Vick returns to Georgia Dome to meet former team

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Michael Vick thrilled Georgia Dome fans for six seasons. Many of them felt betrayed by subsequent events that led to Vick doing jail time for his role in a dogfighting ring.

He returns as a starter to the dome Sunday with the Philadelphia Eagles, and the reception might not echo that recent history.

Vick, you see, remains immensely popular in Atlanta, despite what happened. The cheers outweighed the boos two years ago when he was a third-stringer for Philly, but still threw for one touchdown and ran for another in a 34-7 victory.

He's anything but a third-stringer now.

"That's something I haven't thought about or really don't want to get into," said Vick, the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2010. "I still have a lot of love for the fans down there, but keep in mind I am with the opposition now.

"I don't expect it to be in my favor due to the fact that I'm out there full-time, but we'll see. That's the fun part of the game and we're just going to enjoy the day."

It's also a huge game between two of the favorites in the NFC, particularly after the Falcons were beaten handily in Chicago last week. Philly won at St. Louis.

Seattle (0-1) at Pittsburgh (1-0)

Once in a while, the Steelers' offense doesn't show up. No big deal because the defense rescues Pittsburgh.

That makes the stunning 35-7 failure at Baltimore last weekend so distressing in Steel City. Not only was the offense committing seven turnovers, looking like amateurs and losing right tackle Willie Colon (torn right triceps) for the season, but the defense was being run over.

"It's like (defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau said, we used our mulligan on the first hole and we've got 17 more holes to birdie," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

San Diego (1-0)

at New England (1-0)

Always a fun matchup with two of the NFL's most exciting and prolific offenses facing off, especially in September when weather isn't usually a factor.

Tom Brady probably won't throw for 517 yards again. Or maybe he will, considering the tear he's been on. Going back to last season, when he was the unanimous league MVP, Brady has led New England to nine straight regular-season victories, longest string in the league.

"When you have a quarterback who plays at the level that Tom Brady is, (if) you can't pressure him and disrupt him a little bit, you're going to be in for a long day," Chargers coach Norv Turner said.

Turner has his own strong offense led by Philip Rivers, who threw for a piddling (compared to Brady) 335 yards in a comeback win over Minnesota.

Green Bay (1-0)

at Carolina (0-1)

Everybody's talking about Cam Newton's 400-yard passing debut, even if it was in a loss at Arizona. The top overall draft choice sure was impressive, and now he makes his home debut.

Unfortunately for Newton and the Panthers, that debut comes against the Super Bowl champions.

Green Bay pretty much was unstoppable against the Saints in the season's kickoff game, with Aaron Rodgers dissecting an aggressive but outmanned defense.

Even worse for the Panthers was losing key linebacker Jon Beason (torn left Achilles tendon).

Chicago (1-0)

at New Orleans (0-1)

A classic matchup as the latest version of the Monsters of the Midway travels to the Big Easy to face a Drew Brees-led attack that will test Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and the rest of the Bears. Urlacher's status is uncertain following the sudden death of his mother.

The Packers have a pretty fair defense, too, yet they gave up 500 yards to the Saints, who will be without WR Marques Colston (broken right collarbone), but have a three-pronged rushing attack to challenge Chicago.

Certainly worth watching in the Superdome: special teams wizards Darren Sproles for the hosts, Devin Hester for the visitors.

Baltimore (1-0) at Tennessee (0-1)

The demolition job the Ravens did on the Steelers often could lead to a letdown against a lesser opponent. Make no mistake, regardless of how Pittsburgh sputtered, the Titans aren't in the Steelers' class.

They do have moxie, though, coming back to test Jacksonville before a late interception ended matters. If they have running back Chris Johnson going full bore - unlikely because he missed the preseason in a holdout - the Titans might be dangerous. The issue there: Baltimore's run defense perennially is overpowering.

St. Louis (0-1) at New York Giants (0-1), Monday night

Listing who is healthy for this one might be easier than going through the injury report. Just a week into the regular season, the Rams' best player, RB Steven Jackson (right leg) is hobbled.

Top receiver Danny Amendola is out (dislocated left elbow), and QB Sam Bradford damaged his right index finger on a throw, but should start.

Kansas City (0-1) at Detroit (1-0)

Detroit was pegged as a team to watch this year, and the Lions turned heads with their win at Tampa Bay. For their home opener they get a Chiefs squad that was awful against Buffalo.

KC led the NFL in rushing in 2010, then gained a measly (for them) 108 yards last week, not allowing the Chiefs to set the tempo. They must run more than the 18 times they did against the Bills, which would keep Detroit's improving passing game on the sideline.

Jacksonville (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0)

Both teams won close openers in different fashion. Jacksonville built a lead and held on, New York fell into a 14-point hole in the fourth quarter, then rallied.

Few teams run well against coach Rex Ryan's complex defenses, but the Jaguars must try with Maurice Jones-Drew, who was ticked he was rested late against the Titans. He'll be even more important if TE Marcedes Lewis (right calf) is out.

Tampa Bay (0-1) at Minnesota (0-1)

Already, Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris is second-guessing himself. Morris, who earlier in his career fired both his offensive and defensive coordinators, no longer sees the wisdom of using a fast-paced offense in the opening defeat to Detroit.

"Maybe as a coach I went too early to the two-minute offense. But I wanted to get something generated, give Free (quarterback Josh Freeman) some confidence and get all those guys going," Morris said. "It worked to the standpoint that we were able to get back in the game, but maybe I went into it a little bit early. ... That's on me."

Look for the Bucs to pound the ball against a Vikings defense that blew too many tackles at San Diego and is missing star DT Kevin Williams (suspension). Minnesota will feed Adrian Peterson the ball plenty, as well.

Cleveland (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1)

As woeful as the Colts were at Houston, there is undeniable talent on their roster: Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Gary Brackett, Adam Vinatieri.

What they must do is push aside their angst and discomfort with not having Peyton Manning around, bulk up the offensive line and the pass coverage, and compete. None of which happened against the Texans.

Arizona (1-0) at Washington (1-0)

Now that the Redskins snapped a slide against the Giants that had reached six games, they stand on the other side of a streak.

They have beaten the Cardinals seven straight times and current Skins coach Mike Shanahan has won four in a row over Arizona, all while he was with Denver.

Houston (1-0) at Miami (0-1)

After watching Tom Brady and company tear up the Miami defense, the Texans should be salivating as they head to South Florida.

Plus, they have a superior running game to New England's, particularly if 2010 rushing leader Arian Foster returns from a hamstring problem.

Even better for Houston: it's never lost to the Dolphins, going 5-0.

Cincinnati (1-0) at Denver (0-1)

In their last meeting, the 2009 opener, the host Bengals were about to close out Denver when Brandon Stokley caught a deflected pass, turned and found nobody between him and a Broncos touchdown. Denver won 12-7.

Stokley isn't around for this one, but Kyle Orton, who threw that fortuitous pass, remains the quarterback in Denver, despite loud complaints from fans after his so-so outing in the opening loss to Oakland.

This could come down to whether the Broncos can run the ball or stop the run.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment