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LFL 08-09 : Week 1 observations
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 Message 1 of 7 in Discussion 
From: realityczech  (Original Message)Sent: 9/11/2008 9:54 PM
Since I was out of town, I didn't get to do my usual in depth team-by-team analysis. I'll give some quick hits on each team after week 1.

AFC East
Buffalo Bills-Yikes, they demolished Seattle, had an offensive rhythm, and had everyone who was hurt on defense last year back and playing. With Dreamboat done for the year, the Bills could make some noise, but will probably come crashing back to earth when everyone realizes that Seattle actually sucks.

Miami Dolphins-They looked only a little lost, and Chad Pennington showed more arm in that game than he has for years on the Jets. They won't be 1-15 again, but a total lack of playmakers on defense is going to hurt them in the long run.

New England Patriots-Poor dreamboat, maybe the baby goat from his GQ spread is helping him dry his tears, either way, Tom Brady is shelved for the year, along with NE's SB hopes and Randy Moss's motivation. Expect 9-7, or 10-6 at best from this team, Matt Cassell will look competent for a few weeks until teams get good film on him (see Mitchell, Scott) and then he'll be exposed as the career backup he is and NE will go down in flames.

New York Jets-Papa Favre is in the house, and looks just like he did in GB. Expect the act to wear thin in NY when his first 3 INT day costs them a win over the Bills/some other middling team. The Jets will be respectable, Alan Faneca has made their OL much less porous, and Coles and Cotchery can finally run streaks/outs with Favre zinging the ball all over the place. They may make the playoffs this year.

NFC East
Yikes, this is going to be a tough division.
Dallas Cowboys-The Hard Knocks curse may not have much of an affect on this team, the offense is loaded with playmakers, the defense is loaded with convicted felons, both make for an entertaining cast of characters. T.O. seems focused on winning, Romo wants that first playoff win, and Felix Jones/Marion Barber is a scary, scary combo. This team is the frontrunner for NFC SB representative.

NY Giants-They started their title defense with an uninspired win over the sleeping Redskins, but they look okay overall. Despite losing Strahan (to retirement) and Osi Umenyiora (to injury), Justin Tuck and the rest of the DL still harassed the Washington OL and Jason Campbell mercilessly. A revamped secondary looked okay, and Eli and company moved the ball the first half. This team will hopefully be a little more consistent last year, and lose in the first round of the playoffs, like they should have done.

Philadelphia Eagles-Rumors of Donovan McNabb's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Eagles looked dominant in week 1, even if it was against the lowly Rams. Brian Westbrook is a monster, and DeSean Jackson is going to make a case for rookie of the year, giving Philly a dynamic presence in the return game (which they've lacked for years) and giving Donovan a nice little target down the field. The defense is solid, as always, if they get another good year out of Brian Dawkins, they'll give Dallas a run for the money. This week's Monday night showdown against Dallas could have major playoff implications down the road.

Washington Redskins-They looked sloppy and uninterested against the Giants. It was almost like they were still playing in preseason mode, while the Giants had "turned the regular season switch on". Jim Zorn needs to inject a sense of urgency in this team, and poor Jason Campbell needs some consistency, he's on his fifth offense in five years (going back to his Auburn days). This teams needs to get its act together quickly, or they will struggle in a brutal division and find themselves with a high draft pick, which Dan Snyder will gleefully trade away for an overpaid veteran (only Marvin Lewis' steadfast refusal to give in to Ocho Cinco's trade demands prevented Snyder from giving up TWO 1st round draft picks this spring, so he did the next best thing and drafted two potential bust WRs).

AFC North

Baltimore-Joe Flacco was the last QB standing, literally, as Kyle Boller tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder and Troy Smith's tonsills revolted and left him dehydrated, weak, and unable to play. Flacco didn't pass for a touchdown, but he did run for one, and also didn't turn the ball over. Most importantly, he looked calm and collected under center, something Baltimore fans haven't seen since Trent Dilfer. The Ravens won't be going to the SB this year, but with their always stingy defense firing on all cylinders, and the potential for an adequate offense, they may surprise and get to, or just above .500 this season.

