J.J. McDermott, NFL Columnist at Fantasy Football Maniaxs
Week one may be over but it did not disappoint, as there were many exciting games to be seen this past week. Plenty of surprises and injuries were in store for us around the league as many playoff teams from last year are already struggling to start the season.
If there is one thing to be said after this week of football, that is, we are in for one unpredictable year!
After a week one blowout of the Cleveland Browns, the Cowboys have finally graced the top of the Power Rankings. The team looked in sync and picked apart the poor Browns secondary all day long. With Tom Brady’s season-ending injury, the Cowboys will be the team to beat in 2008.
Even through the injuries and retirements, last year’s world champions still know how to come out and win. Their defense still found a way keep the pressure on the Redskins offense and Eli Manning managed the offense well in his season debut.
They played solid all around football to start off the season. The running game is in place, the passing game will do just fine (when needed), and the defense is still in the top ten.
Running out of the gate and not looking back, the Saints out played a tough divisional rival in their first week and emerged victorious. Their offense has always been explosive, but their vastly improved defense played a large role in their opening win.
The only word that comes to mind to describe the Eagle’s win over the Rams in week one is dominant.
Even without their top two receivers, the Eagles tore apart a struggling Ram’s secondary with only their backup receivers. It will be scary to see how the Eagles will play once they regain Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown back by mid-season.
This week will be a huge test to see if the Eagles can keep up with last year’s division leader, the Cowboys.
My, how the mighty have fallen.
After a near perfect season, Tom Brady is out for the remainder of the year.
But, do not count the Patriots out. The Patriots still play in a weak division and still only face four teams with a winning record from last season. Is Tom Brady the whole team? Absolutely not.
The Patriots still have play makers in Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Laurence Maroney among others on offense. Until Matt Cassel and the Patriot offense struggles, do not count this team out just yet.
The Chargers lost a heart breaker to the Panthers at home to start the season. The Panthers played a good game, but the Chargers always seem to struggle to begin the year off.
The loss of Shawne Merriman to reconstructive knee surgery will make for a large hole to fill on defense, but if there is one thing the Chargers have other than talent on their team, it is depth.
The Colts struggled and looked rusty in their first game to begin the season. Peyton Manning was able to spread the ball around evenly to his receivers but turnovers and a lacking running game prevented the Colts from staying in the game.
The Colts will have to overcome rustiness and injuries to continue to stay atop of their constantly improving division.
Favre who? Aaron Rodgers looked solid in his debut, connecting on 18 of his 22 passes including one touchdown pass and added a running touchdown to lead the Packers to their first win to begin the post-Favre era in Green Bay.
It may just be one game but it should be interesting to see where Rodgers leads the Packers this season.
The Titans one two punch of Chris Johnson and Lendale White is going to keep them in games this season. Vince Young may be hurt but all you need in Tennessee is a quarterback who can hand off the pigskin to lightning quick Chris Johnson or pound it in there with Lendale White.
Their defense came to play in week one but look for them to keep up the momentum and try to keep them deep into games to give themselves a chance to win.
The Bills displayed probably the best all around team performance in week one. Everything went the way they wanted it for the Bills in their romping over the NFC West champion Seahawks.
The offense looked much improved from last year’s dismal showing, the defense has come together and is somewhat healthy for a change, and the special teams unit looked fantastic in the win.
The offensive line and receiving core are falling quickly in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are playing their backup guards and center. The running game needs to step it up after a pitiful effort in week one against Buffalo. The defense is going to have to keep them in the game if they are going to have a chance for a winning season.
There was a commercial during the game Sunday that read, “Different green, same Farve.” This saying is not far from the truth in the Jet’s week one win over former quarterback, Chad Pennington’s new team.
The offense finally looks like it has gelled nicely but it faces larger tasks than Miami this season so look for the outcome of many games depended on the offensive line’s play this season.
The Vikings struggled with inconsistent play at quarterback as usual but in the second half, Tavaris Jackson finally found his rhythm, but by then it was too late. Jackson needs to find his rhythm earlier in games if he wants to give his offense a chance to win games because Adrian Peterson can not do it all by himself for the Vikings.
