I think we have seen a very interesting first week of games. Storylines were had and a lot of unexpected things happened. I think a lot can be attributed to the limited playing time in preseason. However, it is now time to take those outcomes and make 100% confident predictions for the end of the season! Here is what I came up with:
Use these links to jump to a game that you want an overreaction from (some overlap)!
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams | Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions | Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals | Baltimore Ravens vs New York Jets | Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Washington Commanders | Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans | Arizona Cardinals vs. Kansas City Chiefs | Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys | Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders | Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings | Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints | Cleveland Browns vs. Carolina Panthers | New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins | New York Giants vs. Tennessee Titans | Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Bills are the best team in the League
Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season started off with two of the NFLs giants pitted against one another. However, the clear difference between the two teams was very evident. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills took it to the reigning kings of the NFL, and did so without a fight. The Bills forced Stafford into 3 interceptions and held him to under 250 passing yards. The Bills offense looked unstoppable and Allen showed that he the Bills are coming for blood this season. The takeaway for me from this game is that the Bills are the best team in the league. We may have thought it beforehand, but it is very obvious now. They demolished the Super Bowl Champions in their beautiful home stadium. The mistakes the Bills made were instantly responded to. They come out hot on every play, and every player is contributing. No one can stop the Bills except themselves. We will see if they can bring this play into the playoffs, my gut says they can.
Photo by: Ashley Landis/Associated Press
The Eagles will finish no. 1 in the NFC (Det/Phi)
Man oh man was it fun to be an Eagles fan for the first 3 quarters yesterday. Jalen Hurts is starting his campaign for most improved player and his pal AJ Brown is knocking on everyone's door to win some votes. After a slow first few drives the Eagles offense found it's stride and showed that they have what it takes to be at the top of the league. AJ Brown is a phenomenal catcher of the ball and a YAC maniac. Each of the Eagle's RBs were able to find the endzone, and Jalen showed that his legs are still a game winning asset. If the Eagles can sort out some of the defensive woes, like lack of QB pressure and finishing tackles, they have a shot at kings of the NFC. I think with a few more games under their belt, these things will sort themselves out.
The AFC North is up for grabs
Before week 1, I thought the AFC was pretty much the Bengals division to lose. Boy was I wrong. The Steelers defense looked absolutely incredible with their ability to rush the quarterback, secure turnovers, and even block kicks. Mitch Trubisky was able to keep the team in it as well, but the loss of Najee Harris and TJ Watt are major blows. Right now it looks like Najee will make his return to the field at some point in the near future, but Watt is less likely. Anyway the Steelers and Ravens will clearly be able to compete with the Bengals this year based on their performances yesterday. Let's not forget about the Browns too, who played very well against a team I am still high on: the Panthers. Suffice to say, this will be a fun division to keep up with all season.
Jahan Dotson will be the best rookie WR
In a game where I did not expect much by the way of offense, the Commanders really took advantage of the Jacksonville defense. Carson Wentz looked a bit like his old self, while also finding 2 Jacksonville defenders for picks. The star of this show though, was Jahan Dotson. The Penn State graduate who shined with 2 crucial touchdowns including the game-winner. While he did only have 3 catches, and it was the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jahan Dotson showed he has what it takes to lead this stacked rookie class. The only other rookie wideout who was a factor in Week 1 was Drake London, who has quickly become Mariota's favorite target. I think this rookie class will be dominated by these two dynamic men, but after the clutch grabs from Dotson in Week 1, I think he has the edge, for now.
Jimmy Garoppolo will start by week 4
In case you were living under a rock yesterday, the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Chicago Bears 19-10. Yes, the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields and the formidable Bears offense were able to put up 19 points against what was supposed to be a top tier defense. The crutch that I have from this game, though, is the inability to create on offense from Trey Lance. He looked totally lost for most of the game, and was unable to secure any clutch first downs. I do have to give a little benefit of the doubt due to the torrential downpour that plagued Chicago yesterday, but the Bears managed to drive on the Niners D, so the better offense should have been able to take advantage of the worse defense. Trey Lance did not do anything impressive in my opinion yesterday, and assuming it was not a fluke due to the rain, he will be starting on the bench by Week 4. If I were in the niners locker room yesterday there is 100% a voice in my head saying, hey this other guy Jimmy has taken us to the Super Bowl, but this new kid can't beat the Bears? We will see if the 49ers management thinks the same way.
Photo by: Michael Reaves | Getty Images
The Colts, Cowboys, and Cardinals will not make the playoffs
In similar fashion to losing to the Bears, the Colts TIED to the Houston Texans. A team most people (including me) thought would be the worst team in the league. It is a pretty inexplicable outcome for me because the Colts are better in every category. The Texans clearly just wanted it more. The Colts did fight back at the end of the game to avoid the loss, since they were down 20-3 at one point. The AFC is pretty stacked this year, so the Colts need to figure something out to beat out these top teams. Houston was meant to be 2 free wins for them, but at least they did not lose. The Cowboys, on the other hand, did not show any fight whatsoever. The offense looked incredibly stagnant and to make matters worse, their franchise quarterback will be out for 6-8 weeks. The Buccaneers are good, so I did not expect much from the Cowboys, but their season is basically over now. Vegas shows they agree since the Cowboys' odds to win the division are now lower than all 3 1-0 NFC East teams. Lastly, the Cardinals, who similar to the Cowboys played a NFLgoliath, showed they do not have what it takes to compete with the league's best. Kyler Murray, to me, does not look like a quarterback that is making much improvement. There were plays on offense had he been reading the defense better, he could have evaded sacks with his unique running ability. However, it is clear to me the statement in his massive contract regarding film hours is absolutely warranted. Defenses are finding ways to stop Kyler, so the Cardinals need to find a solution quickly, or else they are stuck in mediocrity.
