Week 1 results
All of the euphoric emotions were felt on Sunday as we finally got football back. The full slate of games has left us with some surprises and many new beliefs on what the NFL will look like. While we know that Monday will have overreactions even though it admittedly shouldn’t, and we know that the team that wins the Super Bowl will look almost completely different from the team they are now (injuries, waiving players, signing and trading players, players performing better as the season progresses). Needless to say, there is a lot to take away from the first Sunday of the Season, let us begin with the takes.
Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens
From the moment the Browns elected to fake a punt in their own territory in the first quarter we knew this was going to be an embarrassment for the Cleveland Browns. It was understood that the Browns would be given a benefit of the doubt considering they were playing one of the best teams in the NFL in the Baltimore Ravens. Keep in mind that the Browns had only 6 points, in the entire game, with the offense being considered improved and built for Baker Mayfield to succeed with the new offensive-minded coach in Kevin Stefanski, we knew that Lamar Jackosn was going to score but the entirety of the game was one-sided, this is the worst possible outcome for the Cleveland Browns.
As for the Baltimore Ravens, the win wasn’t out of the ordinary and the team collectively succeeding isn’t a shock either. What we have to realize from this game is the continuing emergence of the connection between Lamar Jackon and Mark Andrews, the one-handed touchdown grab is likely to be seen constantly on TV, but what won’t be seen is the 58 receiving yards and the two touchdowns that Jackson tossed to Andrews. The Jackson-Andrews connection has become the new generation Brady-Gronk as Mark Andrews might be the best receiving tight end in the NFL (he isn’t the best overall tight end).
New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins
One of the biggest questions for the Patriots this season was if Cam Newton could still play at an elite level. Moreover, many were wondering what kind of offense the Patriots would run considering they wanted to get the most out of Cam Newton but not put him at risk of an injury. We discovered on Sunday that the Patriots will allow Cam to run and sometimes create designed runs that give Cam the ability to make a big play on the ground (and it appears the Patriots don’t care if Newton wears a yellow suit like a sponsor for school busses). In a league that has become as pass-happy as it is, the Patriots are shortening games with their running attack and have a running formula that can be incredibly difficult to defend. To say that Bill Belichick doesn’t want to run the ball would be folly after seeing the gameplan on Sunday, they threw the ball 19 times and ran the ball 42 times with Newton rushing for two touchdowns in the 21-11 victory.
One of the questions that will still be unanswered is if the Patriots defense is good. While they only held the Dolphins to 11 points and they did have three interceptions, we have to keep in mind that the Dolphins weren’t expected to have a great offense. One thing that will help the Patriots defense is the effective running game, the time of possession was 34 minutes to the Dolphins 25 and if the defense can be rested and prepared, it will still be strong regardless of who is playing on that side of the ball.
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
This game was a good measurement for both teams as we were wondering if the Packers still owned the NFC North despite not having the ideal off-season. This game only reminded us that Aaron Rodgers is more hungry than ever to prove that he is still the best quarterback in the NFL and won’t be replaced anytime soon. The game ultimately became a shootout and in the case of a quarterback duel between Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins, you can bet on Rodgers almost every time. Aaron Rodgers throwing 364 yards and 4 touchdowns is a statement that makes us wonder if he can potentially win the MVP this year and lead the Packers to the Super Bowl, there are still a lot of games to play but the first game brings all the optimism.
Washington Football Team vs Philadelphia Eagles
This game was far and beyond the most complex to follow. The Eagles got off to a great start and looked to state the narrative we all thought in which the Eagles are going to steamroll a terrible Football Team on their way towards another divisional crown. Carson Wentz was able to march the Eagles down the field despite the Washington defense keeping the game close and it was assumed a victory since the Washington offense looked flat.
The interesting point was that the Washington defense was keeping them in the game and got better as the game went on. After an interception by Fabian Moreou that set up a short field position, the offense finally found some semblance of a rhythm and Dwyane Haskins hit Logan Thomas for the score. Another turnover gave the offense great field position once again and the touchdown by Peyton Barber had flipped the momentum of the game. Chase Young looked great throughout the game as his 1.5 sacks were part of a defense that had eight sacks. The offense was able to pick up the scoring in the second half but the victory has to be entirely credited to the defenses ability to keep the Washington Football Team in the game and ultimately winning 27-17. It is still early to say if the defense is going to be great but something to keep an eye on is how many games that the defense can win without production from the offense, if Dwayne Haskins continues to develop then we must keep an eye out for the Washington Football Team.
