We are delighted that a good friend of The Wise Guise, Jeremy Wilson, has joined us to break down the first week of the NFL season. Jeremy has joined us before in several capacities in the past. He wrote our first ever guest piece on Jeremy Lin, he was the subject of his sister’s guest post on being on the kiss cam with a sibling, and he also is a part of our weekly College Football Roundtable. Below you’ll find some solid insight mixed with some humor as well. Let us know your week one winners and losers of week one in the comments section below!
Matt Ryan Fantasy Owners- I start with this because he single-handedly won week one for my squad. On a real note, he has Roddy White, Julio Jones, and future HOF Tony Gonzales to throw to, and what appears to be a weak division. We’ll find out more about Ryan and the Falcons Sunday night when they host the Broncos, which leads to the next winner…
Everyone Associated with the Broncos- Wow, going into week one we all knew what the Broncos were capable of IF Peyton could play close to his previous standard, but did we think they would look that good in week one? The Broncos looked like a serious contender in the AFC, and they deserved it because of what they had to put up with last year. Don’t forget, the Broncos won a playoff game last year with a QB who was a below average pocket passer who threw less than 10 times in multiple games!
Broncos Receivers- They deserve their own recognition because they are finally not having to run empty routes every week. Every day must feel like Christmas for these guys. You know, in Tebow’s defense, these aren’t the best receivers in the league, but once again we are reminded that Peyton Manning makes everyone around him look really good.
Cowboys’ Secondary- Jerry Jones traded up in the draft to get Morris Clairborne and paired him with Brandon Carr as the team’s two starting corners and they showed up big time in week one vs the Giants. I don’t want to credit the Cowboys offense too much for the win because they were playing against a banged up Giants secondary, so we’ll give the game ball to the Dallas secondary.
49ers Defense- This squad is very dangerous. They returned all eleven starters on defense, and they still looked angry about losing the AFC Championship to the Giants. The 49ers defense went to Lambeu Field and made a statement to the entire league. Its not like the Packers were just off, they just aren’t going to beat a defense like San Francisco’s, which brings us to the next winner…
Aaron Rodgers- No other quarterback will be able to do what he did against the 49ers this season. He was 30/44 for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns. As impressive as that is, it reveals some bad news about the Packers— Aaron Rodgers covers up a lot of flaws in Green Bay. If you switch him with Alex Smith this past Sunday, its an absolute blowout, end of story.
RGIII!!!!- I apologize to everyone in America for waiting this long to crown RGIII the king of football. NFL debut stats: 19/26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns. He was the only rookie starter (5 total) to win this week, but lets be careful that we don’t fall for the “Week 1 Overreaction Trap.” Out of the 5 rookie starting QB’s, he faced the worst defense, has the best supporting cast, and most importantly he has a run game to back him up. Give credit to Shannahan and the Washington staff for running it 44 times and only throwing it 26. Also, he got to play the Saints who were coming off of a horrific offseason, have no head coach, and were suddenly allowed to play their formerly suspended defensive players who had no camp or preseason playing time. But hey, RGIII played very well, and that was well enough to win on the road.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall- Soon to be known as Mr. and Mr. Marshall, Mr. and Mr. Cutler, or the dreaded hyphenated Cutler-Marshall. Cutler looked very excited to be back together with Marshall, and he showed that by targeting him nearly every other time he dropped back to pass. These two are going to be a scary combo this year, especially if they get to play to rebuilding Colts every week.
Adrian Peterson- AP looked back to normal on Sunday after tearing his ACL only 9 months ago. That has to be good news for Vikings fans, but even better news for fantasy owners who picked him with their fingers crossed.
New England Patriots- The Patriots may have finally found a running game with Stevan Ridley as he rushed for 125 on 16 carries in Nashville against the Titans. What’s unique about New England is their lack of a big play receiver. Bill Belechick fills this void with a two-headed monster at TE with Aaron Hernandez and Gronk. Belechick has always been fixed on having multiple great TE’s, and this year his wish has come true. This gives their offense great versatility, and we will learn more about the Pats in week three when they travel to Baltimore for an AFC title game rematch.
New York Jets- One of week one’s biggest surprises, winning 48-28 over the Bills. The Jets beating the Bills is no real surprise, but the fact that their first team offense couldn’t manufacture a touchdown in the entire preseason, then they go out and score a franchise record-breaking amount of points is astounding. Mark Sanchez is clearly their guy, and I doubt we will see too much of the dual quarterback system in close games. I don’t see the Jets as a Super Bowl contender, but probably a tough and competitive 9-7.
Tampa Bay- I didn’t think I would be writing about the Bucs on the winners side this week, but here we are. They were dead last in the league at stopping the run a season ago, and ended the year on a 10 game losing streak. So what do they do in week one? They come out and stuff a high powered Carolina offense on a soggy Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Upset Alert—Bucs over Giants this week in NY.
