10 NFL Teams That Are Better Than They've Shown

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIISeptember 13, 2011

10 NFL Teams That Are Better Than They've Shown

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    Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone, and teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs have proven that anything can happen in the season opener.

    Still, teams that got blown out are in the same position as squads that lost nail-biters—no wins and a loss.

    Some teams exceeded expectations this week, while others made experts look like fools for picking them to win.

    Let's take a look at 10 teams that are much better than they played in Week 1.

10. New York Jets

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    The New York Jets had to complete a fantastic comeback and benefited from a terrible Tony Romo pass to survive Week 1 with a win.

    This cannot be the case for Rex Ryan's squad every week.

    New York failed to do what they do best—run the ball.

    Shonn Greene struggled to 26 rushing yards on only 10 attempts.

    Mark Sanchez threw a surprising 44 times, and that is simply not Jets football.

    They will get back on track with the ground game over the next few weeks.

9. San Francisco 49ers

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    It is clear that nearly everyone—including San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh—has given up on Alex Smith as a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.

    He was given the chance to throw the ball only 20 times in Week 1, while the running game stalled consistently.

    Ted Ginn, Jr. made the game look like a solid win on paper, but the 49ers have a lot of work to do.

    I like Harbaugh's power running game style, but he needs to air it out much more to make their weapons in Braylon Edwards and Vernon Davis legitimate.

    If they can find ways to get them involved, the 49ers will take strides in 2011. 

8. St. Louis Rams

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    The St. Louis Rams were a popular sleeper pick this season, but injuries (including to starting quarterback Sam Bradford and tailback Steven Jackson) may slow them down.

    Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles proved that the Rams are not quite ready to bang with the best of the NFL.

    Among the other injuries for the Rams are a season-ending neck injury to cornerback Ron Bartell, a dislocated elbow for wide receiver Danny Amendola and a sprained left ankle for tackle Jason Smith.

    Despite these setbacks, St. Louis has a golden opportunity to make a run at the NFC West.

    The rest of the division failed to impress in Week 1, and the Rams have the young talent to emerge as the front-runner. 

    If Jackson misses time, Bradford will finally be forced to take over the offense with his arm.

    This will only help them stretch out defenses and begin moving the ball much more easily.

7. New York Giants

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    The New York Giants were terrible against the expected NFC East-cellar-dwelling Washington Redskins, causing concern for Giants fans.

    Meanwhile, the rival Jets grabbed a comeback victory in primetime.


    Still, this Giants team is too talented to lose to teams like Washington as the season progresses.

    The offense struggled to finish drives and the running game failed to open things up for Eli Manning—as it has in the past.

    It appears that the Giants have some kinks to work it out on both sides of the ball, but they will turn their talent into wins very soon.

6. Cleveland Browns

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    The Cleveland Browns, one of the more trendy picks in the AFC to make major improvements, will prove they are better than what they showed against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.

    The running game failed to get going, and Colt McCoy struggled to find and hit open receivers.

    Still, the defense is talented enough to carry this team in certain situations.

    Aside from a couple of communication breakdowns, they held the Bengals in check.

    That isn't saying all that much, but there's some definite young talent in Cleveland that will help push the Browns to relevancy this year despite a tough start.

5. Green Bay Packers

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    Yes, the Green Bay Packers still haven't shown everything they have to offer, and Charles Woodson's defensive unit would most definitely agree.

    When they faced off with the New Orleans Saints to kick off the 2011 NFL season, it was expected to be a high-scoring affair.

    Despite that fact, the Packers defense was expected to build on a great Super Bowl performance and make things very difficult for Drew Brees and his unit.

    They did anything but that, allowing him to go for more than 400 yards passing.

    The lackluster performances of Woodson and Clay Matthews were clearly apparent and disappointing, but this unit will get back to form soon.

    After all, they won't play the Saints every week. 

4. Minnesota Vikings

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    The Minnesota Vikings stalled on offense seemingly every drive, yet they had a legitimate chance to beat the San Diego Chargers in Week 1.

    Donovan McNabb is clearly going to need more time to adjust to things in Minnesota.

    He needs another receiving option to step up aside from Percy Harvin, and he may have found that target in Michael Jenkins.

    Adrian Peterson will be more involved in the coming weeks.

    The defense looked surprisingly solid. Antoine Winfield played one of the best all-around games I have seen from a Vikings cornerback in a long time, and Brian Robison proved he can fill Ray Edwards' shoes.

    Look for the Vikings to surprise some people. 

3. Indianapolis Colts

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    Peyton Manning's injury has clearly proven his value to the organization, but that doesn't mean the Indianapolis Colts will fold after one poor performance.

    Week 1 was a bit of a culture shock, as they took the field without their leader of 13 years for the first time of his career.

    The Colts are not a great team without Manning.

    Yet, they aren't a team that will lose 34-7 every week.

    Look for the Colts to bounce back in the coming weeks and win some games.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

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    The theories that said the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs were a product of an easy schedule may be correct.

    The 41-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home to kick off the 2011 season certainly didn't help their case.

    Eric Berry's season-ending injury doesn't do much to improve their outlook, either.

    Still, this team is too talented to be getting trounced by teams like Buffalo.

    They definitely have weaknesses that have been exposed, but Kansas City needs to get back to doing what they do best.

    Jamaal Charles will get more touches, opening up the play-action passing game that helps the mediocre Matt Cassel succeed.

    The Chiefs won't go 10-6 in 2011, but they definitely won't be losing that badly every week either. 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    In what was expected to be the game to watch of the first slate of NFL matchups, the Baltimore Ravens trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers—but don't expect Mike Tomlin's crew to lay down next week.

    There is no doubt that every single player in the Pittsburgh locker room was completely shocked and confused after the 35-7 loss.

    It's quite simple—seven turnovers is a recipe for disaster.

    Don't expect Ben Roethlisberger and company to be this sloppy all season.

    In fact, they will likely have a tenuous week of practice in preparation for a thorough beat-down of the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.