Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Land of (Jumping to) Conclusions: Week One Special Edition

Gavin mentioned this a little in his stupid post yesterday, but nothing seems to bring out the conclusions like Week One of the NFL. Every loss and win are overanalyzed; every poor performance is believed to be indicative of the entire season. Playoff teams are reseeded, and some are believed to be out of the playoff story entirely.

Before I get into some of the specific conclusions I've been reading and hearing, this is my overall belief about Week One:

It MIGHT be indicative of the rest of the season, but it is FAR from a sure thing.

For example:

-- Welcome back, Michael Vick fans! You were sure quiet last year, but your boy went 10-22 for about 150 yds, which was good enough to beat the Carolina Panthers on the road. Now we are hearing that he has learned the West Coast offense, that he is back as an uber-offensive threat, and that the Falcons are a top-tier NFC team once again.

Hold on now. Hold on. 10-22 does not cut it, and most teams aren't going to allow Warrick Dunn to rush for 150 yards. Honestly, I have no idea why Carolina appeared to play the pass instead of clogging the running lanes, because Atlanta showed the exact same offense that allowed them to be a .500 team last season. Run, run, run, Vick throws a horrible pass, run, completion, run, run, punt. This is not a championship-caliber team as of yet.

-- As for Carolina, I did pick them to go 7-9, but people need to quit jumping off their bandwagon after one game. They did lose Game 1, at home, against New Orleans last year. That's a worse team than Atlanta of this year. Steve Smith wasn't even on the field, and we all know how that offense struggles without their gamebreaker. Sure, they might have been a tad overrated (no argument here). But, no, they are still a team in the running for a championship.

-- Quit lavishing heaps of praise on Steve McNair and the Baltimore offense. That game was won at Tampa by the Baltimore defense scoring one touchdown and taking another turnover inside the 10 yard line. Baltimore fans are just so relieved that they have any offense whatsoever that they are gleefully talking about how much they should now be considered in the playoff hunt, while I still believe they are the third-best team in their own division, behind Pittsburgh and Cincy.

-- The Seahawks offensive line should be fine. Over the course of the past five years, the offense has gotten off to slow starts several times. It happens, and this year was no different. What people should be concentrating on is that we actually got an opening-season win, which is quite definitely not the norm if you are a Hawks fan.

-- The Colts rushing game desperately needs to improve for them to become the Super Bowl champion of my prediction. Peyton Manning can not be counted on to lead a team to victory by himself in the postseason, and they dominated that game against the Giants before hanging on by the skin of their teeth due also to a less than powerful defensive effort.

-- The St. Louis defense had ONE great effort against a team that laid an egg on the road to begin last season, against a quarterback that has a tendency to get flustered and turn into a turnover machine. They are not YET a defense that can be considered MUCH improved. Again, this is just a small sample problem. We might change our tune after about Week 4 or 5 depending on the evidence.

-- If Brad Johnson plays as well all season as he did against Washington, that could easily be a playoff team in Minnesota. He shredded that secondary, which is hard to do (except when Mike Rumph is on the field).

Here's the bottom line. Take until Week 4 or Week 5 to make huge changes to your view of the NFL landscape. One week, especially Week One, is full of surprises and upsets. That's the beauty of the NFL. Just cool the jets on the huge gushes of love on "surprise" teams for now.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:15 PM  0 comments

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