The Wednesday Walk Through
July 5, 1989, the day that Seinfeld debuted. September 21, 1970, the day that the first Monday Night Football game was played. June 11, 2002, the day that American Idol debuted in America. September 12, 2012, the first ever edition of The Wednesday Walk Through.
So what is it? It is sort of inspired by Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column. We don’t have the Rolodex that he has, so we are going to have to focus on rankings, fantasy advice, predictions, and stuff we can legally borrow from the internet to get us through.
Each Wednesday, readers of this column will sit in and enjoy exactly what you read the week before. The idea of the column is to present the information in sections that will run each week. It might sound a little confusing, but you will catch on.
With out any further ado, let’s start the Wednesday Walk Through…
5 Things I wont forget about Week 1
- You don’t need the WWT to tell you that Robert Griffin III was spectacular in his debut in the Redskins 40-32 victory over the Saints. I will never forget the hit he took on his first career touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. The kid got blasted by Malcolm Jenkins and stood in there gunning a strike off his back foot. Roman Harper was in la la land so what should have been about a 20-yard gain turned into an 88-yard touchdown, but the point is RGIII is strong, poised and tough.
- David Akers got a little help from his friend the cross bar to nail a 63-yard field goal just before the half in Green Bay. Akers tied the record for the longest field goal in NFL history and now shares the record with Tom Dempsey (New Orleans Saints) and Jason Elam (Denver Broncos). But consider this, Elam kicked his record setter in the thin air of Mile High Stadium and Dempsey did it with half a foot. Half a foot? You might consider that a huge disadvantage for a kicker, but many said the shoe that Dempsey wore gave him an unfair advantage sort of like (WARNING: Dated wrestling reference approaching) the armband that Iron Mike Sharp used to wear to the wrestling ring in the 80’s. Considering all the information, Akers kick (outside, on grass, in Green Bay, with a regular shoe), might be the best kick in NFL history.
- Adrian Peterson ruined his knee right around last Christmas. He celebrated the New Year by having surgery. He spent every waking minute since rehabbing his leg to be ready for last Sunday. Peterson had his doubters. Many believe that an ACL is a full calendar year injury for a running back and no matter how tough Peterson is he wouldn’t be able to get in good enough shape to plan an NFL game. Peterson shut everyone up Sunday by scoring 2 touchdowns, rushing for nearly five yards a carry, and making sure his last carry was his best so he could help the Vikings get into field goal range in overtime.
- The replacement officials didn’t ruin the week. I thought they might, but they didn’t. The would have been in trouble if the Seahawks would have beaten the Cardinals after being awarded a fourth time out, but it didn’t happen. I thought they called too many penalties and the games were a little slower, but if I was one of the old officials I might be getting really nervous.
- It was great to have Peyton Manning back. I know some of you don’t like him, but the NFL was missing something without him on the field last year and it felt great to have that back. The work that Peyton did before the ball was snapped on the long touchdown by Demaryius Thomas was vintage Manning. If he can stay healthy the Broncos are going to be a serious contender this season.
Rating the Rookie QB’s
They say that this is a quarterback league and five teams are playing with a rookie behind center this year. Each week, the WWT will rank the progress of the five rookie starters to see who develops quickest this season and who might be a draft day miss.
- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) this is an obvious choice. Griffin was the only of the five rookies to win and he did so in the Superdome where the Saints were 9-0 last season.
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) Luck wasn’t perfect and the Bears defense did bait him into a few bad interceptions, but Luck’s 303-yards passing is the third most ever for a rookie QB making his NFL debut.
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) Wilson had five chances inside the Cardinals 10-yard line (and an extra time-out) to lead his team to victory on Sunday but he couldn’t get it done. His receivers didn’t help. Wilson made a few good throws on that final drive that should have been caught.
- Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) Tannehill had a debut against the Texans that he will be excited to forget. Tannehill threw three picks and had a 39.0 quarterback rating. I am struggling to find something good to say here, so I will go with this… I know you had a tough day Ryan, but at least you got to go home to a beautiful wife.
- Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) Weeded had a day from hell against the Eagles. First, he got caught underneath the giant American flag during the pre-game and then he stunk the joint up throwing four interceptions and finishing with a 5.1 QB rating. The worst news is that Weeden turns 29 next month. He doesn’t have a lot of extra time to develop.
Week 1 Playoff Projections
Instead of power rankings, each week in the WWT we will look at what the playoff situation would look like in each conference if the season ended today. It will be interesting to see this list evolve from week-to-week.
