2018 –19 Week 1
What we learned from Week 1 in the NFL
Every preseason every team vows to be better. There will be the unique feeling of hope when you sign a new coach (or, even a coordinator). Or the hype that comes with some big free agent acquisition. Maybe even some very promising rookies that make fans dream on.
Well that euphoria has an expiring date. Week 1 of the regular season. Then it is when the baloney stops and the summer dreams get shuttered. Or not.
It is premature to make safe conclusions from just one game. But we can get hints. Hints, not certainties. Enough though to speculate more. Don't you just love that? Let the big guys fight for their lives on the gridiron and critisize them from our sofas.
This is what (we think) we learn from Week 1 in the NFL.
Los Angeles Rams 33 - Oakland Raiders 13
For one half the new Gruden era in the bay was going as planned. Alas, football matches last two halves. After the Raiders headed in halftime leading 13-10 the lights went off in the second half. Goff who was off in the first two quarters got on track. Gurley justified his Offensive Player of the Year status runing for 147 yards in 23 carries. And the super talented Rams D shut out Derek Carr and Co.
The Rams are as good as advertized. The Raiders are as confused as advertized. With Talib and Peters as the starting corners it's almost impossible to beat LA in the air. The Black Hole will miss Mack. A lot.
New York Jets 48 - Detroit Lions 17
The Jets will be a laughing stock. The Lions will contest for the crown in a very strong division. Maybe both preseason scenarios eventually pan out. Or maybe what we saw Monday night is a preview of things to come.
Sam Darnold's first professional pass was a pick six. (Same thing happenned to a guy named Brett Favre). The rookie shook off the INT and had a fantastic debut. He was poised, determined, smart and accurate. Along with a rejuvenated defense that seemed to knew exactly the plays the Lions will run they forced 4 INT's from Stafford and silenced Ford Field.
We must wait to have a solid conclusion about both teams but first look is like a smiling emoji for NY and a frowned one for Detroit. But it was a fine performance by Sam Darnold and the no-name Jets (nice name for a band, huh?)
Green Bay Packers 24 - Chicago Bears 23
As Adam Schein wrote “Aaron Rogers is NFL's Michael Jordan”. The best QB in mental preparation and physical abilities who ever played the game. Sundasy night was another glorius display in a carreer full of unbelievable highlights.
After a whole stadium, millions of Packers fans and the league held their collective breath when he went down, A-Rod came back in the second half to lead an impressive comeback from 20-0 down.
The Packers' defense will be a lot better this year than the previous ones if only the can generate some serious pass rush.
The Bears aren't a push-over no more. This team is good and their D can be special.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48 - New Orleans Saints 40
Gimme some Fitz-Magic! Bearded Ryan Fitzpatrick had the game of his life in the Dome. 21-28, 417 yards and 4 TD's (also he added a rushing one) are more than a dream. They look more like a Hollywood script than reality.
The Bucs were unstoppable in the offense and their unheralded O-line deserves a lot of credit. The Saints were explosive but they missed Ingram. Payton;s team starts slow the last 5 years so there is no reason for panic. And their defense will play better down the stretch.
But the day belonged to the Bucs whom didn;t get much love going in this game without Winston.
Fitz-Magic my friends. Fitz-Magic.
Pittsburgh Steelers 21 - Cleveland Browns 21
The Browns finally ended their losing streak. That's the good news. The bad ones are that they didn't won a game where they created six (6!) turnovers. Garrett was a monster and Ward justified perfectly his draft order with two picks of Big Ben.
But the offense was stagnant and unsteady. Taylor had a bad game and the younger Watt terrorized him (hello Ted Thompson!).
Both teams had plenty of chances to put that one in the bag but they missed them. In a sloppy game under difficult weather conditions we found out that the Browns will win some games this season. And that the Steelers need Bell back althoug Conner had an excellent game.
