This weekend saw the long awaited return of the NFL and after seven long football free months Week One brought all of the excitement we have come to expect from the NFL.
1. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks kicked off the 2014/15 season in the same dominant run of form with which they ended the 2013/14 season, in a very one sided victory against the Green Bay Packers. Before this season many people, this writer included, felt that the Packers were one of the teams capable of challenging the Seahawks for their NFC crown. It’s still early in the season, but the Seahawks made quite a statement in Week One.
2. Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson
Megatron once again showed the world why he is the single most dominant player at any position in football. By Johnson’s incredible standards Monday night’s performance of 164 yards and 2 touchdowns was another average game. By everybody else’s standards it was otherworldly and Megatron again showed he has the ability to lead the Lions back to the postseason.
1. Tony Romo
Romo played Week One like it was the first game of preseason. Romo threw three ugly interceptions in the first half to hand the early initiative to San Francisco. It wasn’t until the Cowboys were trailing 28-3 at half time that Romo finally settled down and made any meaningful plays. At that stage it was too little too late and the San Francisco 49ers saw the game out comfortably. This performance will do little to ease the pressure surrounding Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars looked like they were on the way to the upset of the week, if not the upset of the entire season when they took an early 17-0 lead over the high powered offence of the Philadelphia Eagles. In the early goings QB Chad Henne looked like he had finally figured out how to run an NFL offence. Then the Jaguars resorted to form and allowed the Eagles score 34 unanswered points and win comfortably. It won’t be long until Jaguar fans are calling for rookie QB Blake Bortles to replace Chad Henne.
The Pittsburgh Steeler’s managed to overcome the surprising Cleveland Browns in a very important divisional match in week one. All the good play from the Steeler’s offence will be overshadowed by a moment of madness during a punt return from returner Antonio Brown.
In attempting to hurdle over the tackle of Punter Spencer Lanning, Brown appeared to misjudge his angles and catch Lanning in the face with his foot. Brown incurred a 15 yard penalty for the play, but after looking at the replays it seems that the kick may not be as inadvertent as it first seemed. This play could see Brown fined by the NFL.
Game of the Week
There are many contenders for this prestigious honour but the NFC South battle between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons just beats out the competition.
Both of these teams have their eyes on the number one spot in the division and this match was an opportunity for both teams to take an early lead in that race. The Saints started the match better and for long stretches it looked like Drew Brees would lead his team to an easy victory. Matt Ryan was not to be outdone and his 448 passing yards set a new franchise record.
In a match that went back and forth in the 4th quarter it was up to Atlanta Kicker Matt Bryant to send the game to overtime with a 51 yard field goal on the final play from scrimmage. Having calmly slotted that kick over the veteran was called on again in overtime where he calmly dispatched a 52 yard field goal to win the match for the Falcons. Not only was this a highly entertaining match, but this win could prove to be crucial for the final standings in this division.
1. Seattle Seahawks – A dominant win over NFC rivals Green Bay cements the reigning champion’s status as the team to beat.
2. Denver Broncos – The Broncos put the disappointment of losing in last year’s superbowl behind them in a convincing win over AFC rival Indianapolis.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Although the 9ers only beat the awful Dallas Cowboys this emphatic win was enough to consolidate the NFC’s second spot.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Divisional wins are always hard to come by and Sundays overtime victory against New Orleans was a battle. Atlanta announced themselves as contenders with such a win.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – The match ended closer than it needed to but Cincinnati showed enough to believe that they will be a playoff team once more this year.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars – For half an hour the Jags looked like they were going to pull off a major upset against Philadelphia. Allowing 34 unanswered points showed the Jags are still one of the leagues poorer teams.
29. St. Louis Rams – Without Sam Bradford at QB its going to be a difficult campaign for the Rams. Losing to a mediocre Minnesota team is only the beginning.
30. Dallas Cowboys – There is no shame in losing to San Francisco. There is shame in four turnovers in the first half of a football match. Things need to improve drastically in Dallas.
31. New York Giants – The Giants’ woes continue in a bad way. Is it time to part ways with two time superbowl winning QB Eli Manning? The Giants pass attack continues to be poor.
32. Washington Redskins – The Redskins’ ugly loss to last season’s worst team, Houston Texans, is enough to put Washington bottom of Week Ones rankings.
Eoin Purcell, Pundit Arena.