Week one of NFL football is in the books. We had a few upsets, some surprising performances and were left with more questions about the season than answers. Are the Cowboys legit contenders? Is Peyton Manning really back? What happened to the Packers? Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest questions from week one and try and find some answers.
Is this year going to be different for the Dallas Cowboys?
The season opener versus the Giants was the type of game that the Cowboys typically lose. They play great for most of the game then fail to make a play at the end and give away a big lead. But, this time, something different happened. Dallas played smart and aggressive, and instead of shooting themselves in the foot, they actually won the game.
It’s too early to tell if the Cowboys have finally turned a corner with this version of the team, but Romo, who is always prone to make a big mistake, played with poise and actually made a few game changing plays we did not know he was capable of. Dallas has a tough schedule and is probably looking at 10-6 or 11-5 season, which should be enough to win the division or at least take a wild card spot. So to specifically answer the question, is this year going to be different for the Cowboys, the answer is yes- they will be a legitimate Super Bowl threat in the NFC.
Are the Falcons a major player in the NFC?
The Falcons went into Kansas City and put up 40 points against a decent Chiefs team. Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns and Atlanta looked great. The only issue with all of this is that Atlanta does this every year. They have a great regular season and Ryan puts up great numbers, but they never go anywhere in the playoffs.
Atlanta is an upper tier team that will win a lot of regular season games but are simply not a legitimate threat to reach the Super Bowl. They could easily win 12 games this season and still make an early exit in the playoffs. This Falcons team can be summed up by looking at Matt Ryan. He is a solid and consistent Quarterback but not spectacular by any means. He is a notch below elite, and being a notch below elite will not win you a Super Bowl.
Can RGIII keep this up?
RGIII had a spectacular regular season debut, throwing for 320 yards on 19 of 26 completions and two touchdowns. The question is how good can his rookie year be?
Last season Cam Newton set the precedent for rookie quarterback coming into the league and making an impact right away. Look for RGIII to have the same type of season. Griffin may not be as big as Newton, he is every bit the quarterback and probably has a higher football IQ. RGIII could easily lead the Redskins to an 8-8 record or maybe even a 9-7 record which, in the NFC East, is a fantastic accomplishment.
Were the 49ers that good or the Packers that bad?
It’s astonishing to think that the 49ers continue to fly under the radar. Last season they quietly produced a 13-3 record and came within a fumbled kickoff return of making the Super Bowl. This year they kept their defense intact, added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and were still five-point under dogs against the Greenbay Packers in the first game of the season.
The Packers did not look sharp and could have played better, but this game was all about San Francisco. The 49ers are the best team in the NFL. They play smash-mouth football on defense, have weapons at every skill position on offense, and have one of the most intense and risk taking coaches in the league. Look for the 49ers to have another 13-3 type season.
Is Peyton Manning really back? And how far can he take the Broncos?
Peyton Manning looked great against the Steelers. He made every throw asked of him, controlled the offense and essential picked up where he left off before his surgery. There is no reason to think that Peyton Manning is not back to his old self.
As for the Broncos, they are a good team with a very good defense and solid skill players. They could easily go 10-6 or 11-5, especially with Manning who has a knack for carrying teams to 10 wins by himself. But as great as he is during the regular season, Manning has always had issues in the playoffs and, for whatever reason, struggles during the post season. He has led some very good Colts teams into the playoffs only to get eliminated in the first round. If Manning underachieved with those Colts teams that were far more skilled than these Broncos, I wouldn’t expect much out of Denver in the post season.
George Monroy is a blogger that writes about sports, technology and movies. You can follow his movie blog at www.themoviegrind.com