Holy crap, the AFC is in for a weird season.
Jacksonville, Indy, and San DIego lose their games, but the worst loss of Week 1 was New England's. The thought of Tom Brady's ACL tear before the season would have caused nausea in any Pats fan, but the sight of it actually happening in the first quarter was nauseating for any football fan. Look, I was very sick and tired of the TMZ style coverage the Pats got in 2007, but this isn't just karma balancing out, it's just plain awful. The Pats can still win 10 or games this year, seeing as how their coaching staff will take this on as a challenge, and the team has a chance to really respond and play for Tom, not just themselves. Their schedule (easiest in 2008 based on 2007 results) should also help them, although both the Jets and Bills looked much improved.
If you are Carl Peterson (Chiefs owner/GM), how in THE HELL are you okay with the QB situation. Looking back, KC hasn't had a QB since Joe Montana. In fact, I don't know if KC has EVER drafted a QB that did anything in the NFL. Even Len Dawson (drafted by Pittsburgh) was on the scrap heap in the early 1960's when he ended up with the (then) Texans. Its amusing that as soon as the Pats or Ravens need a QB, they call up Chris Simms and a few others. If Croyle or Huard were on the list of FA QB's, would they even get a phone call from New England or Baltimore. Doubt it. It has to be frustrating as a KC fan to watch your team play and know that even the young guys are scrap heap guys. Only Dewayne Bowe and Tony Gonzales are worth watching on that offense, and Bowe played terribly against the Pats. He dropped at least 3 catchable balls, a few of which were sure-fire fist downs and one was a pass that hit him in the hands that would have won the game. He also made a lackluster effort on the game's final play. That team needs a few more drafts like last year's before they're even going to sniff a .500 record.
The Jets looked very good on offense and very bad on defense. Miami turned that game into a semi-shootout. Miami is better than they were last year, but they were 1-15 last year. The Jets are very excited about the buzz they have with their new offense, but their defense was bad against a porous offense with Chad Pennington and Sticky-icky Ricky Williams headlining. The Jets have plenty of time to improve, but Mangini need to get ahold of that defense. Vernon Gholston has NO CLUE what he's doing. Mangini's defense needs to take a page from Bob Slowik's and just slow it down, make it simpler.
I didn't see the Jacksonville game, but my fears about David Garrard came to fruition. He's overrated. He's a good QB, but not a great one. He is a Trent Dilfer/Jeff Garcia type. When the Titans dared him to beat them, he couldn't. The Jags' O-line played sloppy and couldn't get their vaunted running game going at any point. Oh, by the way, Cortland Finnegan jerseys may outsell Vince Young jerseys this year. I know Vince might miss a few games in the next few weeks, but maybe he should rest that knee in the film room. He looks like he can't digest an NFL playbook or read a defense, let alone pass a Wunderlich test (on the first try, at least).
The Indianapolis game was a real eye opener. Peyton looked very rusty and Addai was banged up at the end of the game. Harrison has the fumbles and the only reliabe hands seemed to be Wayne last night. They looked out of sync and they need to get Manning, Wayne, Gonzalez, Addai, and Harrison a lot more reps together ASAFP. Now, the Bears defense looks like it's for real, but the Colts offense doesn't. I have to think they'll right that ship, but they don't look like the Colts I'm used to seeing. The Colts defense, which was underrated for the past year, is not underrated any longer. Matt Forte, a rookie, and Kyle Orton, another guy the Pats wouldn't call, made the Colts defense look like a 2nd team defense. Dungy and his boys can do way better that what happened last night. I think it's his last year too, by the way.
The Chargers looked weird. Rivers kinda looked good, but was hobbling around in the 4th Quarter. I thought they had that game won, but their defense was brutal in that game. LT looked like he ran hard, but had a hard time finding room to run in. I also thought that Gates looked pretty good even though his fumble and subsequent Carolina TD runback, was probably the defining paly of the game. But somehow, the Chargers didn't win. They are 0-1 at home already this season, and now have to go on the road and play a divisional grudge match against a team that has been eyeing them since 2006. If they start 0-2, and Denver starts 2-0, Denver absolutely has the inside track on the AFC West considering their schedules. I think the Chargers' pass defense looked very sloppy and I was surprised to see Delhomme picking the Chargers apart at times during the game. I was also surprised to see the Chargers' offensive and defensive lines getting dominated a times during the game as well. Carolina has some very physical guys on either lines, but I didn't expect to see Carolina pushing the Chargers around a little.
The Bills looked like the second best AFC team yesterday. How upset are Jags fans that they didn't lock up Marcus Stroud. Stroud and Kawika Mitchell completely destroyed Seattle. Trent Edwards is much imporved, but Marshawn Lynch could have a HUGE season in Buffalo. I even saw Lee Evans sprinting down the sidelines reeling in over the shoulder passes. I didn't think the Bills were that good. Well, maybe Seattle is that bad, or maybe Homgren should have hung it up last year. He didn't have that team ready to play.
Pittsburgh looked good and Houston looked bad. Willie Parker looked great and Houston looked overmatched. Houston could be in for a long season, but they can also learn from their outing and improve. They have great talent, they just need to maximize what they have. They need to play their game, not the opposition's. Pittsburgh looked like the best team in the AFC yesterday. They brought it to the Texans and really dominated for most of the game. Big Ben looks like he has the eye of the tiger this year.
I didn't see any of the Cincinnati game, but that was on purpose. They are a train wreck. They should be coach shopping as we speak. Flacco outplayed Palmer. Wow. If I live in Ohio, all my eggs are in Ohio State's basket for this year and even they're about to lose to USC this weekend. Cleveland is another game I can't comment on because I didn't watch much of it, but from what I read, their revamped D-line was overmatched and gave Romo way too much time to throw.
Last but not least, Denver has their chance to give us our first glimpse of what to expect in 2008. My only advice is: STOP THE RUN. You do that vs. Oakland, you win. If you stop the run and lose versus Oakland, one of two things has happened: 1) JaMarcus Russel is a phenom having a breakout season or 2) your team sucks.