Football Relativity: Week 1

Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down.

Patriots WR Wes Welker breaks free on his 99-yard TD catch, via usatoday.com

10 – Green Bay Packers – The Pack got its title defense off to a good start with a 42-34 win over the Saints. The offense got off to a great start, and while the defense gave up a ton of points, it’s not a huge cause for concern. The Packers should win more comfortably this week at Carolina as they face a team that’s not close to the Saints’ caliber.

9 – Baltimore Ravens (UP A LEVEL), New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles – We covered the Ravens’ upward flight in Rise/Sink/Float. The Patriots dominated offensively in a 38-24 win at Miami. The Pats defense was vulnerable early but certainly zoned in on Chad Henne and company as the game wore on. The Eagles had one of the best wins of the week, a 31-13 road win at St. Louis. Philly’s offensive explosiveness is, like New England’s, a rare trait that will win a lot of games.

8 – Pittsburgh Steelers (DOWN A LEVEL), San Diego Chargers – We covered the Chargers’ win over the Vikings (and their injuries) in Rise/Sink/Float. The Steelers fell victim to turnovers in a big loss to the Ravens, and they also lost starting OT Willie Colon for the season. The defense will be better, but is this the year that protection and blocking problems finally kill the Steelers?

7 – Atlanta Falcons (DOWN A LEVEL), Chicago Bears (UP A LEVEL), Houston Texans (UP A LEVEL), New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DOWN A LEVEL) – We covered the Saints in depth in Postgame Points and the Falcons’ first-week stinker in Rise/Sink/Float. The Bears made the Falcons stink by putting together a dominant 30-12 win at Soldier Field. That win showed just how well the Bears can play at their best. Now it’s up to Jay Cutler and company to do it consistently. The Jets got a miracle win at home over Dallas, but that kind of late win isn’t unusual for them. Now it’s up to Rex Ryan to turn the win into some consistency. The Buccaneers lost at home to the Lions, and the defense didn’t have an answer for Matthew Stafford. Tampa needs to do a better job of using the running game early to give its defense a better shot of stopping opponents. The Texans had a dominant win over the Colts to get off to a much-needed good start. The AFC South is there for the taking if the Texans can build on that performance.

6 – Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions (UP A LEVEL), Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs (DOWN A LEVEL), Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins – We covered the Jaguars in depth in Postgame Points. The Cowboys lost a tough road game, and there’s no shame in that. But there is shame in missing an opportunity to get a big season-opening win. The Lions got a win in a tough road game in Tampa Bay, which is a great sign that the hopes of a resurgence are actually true. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had one of the most embarrassing losses of the week, a 41-7 blowout at home to the Bills. Plus, the Chiefs lost S Eric Berry for the year. Adversity is here; can the Chiefs respond? The Rams also lost at home, and while falling to the Eagles isn’t embarrassing, losing CB Ronald Bartell for the year and Steven Jackson for at least a week is discouraging. Miami put up some points against the Patriots, and Chad Henne got off to a great start. But Henne couldn’t sustain it – that often seems to be a problem. Even worse, the ballyhooed Dolphins defense was shredded. The Redskins got a solid home win against the Giants. We picked the Redskins to sneak into the playoffs, and for them to do that they need to take care of business as they did in Week 1.

5 – New York Giants, Oakland Raiders – The Giants lost at Washington, and the banged-up defense showed its pains. It seems like a year in which the Giants will struggle to get to .500. The Raiders got a road win in Denver, riding a strong running game and Sebastian Janikowski’s crazy-strong leg. Oakland has some talent despite its losses and will win more than a few games.

4 – Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills (UP A LEVEL), Indianapolis Colts (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Cardinals’ defense struggled, but Kevin Kolb did enough to carry the Cards to a 28-21 victory over Carolina. Kolb’s presence is a huge upgrade for Arizona, but it still may not be enough to carry the Cards to a division title. The Bills got a huge win against Kansas City, and we’re curious to see if that was a game where everything went right or a sign that the Bills are maturing. The Colts fell apart against the Texans and now face a crisis. How soon can they turn the tide?

3 – Cincinnati Bengals (UP A LEVEL), Cleveland Browns (DOWN A LEVEL), Denver Broncos – The Bengals beat the Browns in Cleveland 27-17. Cincinnati got a lead, blew it, and then rode an A.J. Green touchdown catch to a win. If the Bengals can run consistently, they’re going to be dangerous. The Browns, meanwhile, need to get better on defense. The Broncos lost at home to the Raiders, and Kyle Orton didn’t play well enough to stave off Tebow catcalls.

2 – Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings (DOWN A LEVEL), San Francisco 49ers (UP A LEVEL) – The Panthers’ offense played well in Arizona, but the defensive problems that showed up throughout the preseason surfaced once again. The Vikings passing game was wretched, and Adrian Peterson couldn’t get a win in San Diego by himself. The 49ers got a home win against the Seahawks, which is a good start to the Jim Harbaugh era.

1 – Seattle Seahawks (DOWN A LEVEL), Tennessee Titans – We covered the Titans in depth in Postgame Points. The Seahawks lost in San Francisco, and the Tarvaris Jackson experiment got off to a rough start. Until that QB issue is settled, the Seahawks have very little hope.

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  1. Pingback: MVN » Football Relativity: Week 2

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