Final Winner this Week…
Scott Hanson- Host of NFL Red Zone, aka the greatest channel on the planet. Red Zone shows every team once they’ve entered the red zone, along with every touchdown scored on Sunday between 1pm and 8pm. Hanson anchors the desk by himself for seven hours with ZERO commercial breaks (pause for applause). The only hiccup this week was when they switched to a game and the audio was in Spanish for roughly two minutes, but hey, its week one so we give him a free pass.
The Losers section starts out with a part 1 & 2…
Brandon Weeden Part 1- Brandon Weeden was the 22nd pick in this years NFL draft, and his ‘welcome to the NFL’ moment happened before the clock even started. Take a look:
Brandon Weeden Part 2- Weeden’s NFL debut stats: 12/35 for 118 yards, 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, with a QB rating of 5.1. No, that is not a typo. I guess all the signs were there when he was swallowed up by the American flag.
Pat Shurmur’s Brain- After scoring a touchdown to go up 15-10 in the 4th quarter, this first year coach of the Cleveland Browns decided to kick the extra point to go up 16-10 on the Eagles. Naturally, they ended up losing 17-16. When you have a rookie QB that has the ability to throw for nearly under 100 yards, you have to assume you will not sniff the endzone again.
Michael Vick- After being in the league for over a decade (including jail time), it appears that he still can’t read an NFL defense. He was 29/56 and threw four interceptions in a game that Cleveland fans will always remember as “The Great Pick-Fest of 2012.” That’s 8 total interceptions thrown in one pro football game. Andy you know what? Vick should have thrown at least 2 more, including one on what ended up being the game winning drive. Note: it is never good to end up in the ‘Losers’ section after you actually win the game.
Tim Tebow- Close your eyes for a minute, and picture yourself as a quarterback playing college football. You win the National Championship your Freshman year, then your sophomore year you become the youngest player ever to win the Heisman trophy, then you lead your team to a second title your junior year. Now, open your eyes. You are a second string QB who is also getting some snaps at tight end and on the punt team. You may go back to closing your eyes if you wish.
Miami Dolphins- Calling this Dolphins team a rebuilding project is an insult to everyone in the construction business. After punishing America by being the most boring team in HBO’s Hard Knocks history (excluding Tannehill’s wife), they were far and away the worst team in week one. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has no playmakers on offense to help him out, and I will be very surprised if he lasts all 16 weeks. However, his wife’s rating is 4.9 points higher than Brandon Weeden’s QB rating.
HBO’s Hard Knocks- The Dolphins? Really???
Tennessee Titans- They find themselves in the ‘Losers’ section not only because they lost, but mainly because of one play. 2nd year QB Jake Locker threw a pass over the middle to WR Nate Washington. Washington was then clobbered by 2 Pats defensive backs, falling limp to the turf while—at the time—fumbling the football. One of the pats defensive backs scooped it up and was tackled by Jake Locker. Sounds simple enough, but then CBS zoomed out and showed both Locker and Washington lying injured on the turf nearly 70 yards apart. That image might possibly sum up the Titans’ season.
Replacement Refs- I wanted to put the replacement refs in the ‘Winners’ section so badly, but then they just had to go and give Seattle a 4th timeout at a critical point during their road loss to the Cardinals. A couple missed calls here and there is an OK day for these guys, but granting a team 4 timeouts is no way to escape the ‘Losers’ section. Sorry guys, but its your own fault.
Indianapolis- I am a Colts fan because I followed Peyton’s career from the University of Tennessee to the Colts, and now I am a Colts fan for life. I still love and root for Peyton, but my team allegiance stays in Indy. That being said, I was very excited all week to see that experts—and I use that term loosely—were picking the Colts to upset the Bears at Soldier Field. So 1:00pm on Sunday rolled around, and 4 hours later we lost by 20. You can’t expect to win by making your rookie QB throw it 45 times against a great defense, then back him up with less than 15 touches for your running backs. That’s too much to ask of the best QB’s in the league. Losing Dwight Freeney earlier in the game to an ankle injury allowed Cutler to stand in the pocket and pick apart the Colts’ secondary. Things will get better in Indy, quite frankly because they have to. I just thought it was a poor game plan to put on your rookie QB.
Jim Irsay- Irsay, the Colts’ owner, brought in a new GM, a new coaching staff, and first overall pick Andrew Luck. I believe that he did what he had to do, however, there’s no way that he wasn’t torn up by watching the way Peyton played on Sunday night. I pictured him sitting in his dark basement in Indy, drinking a bottle of bourbon still in the brown bag, wearing all sweats, and sobbing as he watched Peyton pick apart the Steelers. That may not be completely accurate, but I’d bet its pretty close.