It’s your last chance to get caught up on the happenings at PFF before the next slate of games is upon us, and our new ‘PFF Week’ posts provide quick access to the week that was. The ‘Up North’ edition covers all things pertaining to the AFC and NFC North divisions for a one-stop Saturday shop built to keep you in the loop and on top of your football-watching game.
Well that was not a great start. The teams “Up North” combined to post the worst possible opening weekend (scoreless ties aside), with the only wins for teams in the AFC North and NFC North coming against fellow northerners — the Lions beat the Vikings, while the Bears got the better of the Bengals.
So, is this a sign of a tough year ahead, or will a contender emerge? Let’s take a look back at the week that was.
Week 1 Wrap
You can always depend on our PFF analysts to give you a unique perspective on the weekend’s action in our ReFocused articles — that’s the advantage our Signature Stats provide. This season we’ve put more resources into our analysis of every player, on every play, of every game, to bring you that perspective even earlier in your week. Here’s how our experts saw the Week 1 performances from the AFC and NFC North — and don’t fret Packer fans, PFF’s Steve Palazollo still thinks there’s a spot for your team at the league’s top table.
- ReFo: BAL @ DEN, Week 1
- ReFo: CIN @ CHI, Week 1
- ReFo: MIA @ CLE, Week 1
- ReFo: TEN @ PIT, Week 1
- ReFo: MIN @ DET, Week 1
- ReFo: GB @ SF, Week 1
Understandably, the poor showing of some teams in the AFC and NFC North meant only four players from the divisions made it to the PFF Team of Week 1. That said, James Anderson of the Bears, the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh, and the Ravens duo of Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch can be proud of making the cut.
Conversely, the poor form up north saw seven players earn the ignominy of a spot on our ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team, Week 1. Cleveland fans will be a little distressed to see three Browns on the team.
The bad news continued in this week’s 32 Observations article, where Nathan Jahnke pointed out the depth of the problems in Minnesota:
“On 70.6% of Adrian Peterson’s carries, he had just 2 yards or fewer. That was the highest rate for all running backs with 10 or more carries.”
But enough of the doom and gloom. Three players from the AFC North and NFC North placed in the Top 10 of PFF’s Race for Rookie of the Year, led by Bears tackle Jordan Mills at No. 4. And what’s more, the Vikings’ Sharrif Floyd and Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy both made Steve Palazzolo’s “Five to Watch” list.
Reggie Bush’s debut with the Lions went so well PFF Senior Analyst Sam Monson dedicated his Analysis Notebook: Week 1 to breaking down just how Detroit got so much production from the former Saint and Dolphin. The Notebook regularly features an in-depth look at the league’s best players and plays, and Sam followed up his analysis of the Lions with a breakdown of the Patriots one and only touchdown against the Jets to kick-off Week 2.
Week 1 at PFF concluded with a look at the first regular season performances from the 2013 first-round draft picks, in Khaled Elsayed’s First-Rounders in Focus — the Bengals’ Tyler Eifert already looks a solid choice — and then the second installment of the PFF Power Rankings. And despite the poor Week 1 results, our analysts still placed both the Bears and Packers in the Top 10, and there was plenty of respect for the Ravens and Bengals.
Looking to Week 2
The best way to get yourself ready for the weekend ahead is to check in with the PFF Three to Focus On game previews. Here’s what we’ll be looking for from your team in Week 2:
- 3TFO: Vikings @ Bears, Week 2
- 3TFO: Redskins @ Packers, Week 2
- 3TFO: Browns @ Ravens, Week 2
- 3TFO: Lions @ Cardinals, Week 2
- 3TFO: Steelers @ Bengals, Week 2
Our PFF tipsters have continued their hot streak in the PFF Pick’em on games they agree upon. The staff built on last season’s consensus success rate of 79.6% to nail four out of five unanimous choices in Week 1. That’s good news for Ravens, Packers, and Bears fans as all our lads have picked them to win in Week 2.
At PFF we pride ourselves on going beyond the hype and highlights to find the real answers to what happens on the gridiron. A perfect example of this is Steve Palazollo’s weekly Secret Superstars report, which highlights players that flew under the radar, or performed well at an unfashionable position. This week he focused on an undrafted safety in Denver, a right tackle plucked from the street in Oakland, a backup running back in Houston, and a fullback in Tennessee.
Steve also shone a little light on the realities behind the left tackle/right tackle debate in Palazzolo’s Pitch: Blindsided.
So that’s it from us as we push on with Week 2. There’s three all NFC North and AFC North matchups this week, so the divisions’ teams must perform a little better… scoreless ties aside.