Andrew Luck, Baltimore Ravens, Carson Wentz, Cincinnati Bengals, Eric Berry, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jared Goff, John Lynch, Kansas City Chiefs, Kyle Shanahan, LA Rams, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Sean McVay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Brady
Week one is in the books and so it is time for the annual period of overreaction in the NFL to the first set of games, but whilst there are some things that can be taken away from these games, there’s still plenty that falls into the we’ll see pile.
I’m not going to go through every team just yet, but here are some of the things I took away from the games I watched or results that jumped out at me.
We knew the New York Jets were going to be bad, but they were at least designed that way. The Indianapolis Colts appear to be even worse, we don’t know when Andrew Luck will return, and it is going to be a long season for them. The San Francisco 49ers gave rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan and his GM John Lynch a demonstration of just how big a rebuilding job they took on.
The Cincinnati Bengals were one of serval teams who failed miserably to disprove the concerns people had about them going into the season, but were the only team with no points this week that actually played. The Baltimore Ravens look good on defence, are well coached, and will cause problems for many this season and go a very useful divisional win in Cincinnati. I wasn’t expecting anything particularly different in terms of performance against the Bengals, but it was painful to watch the Bengals fail to rise to the occasion. There were points where the Bengals moved the ball, and I can see Andy Dalton bouncing back from the horrible performance as he has done it before – I just wish they didn’t happen in the first place. A short week against the Texans’ pass rush is not how I would have liked to rediscover the offence, but at least the game is at Paul Brown Stadium.
I had thought the Kansas City Chiefs looked good in pre-season, and I thought they would run the New England Patriots close, but they went better than that with a very good win in the opening game of the season. The loss of safety Eric Berry to an Achilles injury is a big blow to the Chiefs defence, but that offence looks like it is going to function well this season. It is too early to panic if you’re a Patriots fan, and the infrastructure is well set to get over this initial setback, but they will be watched as carefully as ever over the next few weeks for signs of decline, particularly in Tom Brady.
The Oakland Raiders are another team who looked very good in week one, easily taking care of the Tennessee Titans on the road, with their defence looking stouter than I thought it would coming into the season, and it looks like they will be continuing their good form of last season and pushing for the playoffs if they can stay healthy.
I don’t want to get too quarterback centric, but although he is still making young player mistakes, Carson Wentz is looking every bit the franchise quarterback at the beginning of his career, with several plays where he held off multiple pass rushers before making a successful pass. I wanted to be sold on the Eagles as a whole and their performance in Washington certainly started the process.
Continuing on the quarterback theme, there’s only so much you can tell about the LA Rams from them beating Colts, but they scored forty-six points and Jared Goff showed that he might have a future in the NFL. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but the Rams did what they needed to in week one and we will just have to see how things progress for Goff under rookie Head Coach Sean McVay.
So we start to look at the week 2 games, with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally playing first games of the season after last week’s postponement, and a number of teams looking to pick up from shaky starts. There’s has been a lot of questions about what the pre-season is for and how it might change, but it seems a number of teams still need to get themselves into form as their offseason hasn’t prepared them to hit the ground running. It is a long season, and nobody needs to peak in September, but divisional home losses are bad things to rack up, and several teams started with them in week one.
Last Week’s Record:
Gee: Week 1 9-7 Overall -9-7
Dan: Week 1 7-9 Overall 7-9
Texans @ Bengals (-4.5)
So tonight’s game pits two teams with disappointing first games against each other, and the Bengals could be in a real hole if they start 0-2 with two home losses. The problem is that there has to be a reaction by the Houston Texans to how they played last week, and their area of strength on defence matches up painfully against where the Bengals have all their questions on offence. Adam Jones’ return to the Bengals’ secondary may add a spark to the defence, but on a short week in a bad match up, with a rebuilt offensive line that has answered none of the questions asked of it, l will confess to a lack of confidence in my team. I’m not saying the Bengals can’t find the right formula as plenty of teams looked short or reps in week one, but with their history in prime time games I can’t back the Bengals to win by five points when they scored zero in their opening home game. I would love to be proved wrong!
Gee’s Pick: Texans
Dan’s Pick: Bengals