There are a million reasons to love the NFL and although I could go through all of them now, I’ll just name one. It’s back! Week one showed us why the league is so great, as it was chalked full of amazing breakout performances, surprising upsets and nail-biting finishes. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly that took place on NFL football fields this past week.
In a previous post I went into plenty of detail about this, but Robert Griffin III’s performance was not only good, it was simply amazing in Washington’s 40-32 win over New Orleans.
Throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in your first NFL game is one thing, but to beat Drew Brees and the Saints, one of the NFL’s best teams, in a close game and on the road no less, was impressive to say the least. Griffin showed bettors that he’s the real deal and not to shy away from taking the Skins in some games they normally wouldn’t have. Obviously, we can’t expect him to be that sharp every game, but there’s no doubt that he will make Washington a much better, possibly playoff bound team in 2012.
Another unexpectedly strong QB performance came from none other than Peyton Manning. There’s no question that Manning is a future hall-of-famer, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have questions about his ability to come back from a season-long injury last year. He certainly answered those questions by throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-19 victory against the Steelers. Looks like money well spent after all by Denver.
Some bettors probably lost some money this weekend as many of the spread favorites went down and went down hard. It all started with the Giants falling 24-17 at home to the Cowboys (a game in which I too had New York). Maybe the Giants aren’t as good as we thought, or maybe Dallas is better than we thought. Either way, it’s tough to go against the trend, in this case being an eight consecutive game winning streak by home teams in the NFL opener. The Giants broke that streak, but hopefully didn’t break bettor’s banks.
Another team that disappointed this week was the Bengals. Although they weren’t favored in their game against Baltimore, they certainly weren’t expected to get pummeled by the Ravens offense no less, as they fell 44-13. The Bengals are one of those teams that looked to be on the cusp of being great. Maybe we’ll have to give them another week before we can truly judge the young striped squad.
Cincy looked pretty bad in its loss, but next week they have the fortunate pleasure of playing the team that looked far and away the worst this weekend. That team is the Cleveland Browns. Yes, the Browns only lost by one point, 17-16 to the Philadelphia Eagles, but if the Eagles weren’t ugly offensively as well, they would have lost by a lot more. If Griffin was the big winner of the week as far as rookie QBs go, then Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden was certainly the loser. Unlike Griffin, Weeden looked like a rookie, completing just 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards and four interceptions. The Browns look like team to stay away from and I’m sure the spread for next week’s game will be a bit larger after seeing them play this week.
Surprisingly, the other ugly team was in fact, the Eagles. Although they won, they looked just as bad on Sunday with Michael Vick also tossing up four balls to the other team. Of course, the Eagles and Vick have a better chance of bouncing back next week than Weeden and the Browns do. But one more bad game from Philly and it might be time to look to other teams to make some bucks this season.