East- Dallas Cowboys
North- Detroit Lions
South- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
West- Arizona Cardinals
Wild Card 1- San Francisco 49ers
Wild Cars 2- Washington Redskins
East- New York Jets
North- Baltimore Ravens
South- Houston Texans
West- San Diego Chargers
Wild Card 1- New England Patriots
Wild Card 2- Denver Broncos
Must See TV- Week 2 Edition
Each week, the WWT will get you ready for the upcoming week of action in the NFL by ranking the five games every NFL fan must watch.
1. Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons, Monday, September 17 at 8:30 on ESPN
It will be interesting to see the Broncos and Manning go on the road to play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons were impressive in their season debut taking care of the Chiefs with a dominant second half. ESPN should do a huge rating for this Manning vs. Matt Ryan showdown.
2. Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Thursday, September 13, at 8:20 on NFLN
If you are stuck with Time Warner and still don’t have the NFL Network this might be the week to pick up the phone and call DirecTV. The Packers were sluggish against the 49ers and will probably be without star receiver Greg Jennings. The Bears beat up on Andrew Luck but can they be the second team in a row to go into Lambeau and come out with a win?
3. Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, September 16, at 8:20 on NBC
The Lions were dreadful in their opening game against the Rams and Matt Stafford struggled through one of the worst games of his career. The Lions were lucky to escape the Rams with a victory. The 49ers might have been the most impressive team on opening day with their dominant win over the Packers. If the 49ers can defeat the Lions, they will be 2-0 with two wins over NFC playoff teams from last season. The 49ers would clearly establish themselves as the early favorite in the NFC.
4. Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, September 16, at 1:00 on CBS
The Eagles were lucky to leave Cleveland with a win on Sunday, and if a Browns DB could have held on to a sure interception on their winning drive they wouldn’t have left with that win. They will have to be much better this week to defeat the impressive Ravens who spend Monday night blowing the doors off the Bengals. It’s a short week for the Ravens who will have to travel to Philadelphia after playing on Monday. Joe Flacco played one of his best games as a pro against the Bengals, but the Eagles secondary will be a tougher test. Flacco is playing for a new contract and this will be his first chance to prove that he can control the game against one of the league’s most dominant secondaries.
5. Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams, Sunday, September 16 at 4:05 on Fox
There might be a better game on the schedule but I am anxious to see how Robert Griffin III looks after an NFL team has some real tape to watch as they set up their game plan against him. Also, Sam Bradford was the first pick in the NFL draft two years ago and its time for him to step up and show the league he isn’t going to be outplayed in his own house against a rookie signal caller.
Make Sure He is in your Lineup
Each week, the WWT will pick out a player that absolutely has to be in your fantasy lineup this week.
Randall Cobb, WR (Green Bay Packers) The Packers looked to be making a point to get Cobb more involved in the offense. Cobb had 9 catches on 9 targets and is dynamic in the return game. Also, Greg Jennings probably won’t be available for the Packers on Thursday so his 9 targets are going to need to go somewhere else. Make sure you get Randall Cobb in your fantasy lineup this week.
Must Win Game of the Week
Each week, the WWT will tell you what team absolutely positively needs to win their upcoming game.
Buffalo Bills over Kansas City Chiefs: The Bills better beat the Chiefs this weekend if they plan on ending their 12-year playoff drought. The Bills looked pathetic in their opener against the Jets, and no one was impressed with high priced DE Mario Williams prepared statement after the game. Williams complained that the Jets linemen were using dirty tactics to block him and the whole thing made Williams look like a baby. He signed a huge contract in the offseason and the crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium will turn on him quickly if he doesn’t show up this week. The Bills can’t afford to be 0-2 with two losses in the AFC. The Bills have a favorable schedule this season, but it gets harder in the middle of the season. The Bills are my pick this week for must win game of the week.
One Last Thing…
First, thank for reading the first ever edition of The Wednesday Walk Through. I hope you enjoyed it and will be back here next Wednesday for more of the same. I will end the column each week with one last thing. It might be a prediction. It might be a statement. It might be a question. The only thing that is for sure is that before I end this column each week there will be… One. Last. Thing.
The Saints laid an egg last week at home against Washington and have already started whispers that they can’t be the same team they were last year without Sean Payton. This week, the Saints travel to Carolina to play a Panthers team that also looked terrible in their debut against Tampa Bay. The Saints need to be much better this week. Each of the 53 players that are active on Sunday need to DO THEIR JOB. Mark Ingram was only on the field for 9 snaps last week and it’s really time for the former first round pick to step it up. Also, Patrick Robinson (also a former first round pick) picked up an inexcusable penalty when he was caught jogging off the field by the Redskins punt team. That mistake cost the Saints any realistic chance at a comeback and Robinson should be embarrassed. Do your job this week Saints and take care of the Panthers. If you don’t, those whispers I mentioned earlier are going to get much, much louder.