Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/11/12

Dallas – Momentum:  No team needs a better start to their season than Dallas, and no player needs a better first few weeks than Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.  Every week 1 game for Romo is like starting a new diet or fighting adolescent acne…it needs to go well early for him, or it’s not going to go at all. 

Not to overstate a single win, but that divisional victory over the defending champs was huge.  If the Dallas QB can get the team through the next few weeks while their playmakers heal, their defense gels and the offensive line learns what a snap count is, they could surprise some people.  Going to Seattle in Week 2 should help too, but Romo should stay away from the shellfish.

San Francisco – Attitude:  Fear the Sharpie.  Although a year removed from the college game, Jim Harbaugh still has his squad playing like they are all under scholarship.  Each player carries Harbaugh’s attitude like they just left a pep rally and eagerly await the post-game co-ed bonfire. 

They play hard and are fearless, undaunted by the challenge of playing a high-scoring team like the Packers at Lambeau in Week 1.  The 49ers arrived in Green Bay fully expecting to win, and they did.  With inspired coaching and infectious moxy like that, it’s easy to see why Alex Smith doesn’t play like Alex Smith pre-2011 anymore.  In Week 2 they host the Lions, so fear the Sharpie and 'the handshake', both at home this week.

New Orleans – Leadership:  Drew Brees got his contract.  The formerly-suspended defensive players won their appeal and could play in Week 1 against the Washington Redskins.  So why did the playoff team of a year ago lose at home to a sub-par team from 2011 with a rookie quarterback? 

Dude, where’s my coach??? 

What the 49ers benefit from in having Jim Harbaugh on their sideline, the Saints are suffering from not having Sean Payton on theirs.  The team looked lost and made Robert Griffith III look like Aaron Rodgers.  Perhaps the Saints defense played so poorly because they are holding out for more money from their defensive coaches (sorry, couldn’t help it).

Philadelphia – Quarterback:  A lot was made of all of the defensive additions made to the Eagles to go along with the offensive weapons they already had, leading many talking heads to pick them as favorites in the NFC East.  Then they beat Cleveland, 17-16.  The defense will need time to gel and it’s still a week 1 victory, but Andy Reid seems set to prove that Michael Vick is back and alone could carry them to the promise land. 

Vick threw 56 times with 29 completions and 4 picks.  Donovan McNabb gets winded just reading those numbers.  It’s a passing league, but Philly needs to keep it on the ground more, especially against the Ravens where they will need to keep Joe Flacco off the field to win (did I just write that?).

Chicago – Trust:  Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall showed a lot of trust in each other during the last few years of their long-distance relationship.  They were hot and heavy in Denver, then went their separate ways, and now are reunited in Chicago and apparently it feels so good.  Finally, Cutler has someone he can throw to he’s comfortable with.  If both can stay healthy, both will be Pro-Bowlers, which means more time for them to spend together.

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