With one other opening weekend within the NFL comes one other set of Week 1 overreactions. After an uncommon offseason and nonexistent preseason due to COVID-19, Sunday’s video games have been the primary time we noticed each workforce in motion.
Seeing a little bit, nevertheless, doesn’t suggest believing all the pieces good, unhealthy and stunning that occurred on the sector. Though some outcomes are indicators of issues to come back for gamers and groups throughout the league, “Any given Sunday” applies to different developments.
Here is trying on the worst of the Week 1 overreactions, beginning with two that contain Corridor of Fame, Tremendous Bowl-winning quarterbacks:
‘Aaron Rodgers for MVP . . . for a 3rd time’
Rodgers had a monster opener (32-of-44 passing, 364 yards, 4 touchdowns, 127.5 ranking) because the Packers held off the Vikings 43-34 in Minneapolis. Inexperienced Bay’s offense was on the sector for 41-plus minutes and rushed for 158 yards. Rodgers wasn’t sacked as soon as as he accomplished 72.7 % of his passes at a classic eight.Three yards per try. He lifted Davante Adams and his different vast receivers to a number of massive performs.
BENDER: Pack’s current seems simply positive with Rogers in command
Rodgers was locked in and possessed to begin his second season in Matt LaFleur’s offense. Rodgers at all times performs with a chip on his shoulder, however it could be a little bit bigger this yr after the workforce used a first-round choose on his successor, Jordan Love.
Rodgers made the jaw-dropping go performs that after earned him the title of NFL’s greatest QB, earlier than Patrick Mahomes and different youthful stars took the league by storm and Rodgers aged into his mid-30s.
On the identical day Rodgers had his massive day, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson picked up the place he left for the Ravens and Russell Wilson was practically excellent throwing downfield for the Seahawks. Second-year QBs Kyler Murray and Gardner Minshew additionally have been spectacular in carrying the Cardinals and Jaguars, respectively, to tight, high-scoring victories.
Rodgers picked aside a reeling Vikings protection that is in transition and was additionally lacking high pass-rusher Danielle Hunter. Sunday proved there are quite a lot of unhealthy defenses within the NFL and a few doubtlessly good ones attempting to play catchup. The reality is, Rodgers has been his environment friendly, clutch self even by gentle decline the previous few years. Rodgers remains to be Rodgers; he is simply fueled by a little bit extra Love.
Successful a 3rd MVP six years after his second one remains to be unlikely, and it does not matter anymore along with his emeritus standing. His play Sunday was extra of a reminder that experiences of his demise as a top-10 QB have been enormously exaggerated.
MORE: Why Packers drafted Jordan Love to switch Aaron Rodgers
‘Tom Brady is completed, like he was with the Patriots’
Brady (23-of-36 passing, 239 yards, two TDs, two INTs, three sacks) had a tough first sport with the Buccaneers. The Saints’ protection compelled the problem with their go rush and secondary, main to 2 massive turnovers, together with his second pick-six in as many video games.
Throwing away a few possessions and in addition yielding factors led to a irritating 34-23 loss for the Bucs in New Orleans. The Saints’ offense seems each bit like a unit that has been collectively for years in the identical system and nonetheless led by a future Corridor of Fame QB in Drew Brees. Brady remains to be adjusting to his new state of affairs after 20 years in New England, and within the worst yr to take action.
Brady was, in truth, extra locked in along with his new weapons than anticipated. Keep in mind, too, that he and Rob Gronkowski are reuniting with a brand new workforce after a yr aside. There have been no new beginnings with the Patriots, the place Brady was locked in with his coach and offense like Brees has been with Sean Payton.
Brady has a greater supporting forged than he had in his closing yr with the Patriots, and he and the Bucs are constructed to mutually carry one another up. Taking part in the Saints, a well-rounded NFC playoff energy, on the highway was the least supreme means for him to begin. Tampa Bay remains to be an NFC contender with Brady, and the way it performs within the rematch with New Orleans in Week 9 shall be a significantly better indication of the workforce’s true trajectory towards success.
MORE: Breaking down Tom Brady’s debut with Buccaneers
‘The 49ers will not get better from their Tremendous Bowl hangover’
The Niners’ protection allowed 404 yards to the Cardinals in a irritating 24-20 dwelling loss. San Francisco was outscored 14-7 within the fourth quarter as Murray was capable of take over the sport along with his working and downfield passing.
The offense ran the ball nicely as per regular, and there have been massive performs within the passing sport aided by massive runs after the catch. However the 49ers have been additionally with out their high two vast receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Tight finish George Kittle had a giant first half however wasn’t concerned within the second half after needing locker-room consideration for a knee damage.
Jimmy Garoppolo missed some throws — together with the overthrow that bought Kittle damage — simply as he did in Tremendous Bowl 54 in opposition to the Chiefs. However the 49ers have been working with no deep menace and have been reliant big-time on quick to intermediate passes.
The twin-threat Murray drove the 49ers batty when he was a rookie final season, and after two slim wins San Francisco was due for an end result to be flipped. The protection was adjusting to shedding lineman DeForest Buckner, and No. 2 cornerback Emmanuel Mosley bought exploited.
The 49ers are nonetheless an excellent workforce and ought to be thought-about a contender to win the NFC once more. However the convention is top-heavy and in addition has promising upstart groups such because the Cardinals. San Francisco is now not sneaking up on anybody, both; it has gone from hunter to hunted.
With video games in opposition to the Jets, Giants and Dolphins of their subsequent 4, the 49ers will simply be over .500 earlier than they face a brutal midseason stretch. Identical to the Bucs, one loss in opposition to a high quality opponent does not seal their destiny, however they do must rebound shortly with Arizona, Seattle and the LA Rams all forward within the division at 1-Zero.
