NFL Opening Sunday: Are They WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!?

Tim SeemanAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2008

Keep in mind that, as I write this, the Colts and Bears are still playing in the second quarter.  By the time the week is over, there may be other teams that I can add to the list.

I'm going to start in the AFC East, where 75 percent of the teams made some headlines today.

New York and Miami both WERE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!  Brett Favre stretched the field for the Jets and threw two long touchdown passes.  Thomas Jones ran for 100 yards behind the improved offensive line.

Miami showed the fight that they didn't show last time, but the disparity in talent between the two teams accounted for the final score

New England and Buffalo WEREN'T WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!  Of course, the Patriots are far different without Tom Brady, and it looks like they'll be without him for quite some time this season.

Behind Matt Cassell, New England barely squeaked by the lowly Chiefs.  All of a sudden, next week's Patriots-Jets, Belichick-Mangini, Cassell(?)-Favre game becomes pivotal for both sides.

Buffalo may have provided the shocker of the day by not being WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!  They dismantled the NFC West favorites from Seattle, the Seahawks.  Ever since taking a 14-0 lead in the playoffs last season against Green Bay, opponents have outscored Seattle 76-16.  That's bad news.

Next week will be critical for the Seahawks, who will be playing division rival San Francisco, who didn't look good in their own right against the Arizona Cardinals.

In other AFC action today, Cleveland and San Diego WEREN'T WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!  Who we thought they were was playoff contenders.  Cleveland's defense couldn't get pressure on Tony Romo and let Marion Barber run all over them.  That was sort of expected. 

But they did diddly poo offensively (gotta love Jim Mora) and only scored ten points.  This has to improve if the defense is going to be as porous as it was today.

The story might be different for San Diego.  They seemed more like a playoff team than Cleveland did, and they fell into a trap game against a Panthers squad that got its starting quarterback back.

The Chargers also had the lead with two seconds left to go, but the only time being ahead matters is when the clock reads zero.  Carolina played a great game, and this may be one of those bad losses early in the year that turns into a good loss as the season progresses.

What happened in the NFC was more easily predicted today.  Dallas WAS WHO WE THOUGHT IT WAS! as I mentioned in why Cleveland WASN'T!. 

One team who WASN'T WHO WE THOUGHT IT WAS! for a good reason was Atlanta.

While it's necessary to take into account who the Falcons played today (Detroit), the day Matt Ryan and Michael Turner had today can't be ignored.  Turner had a ten-yard rushing average, going for 220 yards on 22 carries.  Ryan's first NFL pass was a long touchdown.

Teams with winning records later in the year need to keep an eye on Atlanta when they come up on the schedule.  Otherwise, the Falcons could surprise them, whoever they are (*cough* Green Bay *cough*).

And so far in Sunday night's game, Indianapolis doesn't look like WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!  The offense is sputtering and has produced only two field goals.  Chicago's Matt Forte has a long run for a touchdown, and Joseph Addai just got tackled in the end zone for a safety, making the score 12-6, Chicago. 

If the Colts go on to lose (it's not even halftime yet, so not time to worry yet), the AFC will be interesting to watch the rest of the way, and Chicago will be another dangerously sneaky team in the NFC.