The first Sunday of NFL play shed some light on how the teams stack up. Here’s how I see it …
1. New England — Not changing my Super Bowl pick … At least not until they play and/or lose a game.
2. Pittsburgh — Can’t believe they keep winning like this — that OL is iffy — but as long as the champs are undefeated, this is where they sit.
3. N.Y. Giants — Should’ve been up by 24 or more at the half. Flexed physicality.
4. Philadelphia — Losing Donovan McNabb for any decent period of time would be tough.
5. Baltimore — The Ravens put up 500 yards of offense. Even against KC, that’s a sign of progress.
6. Minnesota — Brett Favre was tossed around a fair bit, but overall this game fit their blueprint.
7. New Orleans — If they stay healthy on offense, that’s an attack no one can shutdown.
8. Atlanta — If the D stays this opportunistic (or even close to it) this could be a very, very good year.
9. San Diego — I expect them to run away with the AFC West.
10. Indianapolis — Surprised the Colts didn’t put more points on the board. Good start by the D (though against a limited opponent).
11. Tennessee — Yes, the Titans lost (under very adverse conditions) but that’s a very good team and the special teams gaffes will be righted.
12. Dallas — Nice start on the road, with Tony Romo passing for a career high and Roy Williams taking it to the house.
13. N.Y. Jets — Mark Sanchez looked like the real deal. Great start to the Rex Ryan regime.
14. Seattle — Must protect the football, but better things are ahead with Matt Hasselbeck back in charge.
15. San Francisco — Very gutsy road win. Offense was shaky, but they find ways to win ugly.
16. Green Bay — They’d better get improved right tackle play, ASAP. My Super Bowl pick didn’t look the part Sunday night.
17. Jacksonville — Played with a hunger lacking too often in ’08. Nice effort vs. Colts.
18. Chicago — Showed a lot of fight, but Brian Urlacher’s loss could cloud season.
19. Arizona — Forecast for hangover season and Kurt Warner having trouble staying upright for 16 games may be on target.
20. Miami — The Wildcat stuff didn’t produce much. Will be hard to duplicate ’08.
21. Denver — Sure, it was a win — and what a finish — but this team is flawed.
22. Washington — ‘Skins had exact same deficiencies Sunday as in 2008 opener, despite all the spending.
23. Houston — Until I see them beat physical teams, I’m not buying in.
24. Cincinnati — What a way to lose. Offense nearly shut out. They have too many weapons to let that happen.
25. Oakland — If the MNF beatdown goes as I expect, prepare to see them in the 30s.
26. Buffalo — Probably too generous here and expect tonight’s game to get out of hand.
27. Cleveland — Maybe Eric Mangini might want to try to conceal all of his starters on defense this week.
28. Tampa Bay — Have a hard time seeing them win with any regularity.
29. Carolina — Already a team in crisis. Jake Delhomme would get picked off trying to sneak a free refill at the Piggly Wiggly right now.
30. Kansas City — Made a game of it based on special teams, but this outfit is bereft of talent.
31. St. Louis — They were in it for a half, but face an uphill climb.
32. Detroit — Wake me up when the Lions win a game and I’ll reconsider their seeding.