NFL Sunday

Posted: Sunday, September 07, 2008 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to the first Sunday in the 2008 NFL Season.

The New York football Giants got things started on Thursday against Washington. Retired defensive end Michael Strahan was on hand to wave the Super Bowl trophy for the fans as the championship banner was raised at Giants Stadium.

Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and the offense looked sharp early with 10 quick points in the first quarter. Washington got back into the game at the half, and then both teams kind of slogged through the second half.

NY got the win, 16-7, to begin its defense of the Super Bowl championship.

Pam's Seahawks open the season at Buffalo. We're not really sure what to expect from Seattle this time around. QB Matt Hasselbeck has been struggling with a back injury. While he says he is healthy, he may not be in game shape and his timing with wide receivers is going to be off. Those receivers have also been hit by injuries. Bobby Engram and Ben Obomanu are out, Courtney Taylor and Nate Burleseon are in, and Deion Branch returns from a serious knee injury. The running game is led by T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones. I think the defense is still suspect, but we'll see.

Buffalo is trying to improve on an offense that was dead last in the NFL last season. But there are some things to be excited about for Bills fans, such as QB Trent Edwards and RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch rushed for over 1100 yards last year.

The 49ers will start JT O'Sullivan at quarterback over Alex Smith, who was a first round draft choice for SF just three years ago. O'Sullivan comes to the 49ers from NFL Europa via Detroit. While he was an offensive co-MVP in Europe, he is an unproven commodity in the NFL. He did play better than any other QB SF has, so he earned the job. The 49ers added experience at wide receiver by signing former Ram Isaac Bruce. Frank Gore returns to lead the running game. But the key to any success for SF will be how well the defense plays.

Kurt Warner won the QB job over Matt Leinert for Arizona. The Cardinals have an excellent receiving corps led by Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

The 49ers swept both games last season.

All things begin and end with QB Peyton Manning for the Colts. After having surgery in July to remove an infected bursa sac from his knee, Manning missed most of training camp and did not play in the preseason. The Colts generally get off to fast starts, but the question about Manning comes down to conditioning and timing. He can probably recite the playbook backwards, so understanding the offense isn't the issue. Rather the issue is that exquisite timing, knowing exactly where and when one of his wide outs is going to be open. He'll also be missing All Pro center Jeff Saturday, who is out with a bad knee. The defense gets Dwight Freeney back from injury, and is reportedly healthy and most certainly talented.

Chicago's defense has struggled, which is bad news for Bears fans because that defense has been the strength of the team since well before these teams met in the Super Bowl two years ago. Kyle Orton will start at QB.

My Raiders host Denver on Monday night. RB Darren McFadden is the real deal for Oakland, and he'll combine with Justin Fargas to provide the Raiders with speed and strength in the backfield. It's a toss up as to whether QB JeMarcus Russell can lead an NFL offense. There is no doubt that he has a cannon for an arm and is a strong, mobile presence in the pocket. But he also has to get better at reading defenses, making the right decisions, and managing the game. It's important for the Raiders to rely on the run, and run the ball well, so Russell isn't forced into situations where he has to make plays to win games.

I don't know how good the Raiders are going to be this season. Oakland only won 4 games last season, but one of those wins was 34-20 over Denver last December. But everyone begins at 0-0, so I'm just going to say all things are possible and see what happens.

Now let's see about picks. I went 167-89 last season, which is about 65% winners and pretty much my average.

You know we're on the honor system here, so you'll have to take my word that I picked the Giants to win on Thursday before the game was played.

Giants over Redskins
Seahawks over Bills
Steelers over Texans
Bucs over Saints
Lions over Falcons
Eagles over Rams
Jaguars over Titans
Jets over Dolphins
Ravens over Bengals
Patriots over Chiefs
49ers over Cardinals
Chargers over Panthers
Cowboys over Browns
Colts over Bears
Packers over Vikings
Raiders over Broncos

There's a couple of picks in there that are questionable. The first week is always kind of tough for me. Check back for thoughts throughout the day.

Oh yeah...I'll have to find some more interludes for those of you who aren't into football.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    You know I don't know anything about sport except that rugby players have big thighs! ;)

  1. Anndi says:

    I watch for the thighs and onions... what? You mean it's all about the game?


  1. Jeff B says:

    I took a cue from you on my football post the other day and put some eye candy up there for the ladies.

    Well, to sound like a broken record again this year, I'm just hoping the 49ers will come out with more W's than L's. We'll see if O'Sullivan can provide some much needed team leadership and direction. Hope Bruce still has what it takes, but to his credit, he's only one guy. As you know all too well the other ten on the field have to step up for any one player to shine.

    Looking forward to your play by play recaps this year. You are the man!

  1. I'm thrilled Whisenhut decided to start Kurt over that Hollywood baby, Leinart. I think Kurt just more of the savvy, more will to win that Matt. Kurt is a consummate learner; he wants to do what's best for the team. Let's just hope he can protect the ball better; they've been working with him on it a lot. They should prevail over the 49ers (sorry, Jeff!).

    Peyton. Well, you're right - I think it will come down to the actual mechanics. I have no doubts he will be rough, and not having Saturday out there will make his non-training more obvious. I think this first week might be a slow first half, and an open second half. We'll see.

    You're right in your assessment of the Giants/Redskins game. I thought the Giants came out strong and definitely looked like the defending champions. I dunno what happened in the second half, but they looked anemic.

    Now, on to the kickoffs!

  1. I came over for a piece of cake and I was glad it was still there on your side bar. Have a great day Travis. :)

  1. bucs over saints? No way, no how, no bucs. AS they say. lol.

    It's about time Warner got the nod at Arizona.

  1. Travis says:

    Akelamalu: Do they? I understand about the sports, but I love it.

    Ann: Silly!

    Jeff: I'm with you on the 49ers.

    Songbird: This should be an interesting opening weekend. Starting QBs around the league didn't play much in the preseason, so we could see quite a bit of ugly play in the first half.

    Sandee: I'll always have CAKE and I'll try to have something of interest to my pals who don't do sports.

    Charles: I know! I thought a lot about that pick and I could have gone either way.