September 11, 2018
Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and as always, there were some surprise outcomes. We'll try not to overreact too much to the first week of games, but in some cases it's kind of hard not to.
16) Lions (0-1): Detroit lost by 31 at home to a 5-11 team with a rookie quarterback, and looked ugly in all three phases. Who could have predicted that things would go so badly with a Bill Belichick disciple? Oh wait...
Bill Belichick's NFL coaching tree:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 11, 2018
• Al Groh 9-7 (.563)
• Bill O'Brien 31-34 (.477)
• Nick Saban (.469)
• Eric Mangini 33-47 (.413)
• Josh McDaniels 11-17 (.393)
• Romeo Crennel 28-55 (.337)
• Matt Patricia 0-1
Also, I'm embarrassed by how much Patricia's pencil gimmick bothers me.
I mean, I'm not one to root for someone to lose their job, but I really need this guy fired quickly because I can't have the NFL celebrating how "old school" he is because he uses a friggin' pencil.
Last week: 13
15) Cardinals (0-1): Oh hey look, nothing has changed with old friend Sleevie Wonder.
The t-shirts being fired into the crowd have traveled 10 times as far as any Bradford pass today.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 9, 2018
Just put in Josh Rosen and give him a season to learn on the job.
Last week: 14
14) Giants (0-1): Are the Giants better than they were a year ago? Saquon Barkley has a chance to be great, and certainly, his 68-yard TD run was highly impressive. And then with Odell Beckham back, the Giants have themselves a big-time playmaker. OBJ didn't have any big plays Week 1, but he did pile up 11 catches and 111 yards.
So, sure. Barkley and Beckham make the Giants better than they were a year ago. It's hard to get much worse. But... having a couple of good skill players means jack s*** when your quarterback is done, and your offensive line can't block, as expected prior to Week 1, and confirmed on Sunday.
Also, there's this:
In Ereck Flowers' answers today, one thing stood out: he said on first play, he didn't know Calais Campbell was more of power guy, not speed guy. He got caught cheating for a speed rush and was beaten inside.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 10, 2018
I wish I followed up, but my first thought was: no scouting report?
That just looks bad on everyone, from the OL coach, to Pat Shurmur, to (obviously) Flowers himself. To begin, how is it possible to be that unprepared for a Week 1 game in the NFL in 2018? But also, even being unprepared, how did he think Calais Campbell, who is perhaps the biggest defensive end in the league, was a speed rusher?
Last week: 15
13) Cowboys (0-1): I think this tweet pretty much sums up the Cowboys' passing game:
#Cowboys top 3 in targets from Week 1:— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 10, 2018
Cole Beasley 8 -- Topped 50 yards for 2nd time in his last 22 games
Deonte Thompson 5 -- On his 5th NFL team. Has 4 TDs in 54 career games
Geoff Swaim 4 (tie) -- Blocking tight end
Ezekiel Elliott 4 -- Had zero first-half targets
Also, the guy distributing the football to that mess did not look good Week 1.
Last week: 11
12) Buccaneers (1-0): The Bucs and Jets are the two highest scoring teams in the NFL, as we all predicted.
Last week: 16
11) Seahawks (0-1): In Denver on Sunday, the final score was 27-24, but the Seahawks were out-gained by 164 yards, they had 13 first downs to the Broncos' 25, they had the ball for 10 fewer minutes, and Russell Wilson was sacked six times.
If the offense didn't look bad enough, the Seahawks also lost their best receiver to a partial MCL tear.
To note, the Hawks actually moved up this week, but only because there were so many other teams that looked even worse.
Last week: 12
10) 49ers (0-1): In the aftermath of the Niners' loss to the Vikings, Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter said that Jimmy Garoppolo was scared of the Vikings' defense. While that's self-serving nonsense, there were times when Jimmy G did shy away from contact. Take this pick six, for example, by Vikings rookie Mike Hughes:
This is easy for me to say, but Garoppolo throws off his back foot to avoid being hit instead of stepping into the throw and taking whatever comes from the pass rush. As a result, the throw is off-target (and no, the receiver falling has nothing to do with this bad throw).
