Blue Duck Must Watch List: 1st Sunday of Ordinary Time

September 13, 2009
Code Blue! Footballs back.  And twins.

Code Blue! Football's back. And twins.

Its been so long since we had a normal Sunday.  This is the first sunday in a while where Tiger hasn’t been the only attraction, but Blue Duck, get ready for a sensory overload because today, we got Tiger and football.  Relax, its week 1, but its nice to be back to the Sundays on the couch and the monday fantasy arguments with the girl in the cube next to you.  Its all what America likes to call, the NFL regular season.

Blue Duck is always looking out for you so you tune in to the best sports programming, but since we have no idea whats available in your area (because our readership spans the globe) our contributors are going to tell you a few games to set the dial to, unbutton the pants, and get a steady flow of Coors Light and Doritos going.

From the Lone Colchestrian: Andy,
Game of the week

Green Bay Packers VS Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler, savior in Chicago? or crybaby jackass? we start to find out today

Jay Cutler, savior in Chicago? or crybaby jackass? we start to find out today

In what looks to be a strong NFC North (come on the Lions can’t really even be considered a team) this has the makings of a December-feeling game in September.  The Chicago Bears traded away their future in order to secure a little girl at quarterback.  Of course, I’m speaking of Jay Cutler, possibly the biggest baby to ever play the game of football.  He single-handedly cried himself out of Denver where new coach Josh Mcdaniels handed him a box of tissues and wished him good

Cutler will experience a big test of his leadership capabilities in his first real game with the Bears.  Playing at Lambeau with the entire crowd against you is no easy task.  It also doesn’t help that the Packers look completely revitalized after a disappointing 08 campaign.

In the offseason the Packers replaced their defensive coordinator
with Dom Capers,  who has gotten his hands dirty in implementing the
3-4 scheme into the Packers game plan, and throughout the preseason this defensive unit led by Aaron Kampmann has looked downright scary.

Assuming Rodgers can stay healthy this year, this offense has looked
exceptionally potent as well.  With a receiving duo of old pro Donald
along with emerging superstar Greg Jennings, it is going to be
tough to stop this team from scoring.  If Ryan Grant can grind away
yards and keep the defense from dropping all of their defensive backs
into coverage the Bears will have a long day in the house that Favre

My prediction?  Jay Cutler is in tears by the end of the first half as
the Packers force a couple of mistakes from the little guy and the
Pack dominate time of possession winning the game 30-17.

From the Carebear:

Well, I don’t hate people near as much as Andy so I’m just going to go with my team’s game.  As much as I hate watching the Giants play, the Giants against the Redskins tomorrow will be a solid game to tune in to.  It will also be a good way to test the NFC East waters.

The Giants Defense is highly touted, but has a lot to prove to me.  The line will always be strong, but the linebacking corps is suspect, and the secondary has a reputation of giving up the big play.  The defensive backs have a year under their belts now, and we’ll see if they can build off the progress they made last year.

Ahmad Bradshaw may be the lightning to Brandon Jacobs thunder in 09-10

Ahmad Bradshaw may be the lightning to Brandon Jacobs thunder in '09-'10

The real question, though, is the offense.  While I think they actually get better with Ahmad Bradshaw’s tenacious and downright angry running style taking over for the surprisingly Tiki-like talent that Derrick Ward was, the problems are in the receiving ranks.  Ever since Plax pulled a Munson, the Giants passing game has been weak to quite weak, every week.

They lost the well dressed, drop-happy, more tortoise than hare, Amani Toomer, and now start the season with Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss, and rookie Hakeem Nicks as their receivers.  Maybe the no name WRs will work, but that is up in the air going into sunday.

As for the Redskins, I don’t care so you shouldn’t either.  If you want good Redskins info go to,, its a blog from a DC guy I played baseball with at Gburg… Slightly less well done than Blue Duck, but a valiant effort.  Haynesworth is a beast, he should scare the hell out Eli, and his oreo-eating ass.

Prediction from Carebear:  This comes down to Jason Campbell.  If the Giant’s secondary can handle Santana Moss and the passing game then  Clinton Portis will be easier to keep in check for big blue, and the Giants take week 1.  Look for a close one.  Giants: 24, 17.  Big day for Bradshaw.

