After the lockout by the owners, the shortened off-season activities and the mostly meaningless pre-season, the NFL players have taken back the field, and the first of 17 weeks is history… a couple performances written in the history books.

Here at GuysNation, we do a weekly article (or two or three) to give you not only one perspective, but several. As the moderator, I ask the questions of the contributing authors here at GuysNation (and anyone else who might ask to be included, and I share those perspectives with our readers.

Cam Newton – he piled up the stats in his debut. Is he for real, or did he have a big week because the opposition wasn’t expecting much? Is his success a fluke, or might he be the Panthers’ franchise QB for
years to come?

Nathan: I think it’s a mixture of both. In the beginning teams will not really give him alot of respect that they would give Rodgers or Brady in terms of defensive pressure, formations etc. So he will be able to take advantage of that. Newton has the talent to be Carolina’s franchise QB, but what will actually determine whether he actually reaches that plateau is his attitude. There’s still that black cloud of the scandal at Auburn and if can overcome that, keep his focus on becoming a great QB, then he can be a star.

Turner: We’ve been hearing about this all week by the talking heads, but in my opinion, it’s not a fluke. I think he had a great game, and that he will be the Panther’s QB until something happens, and hes not anymore. that being said, He played a great game, but you have to put that in fact the defense he was playing against.  Had he been a more seasoned quarterback, he might have been able to make those Veteran plays in order to get the win, but the defense was non existant all weekend in all games, not just this one.  He’ll be good all season, but don’t expect the numbers he put out this week for the rest of the season. I think Carolina has something to be hopeful for.

JMB: I don’t think its a matter of what the other team expected, rather the Cardinals defense just isn’t spectacular, and they allowed Steve Smith (maybe he’s finally healthy again) to get loose.  Smith went for 178 yards, and had a 77 on one big TD score.  Newton had time, had guys open, and played a good game.  Let’s see how he fares against Green Bay this coming week, against a defense that will put pressure on him and cover better, and an offense that will score, putting the onus on Newton to play well.  I am expecting him to come back down to earth in week 2, but we can’t make a call on Cam without a full season to see what he can do, how he grows, and how the coaching staff handles him.  He has the physical tools to be successful, but we have yet to see how the rest of his game will mature.

Chapy: Against the Green Bay defense, I don’t think he will have a big game. I think GB will win hands down, but I think if Cam can hold his composer, he will have a decent game. I do not think last week was a total fluke.

Jeff S: Looking back to last season, Arizona wasn’t in the top 10 for defenses.  Not much has changed, IMO.  With that said, I was still surprised to see he put up the numbers he did.  I’m more interested in
how he does against tougher defenses and look no further than this week against the Packers.  Let’s see what he does this week but I’m still not sold on Cam.

 Rob: I have to say I was surprised by how Newton performed, and while I think part of that can be attributed to the opposition’s defense, I think part of it is that he wasn’t expected to be a rockstar on the field yet (if ever). No matter what the case, he’s going to have a very tough time against the Packers this week. I’d be surprised if he wins Rookie Of The Year… though looking at it, he doesn’t seem to have a ton of competition in that arena yet.

Bigger surprise – Buffalo Bills winning their game or the Colts getting absolutely shut down by Houston?

Nathan: I think it has to be the Bills. The Colts are a talented team and getting shut down was a surprise. However, the Bills were never really given a chance by experts to do much of anything this season. The Chiefs are a pretty good team, so did anyone really expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw 4 TDs or Fred Jackson to rush for 100 yards against them? Plus their defense, which wasn’t very good last year was at times dominant. They only won 4 games last season, so the cynic would say any win at all is a surprise.

Turner: Indy being blown out by Houston. Look, I expected Houston to win with PM gone, but just because he was gone didn’t mean that they couldn’t play defense, Maybe it was the weekend as it seemed everyone played bad, but come on… The colts have never been that, see who has the ball last because I need to outscore my opponent team… They’ve always been a score alt and not let them team. It was surprising for me, but not that unbelievable. It’s going to be a long year for Colts fans.