The Niners will have a chance to regroup at home against a putrid-looking Lions team next Sunday.
Last week: 9
9) Bears (0-1): People who picked the Bears to make the playoffs were feeling pretty good about themselves at halftime Sunday night when they had a 17-0 lead against the heavily-favored Packers in Green Bay.
And then... (fart noise).
Still, that Bears defense obviously has a lot of talent, and at a minimum, they're going to make it harder on teams like the Packers and Vikings in the NFC North.
Last week: 10
8) Panthers (1-0): Wait, the Panthers won, while the Falcons and Saints lost. Why did they get knocked down a spot? Fair question, self. So far they lost starting LT Matt Kalil to IR, RT Daryl Williams for a time frame that is to be determined, and Greg Olsen was on the sidelines in a boot holding crutches after he injured his foot. That's all kind of a big deal.
Last Week: 7
7) WASTEAM (1-0): I believe there was maybe some thought that Alex Smith was done, because Andy Reid seems to have a knack for moving on from one quarterback in favor of another. In the case of Reid trading Smith to make way for Patrick Mahomes, it's more a matter of Mahomes looking like a star in the making, as opposed to Smith being done.
Smith is one of the more underrated players in the NFL, and he led a dominating performance on Sunday, albeit over a bad Cardinals team. WASTEAM doubled up the Cardinals in first downs (30-14) and yards (429-213), and held the ball for 16 minutes longer than Arizona. Somehow the Cards were favored, but this thing was over by halftime. Easiest bet of the year.
Last week: 8
6) Packers (1-0): Yes, we know Aaron Rodgers is awesome, blah blah blah. Still, this Packers team looked vulnerable against an up-and-coming Bears team Sunday night, and they have holes galore on the rest of their roster. Any other season, and a Week 1 Packers-Bears matchup in Green Bay was a gimme for the Pack.
I'm not buying in.
Last week: 5
5) Saints (0-1): Drew Brees should have multiple Super Bowl wins in his career, but he only has one because his team's defense has been hot garbage for the better half of the last decade. After a season in which the defense showed some promise, they allowed 48 points to the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buccaneers.
Last week: 3
4) Vikings: Wake me up when the Vikings go on the road Weeks 4 and 5 and face a pair of teams in the Rams and Eagles, who can get pressure on the quarterback.
Last week: 6
3) Rams (1-0): It took them a little while, but the Rams eventually handled the Oakland Raiders, so they're 1-0, which is fine and good.
The one big concern I'd have if I were a Rams fan is their run defense. The Rams have a lot of undersized guys on D, and that helped contribute to their fifth-worst run defense last year, as they allowed 122.3 rushing yards per game. They also allowed 4.7 yards per carry, which was third-worst in the NFL.
While the Raiders didn't put up crazy stats in the run game last night (23 for 95 and a TD), there were moments where the Rams were run over and physically over-matched.
Still, this team is clearly scary. There's talent everywhere.
Last week: 4
2) Falcons (0-1): I am not wavering on this team. Yes, Steve Sarkisian is a dopey offensive coordinator who made some really questionable play calls in the red zone Thursday night, as he did at times last year as well, but this is a very, very good team that had the unenviable task of playing in Philadelphia Week 1 against an Eagles team that is becoming outstanding at home.
And really, there's plenty of reason to believe that the Falcons should have won that game. The Falcons aren't going away, though their schedule remains difficult the next two weeks, as they'll face the Panthers and Saints. Matt Ryan will be better than he was against an Eagles defensive line that was awesome Week 1.
Last week: 2
1) Eagles (1-0): It was ugly, but the Eagles' defense stole a win against a very good team Thursday night. Looking way down the road, that was a potentially huge game in terms of tie-breaker implications, as we pointed out in the 10 awards post after the game.
I feel like the importance of games are diminished this early in the season, which is crazy to me. That win Week 1 counts in the standings every bit as much as any game the Eagles will play in December.
Last week: 1
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