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Teams shouldn’t fret after slow starts

September 13, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

One win does not a season make. This is true for most of the NFL season, but never more than in Week 1.

But you'd never know it by listening to all the national pundits, and I imagine, the Packer fans sitting around talking about their favorite team's loss on Sunday while at coffee shops, restaurants and bars.

No, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III has not clinched NFL Rookie of the Year honors after the New Orleans win, and no, the New York Jets won't break every record after rolling up 48 points on Buffalo.

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And one big fat no for those who say Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay offense (or defense, for some of you) have forgotten how to play the game.

Everybody say it with me - "It's just one week!"

Now I will grant you, Week 1 had to be encouraging for the Denver Broncos with the way Peyton Manning handled the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense.

But it's not anything we haven't seen from him before. Most of us were just wondering if we'd ever see it again after more than a year of injury rehab. So far, so good.

I will grant the "sky is falling" crowd that some important tendencies come to light in the first week. But trying to determine what are trends and what are early-season hiccups is nearly impossible unless you know somebody on the inside.

I don't have sources like that - at least not yet - though I did get to interview Steve Mariucci by telephone 15 years ago when he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Sorry, I shouldn't bore you with my name-dropping, so let's get on to Week 2:

Tonight, 8:20 p.m.

Chicago at Green Bay - Normally, I lean heavily toward the better team, which is coming off a loss and playing a visitor that just won. But those bets are mostly off in this heated rivalry. Packers, 24-21.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Kansas City at Buffalo - Two teams that laid Week 1 eggs, giving up 88 points between them. I hear injuries do affect both teams, but without a lot to work with, I'm stuck using Week 1 as a measuring stick.

Because I respect KC's opponent (Atlanta) a lot more than Buffalo's (N.Y. Jets), Chiefs, 35-28.

New Orleans at Carolina - Is New Orleans already on panic alert? I'm not quite ready to count the Saints out yet, except for one thing - as good as they were at home last year, they were that mediocre on the road. Panthers, 27-23.

Cleveland at Cincinnati - The Browns are so bad that they made their season by ALMOST beating Philly last week. Cincy's not happy getting slapped by Baltimore Monday night. Bengals, 20-10.

Minnesota at Indianapolis - Both teams know wins will be few and far between, but Andrew Luck will suddenly look like rookie of the year in his home debut. Colts, 30-23.

Houston at Jacksonville - If the Texans stay upright, they'll go a long way this season. Texans, 38-21.

Arizona at New England - The Cardinals solve their QB dilemma with John Skelton getting injured. Not exactly a winning formula. Patriots, 40-19.

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants - Why would the Super Bowl champs take the Bucs seriously? Because Dallas did a number on them at home last week. Giants, 37-17.

Baltimore at Philadelphia - What's more likely - the Eagles winning or Michael Vick finishing this game? How about neither. Ravens, 29-17.

Oakland at Miami - The East Coast version of Oakland's Black Hole. It'll be the term used to describe where the Dolphins end up this season. Raiders, 27-23.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Washington at St. Louis - Two surprising Week 1 teams. Coach Jeff Fisher's defensive mind could pull off against a rookie QB with so-so weapons what he couldn't quite do against a relatively experienced Detroit QB who had Megatron and Co. to throw to. Rams, 24-20.

Dallas at Seattle - Dallas is coming off a "half-bye" week with four extra days preparation, which should counter all the frequent travel miles it has piled up with round trips to New York and Seattle already. Cowboys, 21-10.

N.Y. Jets at Pittsburgh - Fancy-schmancy Jets' schemes with Tim Tebow as wild card won't compare to an angry Pittsburgh bunch smarting from the Peyton Manning debacle Sunday night. Steelers, 31-12.

Tennessee at San Diego - Credit the Chargers for staring down the Raiders in Oakland last week. Plus a late-season collapse by San Diego will look even worse if it starts 5-0 or 6-1. Chargers, 26-19.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Detroit at San Francisco - San Francisco lived up to the preseason hype in Green Bay last weekend. The Lions did not in a narrow escape against the Rams. How else can it go other than the 49ers, 42-27.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Denver at Atlanta - I might have to skip bowling or whatever else I'm doing for this one. An instant classic, as ESPN says. Falcons, 37-34.

Last week - 10-6, 63 percent. Season - 10-6, 63 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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