YOUR Minnesota Vikings easily handled the New Orleans Saints 29-19. Sam Bradford went 27/32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns, Dalvin Cook ran for a first-game Viking record 127 yards, the defense played well (especially in the red zone), and the offensive line was surprisingly efficient. What were the biggest surprises of the game? Are the Vikings perhaps a better team than anticipated, or are the Saints simply not that good?Of course the biggest surprise of the game was how well the Viking’s offense played. It was as if they flipped a switch or something, because suddenly Sam Bradford was chucking the ball deep down field with what looked to be Steve Young-esque ease, and Dalvin Cook began running and catching the ball like Edgerrin James in his prime. The fact that Bradford went 27/32 for 346 yards, and Cook ran for 127 yards on 22 carries for about a 5.7 average, really says something about the offensive line play.
Granted, they were playing the Saints, who ranked 31st out of 32 teams on defense last year, but nonetheless, the Vikings posted top-notch stats on offense, the likes they rarely if ever approached last season. It is too early to tell just how good, or even how bad, they (the offense) is going to be. We will find out a little more next week against the Steelers. Stay tuned.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 in a defensive battle mired by poor officiating. What did you think of the controversial calls? Did the Packers and Seahawks look as good as you thought they would before the season began?
It was in fact a defensive battle, which the Packers somehow won?! The Packers have not been good defensively for many seasons now, perhaps going back to the year they last won the Super Bowl in 2011. I still do not expect them to be all that good this year. They will be good enough, however, to allow Aaron Rodgers and the offense to win the North yet again.
The so-called “controversial calls” in this game were not all that controversial in my opinion. Granted, Jeremy Lane probably should have been hit with just an unnecessary roughness penalty, and not ejected, but on the other hand I do think the back-ally crap in the NFL needs to stop. Plus, the blocking in the back penalty by Cliff Avril after he pushed Aaron Rogers was legitimate. Rodgers was still in a position to make a play on the 304 pound Nair Jones who intercepted his pass and was rumbling, bumbling, stumbling his way into the end zone, but still had at least 20 more yards to go with the deceptively quick Rodgers in pursuit.
Nonetheless, the Packers looked great on defense, and good enough on offense, while the Seahawks looked good on neither side of the ball. The Seahawks will recover, but their offensive line will struggle this year.
The Bears almost defeated 2016 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, failing to capitalize on four chances from the red zone at the end of the game before losing 23-17. Are the Bears better than projected, or is this the beginning of a post-Super Bowl slump for the Falcons?
The Falcons were lack-luster in their road opener, and found themselves in a battle against the Bears. Despite the fact it was a relatively close game, if you watched the game you witnessed an 11-5 team beat a 5-11 team. That is all. Nothing more here to see.
The Kansas City Chiefs came out firing in the second half of last Thursday’s game against the much-vaunted New England Patriots, beating them 42-27. Is their poor play an aberration or will they take a step back this year? Are the Chiefs (and Alex Smith) better than projected?
Although I believe the Chiefs are a legitimate playoff team, I think this game was an aberration. In very uncharacteristic fashion, the Patriots lost focus in the fourth quarter and were outplayed by a very motivated Chiefs squad. I think the pre-game celebration and self-congratulation took some of the edge off the usually machine-like Pats, and they really never got down to the business of playing with their usual intensity. The Patriots will still win their division, probably win about thirteen games, and quite likely go to the Super Bowl. There will be no aberrations next week in New Orleans.
Did any other games catch your eye/surprise you?
The poor offensive play of the Giants and Bengals, the poor defensive play of the Texans, and the great all-around play of the Rams. I absolutely love that the Rams have gone back to their 1960s uniforms. In retrospect, it is a long season, and the narrative will change every week. No need to overreact to any one game or weekend.