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The NFL 9/11 tributes turned out to be a great success. I watched each one with tears and goosebumps as players, musicians, artists, firefighters, police officers, and those that helped in the wake of the devastation came together.
As a San Diego resident, I was quite proud to watch the American Flag cover the entire field at Qualcomm Stadium. As the camera panned around the flag, one image I continue to reflect upon is Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson holding the flag in honor.
In the moment of silence that followed, it was a clear reminder that we are all in this together, no matter what uniform or side of the ball you are on. This togetherness extended to fans as well, as they all waved their American flags in sync.
As a nation, we all suffered that fateful day. My personal recollection is different than most as that day for me was bittersweet. My phone rang around 8:30 am (PST) with my mom on the other end saying, "He was born and he is healthy, but turn on your TV," in a voice that could barely speak. I was elated at the announcement of my first nephew making it into the world.
But when I turned on the TV, that happiness was over-shadowed with horror, as I watched in disbelief at the events that had taken place just hours prior in New York.
Last Sunday, 9/11/11, we gathered as a family; a family of Dolphins, Raiders, and 49ers fans, to watch football together, and to celebrate my nephew’s tenth birthday.
One message that continues to ring true over and over … on 9/11/01, we, as a nation, were all New Yorkers, and always will be.
My Predictions for Week Two
Unfortunately, there is no Thursday night game; however, there are some match-ups on Sunday that are going to make this week exciting.
Bears (1-0) at Saints (0-1) The Bears are coming off a win that stunned most of us. Their defense is going to control the running game and force the Saints to go to the air with short and long passes. With WR Marques Colston still out, this could be difficult for them to maintain the entire game. In addition, the Saints defense will have to get through that strong Bear offensive line and I don’t see that happening enough. Winner - Bears
Chiefs (0-1) at Lions (1-0) Kansas City answered my question last week of “Will the Chiefs come out strong in the first six games again this year?” Absolutely not. Lions fans have to be proud after week one, as QB Matthew Stafford really stepped up and proved himself. This week should be no different for the Lions on offense or defense. They will dominate this game. Winner - Lions
Jaguars (1-0) at Jets (1-0) No word yet if Jets coach Rex Ryan has declared them Super Bowl champs for the third straight year, but I’m sure it’s coming. This week, the Jets offense is going to explode on the Jags defense, especially when throwing down field where the Jags are weak. Winner - Jets
Raiders (1-0) at Bills (1-0) Oakland’s defensive line is going to be the key factor in this game. They will stop Bills RB Fred Jackson and this is going to cripple the Bills offensively, as they will have to rely on their receivers. The second key factor is going to be Raiders RB Darren McFadden. The Bills have a mediocre defense, and against the run, they are going to be less than mediocre. Winner - Raiders
Cardinals (1-0) at Redskins (1-0) Was that really a Rex Grossman run team last week? Impressive. Will his inconsistent ways return, or has he taken a turn for the better? Either way, I think Washington has this one, as their defensive pass-rush will exploit Arizona’s offense, even with Larry Fitzgerald. Winner - Redskins
Ravens (1-0) at Titans (0-1) Really? Don’t waste your time watching, as this game will be a blow-out in favor of Baltimore. The Ravens offense will have no limitations as to what they can do against this weak Titan defense. Winner - Ravens
Seahawks (0-1) at Steelers (0-1) The Steelers are coming off a tough loss from Week One, and will not be taking a beating like that from the Seahawks. In fact, when this game is through, Seattle isn’t even going to know what happened. The Steelers will be back to normal, dominating on both offense and defense. Winner – Steelers
Packers (1-0) at Panthers (0-1) Take the point spread and head to Vegas. This game is unevenly matched in every aspect. I would not be surprised if we see some second string players for the Packers in the fourth quarter, as this game will already be won. Winner – Packers
Buccaneers (0-1) at Vikings (0-1) Vikings QB Donovan McNabb threw for only 39 yards last week. I think my nephew threw more than that in his street game. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is going to be exhausted before half-time if the Vikings don’t get that ball in the air and down the field. Regardless, the Bucs offensive is going to control this game, as QB Josh Freeman has a few dependable options on the ground and in the air. Winner – Bucs
Browns (0-1) at Colts (0-1) As I opened up the paper this morning, I noticed the Browns are 2.5 favorites over the Colts in Indianapolis. This team really is nothing without Peyton; however, after the Brown’s loss to Cincinnati last week, I am not sure they will pull it off this week. The Colts have veteran QB Terry Collins, who was signed less than a month ago, and once he’s acclimated better (i.e., on his home turf), he is completely capable of leading this Colt team to, at the very least, a victory over the Browns. Winner – Colts
Cowboys (0-1) at 49ers (1-0) As far as over all talent goes, Dallas has the edge. Their defense is going to be the factor in this game as they contain 49er RB Frank Gore forcing QB Alex Smith to go to the air, which isn’t promising for the 49ers. Winner - Cowboys
Texans (1-0) at Dolphins (0-1) Oh great – Miami plays at home. For Texan fans, this is a good thing. For me and every other Dolphins fan out there, this is awful. However, this is a new season, they did play dominating New England last week, and QB Chad Henne looked better than expected. Can the home curse be lifted? Yes it can and this is the week. The Dolphins offense will be the factor in this game, working the Texan defense with Henne to Marshall, Henne to Bess, and all the running backs in between. Winner - Dolphins
Chargers (1-0) at Patriots (1-0) Hey Vegas, this game is a definite over. I don’t care what the point spread is. This will be a shoot-out of offenses, and whoever has the least amount of field goals, wins the game. Yes, score a touchdown every opportunity you can, or lose the game. That is exactly what New England will do. In addition, you will definitely see the no-huddle offense from the Pats to wear down the Charger defense, just as they did in Miami. Winner - Patriots
Bengals (1-0) at Broncos (0-1) The quarterback circus continues in Denver -- coaches insist on Orton -- fans want Tebow. Give them what they want John Fox! Could it really be any worse than last week's performance? Doubtful, especially against a weak Bengal defense. As of today, Orton is the clear starter and this will prove to be a bad choice. The Bronco defensive-run game was completely exploited last week against the Raiders and they will be having déjà vu as the Bengals run all over them this week. Winner - Bengals
Eagles (1-0) at Falcons (0-1) Last week, the Eagles controlled the game on the ground with RB LeSean McCoy. This week, they better change their game plan, because Atlanta’s defensive line is going to be on attack mode and they are going to be successful. Like I said last week, the Eagles offensive line is weak and protecting Vick and McCoy is going to be much more difficult this week. In addition, Matt Ryan rarely -- emphasis on rarely -- loses at home. Winner - Falcons
Rams (0-1) at Giants (0-1) Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring. But, he does. His level of play continues to decrease with each passing season and he’s hurting, more than helping, the Giants these days. Rams QB Sam Bradford is good to go, after a bruised index finger, for Monday’s game, and that is GREAT news for the Rams. They are going to stun the Giants. Winner - Rams
For Jana's thoughts on last week, further analysis on this week's match-ups, the complete Week 2 schedule, or to read anything else she feels like tossing out regarding the NFL, go to her dirty cleats blog.
Jana Newman lives in San Diego and has been an NFL fan for over 25 years (her not-so-secret obsession is still No. 13 Dan Marino). She has her bachelor of arts degree in English, and loves to write. To combine these passions, Jana created dirtycleats.com. It’s an NFL blog with a fresh look and a fun attitude. You can also follow dirtycleats on Facebook. To reach Jana, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.