Cincinnati Bengals-Their defense looked pathetic against a lot of Baltimore second stringers on offense. Their offense looked pathetic against an aggressive Baltimore defense. They are suddenly the weak sister in the AFC north, and unless Chad and TJ get healthy soon, it's going to be a long season in Bengalland. Letting Rudi Johnson go and handing the running game over to the mediocre-at-best Kenny Watson and Chris Perry is a huge blunder, the offense won't stay on the field, and the defense doesn't belong on it, as they can't stop anybody. Same old Bengals.

Cleveland Browns-All the offseason hype went up in flames following a lackluster preseason and a week 1 shellacking by the Cowboys. The chic playoff pick looks like its missing a few pieces of the puzzle, the defense is slow and uninspired, and the offense couldn't seem to get going. They won't face a quality opponent like Dallas every week, but Cleveland needs to get its act in gear with Pittsburgh looking extremely tough and Baltimore suddenly not a doormat. They only play the Bengals twice this year...

Pittsburgh Steelers-Much as it pains me to say it, this team is clearly the class of the AFC North. Big Ben and his new contract are happy throwing to Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and lanky Limas Sweed. Throw in Fast Willie Parker, rookie Reshard Meadenhall, and underused TE Heath Miller, and you have a dangerous offense, which is complemented by a ferocious, opportunistic D that has Troy Polamalu back at full speed, and one of the nastiest LB corps in the league. Pitt may challenge for the AFC crown with NE going down in flames, and SD and Indy not looking sharp early.

NFC North

Chicago Bears-That was a statement game they had Sunday night, beating the Colts in their new stadium, frustrating Peyton Manning and running all over a supposedly good defense. Kyle Orton (Neckbeard lives!) looked ok driving the offense and rookie Matt Forte made Cedric Benson a distant memory. The defense is tough as always, and as long as Devin Hester doesn't buy too much into his own type, they will be a dangerous team, and could surprise everyone and run away with the division. We have a lot of season to go though.

Detroit Lions-Bleh. Mike Martz is gone, and the Lions suck. They sucked with him, but at least they were almost exciting when he was around. They still have two good weapons in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams, but their defense is devoid of talent, and the running game is a big question mark. Getting taken to the woodshed by Atlanta will not inspire confidence, Matt Millen seems determined to drive this team into the ground.

Green Bay Packers-Aaron Rodgers definitely learned under Jesus Christ Favre, and while he will never be as beloved as ole Brett, wins like the one on Monday over the Vikings will keep the Cheeseheads happy. He had control of the offense, made all the throws, and even had a Favre-like escape of pressure and zip touchdown pass that had the Lambeau faithful going crazy. The defense needs to stay healthy, as they lack depth on the line and in the secondary, this team still has a lot of question marks, and only time will tell how they'll fare.

Minnesota Vikings-Not how they wanted to start the season. Tavaris Jackson looked ok for 3 1/2 quarters, then he threw a game clinching interception and the Vikings defense suddenly looked pretty pedestrian. They can only use All Day Adrian Peterson and All Night Chester Taylor when they have a lead, if the defense is going to give the other team points, it might be a long year in Minny. QB play and defensive stops will make or break this team. I think they'll be ok, and make the playoffs.

I'll do more conferences later, I'm getting ready to go home.

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 Message 2 of 7 in Discussion 
From: realityczechSent: 9/12/2008 1:40 PM
AFC South
Houston Texans-This team just can't seem to lose the feel of an expansion team. Their defense is slowly shaping up, but they can't ever seem to find a running game, and QB Matt Schaub needs to stay healthy for the offense to do anything. Steve Slaton-the rookie RB from W. Virginia will win the starting job, despite his small size, but his durability may come into question as well. They got abused by Pittsburgh in week 1, and with the Ravens (and hurricane IKE) coming to town, things may not get any easier (for their offense) this week. In a tough division, they'll struggle again this year.

