the Tennessee Titans put together an outstanding display of defensive prowess to hand their AFC rivals an upset loss in front of their home fans.
As noted by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the offseason decision to bring former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on board is already paying dividends:
That's why u hire Gregg Williams. What a performance by Titans defense in upset at Pittsburgh. Mike Munchak can breathe a little easier.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 8, 2013
We won't talk as much about the Tennessee offense, which managed just over 30 total yards more than Pittsburgh did on the afternoon. Simply put, Jake Locker and Co. have some major kinks to work out if they want to contend in the AFC.
But defense does win championships, and Tennessee put on an impressive defensive display. Playing in Pittsburgh's hostile environment is never easy, but the Titans walked away with a gritty victory that could be a catalyst for a strong season.
Honorable Mentions: New York Jets, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints
Biggest Loser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Poised for a strong season after acquiring Darrelle Revis and bringing back a host of talented skill players on offense, Tampa Bay threw away a sure victory in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets.
As noted by Bleacher Report's Twitter account, a late penalty cost the Buccaneers a 1-0 start:
Bucs lose after a late hit by LaVonte David put the Jets in range for the game-wining field goal. GIF: http://t.co/HgoQqlbcQR— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 8, 2013
Rookie QB Geno Smith may have gotten some help from Lavonte David's gaffe, but he did show maturity on the final drive of the game before Nick Folk booted home the game-winning field goal.
In this tough division, Tampa Bay cannot give away games to lesser opponents. As B/R's Matt Miller pontificated on Twitter, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the two teams after the Week 1 outcome:
Obviously I underestimated the Jets (or overrated the Bucs). Geno Smith is the right guy to build this O around. And the D looks stout.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 8, 2013
No matter your stance on the Bucs' chances in 2013, it was frustrating to watch Josh Freeman and the offense miss chances to close the door in the second half. "Disaster" is a good word to use here, but for some reason, that definition just doesn't sufficiently describe the major letdown for Greg Schiano.
Honorable Mentions: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.