People outside of New England were able to watch football this Sunday without a care in the world. Thankfully, the Patriots were able to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that was not as close as the final score (28-21) shows.
However, there were other games that went on, and some interesting story lines have surfaced after a great Week 1 in the NFL. Lets take a look at the winners and losers of the first week of the new NFL season.
LOSER: Pete Carroll and the Seahawks Superstars
After letting their Super Bowl loss marinade for months, many would think that the Seattle Seahawks would come out with vengeance as they try to go to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year. However, this past Sunday, the Seahawks looked like anything but a Super Bowl contender. In their 34-31 defeat to the St. Luis Rams, Seattle continuously gave up big plays and weren't able to execute in overtime. An apparent onside kick (Carroll denies that) and the questionable call of running it on 4th and 1 should only cast more doubt around the Seahawks. If they aren't able to figure it out fast, a potentially dangerous situation is brewing around this team. Carroll and his coaching staff have been able to keep all of the always-vocal Seahawks superstars in check, but if they start losing, then there is a chance things could get ugly quickly. With the Seahawks playing the Packers next week, it is not out of the realm of possibility that this team starts the season 0-2.
LOSER: Andrew Luck and the Colts Receiving Core
Going into the season, people were saying that Andrew Luck could put together one of the best seasons in NFL history. With the addition of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, Indy looked to be vastly improved offensively. While they could still be great, Luck and company didn't start off on the right foot Sunday. In the Colts' 27-14 loss, the offense was continuously stifled and looked confused against a more physical Buffalo group. This has been the case for the Colts dating all the way back to the Peyton Manning Era. They will be good, if not great, in the regular season against lower-caliber teams, but as soon as the Colts have to play a Super Bowl contender, they throw up all over themselves. While Luck's receivers didn't help him (T.Y Hilton didn't fight for his first interception and the second was tipped by Andre Johnson), it is time for Luck to answer the calls of criticism. If he wants to be the best player in the NFL, he will have to be accountable for his poor play.
WINNER: The Bill's Defense, Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor
I know that its early in the season, but the Buffalo Bills look like they could make some noise this year. The Colts don't necessarily match up well against the Bills, but don't tell that to anyone in Buffalo. Rex Ryan has put together one of the best defenses in the NFL and, if Tyrod Taylor is what he was on Sunday, then they could threaten for a playoff spot. They aren't as good as the Patriots, but who is? If the Bills are able to beat the Patriots this Sunday and knock off the two teams that played in the AFC Championship game, then I will start to buy into them as a legitimate threat in the AFC East. However, right now, I will say it was just a bad matchup against a soft team.
LOSER: Peyton Manning
Two years ago in the Season Opener, Peyton Manning threw for seven touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens. Yesterday, the only touchdown Manning threw was to Ravens' defensive back Jimmy Smith. Manning went 24-40 for 175 yards. There is always an overreaction in Week 1 (see my previous thoughts on the Seahawks), but we all remember Peyton's noodle arm in the playoffs last year. His spiral looked like he was missing a couple of fingers. If the Broncos want to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs this year, they will have to rely on their defense and not Manning's worn shoulder.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS