The wonderful thing about the NFL is that with the worst teams getting the top draft picks, and with the inclusion of the salary cap, predicting who will remain dominant from one year to the next is a very inexact science. Once great teams can implode very quickly while a “worst to first” occurrence in one of the NFL divisions seems to happen annually. However, after watching week 1 of the 2014 NFL season, it seems like this year has picked up right where we left off from a year ago, with little substantial change.
In short, both Super Bowl participants of last year won big. The Seattle Seahawks’ tough defense beat up on the Green Bay Packers (whose weak defense continues to look shaky). Meanwhile, Peyton Manning and his high-octane Denver Broncos offense looked tremendous (even without the suspended Wes Welker) once again in their victory over his former team, the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Colts still looked competitive, as Andrew Luck nearly pulled off a comeback reminiscent of his heroics last season in the NFL playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, against a top-level team like the Broncos, his efforts weren’t enough.
Elsewhere, most of last season’s playoff teams won last week, including the Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. A few surprises did rattle our predicting senses, like the Miami Dolphins tremendous comeback victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and the Tennessee Titans dominating the Chiefs, who’s poor form late last season seems to have continued.
Largely though, it was the same players kicking off the year in the fashion we’ve grown used to. The Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo continued to throw the ball (and the game) away to the defense with 3 interceptions, the San Diego Chargers found a way to ruin a strong lead over the Arizona Cardinals, and the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints battled to an exciting, close game which Matt Ryan and the Falcons won.
And unfortunately, the typical lowest of the low NFL teams continued their atrocious form, reminding fans that they are still paltry teams that shouldn’t even dream of glory; see the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But what does warmly breathe new life for football fans is that the sport has officially returned. Yes, your specific team may still be dealing with the frustrations of the past and a rather bleak outlook, but at least your Sunday afternoons have returned to normal with all the games on display!
And who knows, there are still 15 games for each team to decide their fate. The great thing about the NFL season is that teams can easily overcome a loss by proving the doubters wrong the next week by winning and changing their fortunes. The real drama of the season will arrive come December, when the playoff contending teams must get their acts together and earn vital wins. But those days are still a long ways away. For now, it’s time to simply enjoy the action because while half the teams lost their openers, the season still beckons brightly for everyone….Except the Rams…losing Sam Bradford to an ACL again is just tragic!
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