If the first week of the 2011 NFL season is any indication, the next 21 should really be something.
No one really knew what we were going to get this season, especially early, considering there was no offseason to speak off and teams and players had six weeks instead of more than five months to prepare for their season openers.
But the first week of the regular season told us that despite the labor woes of the past few months, everything seems to be back to normal.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers would beg to differ after they took a 35-7 beating from the Baltimore Ravens.
That kind of thumping is far from the norm for the Steelers, who have been known more for two recent Super Bowl wins than embarrassing 28-point defeats.
It’s certainly not what they expected to open the season. But they weren’t the only ones who are feeling that way this morning.
The Steelers are one of six teams among the 12-team playoff field from 2010 to start 0-1, although to be fair, they, the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons lost to teams that also made the postseason.
With that, here are some highs and lows from the opening weekend:
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Without a doubt, it has to be the Buffalo Bills. Winners of just four games a year ago, they went into Kansas City and waxed a Chiefs team that went 7-1 at home and made the playoffs.
A one-point win would have been surprising considering the circumstances, but a 41-7 beatdown was a shock.
BEST WIN: This one could easily be the Ravens, but the Chicago Bears’ 30-12 crushing of the Falcons was impressive - especially for all those people who were down on the Bears after losing at home in the NFC Championship game to the Packers.
But the Bears, who come to the Superdome on Sunday to play the Saints, certainly opened a lot of eyes in handling the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed from last fall.
BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE: This one was no contest after Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton shredded the Arizona Cardinals for 422 passing yards and 18 rushing yards in a 28-21 loss.
Remember all those questions about Newton’s ability to be a pro quarterback and his ability to throw the ball? Questions answered.
BEST COMEBACK: The New York Jets were on the verge of going down 21 points early in the fourth quarter to the Dallas Cowboys until Tony Romo turned it into a real barnburner.
A fumble at the goal line, a blocked punt and an interception made the Jets’ 27-24 win a game worthy of its primetime slot.
WORST LOSS: This one is a tossup between the Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts, who could be in for a long season after a 34-7 loss to the Houston Texans in which they trailed 34-0 at halftime.