JMB: Honestly, I can’t say either win was a surprise as I picked both Buffalo and Houston to win their games in week one.  I expected Houston to be fired up and for Indy to be completely exposed.  Buffalo I did pick to win, but I was NOT expecting that kind of dominance, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  I thought KC would run it and be able to keep it low scoring affair – so the margin of victory did surprise me.

Chapy: Buffalo winning so big at KC is the bigger surprise. I was not surprised to see the Colts lose without Peyton, but I thought they would do a little better against Houston.

Jeff S: Putting aside my bias towards the Bills, I think the bigger surprise was the Buffalo win.  To go on the road (something the Bills haven’t done well), into KC (traditionally a very hostile environment) and
slap 41 on the Chiefs was unreal.  I wasn’t surprised the Colts lost the way they did.  Kerry Collins is NOT Payton Manning and it shows just how valuable Manning is.  It’s going to be a LONG season for the Colts.

Rob: I wasn’t surprised by either outcome, though if I had to say one of them, I’d go with the margin of outcome from the Bills. Just like the Lions of past seasons, I didn’t think the 2010 Bills were a bad team, with my opinion of them being far higher than what their record might suggest. Check out my power rankings to end last year for more proof of that. Still, Kansas City is much higher on my radar than they seem to be for others, and while I’m probably wrong about them (as I probably am with the Falcons), I still expected them to beat Buffalo. The Colts not being able to beat Houston (with or without Arian Foster) with a recently un-retired Kerry Collins under center, still trying to get comfortable in the offense? Not a shocker.

Which player, other than Cam Newton, surprised you with their lofty stats in week 1?

Nathan: My pick would be Steve Smith’s 178 yards for the Panthers. Some had started to write off Smith as aging and not as productive as he used to be, and he certainly wasn’t picked high in fantasy drafts. So to have that big of a game was something that stood out to me.

Turner: I would say Tom Brady, but no one is surprised by his 500 yard of throwing if you think about it. I might say Wes Welker who is usually a short yardage catcher, and not only having a 99 yeard catch for a TD but having two TDs and over 150 receiving yards. which for a short yardage catcher, is a lot.

JMB: – I would go with the following players:

1)  Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 4 TDs – he was balanced, efficient, and put the ball in the end zone.

2)  Ray Rice going for 107 rushing on Pittsburgh’s D – he’s a talented guy, but doing it in the opener in what is usually a dog fight?

3)  Darren McFadden going for 150 yards against Denver – again a talented guy, but John Fox is a good defensive coach for Denver, and he can’t be happy about McFadden going for 6.8 a carry.

4)  Carnell Williams looked great in Steven Jackson’s stead when the former left against the Eagles.

5)  Kenny Britt going for 135 and 2 TD’s against the Jags.  Hasselbeck has a weapon in the passing game now.

6)  I know the Giants are banged up, but Rex Grossman putting up 305 passing yards is astounding.

7)  Chad Henne – 416 yards passing on a Darth Hoodie defense?  Wow.

8)  Sebastian Janekowski – Yes some kicker love … 63 yard FG?  Well done sir.

Chapy: Honestly, Tom Brady surprised me. I know he can play like that, but he hasn’t had that kind of fire in him for a while that I recall.

Jeff S: Chad Henne putting up 426 yards on the Patsies.  Ray Rice’s 107 on the Steelers is a close second.

Rob: I’ll stick with the New England / Miami game, but I’ll go with Chad Henne, QB for the Dolphins. I was shocked he put up those kind of passing yardage numbers, especially since there was plenty of talk about him being replaced in the off-season. I frustratingly wonder if some of those stats can be attributed to the lack of success (partially due to injury) from Daniel Thomas, the runningback Miami drafted this year. I say “frustratingly” because I drafted him in my dynasty fantasy football league this year. With New England putting up huge passing numbers and having little trouble scoring, Miami didn’t really have the option of running the ball and wasting the clock, though.

Did any player who failed to contribute surprise you with their statistical no-show in week 1?

Nathan: It would have to be Rape-less-berger, I mean Roethlisberger. He didn’t complete a lot of passes, only had one for a TD, not to mention fumbling twice and throwing 3 INTs. The loss gave a major psychological advantage to the Ravens.

Turner: Matt Ryan…. Come on Ryan….. You guys were my picks to win the Superbowl! get it together!

JMB: 1)  Donovan McNabb – 7/15 for 39 yards … just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

2)  Chris Johnson – I know he held out, but 2.4 a carry against the Jags is very, very disappointing.

3)  Larry Fitzgerald – 3 Catches for ~60 yards?  I thought Kevin Kolb was bringing Larry back to the top?

4)  Ben Roethlisberger – Three interceptions and 2 fumbles … I know its the Ravens but 5 turnovers?

5)  The entire SF offense – seriously thank God for Ted Ginn, and the Seahawks abysmal special teams.

Jeff S: CJ’s 24 yards not to be outdone by McNabb’s 7/15 for 39 yards for a whopping 47.9 passer rating.  OUCH!

Rob: I’ll have to agree about McNabb. I knew there was a reason Mike Shanahan decided to get rid of him from Washington, and I know that Minnesota has one of the best runningbacks in the league so they don’t have to rely on the passing game for much of anything, but I would’ve figured Adrian Peterson could’ve had more than 40 receiving yards on his own in Week 1.

Which current 0-1 team would you predict is least likely to go 0-2 this week?

Everyone said the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Which current 0-1 team would you predict is most likely to go 0-2 this week?

This answer goes hand in hand with the previous one, as the Steelers are playing the 0-1 Seattle Seahawks in week 2.

Which current 1-0 team would you predict is most likely to go 2-0 this week?

Nathan: Ravens, they’re coming off a big win and will keep rolling against the Titans.

Turner: The Lions… and that makes me happy. They have the easiest game of the week, against Kansas City. God KC is a horrendous team!

JMB: Toss up for the Lions or the Cowboys – both are playing teams that looked terrible week 1 (Chiefs, 49ers) and can put up a ton of points.

Chapy: The Ravens.  I think this team is fired up and going to roll through the Titans.

Rob: I’m surprised that “Green Bay” wasn’t the overwhelming answer, despite the Packers rolling in the first half against a very good New Orleans team last week AND having extra days to prepare for the lowly Panthers.

Jeff S:  Green Bay has Carolina and welcomes Cam Newton to the NFL the right way … Blitz, Blitz, Blitz, Punt.  Green Bay wins.

Which current 1-0 team would you predict is LEAST likely to go 2-0 this week?

Nathan: Jags, they got lucky against the Titans and now they face the J-E-T-S

Turner: San Diego. There’s no way they can stop that over-powered offense from New England.

JMB: Carolina Panthers – as Green Bay is the best team in the NFL, with one of the best defenses, going against a rookie QB.

Chapy: The Bengals. Something tells me the Broncos will be out in full force after last week.

Jeff S: I’m going to go with Jacksonville.  Playing the Jets in New Jersey should be a loss.

Rob: I’ll agree about the Panthers.  I don’t know what to think about the Jaguars or San Diego, and I think Denver vs Cincinnati is a toss-up, as they’re both very sub-par teams.

If you could watch every single game on the week 2 schedule in their entirety and not have to worry about buying a television viewing package and games didn’t overlap, which 6 games are you most looking forward to, why, and who do you think is going to win?

Philly @ Atlanta

Nathan: tons of offense, two premier QBs, Philly D is the difference for an Eagles W

JMB: A big match up of some Super Bowl picks, and a huge game for Atl.  Unfortunately for Atlanta, I like Vick and Jackson on the fast track.  Philly over Atlanta.

Rob: I had Atlanta in the Super Bowl in my pre-season predictions, and I thought Philly was going to have a rough go at it the first part of the season for various reasons. This game should tell me plenty.

