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From the Press Box - Week 1

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From the Press Box - Week 1

Well another year of NFL football is upon us. We got a taste of it Wednesday night with the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys but the real meal is coming up in just a couple of days.

Lots to chat about before this week's games. Some serious, some not, but we'll have it all for you.

Before we go any further, have a spoonful of awesome.

Seriously, I'm no big ESPN fan (though I do enjoy guys like Clayton) but that commercial was genius. I just wonder how they filmed in my home office.

By the way, Clayton is one of the nicest guys I have met. Clearly a good sport as well.

On to the real news.

The League says Farewell to Art Modell, expect Cleveland which says 'Burn in Hell'

By now you know Art Modell died this week. It's hard to look at his accomplishments—and there were a ton—and not have it distorted through the lens of taking the Browns from Cleveland.

So I don't blame Cleveland Browns fans for not shedding a tear for him, no more than I blamed Los Angeles Rams fans for muttering 'Good' under their breath when Georgia Frontiere died, nor any Baltimore Colt or Houston Oiler fan for ill-will towards the owners who took their team.

At least the Browns left the name behind (and history) to become the Ravens, though I suspect that was grudging at best.

This brings me to my real point—if Los Angeles gets a team, I would never want a stolen team. As a former Los Angelino, who watched Al Davis and Frontiere move the Rams and Raiders respectively largely because they wanted a better stadium deal or more cash, it would leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Even the Chargers.

You don't take a city's team (even if almost every LA team was grabbed from another city). It's not fair to the fans and it's not even fair to the new city.

I'm not saying the Chargers couldn't survive in LA or the Raiders couldn't move south again and make a go of it.

Just that it's not right. I can't imagine the Jets being moved out of NY/NJ. I remember my grandmother's rabid hatred of the Dodgers for leaving Brooklyn.

It's painful and it's wrong and I hope I don't see it happen, though I suspect I will.

Fire Tom Coughlin.....

....is what I expected to hear more of in New York after Thursday's debacle.

And it was a debacle. The Giants are forever overlooked even after a Super Bowl—and that is without a doubt because the are wildly inconsistent in the regular season.

The issues in the secondary loomed huge as they were blown up by Kevin FREAKING Ogletree. Dez Bryant did well against the secondary as well.

They just looked overmatched. As a team the Giants were not the guys who won the Super Bowl. Victor Cruz dropped the ball enough to make you think he dipped his hands in grease. David Wilson was benched early on for a fumble. Even the pass rush wasn't quite what we expected.

This is the way it goes with the Giants. It's why they are always overlooked. It's why they always will be.

They struggle all season long with consistency. The upside is—and Giants fans can only hope it remains so—when the playoffs start, they wake up.

Of course, more games like Wednesday night and there won't be a playoffs for them.

Underrated/Overrated

Thought I would try a new thing here, by looking at some teams and players who are overrated and some who are underrated going into week one.

UNDERRATED: Detroit Lions
If you have read my stuff at Bleacher Report's NFC North blog you know I think that the media nationally has been too quick to discount the Lions. This is a team with a tremendous offense and a very good defense.

You can't ignore the issues at the offensive line and the questions on the secondary, but you also shouldn't just look at the 2011 defense and extrapolate that this year's version will be the same.

They are much better than folks are giving them credit for.

OVERRATED: Denver Broncos & Peyton Manning

It's not that Manning isn't good—if healthy he is very good—it's that this team, aside from Manning, didn't add that much. The offensive line still has issues, the defense still has holes and the receivers are unproven.

While everyone 'sounds' cautious when talking about the Broncos, for the most part it has rung hollow as many people in the media seem ready to assume that Manning will equal success.

Could they win the division? Sure—it's not a strong division. Manning helps that.

But they can just as easily botch it as well, despite Manning. And if Manning goes down, it's over. There is nobody behind him.

That's something Packers fans have heard before. The difference is, the Broncos have no Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings or Jermicheal Finley to help out.

UNDERRATED: Seattle Seahawks

There's a lot of Russell Wilson talk, sure, but overall this is a much better team than people think. It's not a world beater by any means. However, the defense is very solid and they may have more going on in the offense than folks expect.

A lot of people have given the NFC West to the San Francisco 49ers. IN some ways I can see that.

Don't sleep on the Seahawks though—they have enough talent to give the Niners a fight.

Speaking of which—

OVERRATED: San Francisco 49ers

Sub-title: But not the defense.

The Niner defense is all world. I have little to no faith in the offense.

Or really, I have little to no faith in Alex Smith.

They were surprisingly decent last year and if it sounds like I am damning with faint praise, I am. The offense was effective, but nothing special and it continues to be nothing special.

Maybe Randy Moss has a career rebirth in the Bay Area (again). Maybe Alex Smith will rise above his mediocre talent to play out of his mind. Maybe John Harbaugh will come up with some more creative passes to call beyond dink and dunk.

Or maybe they fall behind a few times and the offense reminds us that they can't afford it because they can't throw the ball enough to come back.

I don't buy the Niners' offense. This team is all about the defense winning games. Simply put, the offense can't.

That's a problem, make no mistake.

Odds and Ends

In case you were unaware, I re-booted the Hard Count a few weeks back, joining the Packer Channel on Livestream as a video podcast. We've had a few bumps in the road, but I think I have worked the issues out, so please join me every Tuesday at 9:30 pm EST for NFL talk.

Chat is still spotty I guess, so make sure you also tweet at me and I can take questions during the show.

So far it's been a blast and I have been able to do some fun visual stuff like break down plays.

So stop on by.

I'll be joining Mr. Aaron Nagler in studio at B/R for Sundays so I'll probably tweet a bunch off and on, giving you my thoughts on everything we're watching while we're watching. So definitely keep reading me on twitter.

Finally, I don't think the replacement refs are terrible, but we saw the best of the best this Wednesday. We'll talk again next week after a full slate of games has gone by.

I'll withhold judgement until then.

Football is back folks—THE PAIN TRAIN'S COMING! WOOO-WOOO!

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