Colts 26, Giants 21EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Peyton Manning got the better of his little brother Eli in the first ever meeting of the Brothers Manning, which, despite all indications to the contrary by broadcasters, actually involved ten other men taking the field with the brothers. The elder Manning led his team to scores on five of of the first seven possessions and masterfully kept the Giants at bay to secure the win. "Of course Peyton played well," shrugged Colts head coach Tony Dungy, "it's not the playoffs yet."
Jaguars 24, Cowboys 17JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Receiver Terrell Owens made his Cowboy debut in impressive fashion, finishing with six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. "This isn't about T.O. I don't care about my own stats," said Owens. "As long as the team wins, I'm happy." When reporters pointed out the team had actually lost the game, Owens cast a glare toward quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who threw a total of three interceptions on the day including one in the final minute of the game, but insisted he wasn't going to blame anyone.
Bears 26, Packers 0GREEN BAY, Wis. - Three-time MVP Brett Favre spent several months debating whether to return as the Packers' signal caller after a disappointing 4-12 season in which he threw a career-high 29 interceptions. Ultimately, he said the decision was made via unanimous vote from his wife and kids who wanted to see him return for a 16th season. "Stupid fuckin' family," Favre muttered after being shut out for the first time in his career.
Seahawks 9, Lions 6DETROIT - The less said about a game that finished with just fifteen points scored on five field goals the better, but it should be noted Seattle had two other field goals blocked. To think, if only kicker Josh Brown had put those through the uprights... this game still would have sucked.
On a positive note, the Detroit Lions held their opponents to a lower score than the Detroit Tigers, who surrendered twelve runs to the Twins. Lions fans take their silver linings where they can find them.
Cardinals 34, 49ers 27GLENDALE, Ariz. - After only 19 years the Cardinals finally understand what this home field advantage thing the rest of the league talks about is, christening their new stadium with a victory. Kurt Warner looked back in MVP-form with three touchdown tosses, free agent rusher Edgerrin James found his way into the end zone, and receiver Larry Fitzgerald had his way with the 49er secondary, catching nine passes for 133 yards-hang on a second. They put up those stats against the 49ers? Go ahead and disregard all that praise and try to explain how anyone lets San Francisco score 27 points in their house?
Patriots 19, Bills 17FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Quarterback Tom Brady fumbled the first time he touched the ball Sunday and the Patriots spotted the Bills a ten-point lead at the halftime. It soon became apparent, however, that much like a cat playing with a mouse, New England was simply trying to make the game more interesting. "It's a little thing called showmanship," explained coach Bill Belichick, for whom this was his 100th career head coaching victory. "If we roll in here and kick the crap out of Buffalo without making it seem like there's some chance they might win, fans get bored. That's why no one goes to see Jean-Claude Van Damme movies any more."
Saints 19, Browns 14CLEVELAND - Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush made his NFL debut, making more impact as a pass catcher than a rusher with eight receptions for 58 yards to go with 61 yards on the ground. Outside of that fact, it is doubtful anyone outside Cleveland or New Orleans cares one iota about this game.
Falcons 20, Panthers 6CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Preseason darling Carolina hit a speed bump on the way to its uncontested Super Bowl victory as predicted by every NFL insider on the internet. The Panthers fell to a reinvigorated Atlanta team out to prove critics wrong after an 8-8 season in 2005.
Michael Vick, who'd been dubbed an "average passer" by Carolina defenders, proved them wrong by completing nearly 50% of his passes for all of 140 yards. Vick added 48 yards rushing to the Falcons' 252 total rushing yards, led by running back Warrick Dunn, who accounted for 132 yards, prompting fantasy football general managers across the country to say, "Shit! You're telling me I'm going to lose this week because I didn't have the foresight to start Warrick Dunn over Shaun Alexander?"
Ravens 27, Buccaneers 0TAMPA, Fla. - Having cleared their court dockets, the Ravens have finally gotten around to playing football again. Ray Lewis and company held the Buccaneers scoreless without resorting to shanking Cadillac Williams with a sharpened spoon or carving up Chris Simms' face with a disposable razor blade taped to a toothbrush handle. The win breaks a road losing streak that stretched back to 2004.
Rams 18, Broncos 10ST. LOUIS - Jeff Wilkins booted a Rams-record six field goals in a game so exciting the lead sentence of this recap is about a guy kicking six field goals. After the game, Denver quarterback Jake Plummer thanked Wilkins for setting the record as it meant recappers would open their stories with that fact instead of discussing Plummer's four turnovers or opening the debate of whether rookie Jay Cutler would be replacing him by Columbus Day.
Bengals 23, Chiefs 10KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The cosmic balance traded one star quarterback for another as Carson Palmer returned from eight months of intensive rehab on his torn up knee just in time to see Trent Green taken off the field on a stretcher with "pretty severe head trauma" after a hit by a Bengals defender. The loss of Green meant Kansas City had to put back up Damon Huard in under center, answering the question, "Is Damon Huard still in the league?" and making running back Larry Johnson the hottest fantasy league trade bait in history.
Eagles 24, Texans 10HOUSTON - Donovan McNabb showed he was still one of the NFL's top quarterbacks even without Terrell Owens. Donte Stallworth showed he wasn't deserving of the labels put on him by a Saints team desperate to trade him away. And the Eagles showed they could be Super Bowl contenders again. Then again, they showed all this against a Houston team that is on track to be the worst expansion team in history with no signs of getting better. Hell, Houston newspapers print more headlines about a guy the team didn't draft, Reggie Bush, than anyone who's actually on the roster, so don't read too much into the Eagles win. Beating the Texans has a similar level of difficulty to picking up your newspaper without tripping over the cracks in your driveway or eating applesauce.
Jets 23, Titans 16NASHVILLE, Tenn. - New York topped Tennessee thanks to quarterback Chad Pennington returning from two shoulder operations in as many years to throw for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Given the talent level of the two teams, however, in the spirit of the Special Olympics, new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declared both teams winner and took everyone out for ice cream.
Jake Bell is a former NBC sportscaster and head writer for Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge.