Several observations are being made now that one week of the NFL season is in the books.
Among them are the Patriots are going to be average without Tom Brady, the Chargers and Colts don't look to be as formidable as they've been, and the Steelers may be the team to beat in the AFC.
The NFL season, though, is long, and before the second week begins, it's time to refute all of these premature opinions.
The Patriots will be an average team without Brady: The Patriots may still be the best team in the AFC, even with Matt Cassel at quarterback. They have one of the best offensive lines and a top receiving duo, not to mention a pretty good coach. They're still at least the team to beat in the AFC East.
The Chargers and Colts may not be among the elite teams: The Chargers started out slow last year and ended up in the AFC Championship game. Last week's loss to the Panthers will only make them better. The Colts played the whole preseason without Peyton Manning. As soon as he and the rest of his teammates get a few weeks of real action together, they'll be the Colts of old.
The Steelers look like the team to beat in the AFC: The Steelers are a good team, but they dominated an inferior opponent. They are also vulnerable if/when a key injury occurs. Many other teams are dealing with devastating injuries right now - the Steelers were one of the lucky ones in Week 1. How the Steelers respond when they're faced with adversity will be a more telling sign.
The Steelers should have signed Marvel Smith to an extension before the season: The Steelers' left tackle played a solid game Sunday, but he's had a history of injury problems. He actually was dinged up this week. The Steelers have invested a lot of their money in Ben Roethlis-berger, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu. They are probably better off waiting on Smith to see if he can make it through an entire season healthy.
The Falcons and Ravens may be teams to watch: Both start rookie quarterbacks and have rookie coaches. The Falcons had the advantage of opening at home against a bad defense (Lions) and hitting a big play early. The Ravens played at home against a slumping Bengals team and won by a touchdown. Both the Falcons and Ravens will come back to reality soon.
The Raiders and Rams are going to be among the worst teams again: Nothing to refute here.
NFL Week No. 2
Game of the week: Philadelphia at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN)
Upset special: Buffalo (+5 1/2) at Jacksonville
Fantasy tip: Don't jump on Denver receiver Eddie Royal, despite his big first game. Brandon Marshall returns from his suspension this week, and he'll be Jay Cutler's top target.
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.