Indianapolis Colts-Even Peyton Manning needs a little bit of practice time duirng the preseason. The Colts looked sloppy and out of sync against the Bears, getting center Jeff Saturday back from injury will help with that as well, but their OL overall looks much weaker than it has in years past. The Colts really need to do something about their special teams, or they may finally lose their stranglehold on the AFC South.
Jacksonville Jaguars-Boy  has this team been bitten hard by the injury bug. They have lost three out of the five members of their starting offensive line, and that could potentially cripple their running game, and the development of David Garrard. Jax was primed for a big season, but these losses may be too much to overcome. The Jags are suddenly going to have to struggle to get to .500, as the offensive injuries, and the suddenly suspect defense do not bode well for their postseason hopes. Lastly, here's the correct pronunciation of their name: Jag-wars (not jagwires, not jag-you-r).

Tennessee Titans-Vince Young is hurt, emotionally and physically, and that may not be a bad thing for the Titans. He's looked terrible under center, and Kerry Collins has a chance to show some competence (the recently signed Chris Simms may also get a shot). Rookie RB Chris Johnson is really, really fast, he's going to be a dynamic player for years to come, if he stays healthy. Their defense is still brutal, they totally shut down the Jaguars (and hurt a few folks in the process). This team, if it gets any type of decent play from the QB position, could return to the playoffs for the second straight year.
NFC South
Atlanta Falcons-Well, a good debut for Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Granted, they were playing the Lions, but Turner looks explosive, and Ryan looks comfortable. There may be hope in Atlanta, but again, it's only been one week, and Detroit was the opponent. The team is young, the coach is inexperienced (as a head coach), but that may work, as Mike Smith and his players can grow together, in a few years, they may be a dangerous team. For now, they'll take their lumps as they learn on the field.

Carolina Panthers-Jake Delhomme is back, and he looks pretty good. Steve Smith will return after this week, hopefully his teammate-punching days are behind him. Their defense has been slightly revamped (Dan Morgan and Mike Minter are retired, Kris Jenkins is now a Jet), so we'll see how they do. Rookie Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams should provide a decent 1-2 punch at RB, something they've lacked as long as they've had Desuan Foster (who's now a 49er, much to Carolina's benefit). Look for the Panthers to rebound from last year's injury filled debacle, and threaten to make the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints-Losing Marques Colston for a month won't help them, but the team is still loaded with weapons. Robert Meachem is healthy, and actually looks good, David Patten and Devery Henderson will run all over the field, new addition Jeremy Shockey should make Drew Brees very happy, and the combination of Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker should keep the running game going. The defense can't be as bad as last year, as long as that's the case, the 'Aints should run away with this division and give the NFC East teams a run for their money.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Chucky may be grimacing quite a bit on the sidelines this year. This team is old, and the talent is starting to erode. Cadillac Williams is still hurt, and Ernest Graham won't surprise anybody this year, we'll see how valuable he really is. Warrick Dunn is back, but all he did is keep the median age of the team in the mid-30's. Defensive stars like Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber are aging, but still competent. They're going to need to take plenty of Geritol to keep this team competitive this year.
AFC West
Denver Broncos-Wow, does Jay Cutler have a cannon for an arm. He wings the ball around as quick as anybody in the league, and he's got quite a bit of confidence about himself after getting his diabetes under control. Rookie WR Eddie Royal was a star Monday night, with Brandon Marshall returning after a one game suspension, the aerial attack might be in good shape. Selvin Young is the running back du jour, he'll put up 1000 yards in Denver's always dangerous blocking scheme. The defense looks pretty steady as well, but factor in the Raiders incompetence, and we'll see. Playing in a weak division (especially with SD loss of Merriman), the Broncos could be back in the playoffs this year.
Kansas City Chiefs-Oh Herm, what have you done? Larry Johnson looks spent, the rest of the team is very young, and papier-mache QB Brodie "Bama Bangs" Croyle is already hurt. Dwayne Bowe is the only playmaker on the team, and he's just in his second year. Defensively, they have some young talent, we'll see if top pick Glenn Dorsey stiffens their line against the run. KC will battle Atl and Stl for worst team in the league this year. If KC gets the #1 pick, expect a QB.
Oakland Raiders-The only commitment this team should have is the involuntary kind of putting Al Davis in a home. They grossly overpay for Javon Walker, who proceeds to get put in a near coma in Vegas, and is contemplating retirement. JaMarcus Russell will be starting his first full season, and while he has a gun, he doesn't look too comfortable in Lane Kiffin's offensive. Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden do provide a lethal running game, but the OL is pretty porous. Defensively, they have a few stars, but need to develop consistency to be dangerous. Look for them to struggle again, and the Black Hole to get even more restless than usual.

