Boy oh boy, where on earth do I start here?
NFL’s week one is done. So where did the chips fall? Let’s have a looksie…
1. Kansas City Chiefs
KC – the Kings of the Castle – made Houston look like dirty rascals after falling behind early. Apart from giving up a 7-0 lead (a pittance by KC’s playoff standards), the biggest struggle was Andy Reid being able to see out of his COVID visor. Patrick Mahomes – the $450 million man – was in cruise control, while throwing three touchdowns, while first-round RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks as good as advertised.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Anyone banking on a Lamar Jackson dropoff this season had better guess again. The reigning MVP shredded the Browns defense and looked good. He threw laser-guided missiles all over the park – one needing a brilliant one-handed catch by tight end Mark Andrews for a touchdown. After two straight years of playoff let-downs, these Ravens look hungry.
3. Green Pay Packers
Not sure if Aaron Rodgers is pissed about the Pack not having drafted him any weapons and instead his assumed successor in quarterback Jordan Love. But if 364 yards, four touchdowns and 43 points against the Vikes is any indicator, then maybe we should heed his advice – “R-E-L-A-X”. Speaking of those so-called ineffective weapons – wide receivers Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling accounted for over 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
4. Tennessee Titans
The hottest team in the NFL down the stretch last season, eeked out the win in Denver. Ryan Tannehill was solid and ‘King Henry’ did his thing but, in the end, it came down to kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The free-agent acquisition is a true story of overcoming adversity. Having missed four kicks throughout the opening game, he stepped up for the game-winner and nailed it. Clutchy McClutchface.
5. Seattle Seahawks
The battle of the birds wasn’t even close. Pete Carroll’s men burst out of the blocks as the first quarter quickly became ‘The Russell Wilson and Chris Carson Show’. Rusty continued piling misery on the so-called ‘improved’ Atlanta defence, including a fourth and five conversion in the third quarter that ended up netting a 38-yard touchdown to DK Metcalf. That was a real dagger.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Cough, cough Super Bowl hangover, cough. Excuse me. Things were looking peachy early on, as the Niners jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Then a blocked punt and failed fourth-down attempt on the Cards goal-line let the foot off the throat. Receiving injuries are also looming large – with wideouts Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Hurd missing the first game while, even more crucially, George Kittle hyper-extended his knee (the footage of which, is not for the queasy).
7. New Orleans Saints
To be brutally honest, I expected more from Drew Brees vs Tom Brady. But alas, New Orleans’ won comfortably in ‘The Dome’ as Alvin Kamara justified his five-year contract extension just over 24 hours before kickoff. Kamara carried the rock to the house twice, just to remove any lingering doubt. Wide receiver Michael Thomas’ injury is worth monitoring though – for the Saints and Fantasy Football leagues around the world.
8. New England Patriots
Cam and the Pats ran and ran and ran. Everyone must admit – it did look pretty weird not seeing TB12 under centre, but – as per usual – the Pats have adapted. Cam Newton led the rushing attack with 75 yards and two rushing touchdowns, with Sony Michel pitching in another, as they cruised to victory. Their NFC East reign may not be over just yet.
9. Houston Texans
Despite being handily outplayed in Kansas City, there’s actually quite a lot of upside for Bill O’Brien’s squad. The defence provided good pressure early and running back David Johnson aka ‘the forgotten man’ in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, could be a very good pickup – averaging seven yards per carry, scoring a touchdown and being a factor in the passing game. They could’ve really used Hopkins though, as highlighted by a number of second-half drops.
10. Minnesota Vikings
“You like that?!” No, not really. In fairness, Kirk Cousins’ performance was actually pretty solid. But after going up 7-3 in the first quarter, the Vikes weren’t ready for the onslaught that saw the Pack pile up 19 straight points.
A safety and interception by cornerback Jaire Alexander got things rolling, while A-Rod added some fairy dust, in the form of a couple of strikes for touchdowns. It was all ‘playing catch up’ from there.
11. Buffalo Bills
Quarterback Josh Allen is just a fun guy to watch. Whether it’s using his cannon for an arm, running all up and through defences, fumbling the ball or even steam-rolling sideline officials (all of which he did in this game against the Jets). Stefon Diggs, who was acquired in an offseason trade, drew in eight catches and made a nice start in a Bills uniform – although it was against the Jets.
12. Los Angeles Rams
Opened up their brand spanking new digs at SoFi Stadium with a close win over the Boys. And what a stadium it is. A spectacular 70,000 seat cauldron, which predictably had zero people. Aaron Donald said it “felt more like a Little League game”. It will take a bit of time, but it’ll be pretty cool when fans are allowed in.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben’s back and that Steeler defence looks fierce. Was really good to see Roethlisberger make a winning return – and boy didn’t the Steelers look different with him back from off-season wrist surgery? On the other side of the ball – linebacker Bud Dupree is going to be a problem for offensive co-ordinators this season. He seemed like he was all over the field, with his flowing long hair even giving the impression Troy Polamalu had returned.
14. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky staves off a quarterback controversy – for this week at least. He had some nice moments – throwing for 242 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, leading the Bears home from a ten-point deficit inside the final three minutes of the game. Nick Foles faithful – please hold.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Strange game. Carson Wentz looked good, as the Iggles raced out to a 17-point lead. However, Washington’s defence made life miserable from there on out. Piling up eight sacks and two picks, as Philly folded and the Washington TBC’s came roaring back. Talk about popping the balloon. Great to see Aussie giant Jordan Mailata taking the field for his NFL debut though.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Tough three-point loss to start the season, plus serious injuries to Leighton Van der Esch and Blake Jarwin leave Jerry’s Boys on the back foot early on. That offensive pass interference on Michael Gallup was a very close call, so here’s hoping that there weren’t too many TV remotes embedded in Cowboy fans TVs.
