NFL Week 1 Recap by Nick Hebenstreit, @NickHebenstreit
NFL Week 1 Recap and Overreactions
Houston at Kansas City
The Chiefs won 34-20 covering as nine and a half point favorites. The total could’ve gone over, under, or pushed depending on where you got it. I don’t know if this qualifies as an overreaction, because the Chiefs are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl. The fact is, the Chiefs are going to have the better quarterback, better receivers, a better tight end, a better coach, and a better offensive line in most of the games they play. While all of these pieces of the offense feed off of each other, I think Tyreek Hill is slightly unappreciated. Hill might not have the same amount of receptions as Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones at the end of the year, but the way he opens up the field makes him the most valuable receiver in the league in my opinion.
Browns at Ravens
New year, same Baker. Ravens win and cover 38-6, total goes under forty seven and a half. My big overreaction to this one is that the Browns will be looking for a new quarterback at the end of this season or the next. The Browns should embrace the ugly AFC North formula of running the football and playing stout defense. Odell Beckham is a non factor out there, and the lack of play action passes is concerning. Baker isn’t the most accurate passer, so you have to play to his strengths.
As far as the Ravens go, I think it’s fairly simple. If Lamar can consistently make throws from the pocket, they will be a very hard team to beat. If he cannot, they will most likely lose in the first round of the playoffs again. They’ve got a great coach and a good offensive line that help hide Lamar’s weaknesses. Maybe you think I’m being harsh, and Lamar still has lots of time to improve and prove me wrong. He’s so far away from guys like Wilson and Mahomes though, not even close in my opinion.
Seahawks at Falcons
They’re letting Russ play, and if they continue to do that they will continue to win games. Wilson completed thirty one of thirty five attempts, and the Seahawks only ran the ball twenty times. Jamal Adams was flying all over the field, and the defense made plays when they needed to. The falcons went 0-4 on fourth down. When you have a great quarterback like Wilson, sometimes all you need from your defense is a few timely stops.
Falcons are what they largely have been. They’re a team that’s good for overs and fantasy, not winning games. That defense needs help. The Seahawks win and cover 38-25, with the total going over forty nine and a half.
Jets at Bills
Sam Darnold gets the benefit of the doubt a lot in this league and I’m not sure why. He gets thrown into that kind of second tier group of quarterbacks, but I’m here to ask the hard hitting questions. Is Sam Darnold good? Take away his Rose Bowl win from Penn State in 2017 and point to a game where you can look at him and say, “Oh yeah, this guy is going to succeed in the NFL.” I know that the Jets have a terrible coach and very few weapons, but still. At some point Darnold has to show me something, he reminds me of Sam Bradford right now.
Josh Allen falls into that category of quarterbacks that need help around them if they’re going to succeed. He looked good today against a bad Jet’s defense, besides the two fumbles. I don’t know how many games the Bills are going to win if they have to rely on Allen to throw the ball forty six times. They won and covered this game though, 27-17. The total went over thirty nine and a half.
Raiders at Panthers
The Raiders are a team that I’d describe as just kind of there. They won and covered 34-30, going over the total of forty eight. They’ve got some young and exciting talent in Josh Jacobs and Henry Ruggs, but Derrick Carr is just a guy. This team is really handicapped by their quarterback play and head coach, who the Raiders are paying a combined $250,000,000 for ten years.
I think this is the way many of the Panthers games are going to play out this season. The Panthers are in a rebuild with a new head coach and a new quarterback. I think they’ll improve offensively as the season progresses. I like Bridgewater, and I think he can be a full time starter in this league. The Panthers don’t have a true number one wide receiver on offense in my opinion. This team has a bright future, but there’s not much to get excited about this year.
Dolphins at Patriots
The Patriots won and covered 21-11 thanks to a couple of rushing touchdowns by Cam Newton. The total went under forty one and a half. I don’t want to make a big reaction to the Patriots beating the Dolphins, but I’d say this team is as good as any team they’ve had in the last two or three years. I think they’ll compete with the Bills for the AFC East.
Ryan Fitzpatrick may be all out of Fitzmagic. All reports are that Tua is healthy. I don’t think the Dolphins are a playoff contender with Tua, but they’re not going to win anything with Fitzpatrick. I say throw Tua in there and try to rejuvenate this team.
Packers at Vikings
Aaron Rodgers had a field day as the Packers won and covered 43-34, with the total going over forty four. On The ACL Pod, Wags and ACL talked about how they could see Aaron Rodgers play two ways this season. He could come out and go through the motions, kind of letting the Jordan Love draft pick linger around, or he could come out guns blazing and let everyone know, he’s still the guy. I know which way I’m leaning after that game. The bad man is back. The Vikings secondary looked like swiss cheese. This is something ACL also touched on, and if you took his free play on the Vikings under nine and a half wins you’re off to a good start.
Bears at Lions
After starting off 7-17 Mitch Trubisky threw for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead his team back from a seventeen point deficit. The Bears won 27-23 and covered, with the total going forty two and a half. I already sold all of Trubisky stock last season, and I’m not buying anymore because of this game.
The Lions have a depleted secondary. This game was more about the Lions taking their foot off the gas. They still had a chance to win and cover with about eight seconds left, but Deandre Swift dropped an easy touchdown pass. This team is like the Raiders, they’re just kind of there. They Won’t be a threat to win the division until they get a new coach, maybe even new ownership.