The Panthers shocked the Chargers for a huge week one upset; all without star wide receiver Steve Smith on offense. Jake Delhomme’s bionic elbow looked great but the difference was the defense, which came up big for the Panthers holding league MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson to under a hundred yards in the game.
The Bear’s defense took a page from their playbook two years ago on its way to it’s win over the eventual 2006 Super Bowl champion Colts in week one. Steady play from Kyle Orton, a consistent running game, and a healthy defense will be the deciding factor if the Bears can pull off a winning season.
They absolutely dismantled the Raiders all night long on Monday Night Football. The Broncos will find more difficult tasks this year but this was a big win to start off their season, especially without Jay Cutler’s favorite wide receiver, Brandon Marshall.
The Buccaneers lost a close one to the Saints this past weekend. Watching the game, there was no big play threat for the Buccaneers and the defense looks like they are finally showing their age.
They are still a good team but their defense has keep them in games and they must create a spark on offense if they want to compete for consecutive divisional titles.
A disappointing loss for the Browns to begin the year and things are not going to get any easier facing division rival Steelers in week two. They are facing some injuries currently but they will have to snap back to 2007 form to battle a tough schedule they are faced with this season.
Injuries, injuries, injuries are the name of the game for the Seahawks. Injuries have depleted their receiving core leaving only unproven players.
Their starting running back Maurice Morris is out two weeks with a sprained knee, all to go along with Matt Hasselback’s continually aching back injury and that’s just on offense.
They need to get healthy in a hurry if they want to compete for another divisional title to end with Mike Holmgren’s reign as head coach.
The offense looked much more in control with Kurt Warner at the helm. It looks as though Warner’s ball control training during the off season may have paid off as he did not give up any turnovers to begin the season, only time will tell.
The Redskins offense struggled to put points on the board in week one. They should have better luck this week versus a Saint’s defense that struggled last season, especially in their secondary.
A team loaded with potential, the Texans just could not put together a decent performance on Sunday, being steam rolled by the Steelers. The Texans defense will need to keep it together as the team fights to try to get to the top of a difficult AFC south division.
The Ravens defense played their part Sunday, giving rookie quarterback Joe Flacco the opportunity to take advantage and win the game for them. It should be interesting to see if the Ravens running game and offensive line can stay healthy the remainder of the season.
Michael Turner and Matt Ryan put together excellent performances over the weekend. They will face more difficult defenses than last weeks’ this season, which will be their ultimate test for this young offensive squad this season.
Carson Palmer struggled and was only able to throw for 99 yards in the Bengals disappointing loss. The Bengals will need to get their receivers healthy to help bounce back fast before it’s too late.
Their defense may be worse than last years since losing Shaun Rodgers, but the offense looked decent at times in their loss to the Falcons. With play makers like Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson on offense, the Lions have plenty of upside to look to.
Sadly, unless the defense steps up, the Lions will struggle to keep up other team’s offenses.
Turnovers were what killed the 49ers opening game of the season. J.T. O’Sullivan struggled in his debut as the 49ers new quarterback. O’Sullivan and the rest of the 49er offense will need to pick up Mike Martz's offense or else they are in for another long season.
Chad Pennington did everything he could to try to beat his old team Sunday, but it was just not enough. The Dolphins running game was inconsistent and the receivers were nowhere to be found in their opening day loss.
The Chiefs almost pulled off and upset over the Brady-less Patriots in week one. Brodie Coyle’s injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Chiefs as veteran backup quarterback, Damon Huard, will be starting for them once again.
Their team looks great on paper but in real life, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Raiders got housed by their hated rival Broncos in an embarrassing loss at home to begin the season.
There is a little bit of hope that showed for Raider Nation, JaMarcus Russell played well in his season debut throwing for two touchdowns when his receivers actually decided to hold onto the football.
A struggling defense and a weak receiving core only will add to the frustration of another losing season for the Raiders.
There is no other way to describe the Ram’s play in week one other than flat out poor football. Their offense could not stay in sync, they could not convert a third down all game, and their defense failed to even protect them from big plays.
If this continues, the Rams might be looking at yet another long season as well.
This is the way the rankings look for now, tune in next week to see how your team matches up!