Sunday, September 07, 2008
5 Thoughts from NFL Opening Sunday...
Thanks to the new Thursday game it's not the true start of the season anymore but to me, NFL Opening Sunday is one of the better sports days of the calender year. Lots of games and hopefully some questions answered as we finally get to see the team perform on the field.
Here are some of my thoughts on what turned out to be a pretty wild day.
1. Tom Brady is hurt, maybe out for the season. Nothing official has been announced by the team but there is already talk the Patriots are desperately seeking an alternative at QB. Among the rumors swirling is a report on NBC's Sunday Night Football that they have already contacted Chris Simms about working out for the team. It's an interesting situation to be sure. Backup Matt Cassel wasn't even a starter in college and may not have started a football game that mattered since High School. He looked good after Brady left and he's got an incredibly talented cast around him. But the Patriots without Brady is like M.A.S.H. without Hawkeye Pierce, Cheers without Sam or Seinfeld without Jerry Seinfeld. No matter how great the rest of the cast is, that one big star made it all tick.
2. What happened to the AFC elite? The Patriots hung on without Brady and Pittsburgh looked great but the Chargers, Jags and Colts all lost and in the case of Indianapolis, did so in embarrassing fashion. 4 of the consensus top 5 teams in the AFC are reeling after week 1. Can they pick up the pieces or will a surprise team rise up.
3. Green is green no matter the city. A lot may have changed this offseason for Bret Favre but some things didn't. He still took the field Sunday wearing a green jersey with #4 on the back and he still led his team to victory. His numbers weren't all that impressive and it was pretty clear that he is still learning to adapt to his new teammates and new surroundings but in an AFC East with no Tom Brady, the Jets are as good a pick as any to fill the void.
4. Business as usual in the NFC. The AFC may be a wreck but the favorites cruised for the most part in the NFC. The Cowboys and Eagles were particularly impressive but the Panthers, Bears and Saints looked good as well. Chicago marched into Indianapolis and dismantled the Colts, looking far more like the Superbowl Bears of 2006 than the mess of a team that struggled to win 7 games last season. They also look to have a keeper in rookie RB, Matt Forte, who rushed for 123 yards and a TD in his NFL debut. The AFC may be in a state of flux but things look as rosy as ever in the NFC. Could the balance of power that saw AFC teams win 8 of the past 11 Superbowls finally be shifting?
5. This guy really is pretty good... Michael Turner was long considered the best backup RB in football. But he had never been a starter on an NFL team. That all changed on Sunday as Turner ran around, over and through the Lions defense to the tune of 220 yards and 2 TD's. The bridesmaid no more, Turner looked to have all the skills to be one of the top RB's in the NFL. No one was more excited to see it then the much maligned Falcons. After suffering through the Michael Vick debacle and the failed experiment with former Head Coach Bobby Petrino, who didn't even finish out the season in which he was hired before accepting the job at Arkansas. He left after just 13 games in a dismal season that ended with a record of 4-12. The Falcons rode Turner and rookie QB, Matt Ryan to an impressive 34-21 victory against Detroit. Will it be a sign of things to come in Atlanta?