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Bears, Bengals, Texans show you can't tell too much from Week 1

It doesn't take much for panic to ensue in the NFL, does it? In a sport where the entire week is built around one day, and one game, it's easy to lose sight of perspective or tend to value any one bad performance too greatly. And, often, a win the following week restored order, sanity and reason.

The plight of quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears was all the rage this time last week after he threw four interceptions against the Packers. Was Cutler the man to lead the Bears in the wake of Brian Urlacher's season-ending wrist injury and a visit by the world champions?

I was less inspired by the lack of fight in the Texans in Week 1, which was exasperated when they fell behind the Titans, 21-7.

And then there were the Bengals, who blew a home game to Denver in astounding fashion -- last second 87-yard touchdown catch-and-rumble from receiver Brandon Stokely -- and then faced the daunting prospect of traveling to Lambeau Field.

Well, turned out all three teams were okay, eh?

Resiliency is paramount in this league, where a two-game losing streak can easily morph into "a season in crisis." You have to commend the bounce-back-a-bility of these three clubs.

The Texans most surprised me. They had ample opportunity to roll over, instead quarterback Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson triggered a righteous comeback. The rush defense was invisible, but this was a huge win for a franchise hoping to finally get over the playoff hump.

Cutler is the toast of the town after the Bears knocked off the Steelers, and now the team goes on the road to face the banged-up Seahawks who may or may not have quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Receiver Chad Ochocinco's touchdown and subsequent Lambeau Leap led the Bengals to a bounce-back win. And if the Bengals muster anything close to the pass rush they mounted against Green Bay (more on the Packers' offensive line woes later), the Steelers could be in trouble at Paul Brown Stadium.

Imagine how the Bears and Bengals would be perceived if they had held on to late leads in Week 1.

There are a few teams who have already sent out significant signals for concern -- Cleveland, Kansas City, Detroit, St. Louis -- but it was hard to find many people listing them as possible playoff contestants before the season, anyway. Chicago, Houston, and, to a lesser-degree, Cincinnati, were seen by some as teams on the rise, and last week they all made a statement as to why.

Now all they have to do is keep it up.

Too much second-and-long for Packers

The Packers line concerns can be traced to first down, as the team has allowed six first-down sacks in two games. Only three other teams have allowed more than six sacks total, on any down. First-down sacks kill drives, sap rhythm and force an offense into turnover-prone scenarios.

Coach Mike McCarthy believes these problems can be corrected in house, but, with franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers taking more shots than a fungo bat, I'd be more than a little concerned.

Left tackle Chad Clifton has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out through October, but the discomfort could linger. Right tackle Allen Barbre has had some epic struggles this season, as Bengals DE Antwan Odom registered five sacks on Rodgers last week.

Guard Daryn Colledge slides over to the all-important left tackle position, and the Packers want to show faith in this unit. But free-agent and long-time Packer Mark Tauscher is a possibility according to a league source if they look outside. Veterans Jon Runyan and Levi Jones are also available.

Some scouts I've talked to believe that young tackle Breno Giacomini, who is often inactive, has promise. He's 6-7, 311, and while mobility is an issue, he can be a force drive blocking. Given Barbre's woes in both pass pro and run blocking at times, maybe they consider it (and I am told the Packers are enthused by Giacomini's potential as well). Losing young tackle Jamon Meredith from their practice squad came at an awkward time as well.

Green Bay has been an exemplary front office in a lot of ways, and this is a team I believe can accomplish some significant things (I had them winning the division). But getting better production and continuity from the offensive line is imperative, and you know Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is going to concoct some diverse blitz packages to attack their vulnerability this week.

Signing could be Boone for Chargers

The moves you make after setting your 53-man roster are just as important as the ones prior because of injuries. The Chargers signing of DT Alfonso Boone to replace NT Jamal Williams -- who is out for the season with a triceps injury -- has a chance to be significant.

Boone is not going to be the kind of elite run stuffer as Williams, but the Chargers need him to stabilize the porous run defense. The Chargers were overpowered and gutted by Oakland and Baltimore. Opposing teams are picking up four yards or more on 52 percent of their rushing attempts against the Chargers, worst in the NFL.

We know how much Miami likes to run the ball, particularly power plays out of the Wildcat. They used it to gut the Colts' sagging rush defense last week and I'd expect the exact same approach this week. The Dolphins have 36 rushes of four yards or more this season -- second-best in the NFL -- so something has to give here. It's a big game for San Diego, especially with the Steelers and Broncos looming.

Too much defense, not enough Manning

The Colts run defense continues to be a problem, and has been for quite a while. I have a hard time seeing that offense being able to bail them out with 15 minutes of possession on even a quasi-sporadic basis.

The gamebook from that Monday night contest is one of the more baffling I have ever seen. For a losing team to hold the ball for 45 minutes, out-rush an opponent by 239-61,run 84 plays to 35 for the opponent, and score 23 points at home while not committing a real turnover -- the Fins' lone giveaway came on a desperation heave as time expired -- is truly unreal. Flies in the face of everything we know about football.

So, yeah, the Colts' defense better not bank on that happening ever again. The Colts have allowed a league-high seven drives of five minutes or more among the 18 defensive series .That does not portend long-term success, Peyton Manning or not. The Colts must alter their philosophy at least a smidge with the defensive line, taking away some of those two-way goes, forcing linemen to eat up space and not just attack the backfield on many plays.

How I'd chart the Lions' upset

I'm going to Ford Field for my match-up of the week, particularly the right side of Redskins' offensive line against Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The Redskins lost its right guard, Randy Thomas, for the season, and has a right tackle, Stephon Heyer, who is erratic in run blocking, and not yet a proven commodity.

The Redskins' figure to be left-heavy on offense, but Schwartz is bright enough to maximize his talent to take advantage. I'd gamble, overload, and attack. Force the Redskins to go vertical. But I'm going down swinging, even without linebacker Ernie Sims. Washington barely won in Detroit last year, and forcing a few early turnovers and making the Redskins play from behind could key the upset.

Random notes

It's a three-man race as to who becomes the first starting quarterback to get benched -- the Chiefs' Matt Cassel, the Browns' Brady Quinn and the Lions' Matthew Stafford. I'll take Quinn, with Baltimore and Pittsburgh coming up on the road ... The Pittsburgh Steelers are throwing the football on 65 percent of their offensive snaps. Just let that sink in for a minute ... With all of the NY Giants' injuries mounting, a trip to Tampa is taking on the air of a trap game, but watching QB Eli Manning operate, I see him winning a shootout if need be. Don't sleep on Tampa's offense; the Bucs are averaging 400 yards of offense and WR Antonio Bryant is likely to come back this week ... If I am even in remote need of a fantasy receiver, I'm trying to pick up Chicago's rookie Johnny Knox. If he keeps this up he will become a favorite of Cutler's, and a starting receiver ... Ended up last week a ho-hum 10-6 after a 13-3 start. Lot of tough games this week, and I'll take the 49ers, Falcons, Titans, Cards, Saints, Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Packers, Lions, Ravens, Bengals and Broncos.

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