New England Patriots 27 - Houston Texans 20
As long as there is Brady and Belichick the Patriots will be Super Bowl contenders. They showed it against a good team with punishing defense. New England won the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Brady and Gronk did enough to score 27 points and the D made Watson look like a frightened rookie.
The Pats need some weapons to add and the Texans their QB to replicate his production last year. And, also, their vaunted defense to step up. Both teams will be better down the stretch.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 - New York Giants 15
In a day where Fournette gets injured early and Bortles is, well Bortles, the Jaguars found a way to get a W against a good team.
Jacksonville's ferocious defense made life extremely dangerous for Eli Manning who often had to release the ball before he wanted to. Barckley had a promising debut and OBJ proved why the Giants payed him all that money.
But in the end is the Jaguars's D that had the last word. This team will contest seriously for the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati Bengals 34 - Indianapolis Colts 23
The best thing is that Andrew Luck came back healthy and accurate. The star QB shook off an early INT and had some impressive pinpoint shots. He almost guided his team to vistory but Doyle fumbled the ball.
The Colts will be better as long as Luck stays healthy. But they need a better running game to support him.
Bengals' offense was a non-show for 2 and a half quarters. Then they turn the engine on. The combination of Dalton, Green and Mixon burst out and scored in their three final positions to erase a 13-point deficit.
Minnesota Vikings 24 - San Francisco 49ers 16
We knew that the Vikings have the best defense in the NFC. That was confirmed in Week 1 when they made Jimmy G's life misreable. Cousins live up to the hype with some excellent throws and drove the offense like a captain steers his ship. But Minnesota had trouble in the running game (Cook was a much bigger factor catching the ball) and their O-line is suspicious.
The 49ers had a chance to steal that one but they repeatedly shot their foot. It was Garopolo's first lost as a starter but the future looks good in Santa Clara.
Baltimore Ravens 47 - Buffalo Bills 3
Joe Flacco is back. The Ravens QB looked sharp and determined and shred the Bills' defense in pieces. There is not much to say about a game that ended before it even started other than the Ravens will be serious playoff contenders and the Bills will be the worst team in the league.
Kansas City Chiefs 38 - Los Angeles Chargers 28
The Kansas City offense is a machine that we love to watch. Tyreek Hill is the most exciting player in the league and Patrick Mahomes looks like the real deal. The Chiefs have defensive problems but if they score like that it will be difficult to beat them.
The Chargers can be fun to watch also. They missed Bosa a lot though. Oh, and they need to do something with their special teams. They are not special at all.
Carolina Panthers 16 - Dallas Cowboys 8
The Panthers have an excellent defense. Cam Newton can run and pass. They a re a legit contender for a playoff spot. The Cowboys not. They have the worst wide receivers corps by far. They know it and somehow they decided against leaning on Zeke Elliott. Only they know why. At least they gave Dez a fine time trolling them on line.
Denver Broncos 27 - Seattle Seahawks 24
Denver has the best pass rusher in the game. Mr. Miller was a nightmare for a mediocre (at best) offensive line and had Wilson run for his lije constantly. The Broncos have a long way to go and Keenum was brought back to earth, throwing 3 INT's. But he also had good moments driving on a defense that it;s not the Legion of Boom anymore.
Seattle is in a rebuilding mode even if they don't realise it yet.
Washington Redskins 24 - Arizona Cardinals 6
Hello Andrian Peterson. The veteran run wild against his old team while leading a well rounded offense. A.P. Score his 100th TD and Alex Smith was again a ver professional and efficient game manager. Combine that with a much improved defense against a very shaky offense and that is all you need to know from this game.
Miami Dolphins 27 - Tennessee Titans 20
They called it a marathon but even running 42kms doesn't take that long. More fittingly it will be a comparison with watching back to back the Star Wars trilogy. After almost 8 hours the Dolphins emerged victorious from a game with many misscues and serious injuries.
Ryan Tannehill looked poised on his comeback but the revelation was the special teams, each scoring a TD on a return.
I don't think Miami will contest for a playoff spot and I think that the Titans they will. If only Mariota is healthy.