Last week I gave my impressions of the first week in college football, and this week, I thought it appropriate that I give you my take on the first week of the NFL season.
First of all, I want to impress upon you a disclaimer right off the bat. After one week of the NFL season, nothing is a sure thing. The observations that follow are after one week, and they may change dramatically as the season goes along. Nothing at this point is set in stone. Please…please…remember that. This post is just kind of an, “off the top of my head” let’s talk some football to get the season started. No predictions, just first impressions…and you know how those can go.
So here we go….The biggest moment from the first week-end: The Aaron Rodgers injury that takes him out for the rest of the year. He was the biggest story in the League, and would have been all year long. Then after four snaps, he’s out. Just devastating for the Jets and their fans, and the league. Even more for Aaron Rodgers. Look, I know he is a polarizing player. He can be prickly, and he certainly has been a thorn in Detroit’s side for a long time, but he has been a thorn in the side for a lot of teams. But, he didn’t deserve that coming out of the blocks. It’s a terrible break. It also should be a lesson for us all. Fortunes can turn in the blink of an eye in the NFL. It’s that kind of game. Healthy may be more important than talent when It comes to the end of this very physical and demanding marathon of a season. I feel for Rodgers, and I hope despite his age and a difficult rehab, he comes back to finish his career throwing passes instead of riding a golf cart to the training room with a boot on his ankle.
Most impressive NFC teams I saw: The San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers offense with Brock Purdy at the helm is really good. They are very talented around Purdy, with McCaffrey and Samuel, and Kittle, but Purdy looks so comfortable for being so young, I think they are dangerous. Dallas on defense is a monster. They mauled the Giants, and even if you don’t think the Giants are any good, no NFL team should dominate another like the Cowboys did the Giants.
The next tier in the NFC: I like the Lions, the Rams, and the Eagles. It’s still early, but those three teams were impressive, the least of which were the Eagles, but, I give them some slack as defending NFC champs. And, Green Bay was pretty good. Jordan Love looked like he belonged, and that team responded to him. Keep an eye on the Pack. First week, these four didn’t jump at me like the Cowboys and 49ers, but, they’ll be tough outs.
AFC most impressive: I really liked the Cleveland Browns. They actually surprised me, but how they handled the Bengals put them as the first week most impressive. Baltimore and Jacksonville got my attention besides the Browns. I think the Ravens had the same disappointment in victory as the Jets. They lost running back J K Dobbins to the same torn achilles injury as Rodgers. Dobbins is a perfect back for the Ravens system but he just gets set back after set back with his health. That loss hurts the Ravens but I think they’ll stay in the hunt and Trevor Lawrence gets better and better, so those AFC teams got my attention. Oh, and lets add the Jets defense in this category. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are still a question mark, but the week 1 win over the Bills with Rodgers going down, was a big one, and gets them a nod.
Best QB receiver connection: Tua and Tyreek Hill in Miami. Look out for those guys this year everybody. Tua, if he can stay healthy has shown me he can spin it. Tyreek is a magician with speed…they will score but I don’t think the Dolphins can keep the other guy from scoring, and that will be their issue.
Best all purpose guy: Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers. He’s really good at football. What a nightmare for a defensive co-ordinator.
The ”I haven’t gone anywhere” guy: Matthew Stafford of the Rams. He was his old self against the Seahawks in Seattle. The guy is still good. If you play against him, he’s give you headaches with that arm and his competitive fire.
My surprise of Week 1: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No way did I think they could play defense like they did against the Vikings, and no way did I think Baker Mayfield would look that good in a road opener.
Week 1 disappointments: Josh Allen of the Bills….the guy has immense talent. Physical skills out of this world, but, he needs to be better and he knows it.
The Steelers were not a factor against the 49ers…a lot of it were the 49ers, but the Steelers looked overmatched, and I didn’t see that coming.
Justin Fields and the Bears were not very good, I thought they’d be a bit better. I was wrong.
The Giants weren’t even in the same building as Dallas, that was embarrassing.
It wasn’t disappointing, but the three young rookie quarterbacks drafted so high didn’t win. They played like rookies for the most part. I always like to think a young gun right out of the gate will surprise, but it didn’t happen. Oh well.
The Bengals were not very good. I didn’t see that coming either. What happened to Joe Burrow?
The Vikings just don’t instill a lot of confidence in me that they can put together the kind of year they had last year. I just don’t think they are any better than 500.
A disappointment and a question…What is Tennessee going to do with Ryan Tannehill? I think the Titans have a QB issue.
A guy I was happy for: Derek Carr of the Saints, he’s away from the Raiders, and for some reason I was glad he opened with a win.
Overall theme of week 1: Defenses are usually ahead of the offenses this early in the season. But I find that the best defenses stay pretty good if they stay relatively healthy. Even in week one, those teams that really get after it on defense I think are the ones who can go the distance. Make your own list up on what you saw this week end…but that’s what I saw.
Remember…It’s only one week in…I’ll not do another one of these for another four or five weeks. We will have a better sample size at that point, and try again.