In case you haven't noticed, the gap between the top and the middle isn't very wide in the NFL. Last week, we published our NFL predicted standings. In the AFC, we predicted a straight chalk slate of New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and San Diego to go a combined 50-14. This week, they were playing four teams that we projected would go a combined 27-37.
All four teams won.
No story right? Until you realize that three of the four played at home, and the four of them won by a combined total of 10 points. The biggest margin of victory was the Chargers who won by four, but didn't score the game winning TD until the final minute.
So what can we learn from the opening weekend in the AFC?
- The old guard is there for a reason. They know how to win close games. Teams like Jacksonville, Oakland, and Buffalo have to rise up and take wins. The big dogs aren't going to hand them out.
- New England fans should get used to more games like last night. We've seen it in Indianapolis. Teams aren't going to let you fly up and down the field. Prepare for long mind numbing drives with lots of 5 yard dump throws, while you hope your defense can hold up. Teams don't want to "die quick".
- Can anyone even tell the difference between the Bills and Texans anymore? I swear McKelvin must be Sage Rosenfels younger brother or something. He was superbad.
- Wins are wins. The old cliche that style points don't matter in the NFL is totally valid. Anyone still down about the Colts 2 point win over Jacksonville needed only to watch last night's games to feel better.
- Pittsburgh could easily lay claim to being the best team in the conference if they hadn't lost Polamalu. Now it could be Baltimore. None of the other three powers were "impressive" at all. That's the point though. Impressive doesn't count. Reason #578 why the NFL destroys college football (by the way Irish and Buckeyes, enjoy the rest of your utterly meaningless games. Your seasons are destroy and it's only week 2! The NCAA where every game counts...unless you lose, then none of them do!)
- Of the AFC teams that made the playoffs last year, only Baltimore won by double digits...and their game was tied with less than three minutes to play. The only legitimate blowout in the conference was the Jets whipping the Texans.
Don't listen to Vegas. Don't listen to stupid pundits. Every game is going to be close.
Get you antacid ready. It's going to be a long season.