By: Shawn Davis
Football is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? It’s like the feeling you have in your stomach as a child the days following the holidays when you still look at your new toys with amazement after all the festivities have ceased, your relatives have returned to their homes and you can go back to sleeping in your own bed again. Well the NFL season is like that ALL YEAR LONG…without having to sleep on the couch because your aunt has a “bad” back and doesn’t want to sleep in the living room because it’s chilly. Let’s move the kid there. Then they give you a terrible sweater or something and…
Okay I have lost control of this column. (A few deep breaths) I’m back.
Last season I wrote a review of all the week’s games and added some commentary for your amusement, well, mostly mine’s but you get the point if you were one of my readers. There were times that formula bothered me because there were some contests that didn’t deserve any spotlight (cut to Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars fans grimly agreeing). I’ll continue to do game spotlights but I’m still thinking of ways to tinker with my format so I’m not completely sure yet.
Additionally, I’m going to add a second weekly column picking the contests – not against the spread as that’s illegal – that will be published here on either Thursdays (I forgot about Thursday Night Football) or Saturdays. So mock me all you want when I lose a ton of games; I don’t like you anyway. I didn’t pick games for this week because the season was beginning anew and I’m not at the point where I have my G.I. Joe’s make the suicidal death march into Cobra territory – the living room – because they’re freshly unwrapped and I’m still being delicate with them. That may have gone over your head. Where are my donuts?
Pittsburgh 19 @ Denver 31:
Peyton Manning Rises. Forget about that Bruce Wayne guy, so what if he had his back broken and recovered in mere months to save Gotham City?
Someone told me that Peyton Manning was lost all last season because of a neck injury, got released from the Colts and resurfaced as a Bronco. Additionally, he would begin his career against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Pressure? Rust?
Maybe I was blinded by the pigskin euphoria but he looked like the same player he’s been for his career – except for that ugly orange jersey – and I watched it thinking that, if he can stay healthy, he’s going to make the AFC playoff race interesting. (I picked them to win the Super Bowl and I didn’t use logic…at all.) The Steelers were game so don’t let the final score fool you because Ben Roethlisberger got the ball back in his hands with 3 minutes of game time remaining.
“Classic Big Ben finish on the horizon” was the prevailing thought I had but Tracy Porter decided to end any chance of that with a 43 yard interception return that killed insured the Mile High home debut would be a joyous one. Oh yeah, Demaryius Thomas is going to become a very rich man due to #18.
SF 30 @ GB 22:
The score would dictate a shootout or a close one…it was not. San Francisco dominated on Green Bay’s turf from opening kickoff in a way I didn’t expect. My view was that it would come down to a field-goal, late, but the 49ers defense was up to the challenge and Aaron Rodgers – or the Green Bay offense for that matter – never got into a consistent rhythm.
I have to admit that I openly root for Alex Smith to do well – and he did. A line of 20/26, 211 yards with two touchdowns was efficient, mistake-free and just what his team needed on the offensive side of the ball. I have a good feeling about these two teams getting better acquainted in the playoffs.
DAL 24 @ NYG 17:
The 2012 season opener was like cooking rice: a slow simmer and the final product will be the perfect complement to a steak. Both teams came out ineffective on offense as the defense was the story of the first half. In the second half, we got the fluffy dish we expected.
Tony Romo (22/29, 307 yards, 3 tds/1 int) was masterful and so elusive in the pocket that a couple of his spins to keep plays alive made me smile from ear-to-ear; it’s a thing of beauty. Joining the qb in tormenting the G-Men was Demarco Murray (20 carries, 131 yards) and Kevin Ogletree (8 receptions, 114 yards and 2 tds).
The defending league champions just need to suck everyone in by losing, lowering expectations, getting booed at home…and then winning another title. This formula has enabled Big Blue to enter the playoffs under the radar in both instances when they ripped the title away from New England.
WASH 40 @ NO 32:
I did NOT see this one coming. Now logically you could have easily made a case for the Redskins coming out and shocking the Saints but who likes logic? It’s too easy. Robert Griffin “walked up in the dooooome” and beat back the home team that surprised the hell out of me. As I type this I still cannot believe how off New Orleans looked in the game.
