NFL’s first weekend reveals lots of action, not many surprises


Monday’s madness

For The Green Bay Packers, this was a weekend of rest and relaxation … A well-deserved weekend of relaxation with their Thursday night season-opening victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Though the weekend of games were entertaining, they also provided insight into the future.

In planning for the immediate, the Packers watched Cam Newton, this year’s top pick and next opponent, pick apart the Arizona Cardinals’ defense for 422 yards and an impressive display in the vertical passing game.

Granted, the Cardinals’ defense isn’t the Packers’ defense, but the rookie has shown that the Panthers made a good decision in taking him first overall and that the Packers will have to plan well.

Dom Capers will need to design packages to confuse the rookie for 60 minutes … If he can do that the Packers should win going away. If the Packers allow the Panthers to stay in the game into the fourth quarter this could be one of those trap games that could come back to haunt them at the end of the season.

Another factor that stood out from the weekend was the NFC North’s domination of the NFC South.

Though the Packers game came down to the final play and the Lions/Bucs game to the final minute, the Bears’ creaming of the Falcons placed the final stamp of divisional domination on the weekend.

Yes, the Packers and Lions games were close, but all that matters at this point are the records: NFC North 3 NFC South 0.

Even the the Vikings showed some spunk against the San Diego Chargers by holding a lead for three quarters despite Donovan McNabb’s dismal debut – he ended up throwing for fewer than 40 yards total in the game.

Sure, had the Vikings been playing without Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson it wouldn’t have been close, but the fact of the matter is that the Vikings do have those players and they make a difference.

The Vikes’ performance also underscores the notion that the NFC North should be considered one, if not the toughest division in all of professional football.

It also creates a heightened awareness among all players, coaches and fans that when these NFC North teams meet this year, it’s going to be brutal. These games will be bitterly fought spectacles that should be well worth the price of admission.

Looking around at some of the other games this past weekend, we really didn’t see any major upsets. The closest thing to an upset was the shellacking the Ravens put on the Steelers … But when a team turns the ball over seven times like the Steelers did, there’s no way they’re going to win.

Other mildly interesting games simply because of the score differentials came in the Buffalo vs. Kansas City game, and the Indianapolis vs. Houston game.

Some of the most entertaining were the 49ers vs. Seahawks, Giants vs. Redskins, with honorable mention to (zzzzzzz) the Jags and Titans.

But without question the best game of the weekend was the Jets vs. Cowboys. There was enough drama what with the Ryan boys and the return of Plaxico Burress to last the week. And the high drama in action was highlighted by Tony (the fumbler) Romo showing his true colors.

So, all in all, the first weekend came to a close with lots of action (could there be a better showing than Tom Brady’s 500-plus yards, 4 touchdown performance and 906-total yards between him and Chad Henne?), lots of drama, but not a lot of surprises.

A great start to another season for America’s Game …

Can it get any better? Stay tuned …