17. Atlanta Falcons
New uniforms, new additions, new defence – same early-season slumber. Yep, welcome to the life of a Falcons fan. You may remember us from such meltdowns as blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI. Now, that’s out of the way – Dan Quinn better get his team – especially the defence to get cooking, as a slump like last year will be a job-ender. Todd Gurley looked pretty decent.
18. Denver Broncos
Melvin Gordon’s Denver debut, with solid chemistry between Drew Lock and Noah Fant, couldn’t erase the fact that they gave the Titans too many chances to win. Gordon rushed for 78 yards at 5.2 yards a clip and added a touchdown, while the super-athletic second-year tight end Fant looks as though he could be a force this year. Getting Courtland Sutton back would help too.
19. Las Vegas Raiders
Second-year running back Josh Jacobs ran in three touchdowns, as the Vegas Rollers did just enough to escape with a win. Now John Gruden gets to take his troops back to their new desert base and welcome the Saints into their Death Star/Roomba-looking home field for Monday Night Football. And, maybe hit the tables to take his mind off things.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After all of the offseason hype of the GOAT Tom Brady switching teams and being joined by Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay, this ended up falling a little flat. Upon moving to his new home in the offseason, Brady mistakenly bowled into a stranger’s house thinking it was that of Bucs offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich. Can’t help but see some sort of parallel there. Belichick 1, Brady 0.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
How bout them rookies gettin’ it done?! First rounders CJ Henderson, K’Lavon Chaisson and second-rounder Laviska Shenault all made great first impressions – as did James Robinson. Who the hell is James Robinson, you ask? – an undrafted rookie running back who hurdles human-beings, apparently. Welcome to my fantasy football roster, friend.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Philip Rivers’ Indy debut was upstaged by Minshew Mania 2.0 and I am very much on board. I mean, I wasn’t around when Burt Reynolds was in his prime, but I can only imagine the super-cool ‘Shew’ is a modern-day replica. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about the Colts. Ummm… bouncing back next week against the Vikings won’t be easy. Sorry.
23. Arizona Cardinals
Tough win on the road by the Cards. Kyler Murray showed some shifty moves and found his new BFF DeAndre Hopkins for 14 receptions. Murray ran for 91 yards, a touchdown and threw for 230 with a passing touchdown too. Expectations for the second-year quarterback have been in the Mahomes/Jackson realm, which may be pushing it, but we’ll see.
24. Los Angeles Chargers
Gotta say – wasn’t feeling the new unis and the game didn’t look much better overall either. But, hey, a win’s a win. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram leading the Bolts defense, they fought hard all day and showed Joe Burrow the NFL is just a little different to college ball. Got a tad lucky with the AJ Green push-off to nullify the match-winning touchdown and missed field goal, but as they say – you make your own luck.
25. Washington Football Team
With a highly touted defensive line that eats quarterbacks, this team looks ready to fight hard all year – what else would you expect from a Ron Rivera coached side? No.2 overall pick Chase Young racked up his first 1.5 sacks, which many pundits predict will be the first of many. Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been getting rave reviews in the lead up to this season and has shown a few signs of improvement.
26. New York Jets
Yawn. Having jettisoned Jamal Adams to the Seahawks and Le’Veon Bell playing the role of problem child, it seemed as though these Jets may not have enough to succeed this year. And the early signs? About the same. Sam Darnold looks like he’s found his ‘new Robby Anderson’ in the form of Jamison Crowder and having Chris Herndon back at tight end will help too. But, yeah. It’s a hard road.
27. Cleveland Browns
2020 has seen many massive changes. But so far, the Browns are still the Browns. I mean, on the upside, Myles Garrett isn’t making quarterbacks into human whack-a-moles, but they ain’t winning either. With Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr and new coach Kevin Stefanski surrounding quarterback Baker Mayfield, the clock must start to tick on getting a better return than a week one shellacking.
28. Carolina Panthers
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got off to a reasonable start for the Cats, by hooking up with his ‘new Robby Anderson’ for a 75-yard score but make no mistake, this offense still goes through Christian McCaffrey. The Matt Rhule era got off to a losing start, but with a Swiss Army Knife at running back, they look like a tricky proposition on any given Sunday.
29. Miami Dolphins
Is it ‘Tua Time’ yet? I know there’s a decent following of FitzMagic, but this start was more tragic. Three picks and no touchdowns summed up a less than stellar start. In fact, the only real fight the Fins put up was after the final whistle, as they tried to rip off Cam Newton’s chain. I don’t have a chain – let alone anything like what Cam would have – but apparently, it’s disrespectful.
30. New York Giants
If not for letting James Washington score right on halftime and Daniel Jones throwing his first career red zone interception, this would’ve been a different ballgame. Well, that and Saquon Barkley rushing for six yards on 15 carries. No, that wasn’t a typo. Would love to be a fly on the wall at Giants offensive line training this week.
31. Detroit Lions
Gotta feel for rookie running back D’Andre Swift who dropped the game-winning pass while crossing into the endzone. That’s a rough intro to the NFL. But rest assured young man, Detroit fans are used to being disappointed. Matt Stafford has to accept his part of the blame for a key turnover, as Henry Ford’s fellas blew a ten-point lead.
32. Cincinnati Bengals
‘You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather’. That was the story of Joe Burrow’s NFL debut. First, an offensive pass interference call on what would’ve been the match-winning touchdown to AJ Green, then a missed field goal to tie the game. That’s the Bungles for ya…