Griffin’s line: 19/26, 320 yards with two touchdowns and NO interceptions was a gem. However, he better start sliding to avoid the direct shots he took from Saints defenders or he’ll be watching the rest of the season from injured reserve.
SEA 16 @ ARI 20:
Russell Wilson is human and Kevin Kolb is ok. John Skelton was carted off the field with a high-ankle sprain, placing the quarterback job back into the eager hands of Kolb who guided the Cardinals to a victory.
Welcome to the NFC West people.
CAR 10 @ TB 16:
Defense served with a helping of Ronde Barber forced sophomore sensation Cam Newton into two crucial interceptions that swung this game in favor of the Buccaneers.
IND 21 @ CHI 41:
The run of 40-point games continues…
Andrew Luck debuts on Soldier Field with one touchdown and three interceptions while the Bears regained the form they had last season before Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were lost to injury. Could they be ready to take control of the NFC North from the Packers?
PHI 17 @ CLE 16:
So the Eagles continue to scare the hell out of their fans while Michael Vick gift wraps/throws four interceptions…but leads them on the game-winning drive. As for the Browns, well, rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four prizes of his own and the entire team managed 210 total yards.
Can someone please give Ohio a break?
STL 23 @ DET 27:
The Rams were opportunistic in goading Matthew Stafford into 3 interceptions, although the first was just a terrible decision by the Lions quarterback. Have you seen the throw? St. Louis had this game won but their young defense just couldn’t get a stop when they needed it. I’d like to thank Calvin Johnson for the fantasy points. Thanks man.
NE 34 @ TEN 13:
After getting roasted on defense last season, The Hoodie retools that side of the ball with young studs led by Chandler Jones. So you mean to tell me Tom Brady could have a capable defense this year? I need a drink. Now!
ATL 40 @ KC 24:
Julio Jones seems like he’s going to be FEATURED until his career ends. Roddy White will still get his targets in Atlanta’s system but it will be a deluge of Jones highlights for the foreseeable future.
JAC 23 @ MIN 26:
Nine months ago Adrian Peterson totally blew out his knee, yesterday he rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns looking like he didn’t have major surgery at all. His running style is punishing, violent and too good to turn away from. I hope this keeps up for the entire year.
MIA 10 @ HOU 30:
I just love it when both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are in the game – and not on the sideline in sweats because they make defenses look silly. Although they did beat the Dolphins so fools gold? I say no.
BUF 28 @ NYJ 48:
As you can see from the final score the Jets scored a few points versus a team that has a ton of hype…but might not live up to it. For the remainder of this season I will cut back on the NY Green team coverage because ESPN and NFL network do an adequate amount of coverage across their platforms. Mind you, I do not hate the Jets but they get too much attention for a squad that hasn’t accomplished anything besides talk. Oh yeah they made two straight AFC Championship games…and lost. New York/New Jersey is Giants territory – and it always will be.
CIN 13 @ BAL 44:
The score above was not a Madden 13 simulation of last night’s AFC North battle. It really happened. I didn’t see any of it live (I have a life you know) but I got a view of it and I was impressed by the no-huddle that the Ravens have armed Joe Flacco with. Whoa! His 299 yard, two touchdown evening featured a quick pace, shots down the field and a confidence that comes from making plays knowing the defense is at his mercy. They wanted to make a statement to the rest of the league that this will be a Ravens team strong on both sides of the ball.
There isn’t a single game in Week 1 that will dictate an entire season but everyone knows how dominant a defense the Ravens have fielded for over 10 years. If their offense can consistently produce 24-28 points a game, they will have a long, successful season.
SD 22 @ OAK 14:
Oakland’s special teams were the story of this one. Did you see the final score? The Chargers left some points on the field; at least two additional touchdowns.
The first weekend of the season had some huge point differentials (fancy for blowouts) so I anticipate next week will be all about adjustments so there should be more games that are closely contested, I think.
Football is officially underway, I’m hooked already and I’m happy to write this column for anyone who follows it – thank you guys for having my back. My personal life is about to halt on Sundays and Mondays…sorry single ladies. The rest of my week is fair game, ha. Did I really write that?
See you for Week 2.