Carolina Panthers vs Las Vegas Raiders
This game could have gone either way and had the Raiders as 3-point favorites. We saw one of the more exciting games that went back and forth throughout the afternoon. The Raiders ultimately came out on top with the help of Josh Jacobs and his three touchdowns but we learned more about the Panthers offense on Sunday that will help us re-evaluate them going forward.
Teddy Bridgewater didn’t turn the ball over and allowed the offense to be effective without being risky. Many of the passes were short-yardage throws but that style of play will keep the Panthers in a lot of games. The Panthers won’t have an explosive offense but they will have one that is higher scoring than we thought before the season it would be.
The 34-30 victory for the Raiders spoke to the poor play on defense. The Panthers tried to address the needs on defense by drafting entirely on the defensive side of the ball yet we still see a defense that needs help across the board. The Raiders defense also can’t be too happy as they allowed 30 points and turned some checkdowns into explosive plays. Both teams are going to have to figure out how they are going to stop the high-octane offenses that are in their own divisions.
Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks
This game was close for most of the first half, we knew that Seattle would have a difficult time adjusting to the East Coast but it was a two-point game well into the third period. This game felt like it would only be a matter of time before the Seahawks broke the game open. In the second half they did just that, starting with a fourth down deep-shot to DK Metcalf and another ten unanswered points. This was a trap game for Seattle but handling it only further reminds us that this team has all the pieces in front of them to win a Super Bowl, they struggled at times and the defense didn’t have the greatest game but the victory was clear and decisive, and looking at the rest of the division, this win was needed.
Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets
The Bills saw the division before the season as theirs to lose, considering that Tom Brady departed and the Bills have one of their best rosters in a long time. The Bills kicked off the ground running with an early 21-0 lead and putting away the Jets early. The final score was 27-17 but this game in all ways, can’t be described in the final score. Josh Allen ran for 57 yards and a touchdown, the Jets managed 52 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Bills could have scored 34 points in this game but two missed field goals cost them the easy points. The Bills sat on the comfortable lead throughout the second half and the Jets scored a touchdown in the final minute that had little outcome on the game. This game likely only enforces the thought that Adam Gase should be fired, the Jets looked less prepared to play on Sunday than any team in the league.
Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears
This game was all smiles for the Lions through three quarters. With a 23-6 lead entering the final 15, I was ready to set the Mitch Trubisky clock, praise the Lions for establishing a running game that could potentially carry them through the season, finding stability on defense. This was all before the fourth quarter, Mitch Trubisky led the offense to 21 unanswered points and we saw the Lions collapse once again as if it was a legal obligation to do so. The Lions had the ball in the final minutes and could have done literally anything else besides throw a pass to the middle of the field, Matthew Stafford did just that and the pass was picked and the following drive was the game-winning touchdown. Many people will point to D’Andre Swift for dropping the game-winning touchdown as the culprit for the loss but this should have never been a close game. I wouldn’t say that either team helped their case to make the playoffs in this game but I will say that the Lions are likely wasting another year of Matthew Stafford's career (let the clock tick on Matt Patricia.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts
The only resounding statement that I had from this game was the wonderment for why anyone could have picked the Colts to win their division. This game was a clear reminder that Philip Rivers is not the answer at quarterback and is continuing the antics that made the breakup in Los Angeles feel so easy for everyone, as last season showed us. Philip Rivers no longer has the mobility that he once had (meaning he just sits in the pocket), add that to his gun-slinging mentality and you have a quarterback that isn’t going to have a good year. The Jaguars can ride the optimism for now, they can relish in the mustache of Garner Minshew carrying them to the best record in the AFC South. The only takeaway I have on the Jaguars is that the over/under preseason line for the team was too low at 4.5, we all thought the Jaguars would lose every game but Mustache Minshew will win at least a few games for the Jaguars.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers couldn’t have been a more ideal opponent for Joe Burrow, a team that wouldn’t give Burrow a harsh awakening and would allow him to get his feet wet in the NFL. The game went as expected, a few big plays, a few rookie mistakes and not much scoring, Burrow gives the Bengals optimism but isn’t going to blow everyone away yet as he still has a lot to learn. The Chargers didn’t win this game, rather they didn’t lose it, that was the job of Cincinnati. Joe Burrow had his glorious moment, as the clock was ticking down to zero he set the Bengals up to win, after a called off touchdown, he at least set the Bengals up for overtime, and then the Bengals did what they do best and somehow their kicker missed a chip shot field goal. The final score was 16-13 and it left us only wondering what can be with Joe Burrow.
