I hate to use such a clich? as a subject, but my subjects have been lame lately anyway. Tonight is the night I’ve been awaiting for 8 months. The Bucs return to Philly, and the Eagles have the chance to open the new season in a new stadium with a firm statement that they are going to the Super Bowl this year. Of course, there’s also the chance that more questions are raised concerning their personnal changes. I truly believe that (underdogs or not) it is within their power to win this game. But there is a certain sense of trepidation in the air. Since Derrick Burgess went down for the season again, I am truly torn on what this team can do. I find myself waivering between the ideas that either this is their year, or injuries will prevent them from living up to their potential. They looked great the first 2 preseason games, yet played the two at home rather weakly. They recovered from their offseason losses on defense only to have 3 of 5 DE’s go down with injuries. A lot of people are saying the Bucs look like the best candidate for a repeat in a while – 4 wins in a row against them just don’t add up to that one loss. I don’t think I can say anymore about the game until later tonight.
As for the rest of the NFL, let me make a few remarks regarding the first weekend:
- Jets vs. Redskins – Spurrier actually made some good calls. The Redskins looked a lot better than last year, although I can’t help but feel like this game would have been remarkably different if Chad Pennington hadn’t been holding a clipboard.
- Rams vs. Giants – Warner looked like the Warner of… well… last year. I stand by my comments that he has not (and may never) return to the great form of ’99-’01. Come on – 6 fumbles! I wonder how long it will take people (including Martz) to deboard the Kurt train. Faulk was also very unimpressive – due largely to the inept offensive line. While the Giants defense looked great, their offense sputtered and showed none of the spark that guided them into the playoffs last year – we’ll see if they can turn that around.
- Texans vs. Dolphins – So much for the Fins being the real deal this year. Hey, Carr wasn’t sacked all day – that’s the most impressive stat for the day.
- Vikings vs. Packers – Maybe Culpepper won’t be a bust this season. Even though the Pack started to comeback, the W still goes to the Vikes.
- Patriots vs. Bills – A definite surprise. Not that the Bills won, but that they utterly dominated. This could be the best squad from Buffalo since the Kelly/Thomas years.
- Jaguars vs. Panthers – Major kudos to John Fox for bringing in Delhomme to replace Rodney “Why am I still allowed in this league” Peete to help rally his team to victory. And of course, I’m happy to see Hugh lose his first game out of Philly.
- Colts vs. Browns – As Brian said, “I’d demand my money back.” Sorry, I’ve never been on the Manning bandwagon, and until that team actually does something I’ll stick by my claims that he’s a decent pocket passer who can’t lead a team anywhere.
- Cardinals vs. Lions – I’m really happy to see Rogers peform in his first game. I like the fact that it’s a hometown hero kinda thing since he came out of MSU. Looks like Harrington/Rogers might be one frightening duo. And even though they lost, Jeff Blake and Anquan Boldin looked sharp, too. That’s one hell of a duel between rookie wideouts.
- Saints vs. Seahawks – I thought the Seahawks looked really sharp towards the end of last year. Good to see the team give Holmgren another year to prove he can take these guys to the playoffs. I keep thinking th Saints will be a great team, but they remain way too inconsistent.
- Other Notes – Hey, I may like to tout my observations being solidified by games, but there are always things I didn’t expect. The 49ers look like a much better team than the one on the verge of collapse at the end of last year. I think the Titans are a better team than the Raiders, but McNair actually threw for more yards than Gannon (even if was only 5). The Patriots didn’t score at all? The Ravens gave up 34 points to the Steelers in week 1?! The Texans win their season opener and it’s not even against the Bengals?!? Manning throws for 211 yards and his team manages only 9 points, while the Lions get 42 points with Harrington passing for under 200 yards?!?! Did I mention that Arizona gained over 450 yards in their loss? As usual, there was a lot of the expected and unexpected in the first week of football
And once again, thank you Peter King for pointing out your own mistakes before we can get to them:
I think my preseason predictions are off to a fine start. I said the Rams would win the Super Bowl, and they fumbled six times and ran for 40 yards and, well, you know the rest. They lost to the Giants. I predicted Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer would be MVP. He threw three picks in a win over the Cincinnati Kittycats. Raiders TE Teyo Johnson, my co-rookie of the year? Catchless.
God, I love this game!