Monday Morning Hangover: 10 Thoughts On NFL's Opening Week

Samuel Bell JrSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2009

CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 13:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after scoring a touchdown with Sidney Rice #18 against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

What does a 27-year-old wannabe sports writer and Tom Brady have in common? We're both nearly 6'4"? Maybe we both like tossing footballs around? Oh, we're both good looking?

All of the latter is true, but there's one big thing we have in common. We're both making comebacks tonight. Well, today. I've been on a three week hiatus from Bleacher Report because the Internet suddenly became too rich for my taste.

We all know about the knee injury heard around the world at the beginning of last season to Brady, and today marks the first game of his comeback.

His shoulder injury was much ado about nothing, and he seems healthy and ready to be at center stage again. What better defense to play your first game against other than the Buffalo Bills?

As I prepare for what will be the last of an exciting, breathtaking, heart-pounding opening weekend, I look into my football crystal ball and pull out ten stories that engaged my football intelligence and got me going.

Okay, I'm looking into the dark brown hue of my Coors Light, but hey, it helps to get my football IQ going and, it tastes pretty good freezing cold.

10. The Dallas Cowboys pound the Bucs without T.O.
anyone surprised?

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I wouldn't even consider this a story worth mentioning if it weren't for ESPN constantly talking about how the Cowboys would look without T.O.

If anyone thought that Owens was that important to the Cowboys' offense to the point that Tony Romo wouldn't know what to do with himself, they must go on informative football dates with Jessica Simpson.

Romo is a prolific QB that knows how to chuck the ball, even if he had a core of receivers from Bleacher Report.

Not to mention he has a healthy former No. 1 receiver in Roy E. Williams, an emerging Miles Austin, the do-everything TE Jason Witten, and an overlooked Patrick Crayton.

The Cowboys will be better off with the subtraction of T.O's antics, which obviously bothered Romo. All he needs is the help of his defense, which looked shaky at times in Tampa.

With the G-men coming to party at the new Dallas Stadium, DeMarcus Ware and company better practice tackling horses to get ready for Brandon Jacobs.

9. What happened to the St. Louis Rams?

I know the Rams were terrible last season, but we could partially attribute that to injuries to QB Mark Bulger and RB Stephen Jackson amongst other players. What excuse could they use for Sunday's dismal performance?

Maybe Bulger had a finger ache? Jackson had a slightly torn toenail?

I'm not even remotely sure of how you can get blanketed by the Seattle Seahawks 28-0. Zero. Nothing. Dunkin' Donut hole. Not one point.

This was the "Greatest Show on Turf" not too long ago, but now are the greatest show on the sideline because their drives end so fast that's where they always are.

Matt Hasselbeck made his return from an injury-riddled 2008 and looked pretty good, throwing for 279 yards and three TDs, but did turn the ball over with two INTs.

It didn't matter, because the Rams' defense was a tow bridge that just let everything wearing a Seahawks logo on their helmet through. Pitiful. Can they be the 2009 version of the Detroit Lions? Or will the Lions be the 2009 Lions again?

8. The Arizona Cardinals were a fluke last season

When the Cardinals represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season, I asked myself, "Is this the best team out of the NFC?"


Sorry to Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but they were not the best overall team in the conference.

They got on a hot streak and beat anybody opposing them in the playoffs. I give them all the credit for that, but this year they may not even make the playoffs. Coming out and starting the season 0-1 to the San Francisco 49ers won't help.

Warner passed for nearly 300 yards, but threw two INTs and his leading receiver was Tim Hightower. Shaun Hill outperformed Warner, and didn't turn the ball over while passing for 209 yards with a touchdown.

This was with a 22-carry, 30-yard performance from Frank Gore and a receiving core of Isaac Bruce, Vernon Davis, Josh Morgan, and Arnaz Battle.

The Cardinals have problems. They better pray for Boldin's quick return.

7. The Detroit Lions will not score 27 points again this season

Matthew Stafford looked okay yesterday. His defense didn't. Good luck, guys.

6. Reggie Bush is officially a bust

Everyone has been scared to admit that Mr. Bush has totally underperformed since he and his lackluster buddy Matt Leinart arrived in the NFL.

I'll do the honors: Reggie Bush is a bust. Period. No arguments.

I actually like Reggie Bush. He seems like a stand-up guy, and aside from his mistake of actually dating Kim Kardashian after Ray J had fun with her on camera, he's made good decisions off of the field.

