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5 Things We Learned From NFL Opening Night

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Five Things We Learned From Opening Night

Five Things We Learned From Opening Night
Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

Heck yeah, football is back. Fantasy owners were checking their scores, hitting refresh after almost every snap. Sports bars were at capacity. Fantasy owners were screaming at their commissioners via message boards and text messages. Most wives and girlfriends were reading their tablets and/or playing endlessly with their smart phones. Man, it sure felt great to get back into the action.

The Denver Broncos put a beat down on the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens to the tune of 49-27 in the Mile High City. While I definitely called the outcome of the game correctly, I was a little off on the final score. I thought the game would have been much closer. It seemed to me that as the game wore on, Baltimore looked like they had a feeling of inevitability. You could tell they didn’t believe that they would come back after losing the lead.

I’m going to chalk that up to the Jacoby Jones injury. Now I have something in common with the fans of the San Francisco 49ers -- we can both blame something on Jacoby Jones.

For the record, I had to play against Peyton Manning in one of my fantasy leagues last night. Ouch.

While you can never win or lose your fantasy league in the first week of September, there five things we learned from last night’s game...

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is a contributing writer at Rant Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Read more from Dustin here.

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5. Wes Welker Hasn’t Dropped Off

Wes Welker Hasn’t Dropped Off
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

I started Wes Welker in one of my leagues over Cecil Shorts, and when Welker miffed that punt and lost the ensuing fumble, I was a little ticked. When he missed the next series, I started to worry. But he rebounded nicely, racking up 67 yards to go along with two touchdowns. Manning was constantly looking Welker’s way, and clearly trusts the slot receiver.

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4. The Broncos Have More Faith In Knowshon Moreno Than We Did

The Broncos Have More Faith In Knowshon Moreno Than We Did
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

Going into the game, the majority of “experts” had Montee Ball as the favorite to emerge as the leader of the running back committee in Denver. From what I saw, Knowshon Moreno was the guy. I wrote yesterday that his superior upside over Ball and Ronnie Hillman would earn him more snaps, and it appeared that is the case.

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3. Julius Thomas Earned His Spot

Julius Thomas Earned His Spot
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

On Monday, I wrote about Julius Thomas emerging as a fantasy sleeper this week. I was thinking more along the lines of 35 yards and a score. He showed me that I underestimated him, posting a line of 110 yards and two touchdowns. He is legit, and was added in over 135,000 leagues on Thursday.

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2. The Broncos' Defense Is Solid

The Broncos Defense Is Solid
Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

When it was announced Von Miller would be suspended for six games, many prognosticators were claiming that the Denver defense would be doomed. They looked alright to me, racking up four sacks on Joe Flacco and holding the Ravens to 27 points. They almost gave fantasy owners a boost with a pick six, but Danny Trevathan forgot to take the ball into the end zone. Regardless, fantasy owners can now rest assured the Denver defense can get the job done.

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1. Joe Flacco Misses Anquan Boldin

Joe Flacco Misses Anquan Boldin
Crystal LoCiudice-USA Today Sports

It was painful to watch. Jacoby Jones called for a fair catch on a Broncos punt and got bowled over by a teammate, and his night was done. As suspected, Flacco forced the ball to Torrey Smith the rest of the night. Marlon Brown had four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, but if Jones is out for any significant length of time, the Ravens' air attack and Flacco’s fantasy value could be in trouble.