Justin Herbert will win MVP
26 of 34 for almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. No interceptions and a win. Justin Herbert showed that he is ready to play for the first spot in the toughest division in the sport. He looked very comfortable in and out of the pocket, and although the game was close I felt the Chargers had it in the bag the whole way. Herbert has the quality to be an MVP winner, and he was on his way last year, I think 2022 is when everything comes to fruition for him. If they can even win this division I think he can become the frontrunner. Josh Allen, being the best player on the best team in football, will be his biggest competition.
The Vikings will win the division
Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson, that is a callout we will hear several times this season. Against a very good Packers defense, the Vikings offense took charge instantly. Jefferson got into spaces where it seemed like there was no one even on the same planet as him and Dalvin Cook was still running impressively. Aaron Rodgers looked pretty lost out in Minnesota, so he and the Packers will really need to turn things around if they want to catch the Vikings. I thought they would still be the best team in the division even without Adams, but Kirk certainly has something to say about that.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Mariota is way better than we thought
Stuck behind several quarterbacks throughout his career, Mariota finally showed that he can win teams games in the NFL. His running outside of the pocket to keep plays alive and ability to get the Falcons the large lead, proves that he may have found a spot to be. The Falcons defense has a lot of work to do because their game against the New Orleans Saints was very winnable. Mariota also has some fun weapons to work with on this offense including the young Drake London and variable Cordarrelle Patterson. I think the Falcons may be slightly better than the worst team in the league this year because of their defense though, not Mariotta.
McCaffrey will be the number 1 fantasy player
This one may be the least obvious since McCaffrey really did not have a great day by his standards on Sunday. However, there was some clear explosion when he did have the ball that made him look like himself again. The leap over the lines for the touchdown was a sight to see for the Panthers fans and McCaffrey fantasy owners. The Panthers will need to rely on him way more to begin winning the close games, so I expect his PPR numbers to only get much better. The Panthers clearly have the talent to succeed, but their defense needs to clean things up and Baker needs some more time to settle in. I still like the Panthers to make the playoffs.
Tua is unlocked, dolphins make the playoffs
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle had field days against the Patriots defense. Tua looks much more comfortable with Hill in this offense. It could be because the Patriots are a shell of what they once were, but if I am a Dolphins fan I am over the moon today. Even in this tough AFC, the Dolphins showed that they have what it takes to find a spot in the playoffs. No one can guard Tyreek Hill and Tua has the playmaking ability to keep plays alive, there is a lot to be excited about in Miami. On the other side of the ball, I think the Patriots will be fighting with the Jets for worst in this division. Mac Jones is not a bad quarterback, but there is not enough on this offense to really make a difference. We will see what happens to Bill at the end of the year too.
Saquon is baaaaack
Welcome back Saquon Barkley! An incredible game against a top tier run defense in 2021. Saquon showed his rookie year cuts and speed, and it was very fun to watch. I think at his peak Saquon can be the best player in the NFL, we will see if the Giants offensive line allows him to reach that peak. As for the Giants as a whole, I may have underestimated them. I did not think they had a chance against the Titans. They will compete with the Commanders for the second spot in the East if they continue to allow Saquon to run freely. As for the Titans, I do not know what to think. I mean the AFC South is being led by the TEXANS AT 0-0-1. Anything really can happen in the NFL, and kudos to you if you were able to take Texans to lead the division after Week 1, the odds would have been crazy.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Broncos will finish last in the AFC West
Lastly we have the Monday Night Football return of Russel Wilson to Seattle. I said it in my NFC West preview, but the Seahawks are a good team. They showed it tonight with an impressive showing against a team that was projected to have around 10 wins by Vegas. However, the overreaction here is that the Broncos will finish last in the AFC West. The most stacked division in football got even more stacked when Russ joined the West this offseason. He clearly had more freedom in this offense than what he had in Seattle with Pete Carrol. He called many audibles, but still was not able to get away from the Seattle defensive line. They were not able to pull out the win either, against a team that on paper they should be beating. I mean the Broncos gave away an arm and a leg to Seattle, and they still lost to the Seahawks. The AFC West is way too stacked for this Broncos team as it looks, and Russ may see another last place finish, but in a different city.
As a disclaimer most of these takes are to garner discussion. I love football and the NFL, and just about anything can happen, I mean we all saw the Bears beat the niners.
I plan to continue these posts throughout the year, so let me know what you like/dislike and I will be happy to address any comments/concerns. Thank you for taking the time
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