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The Who What Why of Week 1: AFC

September 11, 2008

So now all the smoke of week one has (almost) completely cleared and now we are left to contemplate what the AFC will have to offer in ’08. The Dreamboat’s season is over before it began (as are many fantasy football players’) and Vince Young has had a bizarre week 1. Reassuringly though, the Raiders showed that they still suck Darren McFadden or no and Cincinnati showed what a team with no defense or running game can do in the NFL: diddly squat.

Expect to see this sell out amongst Patriot haters

Expect Patriot haters to snap these up at record pace.

The Dreamboat is over: Bernard Pollard now enemy of fantasy footballers worldwide

Tom Brady’s ’08 season is over after just 2 series, and you have to think the Patriots’ year is done aswell. Torn MCLs are nasty injuries (ask Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper) and New England will be lucky if Brady is 100% by the start of next year. Without the league MVP to steer the Pats, the AFC East is wide open, and the Bills seem to be the sensible pick to win it.

Now, Matt Cassel played pretty well in Brady’s stead, but given that they were playing the Chiefs you can’t give him that much credit, because Kansas City’s offense is anaemic and their D is awful. He can’t put up the enormous numbers Brady did, and New England should look to run the ball a heap more and run the Vikings’ patented “oh-crap-we-can’t-pass-it-let’s-throw-only-short-routes” offensive scheme.

However, don’t expect the Pats to roll over and die. The last time New England lost its starting All-Pro QB to injury and inserted a college walk-on to fill the void? 2001: The Pats beat the Rams and Tom Brady began his legacy.

Vince Young’s apparent meltdown causes Longhorn fans to weep burnt orange tears

Tennessee will want to see the old VY when he returns.

Tennessee will want to see the old VY when he returns.

Tennessee may have beaten chic Superbowl pick Jacksonville to start the season, but the game was not as simple as the scoreline.

Vince Young threw 2 interceptions in the ballgame, and after the second quickly made his way to the bench amid boos and sat dejectedly for several minutes, appearing to take himself out of the game. He went back in, however, and was then hit in the knee, resulting in a sprain which will keep him out 2-4 weeks. Then on Monday Jeff Fisher alerted the police to help find Young, who had apparently left his home and could not be contacted. He was found at a friend’s house and the matter appears to have been resolved, with VY speaking to the press today to re-iterate his commitment to football and the team.

This could go two ways: either #10 rebounds and uses this as fuel for the motivational fire, or lets it totally drag him down. I think I’ll side with option one for now.

should not be running for 38-yard scores.

Joe Flacco: should not be running for 38-yard scores.

Bengals continue to not cure ills: begin inevitably disappointing year

Cincinnati has a number of great players, but their lack of defense, offensive line or running game continues to haunt them. On Sunday the Ravens held Cincy without an offensive TD, hampered Carson Palmer and made the Bengals’ defense look even worse than normal.

The Bengals have a terrific passing game when it’s on form, and everyone knows this. The problem now is that they have nothing else whatsoever. They cut starters and former Pro Bowlers at tackle (Willie Anderson) and running back (Rudi Johnson), and have little to offer defensively. Keith Rivers had 9 tackles, but their defensive line is horrendous (made worse by the departure of Justin Smith) and their best defensive back (Madieu Williams) jumped ship in the offseason aswell. The Ravens’ rookie QB Joe Flacco ran, I repeat ran, for a 38-YARD TD despite the fact they used a calendar to measure his 40 time. Baltimore racked up rushing yards and never looked in danger on defense, holding the Bengals to a dismal 154 total yards. You can see why Chad Johnson wants out when they play this poorly.

The Bengals are set for (yet) another disappointing year and need to have a stunning offseason to cure things. Marv Lewis will probably be out this year if they fail to make the playoffs, and they need a huge defensive re-think and the acquisition of a quality running back/offensive line to improve. Any team in the NFL can double cover 2 receivers, and look for everyone to do that when they play Cincinnati this year.

Raiders continue to rue Al Davis’ ownership

Oakland needs to have faith in JaMarcus Russell if they are to escape the AFC West basement.

Oakland needs to protect JaMarcus Russell if they are to escape the AFC West basement.

Oakland started off with a divisional game against Denver on Monday night, and showed that overpaying people does not result in success (shock horror). Javon Walker wasn’t even playing, Tommie Kelly was invisible and DeAngelo Hall got burnt relentlessly by a rookie.

The story of this game was 2 rookies and 2 quarterbacks: Russell and McFadden vs. Cutler and Royal. Jay Cutler certainly looked like the real deal, shredding Oakland’s defense for 300 yards and a pair of scores without his best receiver. In Brandon Marshall’s absence, however, rookie WR Eddie Royal looked superb, racking up 146 yards and a TD against former Pro Bowler DeAngelo Hall.

For the Silver and Black, rookie runner Darren McFadden looked good as a change of pace back, getting nearly 50 yards on just 9 carries before leaving the game with a mild sprain. Lane Kiffin appears to have realised that the fresher D-Mac is, the more effective he is as Huggy Jr. (Justin Fargas), amassed over 100 total yards and 22 touches. The Raiders’ QB JaMarcus Russell looked good in just his 2nd career start, throwing for 2 TDs and zero INTs on 17 of 26 passing, a stat made more impressive by the fact that Ronald Curry dropped a couple of clangers in the first half. It looks like the big LSU product may bear some fruit this year, as long as Al Davis doesn’t fire Kiffin at season’s end.

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