NFL Handicapping Tips: Don't Overreact To Week 1 Results
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 9/15/2011
Week 1 of the NFL regular season, aka “overreaction week,” is in the books and already the first 16 games of the 256-game regular season are being overly analyzed for hints for the remaining three months of games.
Tom Brady is on pace to shatter every passing record in football history. Ben Tate looks like this year’s Arian Foster. Cam Newton is on pace to be a Hall of Famer. Sixteen teams are on pace to go 16-0 and the rest are on pace to go 0-16. Those records have only happened to one team each in NFL history and they are not likely to happen again.
The point is, is that Week 1 was just another week, but first impressions do have a way of being lasting impressions. Last season in Week 1 teams like Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Seattle and Tennessee all posted impressive wins. How did things end up working out for them?
Here are some of the lasting impressions from Week 1 and whether or not they are overreactions.
Tom Brady will have one of the most prolific seasons as a quarterback
Tom Brady had an epic Monday Night performance against the Miami Dolphins. But so did Chad Henne. The game simply dictated that pace and defenses were beyond gassed in the South Beach heat.
Brady passed for 517 yards, but Henne also threw for 416 yards. You can look at this one of two ways. Either Brady set the Monday Night Football passing record, or he only out-threw Henne by 101 yards.
Brady needed 48 pass attempts to do this and he was also picked off once, a rare occurrence for “Tom Terrific”. His incredible yardage total had more to do with Wes Welker’s yards after the catch and a decrepit Miami secondary, than anything else.
The Patriots averaged 40 points a game last season against this Miami defense. So Week 1 was more business as usual than anything else.
The Indianapolis Colts have all but locked up the No. 1 overall draft pick
Andrew Luck could be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. It’s tough to imagine any team challenging the Colts for the worst record.
Peyton Manning made his best case for MVP of the NFL by standing on the sideline in street clothes as the Colts were busy being blasted, 34-7, by the Texans.
Kerry Collins is no Peyton Manning. He’s not even the young Kerry Collins either. He didn’t look anything like himself at Houston; he appeared lost and confused under center.
The Colts are even underdogs at home against the 0-1 Browns on Sunday! Indianapolis, you are on the clock.
The Baltimore Ravens will win the AFC North easily
This has nothing to do with the Cincinnati Bengals win on Sunday. But the AFC North is still a two-team race between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
The Ravens thrashed the Steelers, 35-7, in Week 1 in Baltimore. The Steelers turned the ball over an unheard of seven times. It was the first time Joe Flacco had defeated Ben Roethlisberger and the first time Roethlisberger has lost to the Ravens in seven tries.
The only bad news for Baltimore is that it was only Week 1. They still have to come to Pittsburgh Nov. 6 for Sunday Night Football.
The Steelers, meanwhile, have just the perfect schedule to right the ship. They are two-touchdown favorites this week at home against Seattle. Then they get the AFC South circuit: Indianapolis, Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville, in four consecutive weeks.
The Ravens are now the front-runner and the pressure is on them. The Steelers are back to being under the radar, a role in which they relish.
Baltimore’s Week 1 win was more of a wakeup call to Pittsburgh than a statement.
Oakland is the front-runner in the AFC West
The Kansas City Chiefs are the defending AFC West champs, but after their beat down loss at home, against Buffalo, by 34 points, the division is clearly up for grabs.
The San Diego Chargers looked underwhelming against a horrid Minnesota Vikings team. That leaves the Oakland Raiders, who earned a big road win at Denver on Monday Night Football. Oakland went 6-0 in the AFC West last season and they have started off 1-0 this year. But that Denver Broncos team looked completely out of whack and they still hung with the Raiders until the end.
This is still San Diego’s division to lose. The Chargers are notorious for their slow starts, so a Week 1 win is a big deal to San Diego, the AFC West front-runner.
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