Unfortunately for him, he hasn't while on it. Aside from a few punt returns for TDs, Bush hasn't provided Drew Brees and the Saints with much.

His stat line from Sunday: 7 carries, 14 yards, 5 receptions, 55 yards, 2 fumbles, 1 lost.

His teammate from USC Leinart has already been topped by Mark Sanchez in one game, and Mario Williams has eaten Bush's lunch. Welcome to mediocrity Reggie. Don't stay too long.

5. The Chiefs put up 24 points on the Ravens, minus Matt Cassel

I always thought Brodie Croyle had a better chance as an actor than a football player, until Sunday.

With Matt Cassel out to injury, Croyle had 177 yards passing with two TDs and no interceptions, all against a much-heralded defense in Baltimore. This was thought to be an afterthought of a game, until about 2:30 Sunday afternoon.

That's when fans figured out Croyle and his Chiefs came to play. Even though the final score looked a bit lopsided, it wasn't at all. Maybe the Chiefs can be this year's Cardinals, especially when Cassel returns.

In the loaded AFC, maybe not.

4. The Washington Redskins need a makeover

DeAngelo Hall has lost it. Albert Haynesworth has gotten rich and no longer hungry. Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot are second-tier corners. Clinton Portis is beat up from years of hits and injuries. Santana Moss is irrelevant. So is Antwaan Randle-El. Jason Campbell is a career backup.

It's time to start anew, Washington.

3. Jake Delhomme is just plain ridiculous

The Carolina Panthers are loaded with talent and should contend for the division. Oh, and Jake Delhomme has turned the ball over 11 times in his last two games dating back to last season.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this guy?

The man who took over the "Jake the Snake" nickname after Jake Plummer suddenly retired is starting to actually look like him. Maybe John Fox should rename him "Jake the Fake" after his latest performances.

At some point, somebody in that locker room is going to LeGarrette Blount him in the worst way, and nobody will care.

His turnovers are causing the whole team to lose, and they know it. Fox tried to be diplomatic in the press conference and say it's never one guys fault, but in this case, it is.

If Delhomme doesn't get his act together soon, like next week, the Panthers will be showing Jake the gate.

2. Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Cutler has a problem

The man who whined, cried, and babied his way out of Denver had his worst nightmare last night at the hands of a healthy Green Bay Packers defense.

The problem everyone knew he would run into neck first showed it's hideous face immediately against the Packers, as Cutler repeatedly had nobody to throw to.

His receivers are young, inexperienced, and just not that good, and there's no Brandon Marshall or Stokley to get the ball to, just Devin Hester (who was his best target), Earl Bennett, and Greg Olsen.

Johnny Knox looks like a good change of pace receiver, but no consistent, dependable target. The Bears made sure that Olsen wouldn't kill them, and the result was four picks thrown by Cutler that could've easily been six or seven.

The overconfident Cutler felt like his arm and talent could overcome the lack of talent and experience at receiver and make those guys great, but so far he's just making himself look bad.

Somebody needs to call Matt Jones. Or someone.

1. Brett Favre: The Decoy

Brett Favre's stat line from Sunday: 14/21, 110 yards, 1 TD.

Adrian Peterson's stat line from Sunday: 25 carries, 180 yards, 3 TD's.

Favre did just what he needs to all season for the Vikings to be successful: hand the ball off to Peterson, watch him run through and around defenders, and throw the ball efficiently when necessary.

That's all he has to do. Favre doesn't need to be the risk-taking gunslinger for this team to be successful. If he makes the right reads and throws when it's time, that offense will speak for itself.

If Peterson stays healthy, the Vikings can win a lot with this formula. With Adrian's running style, though, it's always the high possibility of injury. Chester Taylor is no Peterson, but could fill in well if that does indeed happen.

For now, the Vikings have a winning formula that's potent as it is effective. Wasn't Percy Harvin one of the best picks of the draft for this team? The Vikes are dangerous.

Opening weekend of the 2009 NFL season was like a great night of drinking. You had so much fun and memories that you can't possibly remember it all, but when you wake up with that weird feeling, it was worth it because you had such a good time.

Fortunately, there's more to come in the form of a Monday Night doubleheader featuring T.O, the return of the man Tom Brady, and the always-fun Raiders.

Until next week, enjoy your hangover and your Monday night, and stay thirsty my boys. And girls.


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