Are you ready for some football? After a thrilling Saturday of college ball, the 2010 NFL regular season begins September 12th with a full slate of hard-hitting action.
We all got a taste of the grid iron on Thursday with the Saints topping Brett’s Vikings at the Superdome 14-9. Favre went 15-27 for 171 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. I said the Vikings would need a big game from Adrian Peterson if they wanted to win, and while Peterson had a game high 87 yards rushing, he was held out of the end zone. Without his top wide out Sidney Rice, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe stepped up as Favre’s number one target with four grabs for 76 yards and a touchdown. Favre’s pick came on a poor throw while being tackled by Saints’ safety Roman Harper. New Orleans’ defense looks to have improved from last season, as they held Minnesota to only 253 total yards. Jonathan Vilma came away with the interception, and Sedrick Ellis recorded his first sack of the year. Drew Brees threw for 237 yards and a score to Devery Henderson in the first quarter to take an early lead. Pierre Thomas finished with 71 yards and a rushing touchdown after seeing very few carries in the first half. Marques Colston had five catches for 62 yards, and Reggie Bush added 47 total yards. Kicker Garrett Hartley missed two field goals that could have padded the Saints’ lead.
Notes from around the league
Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom will play Sunday against the Patriots. Odom tested positive for a banned substance, but says the substance is in a prescription medication. No suspension is expected to be handed down.
After getting in an accident early Thursday morning, Tom Brady will have plenty of extra cash for a fleet of new cars. The New England quarterback just signed a four-year, $72 million extension, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. He was also elected a team captain.
49ers tight end Vernon Davis also signed a contract extension. The Pro Bowler agreed to a five-year deal worth $37 million.
Seattle Seahawk’s sixth overall pick Russell Okung will miss at least the first week with a high ankle sprain he suffered during the preseason.
Offensive lineman Kevin Mawae announced his retirement Friday. The 16-year veteran was unable to find a team to play for after his contract with the Titans ended this offseason. Mawae helped pave the way for Chris Johnson to rush for 2,006 yards in 2009. He also blocked for former Jets star running back Curtis Marin while in New York. Mawae was elected to eight Pro Bowls. He is also the President of the NFL Players Association. He turns 40 in January.
My Game of the Week for the start of the regular season is the Dallas Cowboys at the Washington Redskins. First off, it’s a game between NFC East division rivals. Washington Head Coach Mike Shanahan makes his return to the NFL. Redskin’s quarterback Donovan McNabb makes his first start since being traded to Washington from division opponent Philadelphia. Dallas wants to make an early statement, proving they are the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Receiver Miles Austin, who has just given a six-year, $54 million contract extension, looks to build off his breakout season in 2009.
Key Matchup: Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo vs. Alex Barron & Doug Free
Dallas has suffered from some injuries along their offensive line. Left guard Kyle Kosier and right tackle Marc Colombo will both be out on Sunday. Alex Barron will replace Colombo, and Montrae Holland will fill in for Kosier. Barron was signed from St. Louis, and was expected to compete with Free for the starting left tackle job, but quickly proved to be a disappointment at training camp. I’m interested in seeing how Barron and Free can handle the pass rush of Washington’s two outside linebackers, Carter and Orakpo. As the Redskins switch to a 3-4, I expect this duo will cause more havoc for opposing QB’s. Each had 11 sacks last season, Carter as an end and Orakpo at linebacker. Tony Romo may find himself using his feet to escape the pressure, which he has proven he can do.
Best of the Rest
Looking at the rest of this weekend’s games, here is a list of my predictions (team in italics is home):
- Tampa Bay over Cleveland
- Miami over Buffalo
- Cincinnati over New England
- Colts over Houston
- Jacksonville over Denver
- Atlanta over the Steelers
- Titans over Oakland
- NY Giants over Carolina
- Chicago over Detroit
- Arizona over St. Louis
- Philadelphia over Green Bay
- 49ers over Seattle
- NY Jets over Baltimore
- San Diego over the Chiefs
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