RR: The Falcons opened the NFL season with a stunning come-from-behind 37-34 OT win over arch-rival New Orleans in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta rolled up a franchise record 568 yards on offense. Did you see that coming?
PP:I didn't see that total yardage. No chance. But I did think this would be an explosive offense in Atlanta. Matt Ryan played at a high level last season, and nobody noticed. He's ready to have a monster season. As long as Julio Jones and Roddy White are on the field, the Falcons will score a lot of points. The defense has to improve — but it will.
RR: I've read a lot about how good Seattle is following their opening day win over Green Bay. Are the Seahawks that good, or did the Packers simply have an off day?
PP:I think it was a combination of the two. The Packers are better than they showed, and Seattle looked good that night. It's hard to win on the road in the NFL, but it's really hard to win in Seattle in a prime-time night game. The Packers will bounce back. The Seahawks are really good, but not as good as they've looked in their last two games – Thursday Night and the Super Bowl.
RR: Seven teams who made the playoffs last season lost on opening day. What does that point say about the competitiveness of the NFL?
PP:It says what we all know: It's tough to stay near the top. That's what makes the NFL so great, the unpredictability of it all. I think it's good for the league to have it this way. Sustainable success is decided by your quarterback. That's why the Falcons are in good shape with Matt Ryan and why last year was an aberration.
RR: Which team is your sleeper this season and why?
PP: Do the Falcons count? Few had them making the playoffs. I had them winning the division. So I guess they are my sleeper team right here. I think the Falcons are significantly better than most do.
RR: Do the Falcons have a chance to get off to a 2-0 start for just the ninth time in franchise history with a win on Sunday in Cincinnati?
PP:They can beat the Bengals, but it won't be easy. The Cincinnati defense is really good. They will come after Ryan with a lot of looks. That can lead to a lot of hits for him or a lot of big plays. I think it will be a close game. This is a game of two really good teams.