COMMENTARY| There are only 16 games in an NFL season, which makes each one equally important. Obviously, every team wants to win every game, but some need a season-opening victory more than others. Here’s a list of the teams who needed it most, and the ones who can least afford to start slow. Let’s start with the 1-0 teams:
Seattle Seahawks– Everyone’s trendy pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, Seattle had to travel cross-country for a 10:00 (PST) kickoff in Carolina. Had they lost, Seattle would have been looking at the real possibility of starting 0-2 with the ‘Niners coming to town next week. That would have put a lot of heat on Pete Carroll’s squad.
New York Jets– The drama kings of the NFL. Rex Ryan is a lame duck coach. The quarterback, wide receiver, and running back situations are a mess. Nobody expects them to realistically compete on a week-to-week basis, but the New York media would have had a field day if they lost against the Bucs. At 1-0 , Coach Ryan finally gets some breathing room. For now.
Dallas Cowboys- Every year there are big expectations for this team, but everything is big in Texas. This offseason, Jerry Jones gave big money to Tony Romo, who has not shown he can win in a big spot. In their week one clash with the Giants, (who were 4-0 in Dallas’ new stadium), the Cowboys needed six turnovers to barely squeak out a win. If the Cowboy’s lost that game, Jerry Jones might have jumped off his Jumbotron.
Detroit Lions– Losers of their last eight games to end last year at 4-12, it’s easy to forget they made the playoffs the year before. They have plenty of talent with Matthew Stafford, Megatron, Ndamukong Suh, and Reggie Bush, but they are undisciplined at times and need to turn it around. A 1-0 record is the first step in that direction.
New Orleans Saints – Life hasn’t been easy in The Big Easy. Bountygate and the NFL’s worst defense led to the Saints missing the playoffs. This season, Sean Peyton returned to the sideline, Rob Ryan is leading the defense, and oh yeah, they still have Drew Brees and that potent passing attack. A 1-0 start was the first step to erasing the memory of last season.
On to the 0-1 teams…
Pittsburgh Steelers– Rumors of the team getting old have been swirling. They looked dreadful in a home loss to the Titans, losing Maurkice Pouncy and Larry Foote in the process. With a week two road trip to play the Bengals, a victory in week one was sorely needed.
Carolina Panthers- Coach Ron Rivera was on the hot seat but survived. Cam Newton took a lot of heat for pouting while losing early last year, but the Panthers won their last four games to raise optimism. A win in week one would have added to that optimism, but unfortunately, they drew the short straw and had to host the Seahawks in a tough week one loss.
Atlanta Falcons– Losing on the road to the Saints is understandable, but after earning the number one seed and finally winning a playoff game last year, anything less than a trip to the Super Bowl will be considered a failure. Losing in week one to a division rival does not set a championship tone.
Baltimore Ravens– Ray Lewis retired, Ed Reed signed with the Texans, and Anquan Boldin was traded. That’s a lot of change. The champs really needed to win their week one rematch in Denver to show they could handle that change. After getting torched by Peyton Manning, it doesn’t look like it.
Buffalo Bills– With only one winning season and no playoff appearances since 1999, the Bills needed a fast start. First-round draft pick E.J. Manuel played well last week against the Patriots and gives hope for the future, but playing against the Panthers and their excellent front seven, 0-2 is a real possibility.
Glenn Calpin is a life-long NFL and Seattle Seahawks fan. You can read his articles here on Yahoo!. Wanna’ talk football with him? Email him at [email protected]