Every week in the NFL means a little bit more than a single game does in other sports, with the possible exception of the English Premier League. After all, every NFL game constitutes about 6% of their yearly schedule, whereas baseball is closer to 0.5% and the NBA is just over 1%. All that is to simply say, every game matters in the NFL.
New England vs Buffalo: Really this shouldn’t have been this close, with Brady and Bellichick against a rookie quarterback coming off knee surgery and a rookie head coach. The Buffalo side of the ledger showed enough for hope in Orchard Park for the first time in about a decade while New England, despite the road win has to be concerned. Brady looked like himself, but you can see a dramatic down grade has occurred in his wide receiver talent pool over the past few years. No, he’s not always going to have a future hall of famer in Randy Moss, but there’s no one on the roster which scares an opposing corner. Not being able to throw at will against the Bills, who were missing their best corner and a pro bowl starter at safety does not bode well for New England this season.
Minnesota vs Detroit: Two different styles were at play to be sure, but the main take away for me was that Reggie Bush might have finally found a system to take advantage of the huge talent that we all saw when he was at USC. He’s had 190 total yards from scrimmage before, but his previous stops have never seemed to find the perfect way to use him in order to take advantage of what every NFL scout has seen in flashes. The issue is whether he can keep up something relative to this level of production. Oh and if you didn’t already know, Adrian Peterson is really, really good. Christian Ponder isn’t.
Oakland vs Indianapolis: You want a top 5 or 10 quarterback and search for one in this league, so you can win the close one’s at home. That’s what Andrew Luck did and despite the hype surrounding Wilson and Griffin last year, I think this year we realize that Luck is still the best QB over the long term in last year’s class given the relative lack of help he received as a rookie. Also and perhaps more interestingly, Oakland might be onto something with Terrell Pryor. He looked like a poor man’s Colin Kaepernick and gives the Raiders hope as they play the second year under a huge weight of lost salary cap space and a general lack of draft picks. Look, they’re going to be bad this year but if Pryor can show that he’s part of the long term solution they can use their first fully stocked draft, seemingly in a generation, to replace badly needed talent on defense instead of searching for yet another QB.
Green Bay vs San Francisco: Evidently the two teams don’t like each other much. That’s ok and makes the games they play in the playoffs more fun, don’t you think. Aaron Rodgers has carried the mantle of the league’s best QB over the past 2-3 years. Kaepernick might be the heir apparent after his 400+ yard performance. Anyone who questions anything about Jim Harbaugh shouldn’t be writing about football any more, or at least shouldn’t be getting paid for it.
Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club based out of San Francisco. While he loves talking about wine, how do you talk a bit about the first week of the NFL season?