Colts at Jags
I almost got talked into the colts this year, almost. I heard that the Chargers had one of the worst offensive lines and that Rivers will be able to produce behind the Colt’s stellar offensive line. Fool me one time, shame on you Old Man Rivers. Glad I didn’t get fooled again, but many did. A tough day in survivor pools, as the Jaguars upset the Colts and cover 27-20 going over the total of forty four.
This game doesn’t change my opinion of Minshew or the Jaguars. They’ll upset a couple more teams this year, but I don’t see them winning more than four or five games. It will certainly be fun to watch Minshew fearlessly sling the ball around though. The Jags are like a poor man’s Falcons, fun to watch and good for overs.
Eagles at Washington
If you listened to ACL’s podcast on the Washington Football team, you were aware of the talent on their defensive line. The Eagles are already riddled with injuries, the NFC version of the Chargers. The Washington Football Team upset the Eagles 27-17, going over the total of forty one and a half. I wouldn’t get too excited if I was a Washington fan, as the quarterback play is still very subpar. I think they should be optimistic under coach Rivera though, and who knows maybe Snyder will be forced to sell the team. ACL also hinted at Chase Young to win DROY on his podcast, another play that’s off to a great start.
Chargers at Bengals
Chargers win and push 16-13, with the total going under forty one. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram gave the Bengals offensive line fits all game. Tyrod Taylor is who he is, and he’s capable of winning games. The Chargers have some talented players on their offense as well: Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams. Hard for me to call this a potential playoff team though.
I think Joe Burrow looked fine. He looked like a rookie making his first career start. He had a bad interception where he should’ve just taken the sack, and he overthrew AJ Green on what would’ve been a touchdown. They still had a chance to win the game late, had it not been for a questionable offensive pass interference call. Burrow acknowledged his mistakes in the post game press conference, and says he has to be better. I like what I’m seeing from this kid, he’ll have the Bengals beating the Browns in no time.
Buccaneers at Saints
Get out the wheelchairs for these quarterbacks. Seriously though, I think those are the stat lines you are going to see from Brady and Brees this season. The Saints won and covered 34-23, with the total going over forty eight and a half. I’m not totally giving up on the Bucs, but Brady is going to need his skill guys to carry him if they’re going to make the playoffs this year. I’m not high on Brees either, but the Saints defense is very good. I think they’re a lock to win the NFC South with Sean Payton as head coach.
Cardinals at 49ers
Another brutal game for survivor pools as the Cardinals upset the 49ers 24-20 going under the total of forty eight. The 49ers were banged up going into this game, and now George Kittle might miss time. Luckily for them, they play the Giants and the Jets next. If they don’t get some pass catchers back soon though, I think they could be in trouble. Especially in this division. The Cardinals offense looked good. Nice play design by Kingsbury, and nice to have a wide receiver like Hopkins out there. I still don’t think the Cardinals make the playoffs though. Cardinal fans should be optimistic though, as they have a franchise QB in Kyler Murray.
Cowboys at Rams
Jerry Jones successfully hired the next closest thing to Jason Garrett. It seemed like the Cowboys were moving the ball down the field at will, but then just three of twelve on third down and one of three on fourth down. Their offensive line gave up some untimely sacks. They still have Zach Martin and Tyron Smith, but they’re not going to be as dominant this season as they have been in years past.
The Rams front seven played really well. Aaron Donald led the charge but Leonard Floyd and Michael Brockers played well too. The Ram’s secondary is horrible. Jalen Ramsey is a better and more expensive version of what Janoris Jenkins was when he played for the Rams. The offensive line didn’t look great, but they looked improved from last year. McVay’s play design really helps minimize Goff’s weaknesses. Rams won and covered 20-17, as the total went way under fifty two.
Steelers at Giants
The Steelers came out a bit sluggish, as to be expected with a thirty eight year old quarterback returning. Juju looked great and James Washington looks to be finally coming along. The Steelers have one of the best edge rush tandems in the league with Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. The Steelers won and covered 26-16, with the total going under forty four. With Ben back, the Steelers are ready to compete with the Ravens for the AFC North.
If I could give NFL GMs one tip of advice it would be not to draft a running back with the second overall pick. I don’t care how talented he is, without a decent quarterback, it just doesn’t matter who your running back is. Daniel Jones is an average quarterback, who is definitely not going to win any games by himself. I think he could be a solid fantasy quarterback though, congrats to those who started him and Darius Slayton.
Titans at Broncos
One of the reasons the Titans were playing so well at the end of the season last year was because they didn’t have a kicker, so they went for it a lot more than they normally would have. They were one of the more efficient teams in the red zone last season too. Hopefully they remedy that failed experiment from last night, and leave Gostowski in Denver. The Titans won, but didn’t cover 16-14. The total went under forty one and a half.
I picked the Broncos to cover, because I thought they’d have the best home field advantage in these early games, due to the altitude and lack of preseason games. I won’t take credit though. The Titans should’ve won this one more handily. The timing looked off between Lock and some of the offensive players. I think the offensive line held up nicely though. I think the Broncos offense is going to come along better than I thought.