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Winners and Losers from Week 1

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The NFC East gets ratings. It does not get wins out of the division.

Three of the saddest Week 1 performances came from the NFC East's troubling trio: New York, Washington and Dallas. The Giants aren't just bad; their offense is unwatchable. Their performance on both sides of the ball in Detroit was as dispiriting as any team's opening salvo.

The Cowboys' comedy of errors against San Francisco would have felt unlucky if they didn't also feel so common during the Jason Garrett era. The Redskins' starting offense put together one touchdown drive in Houston, which was one more than it had during the preseason. It's like watching Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson run routes with straightjackets on.

Add it all up, and the Philadelphia Eagles have to be feeling great again about their chances in the division. Here were some more winners and losers from Week 1:

Going up


Matt Ryan: It was easy to forget in 2013 how good Ryan can be. Ryan is set up to rack up yards with an improved running game, Julio Jones back in the mix and Devin Hester making a big impression as a receiver. The Falcons are going to play with four wideouts often, and they will need to throw plenty to keep up with their defense.

NFC North parity: The Vikings are going to be a tough out this year. Mike Zimmer has already improved the defense, and the raw talent on offense is undeniable. Detroit had one of the most convincing wins of the week. The division threatens to have the best last-place team in the NFL, no matter who it is.

Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers: A lot of coaches believe that division victories are really worth 1.5 wins. That's especially true when you pull off the victory on the road.

The Bengals and Panthers both lost their first playoff game last season, and they weren't picked to get back to the playoffs by plenty of folks like myself. Their Week 1 victories bode very well for the season ahead. The Panthers got a win in Tampa Bay without their starting quarterback. Kelvin Benjamin already looks like a No. 1 receiver, and the Panthers' defense looks capable of challenging Seattle as the best in the league. Again.

Cincinnati could have put away the Ravens earlier, but any road win in the AFC North is going to be huge. While the Ravens figure out their new offense, the Bengals look like a team with great continuity.

Bill Lazor: Miami put up 33 points on New England despite a lackluster game from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. (He just wasn't accurate.) That speaks well for Lazor and the running game he's installed.

Moving down


Interstate 70 teams: The Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams feel as hopeless as any teams east of Oakland. The Chiefs' brutal schedule, offensive line and lack of weapons threatens to torpedo Jamaal Charles' season. The season-ending injuries to defensive weapons Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito are devastating.

Offensive lines in Chicago and Philadelphia: The Eagles are going to be without four of their top seven offensive linemen after losing tackle Allen Barbre and guard Evan Mathis to injury. A cascade of injuries at the same position can threaten the entire team.

The Bears relied on their line last season, but ankle sprains to center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson could mean a painful month ahead for the offense.

Tom Brady supporters: Brady played like he played for much of the first half of last season. Poor protection rattled the signal-caller, who was 2 of 18 on throws over 15 yards. There's no reason to panic, but there's also no reason to pretend that his deep-ball accuracy is as good as it once was.

Robert Griffin III's mojo: It's not that Griffin threw the ball terribly in Houston. We charted only one truly bad pass for his entire game. It's that Griffin was barely noticeable at all, a third-year game manager. His instincts of how to evade pressure and get rid of the ball quickly will take time to improve under Jay Gruden. Griffin doesn't look like a confident player, and the coaching staff doesn't treat him like a confident player.

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" covers the Falcons' impressive offense, RGIII's struggles and recaps all of the Week 1 action.

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