No Sleep Till Football

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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 1 2014

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 I thought the opening week game against Green Bay might have been tricky as the Packers are a good football team & Seattle would be dealing with all the emotions of playing their first game after winning a Super Bowl. Instead, the Seahawks pounded the Pack 36-16 in a game that probably wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Russell Wilson was incredibly efficient while Percy Harvin showed flashes of why he’s a special player. The Seattle D was outstanding making Aaron Rodgers look ordinary & putting Eddie Lacy out with a concussion. Seattle rushed for 200yds & pretty much look like a team who can repeat as Super Bowl champions.
#2 You know expectations are high when you beat a playoff team 31-24 in a game you started up 24-0 before halftime & still Peyton Manning thinks you had a bad game. The Broncos came out on opening week and made the Colts look terrible through the first 29 minutes of the game taking a 24-0 lead. The Colts would outscore Denver 24-7 the rest of the way which led to Peyton’s chagrin. He’s on pace for 48TD so Manning was his usual self, but Montee Ball had a hard time running the football & the defense almost gave up 400yds of total offense. The Colts are a good football team who beat Denver last year so I wouldn’t get too worked up with “only” a 7-pt win.
#3 It’s really amazing to see what the 49ers are doing defensively. They didn’t have Aldon Smith or Navorro Bowman or even Glenn Dorsey in this game. They also are dealing with a made over secondary going into a road game against what should be a very dangerous passing offense. The 49ers made Tony Romo look ridiculous, sacking the QB 3 times & picking him off 3 times. SF was up 28-3 at halftime & basically took the 2nd half completely off 28-17 route. It’s amazing some of the turmoil we here coming out of SF at time & all Jim Harbaugh does is absorb the controversy & keep winning football games. I’m not sure there is a weakness here.
#4 It took the Eagles awhile to get warmed up in their home opener against the Jaguars but once they did, Philly looked like the Eagles of 2013 & put the hammer down. It was amazing seeing the highlights of this game as it happened because the Jaguars got out to a 17-0 lead at the half! Did people figure out Chip Kelly’s offense that quickly? It wasn’t to be as the Eagles scored 34 unanswered to drill Jacksonville 34-17! Too many turnovers in the 1st half but offensively Philly looked good. Jeremy Maclin & Darren Spoles had great games & the defense completely shut the Jags rushing attack down. The NFC East is pitiful so I don’t see how Philly loses it.
#5 If we would have been coming off the 2012 season instead of the 2013 season, the Saints losing to the Falcons by 3 points in OT in Atlanta wouldn’t have seemed like that big of a deal. The 2012 Falcons were 13-3. The 2013 Falcons were 4-12! What was most striking about the 37-34 loss to Atlanta was that the Saints passing defense was atrocious. Matt Ryan is a fine QB, but gunslinging for almost 500yds!? If you are looking for a bright side, the Falcons aren’t terrible & the Saints were actually up 20-7 late in the 2Q. If it takes Matt Bryant making 2 50-yards FGs at home to beat you when your team is decisively off, there are worse things that could happen.
#6 I’m leaving the Packers this high because the Seahawks simply might be that good. The 36-16 drubbing was just that & hopefully for Packers fans this isn’t a sign of things to come. The Green Bay defense has absolutely no answer for Russell Westbrook, Percy Harvin & Marshawn Lynch. While the NFC North doesn’t have quite that talent they do have Cutler/Marshall/Forte in Chicago & Stafford/Johnson/Bush in Detroit. Offensively Aaron Rodgers was off & the Packers had no ground game at all. It seems like nobody plays well in Seattle so the loss isn’t so disappointing but what could be somewhat concerning is the lack of overall effectiveness of the Packers squad. It was lacking.
#7 I’m worried if I’m a New England fan. Maybe you don’t admit to it because it seems unreasonable but Tom Brady looked awful against Miami & I’m not sure the Dolphins have one of the best 10-15 defenses in the NFL. If Brady looked that vulnerable against the Phins, then teams like Cincinnati & possibly Denver are doing to have a field day hammering the Patriots. And is this really all that of a surprise? Brady has been declining since 2010. He completed less than 61% of his passes last year with just 25TD to 11INT. He’s entering his 15th season in the league. He’s 37 years old. I’m keeping the Patriots here because you can’t bet against Belichick & Brady, but things do seem ominous.
#8 Those pesky Bengals. A lot is being made of the Cincinnati defense & how it handled Baltimore in their 23-16 win over the Ravens, but keep in mind that Baltimore was actually leading this game by a point late in the 4th before Andy Dalton threw a 77-yard bomb to AJ Green to put Cincy up for good & give the Bengals an incredible road win against a division rival. The bigger question is if Cincinnati really is that good & I’d have to say “no” at this point. Baltimore’s offense was a mess & it wasn’t like Cincy’s offense tore it up outside of Green. The Bengals are going to get a chance to prove themselves quite a bit & the North looks wide open at this point with anybody being able to win it.
#9 The Colts made it look close, losing to Denver 31-24, but the Broncos were up 31-10 midway through the 4th quarter so clearly Indianapolis got hammered in Denver. The Broncos went up early 24-0 in the 2nd quarter. With the blowout in effect, Indianapolis offense effectively became Andrew Luck gunning on every play. Luck wasn’t horrible, but wasn’t fantastic either throwing a couple of picks & being sacked on 3 occasions. The Colts have some serious problems going forward. OLB Robert Mathis is out of the season meaning Indy is hurting for a pass rush & their running game is almost non-existent. Vick Ballard gave them hope but Trent Richardson is downright awful. It doesn’t look good.
#10 No Cam Newton, no problem for the Panthers who cruised to a 20-14 win over the Bucs in Tampa behind Derek Anderson’s 24/34 for 230yds/2TD/0INT! Carolina fans have to be happy with the offensive output. D’Angelo Williams looked pretty good & Kelvin Benjamin was WAY BETTER than I thought in the opener catching 6 balls for 92yds & a TD! Greg Olsen was rock solid & if Benjamin can be a huge 6’5/230lbs #1 sort of threat at WR, then Cam Newton will have a lot to work with in his return. The defense front was obviously great & TB QB Josh McCown didn’t have a good day at all throwing 2 picks & being sacked 3 times. It looked like the tea leaves were predicting a Carolina loss so to start the year 1-0 is great.
#11 It’s not like Miami beat New England in Week 1. Miami hammered the Patriots in Week 1 33-20! The last time the Patriots were beaten this bad in the regular season was back in Week 9 of 2010 when the Browns beat them 34-14 in Cleveland! Miami has to be jacked about their showing. After Week 1 I think the Dolphins are probably the favorite in the East especially if the Patriots keep playing like this. The good news is Knowshon Moreno ran like a beast & New England couldn’t stop or Lamar Miller. Olivier Vernon & Cameron Wake played AMAZINGLY WELL rushing the QB. The bad news is that Ryan Tannehill is likely not the kind of QB that is going to take you where you want to go. He has to get better.
#12 Beating the Giants 35-14 looks pretty good on the outside but what did Detroit really accomplish? The Giants are flat out awful this year & anyone saying Eli Manning is a Hall-of-Fame QB is ridiculous. Detroit had issues running the football & while the defense looked good against the Giants, IT WAS THE GIANTS!! It was exciting to see Golden Tate give Stafford a legitimate #2 option behind Calvin Johnson. Tate might end up being the best #2 receiver Johnson has played with. Rookie Eric Ebron didn’t figure too much into the offense but he should develop into a dangerous weapon at TE. With Chicago looking so bad, Detroit might be the team to pose a serious threat to Green Bay in the North.
#13 Impossible to consider the Falcons more like the 2012 version than the 2013 version after only one game, but coming away with a 37-34 OT win against a huge division rival to start the season has to be considered a huge WIN for the Falcons going forward especially when you consider the division they play in and their playoff chances. Matt Ryan had the game of his career setting a career high in passing yards in a game with 448! It’s interesting because we’ve all been wondering if Ryan will take the next step. Consider his last 7 games dating back to last season. He’s completed 70% of his passes for 2095yds (299Y/G) with 11TD/5INT. His TD/INT ratio could be better, but is Ryan taking the next step? Stay tuned.
#14 There are probably a few better candidates to put here but I’ll keep Pittsburgh in my Power-15 because they did come away with a 30-27 win over the Browns. Pittsburgh seems so different than what they’ve been in year’s past. The defense allowed Cleveland to whip them 24-3 in the 2nd half but offensively Pittsburgh showed a good variety of ability. Roethlisberger is solid & Le’Veon Bell looks like a legit #1 every down back totaling 197 total yards! Antonio Brown was great. Heath Miller is back. Markus Wheaton looked really really good. Defensively they were awful allowing Cleveland to run for almost 200yds & making Brian Hoyer look relatively competent at QB. We’ll see if the Steelers can keep it up in Baltimore.
#15 Arizona has to feel great about getting this 18-17 win because they were down 17-6 going into the 4th quarter! I think San Diego & Arizona are definite playoff teams. They aren’t ELITE like say Denver, San Francisco or Seattle, but they deserve to be in the postseason so you can argue that Arizona potentially won a tough playoff game. Carson Palmer looked pretty good & if you told Arizona that you were going to be able to hold Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen & Ryan Mathews in check all night, they would have taken it. The only black mark on Arizona is that I would have liked to have seen them score more points against a suspect SD defense especially in Phoenix. Maybe it’s just a blip so we’ll keep watch.

