Thursday, September 11, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Kicking off NFL season
If you predicted this column would be keyed to opening day (or weekend) in the NFL then you know me all too well. I am still in a bit of a quandary, pondering whether to hang on to the Denver Broncos as a fave or kick them to the sidelines. I’ll really get into that a little later. First, I have a little explaining to do.
Nephew Burch Jones Jr. and family (wife Shirley, sisters Shirley and Beverly), stopped by the hacienda late afternoon on Saturday en route back to Minneapolis after a bereavement trip to Mississippi. Burch Jr. had read my column before hitting the road south and wasn’t sure if the Minnesota Lynx had escaped the conference finals. I validated his worst fears – the WNBA champions for two of the last five years fell to the Phoenix Mercury and the Defensive Player of the Year, Brittny Griner. Burch Jr. had missed the Jarrott St. Labor Day picnic hosted annually by his uncle, George Leggs, but vows to attend next year. We’ll be looking forward to that, Nephew, and good luck next season on the Lynx.
The big boys of fall got off to a bruising and rollicking start on Sunday with a full slate of contests after the defending champs Seahawks had set the bar with a 36-16 win over Green Bay on Thursday evening. I am not going to try and separate the upsets, but the Titans drew attention with their opening win over the Chiefs. The rumor around the gridiron is that Tennessee is going to make some noise this season.
There were a pair of overtime games late in the day (Atlanta 37-34 New Orleans), (Buffalo 23-20 Chicago) with three games left on the slate – Carolina and Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Dallas, and the late game, Denver and Indianapolis.
And that calls up my indecisive quandary. The Broncos and Peyton Manning were to take on the Colts in the Mile High City and last season this game was played in Indianapolis with the Colts winning. Incidentally, the Colts have beaten the Broncos six times (before last season), but the catch is, Manning was leading the Colts. Denver has plenty of drum majors out there pounding the cymbals for their run this season. The majority of the fans are willing to forgive the 30-point Super Bowl fiasco of yesteryear and are predicting that the Broncos and Manning will go undefeated.
Yours truly is not quite ready to go that far out on the limb; but checking the game last night, the touted defense of Denver got a bit sloppy after the offense put up a 24-0 lead. The Broncos are going without one of their main cogs, Wes Welker, who has been suspended for four games (speculation is that the suspension might be shortened). Not degrading the importance of Welker, however, the Broncos have some able backups.
For you Mannings watchers, brother Eli lost his opener against Miami (33-20) and not to forget all you Cowboys fans in these here parts (and there are a ton of y’all), the Cowboys went under to San Francisco 28-17.
The season is in its infancy, so we still have time to do a little shopping.
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