NFL Week 1: Monday night recap
Week one of the 2012 NFL season was capped off by a Monday Night Football doubleheader with the Ravens hosting the Bengals and then followed by the Chargers traveling to Oakland.
The Ravens produced the most impressive performance of any team in week one, shredding the Bengals’ highly capable defense both through the air and on the ground.
They supplemented this offensive output with a defensive effort that allowed the Bengals almost nothing.
Joe Flacco was very impressive in the Ravens new no huddle offense exploiting every single mistake and weakness of the Bengals defense.
Flacco was able to distribute the ball efficiently to all his weapons forcing the Bengals onto the back foot from the very first play.
Flacco has faced a number of questions on if he has the status as an elite quarterback over the off-season but if he can maintain this kind of consistency, the Ravens can be the best team in the AFC and a legitimate Super Bowl chance.
Defensively, the Ravens have shown that they are still one of the best units in the game with the warhorses Ed Reed and Ray Lewis forcing turnovers.
The Bengals did show some positive signs, particularly in their secondary, but they aren’t in the class of the Ravens at the top of the division.
The Raiders vs Chargers game was quite a significant contrast from the earlier clash. After the sublime execution of the Ravens, the Raiders continued their lack of discipline that destroyed their season last year.
The Raiders conceded too many penalties and made some basic mistakes that set them back significantly. The most confusing of these were the special teams mistakes caused by the loss of their starting long snapper.
The Raiders had a punt blocked and two snaps run along the ground leading directly to a turnover on downs. Despite these issues, the Raiders still do have a number of positives to draw out.
Darren McFadden was excellent and was the most impactful player along with Phillip Rivers. The Raiders’ defensive line was dominant, constantly pressuring Rivers and considering the field position they were facing, the Raiders defense was gallant and remarkably only conceded one touchdown.
The Raiders’ mistakes and mental errors clearly handed the game to the Chargers but Rivers showed be singled out for having an excellent and efficient game, avoiding the costly mistakes that he was prone to last season.
The talent gap between these two teams is not significant; the Raiders did have a serious chance at victory. The problem with the Raiders as it was last year boils down to mistakes and mental errors on the part of the Raiders.
Concluding the week of action the two most impressive teams were San Francisco and Baltimore who both showed supreme talent against quality action.
Both teams showed balance on offense and played executed effectively. Their defenses were stout and opportunistic and take out the top spot in my first power ranking of the top five teams in the NFL, with San Francisco shading out Baltimore based upon the quality of the opposition they faced over the scale of the win.
End of Week Power Rankings
1) San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
2) Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
3) Houston Texans (1-0)
4) New England Patriots (1-0)
5) Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
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