 

DROPPING OUT

Chicago Bears (Last Week #12): The Bears lost at home to arguably the worst team in arguably the 2nd worst division in the NFL! The Bears defense almost allowed Buffalo to rush for 200 yards & made EJ Manuel look like he belonged in the NFL! If Chicago can’t beat Buffalo in Soldier Field then something has gone terribly awry! Games in Week 1 mean something and while this game might seem unimportant when it comes to NFC tiebreakers because it was an inter-conference matchup, it’s a game Chicago is probably going to look back on with regret especially if they find themselves 1-game out of the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens (Last Week #13): To be completely fair the Ravens were leading Cincinnati late in the 4th quarter. I don’t like the running game & Joe Flacco can’t bomb the ball 60 times a game, but the Ravens aren’t as awful as they looked at times in Week 1. We’ll see how they bounce back against the Steelers. Losing to Cincinnati might not be that horrible. Given what New England did against Miami, the Bengals might be the 2nd best team in the AFC right now so there are a lot worse games Baltimore could lose. It hurts that it was a home game for the Ravens, but they can get over it.

San Diego Chargers (Last Week #15): I hate dropping the Bolts, but Miami, Detroit & Atlanta did enough to break into the Power 15. The Chargers have to be kicking themselves for blowing that 11-point lead to the Cardinals late in the game. Like Chicago I think this might be a game San Diego looks back and regrets. Sure it was almost a must win for Arizona, but the Chargers are going to need wins to. They let this one slip away.

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September 12, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Power 15, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 15, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Week 1

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