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
I was genuinely surprised when I saw this game develop initially into a defensive one. With the score 13-10 entering the fourth I saw a game where both offenses struggled to put points on the board and were failing to put the game away (and both had more than enough opportunities). Once Kyler Murray scrambled for 22 yards to score the leading touchdown it felt as though the game had shifted and the Cardinals were now able to put the pressure on the 49ers. Where Kyler Murray seemed to step up in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo failed. The 24-20 victory for the Cardinals didn’t assure us that they are the favorites to win the NFC West, neither did the loss assure us that the 49ers are doomed and expected to collapse this season. This does assure that the Cardinals are ready to take the next step and also assures us that the 49ers aren’t going to overachieve the way they did last season.
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was the only appropriate outcome to see the Patriots win in Week One while the Buccaneers lost. This allows everyone to point at Tom Brady and say that he made a mistake leaving New England, for us to say that the Patriots made the right decision by not resigning him in the off-season, to allow us to believe that Bill Belichick has these powers that curse anyone that leaves New England. This is what the Monday shows needed and they got it so have fun!!
Tom Brady appeared to come out firing and ready to lead the Bucs to the upset over the Saints with the first drive score by Brady himself. Then they hit a wall, the Saints rattled off 24 straight points including a Janoris Jenkins pick-6 to cap off the run, at this point the game was all but over.
We have to keep in mind that the Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL and have the familiarity that allows them to be great right now. Tampa Bay could have used a normal off-season to build chemistry and figure out what they would be good at entering the game Sunday. The Bucs will be better later in the season, this game was only a measuring stick to see how far they need to go to be the best in the division, it appears that they are still a few pieces away but it can be easily achieved in the upcoming games.
Los Angeles Rams vs Dallas Cowboys
Before the season, I raised concern about the Cowboys losing interior offensive linemen Travis Frederick and La’el Collins as the season was about to begin. This became more problematic as we realized who the Cowboys would be facing in Week One. Aaron Donald and the Rams defensive line seemed to be in the backfield throughout the game and were feasting on the opportunity of going up against young, lesser experienced offensive linemen.
Aside from the dominance displayed by Aaron Donald, the Rams proved that they still had viable weapons on offense and will be able to win games despite the loss of Todd Gurley in the off-season. The Cowboys on the other hand, have to be concerned with their second half performance. The team managed a mere field goal in the second half and couldn’t establish any attack with Dak Prescott under constant pressure from the Rams D-line. At the end of the game, the Cowboys were still in the game and the fans will likely have a questionable call to blame but this game was theirs to win, and the opportunity was squandered. The pressure is on Dallas to win a Super Bowl this year, but they don’t look like they are able to win one-scoring games at the moment.
New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers
This game started out as a classic Steelers play down to their opponent game, with Giants appearing in control of the game. A touchdown right before the half by the Steelers reminded us who the better team was as the defense then stepped up and ended the game in all essence. One of goals for the Giants entering this game had to be to assure that Daniel Jones wasn’t going to fumble the ball, instead he threw two interceptions, I have been one of the early non-believers in Daniel Jones and this game only reminded me why I can’t trust him. This game wasn’t a measuring stick as much as it was a reminder of an assumed outcome.
Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans
This game was a bad beat beyond biblical proportions for those that bet the Over. There were 17 points left on the board and 10 of them from the right leg of Stephen Gostkowski. The Broncos entered this game ravaged by injuries and likely to lose this game in all likelihood but they were able to stay in the game throughout and hold the Titans to only 7 points for the first three quarters. The Titans should have blown out the Broncos but the special teams kept the game close and maybe a little too close for Mike Vrabel. I see this game as leaving both teams optimistic but I would be more wary if I were a Broncos fan as this game could have been one to steal and put them into the playoffs discussion, they failed and now are on the outside looking in.
Notes on the Odds and Lines from Sunday’s game
8 of the games went Over on the Over/Under totals and 7 games went Under the expected total. The highest Over/Under on Sunday was the Cowboys-Rams game with a total of 51.5 and the lowest Over/Under was the Bills-Jets game with a total of 39.5, the Cowboys-Rams games had 37 total points and the Bills-Jets game 44 total points.
The Favorites won 8 of WEEK ONE games while the Underdog won 6 of the games (the only push was the Chargers-Bengals game with the Chargers entering the game as 3-point favorites). The 6 Underdogs didn’t just cover the spread but also won the game outright. The only game where the Underdog lost and covered the spread was the Titans-Broncos with Denver entering the game as 3-point ungerdogs and lost 16-14.
Other Notes from WEEK ONE
The Home teams won 8 of the games while the Road teams won the other 8, one can say that home-field advantage isn’t going to be such a factor this year.
The rookie coaches (this includes coaches that have been in the NFL and are joining a new franchise for the first time) went 1-4 in WEEK ONE with Washington being the only team to win with Ron Rivera taking the reins.