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NFL – Evaluating Week 1

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 13, 2011

The NFL kicked off with a bang on Thursday, had plenty of entertaining games on Sunday, and ended with a record-tying FG and a Razorback running roughshod in Denver.  Welcome back, NFL.  We missed you.  I’m not sure the league could have scripted things much better.  Every game this season will be measured against the Thursday night opener, a game that proved to be as exciting as any game I can recall watching in recent memory.

The Good

  • Former Arkansas Razorback Darren McFadden thrashed the Broncos defense last night, picking up 150 yards on the ground.  While Run DMC did not find the endzone, McFadden looked every bit the part of a thoroughbred NFL running back.
  • Baltimore proved they can score on anyone, and the Ravens defense looked as good as ever.  Ray Rice may emerge as one of the premiere running backs in the NFL.
  • Does anyone look like he’s having more fun on the field than Aaron Rodgers?  The reigning Super Bowl MVP threw for 312 yards and 3 TDs on Thursday, only misfiring 8 times with no picks.  Who would you take ahead of Rodgers if you were starting an NFL franchise?

The Bad

  • The Pittsburgh defense looked slow and old, giving up 385 yards in their opener.  The offense looked inept, turning it over 7 times.  If the Steelers hope to repeat in the AFC – beating out a very strong field – they need to get things corrected immediately.  They did not look like a Super Bowl caliber team in any phase of the game.
  • You can’t blame the loss of Peyton Manning on the Indianapolis breakdowns on defense and special teams.  Houston gouged the Colts on the ground (without 2010 leading rusher Arian Foster) and Jacoby Jones knifed through the Colts punt coverage for a 79-yard TD return.  The Colts looks like a 4-win team after one week.
  • What the hell happened to Matt Ryan?  The Atlanta quarterback looked lost on Sunday, taking more than 40 yards in sacks including a fumble returned for a touchdown by Brian Urlacher.  Ryan did manage over 300 yards passing, but so did a dozen other quarterbacks.  What he did not manage to do was throw a TD pass.

The Ugly

  • Led by new-old quarterback Kerry Collins, the Indianapolis Colts managed only 236 yards of total offense in a 34-7 loss at Houston.
  • Kansas City suffered its worst ever opening game loss and biggest home loss in 35 years.  Those are both bad.  Losing 41-7 at home to Buffalo, though, is ugly.
  • Chris Johnson made one team look foolish on Sunday.  It was not the opposing Jacksonville Jaguars, though.  Johnson – who missed virtually all of training camp, holding out for a new deal that he ultimately received – “gashed” the Jags defense for 24 yards on 9 carries.  That new deal?  Tennessee handed Johnson a $53.5 million extension with $13 million fully guaranteed.

BK’s Picks – Week 1

It was a good week at the wagering window on Sunday.  I’ve got to figure out which of these games to put in my Free Money picks.  After a mediocre beginning, I ripped off four winners in the last five games of the weekend.  I expect Vegas to figure things out soon, but hopefully I can put together another solid week before that happens.

Week 1 Results — 10-4-1

2011 Season — 10-4-1

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