NFL Week One: Better Than They Looked, Worse Than They Seem

Don SpielesCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 13:  Mike Bell #21 of the New Orleans Saints is pushed out of bounds by Larry Foote #55 of the Detroit Lions at the Louisiana Superdome on September 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

With an exciting first week schedule almost over, there is already a lot of talk about surprises and disappointments in the NFL.  The bottom line is that it's way to early to tell by only looking at the surface.

Not Nearly as Good as They Looked

New Orleans Saints

Yes.  Drew Brees was amazing.  He completed over 76 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and only one pick.  He had a quarterback rating of 137, second only to Tony Romo.  But here's the thing...Brees did this against the Lions.  You remember these guys, right.  0-16 last year, the 32nd ranked defense. Next week will be a much better test of the Holy Ones when they meet with the Eagles defense in the Linc.

Seattle Seahawks

Pretty much the same thing on this one.  Seattle shut out a St. Louis rams team that went 2-14 last season and had the 31st ranked defense.  Are seeing the pattern?  Seattle faces a seemingly much improved San Fran squad next week, but the real challenge will come in weeks four, six, and eight when they face Indianapolis, Arizona, and Dallas.

New York Jets

To round out the overrated trifecta, the New York jets fit in perfectly.  They played the Houston Texans, who are not as bad as the Rams or Lions, are still pretty bad.  Those Jets fans out there (this is for you Greeny) who think that Mark Sanchez is the reincarnation of Poncho Villa and that the Jets are going to win more that seven or eight games this season need to hold your water. 

The next three weeks against the Patriots, Titans will show you a better picture of your team.

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles

This is just a guess, but the injury to McNabb could be big (duh!)  The biggest issue?  Michale Vick.  While Vick cannot start next week, he could start in week three, but he should not.  He is no where near ready to be a started and will not be in week three.  That leaves Kevin Kolb, whose first play with the first team offense was (again I'm guessing) his first play of yesterday's game. 

The pundits have been yammering about trying to get A.J. Feeley back, and even if McNabb does return quickly, he's bound to feel the effects.  The Eagles defense looked awesome yesterday, but can they do that against the rest of the league?

Not as Lousy as They Seemed

Arizona Cardinals

No don't get me wrong—the Cards are not going to the Super Bowl again.  They are, more than likely, the NFL's 2009 version of the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays.  Much hinges on Warner, who dispute his great season in '08, still instills little confidence, especially when things go awry. 

The look on his face when he has a bad play makes me wonder if he's looking for a rock to hide under.  The 49er team that they faced yesterday has the makings of a true dark-horse in the division.  While San Francisco is another team that won't be in the Super Bowl, they are going to be better than many thought.

Cleveland Browns

Two words: Adrian Peterson.  Not only did the Vikings running back make the Browns look worse than what they are, he made Brett Favre look a good bit better than what he is.  The Browns did well against the pass, allowing only one touchdown from Mr. Retirement, although not getting a pick from him is not a great sign. 

As for the running game, giving up 180 yards to Adrian Peterson is not great, either.  But it certainly does not speak volumes about how they will fare against less superhuman running backs.  Also, with all the ridiculous nonsense that Eric Mangini did related to who was his starter, I think we'll see better things out of Brady Quinn as he gets acclimated to his lead role.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Bears

Even thought Jake Cutler had four picks last night, he still almost managed to win the game.  In fact the fourth pick shouldn't even go against him since it was the receiver's fault by stopping on a route in a key situation. 

Having said that, Cutler needs to have much better games, but the odds are that he will.  With all the hype surrounding his move to the windy city, not to mention the idea that he has a much different (read: less talented) receiving core than he had in Denver, it's not too surprising that there were a lot of miscues in week one. 

I would not be surprised if things got better in a hurry for the Bears.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.