He could do better.  Hes f***ing Tom Brady.

He could do better. He's f***ing Tom Brady.

Now it’s time for Alex’s pick for Must Watch Game of the Week:

Denver Broncos @ Cincinatti Bengals

This is not a game where you look at both teams and expect playoff births.  This is a game between one team contantly in turmoil (Cinci) vs a team challenging for the title of “NFL’s most dysfunctional team” (Denver).  But this could be a telling game for things to come.

As Andy mentioned, Denver traded away their franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler and have also had a drama filled training camp with Pro Bowl WR Brandon Marshall.  That all happened after the shocking (to some…) firing of longtime coach Mike Shanahan.  Enter new head coach Josh McDaniels, QB Kyle Orton, and new faces all over both sides of the ball.  Denver has always been known for a successful running game and had one of the most explosive passing games in the league last year, ranking their offense as 2nd overall.  The defense, on the other hand, has been among the league’s worst over the past few years.

For Denver, this game can answer alot of questions.  Has McDaniels mended fences with star receiver Brandon Marshall?  As great as Eddie Royal was last year, in order for the Broncos offense to be successful, they need Marshall to add that vertical threat to the offense.  Also, which running back will lead the committee setup by McDaniels; rookie Knowshon Moreno, veterans LaMont Jordan, or Corell Buckhalter?  On the defensive side of the ball, can Brian Dawkin defeat father time and produce at safety?  The Bronco’s secondary was ranked 26th in the league last year and didn’t get any younger in the offseason.  We’ll find out against a team with a promising offense with its own issues to boot.

In Cincinatti, you’d have to hope that this is the make or break year for head coach Marvin Lewis.  He’s let the inmates run the asylum, and as a coach who was hired based on his success as a defensive coordinator, he’s never had an average defense as a Bengal.  That’s not even mentioning the character issues on this team, where there are too many to count.  If I’m a Cincinatti fan, I’m hoping that clueless owner Mike Brown is demanding a big step forward from his team or else changes are in the mix.

Things are actually looking up for the Bengals, as QB Carson Palmer is returning healthy for the first time in over a year.  Despite the loss of TJ Houshmandzadeh, the Bengals picked up underrated Laveranues Coles to man the spot opposite a revitalized Chad Ochocinco.  Adding to the passing game, troubled wide receiver Chris Henry seems to have his head on straight and has always teased with flashes of a starter’s talent.  If he can keep it together this season and Palmer can stay healthy, this passing offense has a ton of potential.  As the passing game goes, so goes the running game, manned by an extremely average Cedric Benson (another player with character issues in Cinci? No way!) .  If the passing game is successful, they will be able to run the ball behind an average line.

Also looking promising, the young defense finally built by Lewis.  Second year linebacker Keith Rivers was a beast last year, before suffering a broken jaw on a brutal hit by Hines Ward.  He’ll be joined by Dhani Jones in the middle, who had a solid year last season, and rookie Rey Maualuga, his former USC teammate.  That has the making of a very solid unit.  Cornerback Leon Hall is establishing himself as one of the top CB in the AFC.  There is talent here, so we just have to see if Lewis can coach it up.

The reasons to watch this game?  First, we’ve got to see if Palmer is officially back.  If so, look for Chad Ochocinco to just go off.  He’s too talented to waste it again.  Next, can the below average lines, both offensive and defensive, play above their heads?  Can former Cowboy Roy Williams fulfill the promise he offered coming out of the University of Texas 8 years ago or is he the undersized linebacker Dallas finally realized he’d become?  Bottom line is, this is a team with plenty of promise that can take that next step towards the playoffs (but won’t make it yet).

My prediction is that the Bengals come in and handle business.  The Broncos camp couldn’t have been productive with Orton and Moreno missing time due to injury, Marshall missing time due to suspension, and a new offense being implemented.  Furthermore, Orton has looked like a jugs machine for opposing defenses during the preseason.  Cinci will want to come and prove they are back.  The Bengals take it, 31-14.

In the preseason, Kyle Orton gave opposings defenses the ball.  Will he continue into the regular season?

In the preseason, Kyle Orton gave opposings defenses the ball. Will he continue into the regular season?