San Diego Chargers-The offense is healthy, but now the defense is banged up. If this team could ever get all its stars on the field at once, they'd have a better than average shot of making the superbowl. The offense is going to need to play well all year, as the loss of "Lights Out" Shawne Merriman will give opposing offenses quite a bit of breathing room. Don't count this team out, but they are quite a bit more mortal after the loss of their leader on D. The AFC playoff picture is now pretty wide open with Brady and Merriman gone, and the Colts looking sluggish.
NFC West

Arizona Cardinals-Well, maybe the Cards will win the division this year, since everyone who dons a WR jersey in Seattle instantly gets hurt. Rookie RB Tim Hightower could challenge Edge for playing time as the season goes on, he looks dynamite. Matt Leinart is on the bench after a lackluster preseason, he'll stay there until the inevitable Kurt Warner injury strikes. Anquan Boldin wants out, but he'll give it his all on the field. Larry Fitzgerald has his shiny new contract, so he's happy as a clam. Offensively, they should be ok, and a young, hungry defense may, (maybe), can lead them to a winning record, but it is the Cardinals, so never say never.

Saint Louis Rams-This team is terrible. Torry Holt and the OL have aged badly, Marc Bulger looks psychologically damaged (happy feet, shakiness in the pocket) and Steven Jackson missed all of the preseason in a holdout. Add to that a toothless, slow, and small defense, and the Rams don't scare anybody. The Greatest Show on Turf has been run into the ground by Scott Linehan, he needs to be handed his walking papers, and soon.
San Francisco 49ers. Alex Smith is on the shelf for a year, and J.T.O'Sullivan is leading the Mark Martz offense. There's potential in the offense, Frank Gore looks strong, and some cadre of receivers will finally have to catch the ball (the import of veteran Isaac Bruce will help in this regard). Defensively, they are led by stud LB Patrick Willis, and head coach Mike Nolan knows how to get the most from his players on that side of the ball. They won't be a contender this year, but the foundation is in place for this team to return to respectablity in the next decade.
Seattle Seahawks-They were going to be handed the division by default before the season began, but then everyone who is supposed to catch the ball got hurt. Deion Branch is still recovering from a torn ACL, Bobby Engram is out for several weeks, Nate Burleson is done for the season, as is rookie Ben Obemanu. Toss in RB Maurice Morris' 6 week injury, and you're left with RB Julius Jones, rookie TE John Carlson, and the lucky winner in set 24A who gets to play WR this week. Matt Hasselback's back is also acting up, so the offense could sputter, and that might be generous. Defensively, the front four needs to stay healthy and play well, the LB and secondary are solid, so a little help up front should keep them competitive. With all the injuries, this division is now fairly wide open, and Seattle's automatic ticket to the playoffs has been revoked.

 Message 3 of 7 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameT-o-r-s-t-e-nSent: 9/12/2008 2:49 PM
great work, RC
All I have to say is that the Denver Broncos--my team away from my team--will reassume their rightful position atop the AFC West this season.  The new blood of Royal and the revived insulin of Cutler have promised us much is to come on the Denver offense as the level of play Jay's capable of is going to complement that perennial running attack of the Broncs, meaning the superior coaching of Michael Edward Shanahan will be far too much for the law of diminishing returns coaching job that the San Diego SuperChargers are going to learn under Norv Turner. 

 Message 4 of 7 in Discussion 
From: ConradSent: 9/12/2008 6:58 PM
nice job RC 
I hope that everyone gets their pics in this time.

 Message 5 of 7 in Discussion 
From: AnmaSent: 9/15/2008 9:49 PM
My home computer is infested with viruses and I can't log in from work so I guess I'm gonna hafta sit this season out. 

 Message 6 of 7 in Discussion 
From: ConradSent: 9/15/2008 9:55 PM
must be all those porn sites you've been lookin at Anma   lol

 Message 7 of 7 in Discussion 
From: AnmaSent: 9/16/2008 9:05 PM

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