San Diego @ New England

Nathan: two perennial playoff teams, possible postseason preview, NE for the W
Turner: Who doesn’t like to watch the Pats play? That offense is memorizing. I think The Pats will pull off a close one.
JMB: It’s Rivers and Brady, which looks to be better than Henne – Brady.  It’s two playoff contenders.  I’m going New England with San Diego making the coast to coast trip to Foxboro.
Rob: (disinterested) With San Diego coming East and the Patriots looking dominant, I have very little interest in this game.
Green Bay @ Carolina
Nathan: Interesting to see how Newton does against an elite D, GB gets the W
Turner: I want to see this for two reasons. Cam Newton, AND I want to see if the Green Bay Defense really doesn’t exist like it looked like last Thursday, or if they just called in sick on that day.  Green Bay will probably win though it’ll be a shootout in my opinion.
Jeff S: Would LOVE to watch Clay Mathews plant Cam Newton in the turf.  I’m taking Green Bay
Rob: Whether or not Cam Newton is the real deal shouldn’t matter in this game, as he should get buried by that Packers defense, but I would like to see if he shows any additional flashes of greatness.
Chicago @ New Orleans
Nathan: Bears Def v NO Off, strength v strength, Brees and NO too much for Chi.
JMB: Again its two potential playoff teams locking horns, and while Chicago’s D looked great against Atl, I see Brees at home making the difference.  New Orleans over Chicago.
Rob: I continue to see the Bears as being over-rated, dating back to the first week of last season, and I think the Saints want to rebound in a big way from their first week loss to the Packers.
Cleveland @ Indianapolis
Nathan: How does Indy bounce back? Good thing they play the Browns, Colts with a W
JMB:Two teams with two big losses to open the season.  If Cleveland wants to take the next step they have to win the “give me” games.  Indy needs to stay afloat.  Cleveland over Indy as McCoy leads a winning TD drive.
Rob: This is almost a morbid curiousity. I expect the Browns to try to run Peyton Hillis all over the Peyton-less Colts, but I also have questions on whether or not Hillis is the real deal or not. The rest of the Colts team SHOULD be enough to allow Kerry Collins to guide them to victory, but has he figured out the offense yet? Should he have stayed retired? Should be interesting… but it might be all over by halftime.
Kansas City @ Detroit
Turner:  Detroit is my team and so I have to watch them… Pretty confident they Detroit will win.
Jeff S: Can Detroit really get to 2-0?  Is KC really that bad?  I’m going with yes and yes.
Rob: Definitely have to agree with this one. I think highly of both teams, and the Chiefs surprised me last week. I expect this one to be a great game, which will likely surprise most people… but not me.
Houston @ Miami
Turner: Love Houston, and I think this is going to be another exciting shoot out like it was this week on MNF. I call Houston the winners on a last minute touchdown.
Seattle @ Pittsburgh
JMB: I’m a Steelers fan, so it had to make the list, plus I’m interested if the cracks in the armor can be sealed.
Arizona @ Washington
JMB: It’s Beannie Wells vs. Tim Hightower, and we see if Rex Grossman can do what Cam did a weak ago and exploit the cards.  If I have to give the pick … Washington with the victory as I see them getting at least 1 key turnover.
Rob: The Redskins are my team, and thusly are the main reason I look forward to Sunday NFL football. Rex Grossman looked pretty good last week, but I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to show signs of being the average QB most people have seen proof of in the past few seasons.
Tampa Bay @ Minnesota
Nathan: Bucs on the way up and Vikes on the way down, young QB v old QB are stroylines to watch, TB gets the W
Oakland @ Buffalo:
Jeff S: Really want to see how the Bills play at home. I’ve got the Bills winning.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know about it with a well-placed comment!

Looking back to last season, Arizona wasn’t in the top 10 for
defenses.  Not much has changed, IMO.  With that said, I was still
surprised to see he put up the numbers he did.  I’m more interested in
how he does against tougher defenses and look no further than this
week against the Packers.  Let’s see what he does this week but I’m
still not sold on Cam.