Insiders' Armchair

A look back at week one from the armchair perspective. <br><br>It's time for the first installment of the weekly Insiders Armchair, a look at the week that was in the NFL. It was an interesting first week with a handful of close games, but also a surprising number of blowouts. Here are some thoughts and weekly awards from&nbsp;my view of the games yesterday and Thursday.

Upset of the Week: Texans over Dolphins
This is an easy pick. No one picked this one. No one. Stunning. Has any expansion team won its first two season openers?

Disappointing team of the Week: St. Louis Rams
Kurt Warner made Jon Kitna look good. Of course, we later found out he had a mild concussion. A large chunk of the credit has to go to the Giants defense. They were all over the Rams and did a nice job on Marshall Faulk.

Offensive Player of the Week: Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs
Holmes was unstoppable in the first half yesterday. He ran around and through the Chargers defense like they weren't there. Everytime we looked there was Holmes dancing through the secondary. Clinton Portis is a close runner-up.

Defensive Player of the Week: Takeo Spikes, Buffalo Bills
A big stink went up when Jerome Bettis favorably compared Spikes to Ray Lewis a couple of years ago. Yesterday Spikes looked better than Lewis. Spikes had two picks, a ton of big hits and was the emotional leader of a Bills defense that completely throttled the Patriots. He played with a level of passion he never displayed in Cincinnati, which speaks volumes.

Thoughts from around the league

--The Broncos may have had an easy time with the Bengals yesterday, but they need a lot more out of Jake Plummer if they want to make hay this season. A stout defense and Clinton Portis was all they needed but against the better teams they will need their quarterback to make plays. Yesterday Jake Plummer did not look like that guy.

--Jeff Garcia put to rest concerns about his back, at least temporarily. He shredded the Bears all day, had two passes for touchdowns and ran one in himself. He looked flexible and picked his spots to run. The 49ers will be tough if he can stay healthy all year.

--Anquan Boldin set a record by amassing 217 yards receiving in his NFL debut. Now watch the stampede to the waiver wire in your fantasy league. Keep watching as Boldin probably doesn't get close to this total again this year. You might even be able to say the same thing about Jeff Blake. Blake will get picked up, and might even get some starts this week, but if he has proven anything in his career, it's that he is wildly inconsistent from week to week. 

--Speaking of fantasy football, if you drafted for double-threat running backs you probably did well. Outside of Marshall Faulk there were several great games by guys who can beat you in the running and passing game. Priest Holmes, Charlie Garner and Tiki Barber all had great days. Even Garrison Hearst had a nice effort, although by splitting carries with Kevan Barlow he is an inconsistent scorer.

--Maybe now all those misguided people who picked the Ravens to win the AFC North while starting a rookie quarterback will come to their senses now. The Ravens got destroyed by the Steelers, and really it should have been expected. Boller may have more tools than Bob the Builder, but he doesn't have experience. He looked confused and panicked against the Steelers all day. Expect more Ravens fans. Rookies make mistakes. The defense may be great, but they will get tired and worn down every week as teams load up against the run and make the Ravens beat them through the air.

--Good, if rather boring game from the Colts and Browns. The Browns defense played better than expected, although Payton Manning again showed his propensity for interceptions at horrible times. However much more was expected from the Browns offense as Kelly Holcombe layed a big egg in his home debut. Funny how the Browns fans were pretty quiet on Holcombe. You can bet if Tim Couch had been out there they would have been calling for his head.

--The Bengals were hoping for a rejuvenation under Marvin Lewis, but for now remain on life support. Seriously though, this team was 2-14 for a reason, and Lewis can't be expected to reverse the fortunes of this franchise overnight. Still, a better effort was expected than was given this Sunday and fans won't stick around unless the effort improves.

--Kordell Stewart better work out the multitude of kinks he showed before the Bears open up the remodeled Soldier Field on Monday Night Football in two weeks. The Bears offense was simply dreadful against the 49ers, and if Stewart isn't any better by the home opener he may find Bears fans a bit inhospitable. If he thought things got rough in Pittsburgh, I've got news for him. He'll think Steelers fans were throwing flowers compared to what Bears fans will be yelling if he stinks it up like he did yesterday.

--The Saints picked up where they left off at the end of last year. Playing bad football. They visited a Seattle team crippled with key injuries and a suspension on the offensive line and got thoroughly outplayed. Kudos to the Seahawks for overcoming these problems and laying a smackdown on the Saints.

--Joey Harrington may have made 'the leap' from rookie to solid starter. Yes, he was playing against the Cardinals, he rallied his team from a deficit, and had four touchdowns an no picks. He was helped by outstanding rookie Charles Rogers who is as advertised.

--The play of the day had to be Chris Chambers' one handed touchdown grab in the back of the end zone. Chambers had two touchdown receptions, and even though the Dolphins inexplicably lost to the Texans, if Chambers plays like he did as a rookie, and not as a sophomore, the Dolphins should be much improved on offense.

--Finally, what happened to Brett Favre? For most of the game Sunday against the Vikings he looked like he lost his fastball. He was making very poor decisions including throwing deep into double coverage. The Vikings took advantage as they picked off a few flutterballs. Favre looked better later as the Vikings backed off to protect their lead, but if this trend continues expect the retirement questions to rev back up.

Monday Night Matchup
This should be a good one. The Buccaneers are the defending champs and got rewarded by getting to Philadelphia to open the season. Expect a lot of hard hits and watch to see if the Bucs get the obligatory 'bad luck' that goes with being the defending champ. I like the Eagles in this one at home. McNabb will make enough plays on offense and will be helped by an opportunistic defense that will produce turnovers, some short fields and maybe a score.


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