MORE: 49ers reminded of challenges to repeating in NFC West
‘The Patriots are higher off with Cam Newton than with Tom Brady’
Newton was unleashed as a runner (15 carries for 75 yards, two TDs) greater than as a passer (15 completions for 155 yards) in his first post-Panthers begin changing Brady as he led a snug 21-11 win over the Dolphins. However the Patriots’ methodology of victory wasn’t that a lot totally different than it was with Brady.
Of their present state, with few explosive components within the passing sport, the Patriots nonetheless must lean closely on their protection and working sport to win. The one distinction is, Newton can each complement and lead the dashing assault like he did in Week 1.
Additionally, he confronted a Dolphins protection whose strengths have been simply avoidable as a result of they aligned with the Patriots’ weaknesses. New England may execute its ball-control sport plan understanding the Dolphins’ entrance seven would offer little resistance to Newton, its run blocking or the backs.
The Pats did not put an excessive amount of on Newton to win the sport, however there additionally wasn’t a lot to cease him, both. They will not have the ability to play it protected with Newton in video games in opposition to groups with significantly better offenses. The diploma of issue is already growing with the Seahawks (subsequent Sunday evening), Chiefs, 49ers and Payments serving as 4 of their six opponents.
The Brady-Newton comparisons have been compulsory in Week 1, however how every began and the way every will end are nonetheless more likely to be fully totally different.
MORE: Newton exhibits ‘Superman’ flashes, however questions stay
‘The Vikings and Eagles are extra pretenders than contenders within the NFC’
The Vikings could not cease something Rodgers and the Packers did on offense. The Eagles blew a 17-Zero result in a Washington Soccer Workforce with a really restricted offense and fell onerous 27-17. In every loss, the quarterbacks — Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz — have been principally environment friendly, however additionally they confronted heavy stress and canceled out their massive performs with massive errors.
Minnesota nonetheless has a proficient defensive core, however the unit just isn’t at full power and the workforce has made wholesale adjustments at cornerback. Philadelphia’s protection is loaded up entrance and significantly better in the again finish, however linebacker play is a priority. Each groups’ offenses have good major playmakers within the passing sport, however there was main inconsistency Sunday.
That mentioned, the Vikings and Eagles are very proficient. One bumped into the workforce that received the division and swept it final season. The opposite has gotten used to having a number of clunkers in division play. Taking a look at how they function beneath MIke Zimmer and Doug Pederson, they have an inclination to surge within the second half of the season.
The NFC is a marathon, not a dash. The 49ers know this, and so do the Vikings and Eagles. Every part is sure to stay tight in a convention that has quite a lot of parity.
‘The Browns will not ever be good with Baker Mayfield’
Sporting Information picked Cleveland to be the third playoff workforce from the AFC North and the No. 7 seed in 2020. However the Browns have been additionally anticipated to get ripped by the Ravens of their opener, as they have been, 38-6 in Baltimore.
Rookie coach Kevin Stefanski had a brutal debut; neither his offense nor his protection may execute. His workforce did, nevertheless, set up a a lot clearer identification, with a give attention to working the ball and stopping the run extra successfully.
They bought Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt going behind an improved offensive line and thru higher use of tight ends. On the opposite facet, they have been intent on conserving Jackson and the Ravens’ conventional working sport in verify after having no shot at that final season.
Sadly for them, Mayfield let down with no downfield passing pop and made errors beneath duress simply as he did final season. The Ravens overcame their dashing assault being cooled just by having Jackson frequently hit on chunk performs downfield.
The Browns are making quite a lot of changes as they embrace all their newness, and very similar to the Bucs beginning with the Saints, going through the Ravens’ buzzsaw saved them from exhibiting off their new identification. They don’t seem to be meant to play that far from behind with Mayfield compelled into quantity passing.
There’s nonetheless a path to effectivity for Mayfield, identical to there was for Cousins with Stefanski in Minnesota. He’ll get an opportunity to show Thursday evening that he is heading down that path when he faces the Bengals and one other No. 1 general draft choose, Joe Burrow.
‘Josh Allen has arrived as an elite QB’
The Payments, as a returning playoff workforce, knew they wanted Allen to turn out to be a extra dependable, correct passer and extra calculated runner for the offense to take one other massive leap. He responded with a giant Yr Three-opening sport in Buffalo’s 27-17 beatdown of the Jets.
Allen (33-of-46 passing, 312 yards, two touchdowns; 14 rushes, 57 yards, one landing) was a one-man wrecking crew, throwing downfield and taking off with reckless abandon in opposition to a Jets protection that has little on which to face with out C.J. Mosley and Jamal Adams. New go-to vast receiver Stefon Diggs and extremely expert rookie again Zack Moss made a big influence as they rounded out and deepened the Payments’ assault.
Allen did lose two fumbles whereas working, nevertheless, which helped to ask the Jets again right into a sport they have been trailing 21-Three at halftime. Whereas he led the best way on the bottom, having a downfield menace akin to Diggs and a real energy again in Moss is meant to make Allen look to hit extra deep balls and take much less abuse dashing.
Whereas Mayfield and the Jets’ Sam Darnold have been in a holding sample and Jackson has skyrocketed to MVP success since being drafted within the first spherical two years in the past, Allen, one other member of that ’18 class, has fallen someplace within the center, though he is nearer to Jackson. He has all of the bodily instruments to be nice; he simply wants to go from flashing solely in opposition to unhealthy defenses to doing it in opposition to higher groups. The place his play is following a Week 6 assembly with Mahomes and the Chiefs shall be a great barometer of whether or not he is turning the nook towards the highest 10.
‘Mitchell Trubisky nonetheless has a giant future with the Bears’
Trubisky seemed terrible for 3 quarters because the Lions constructed a 23-6 lead in Detroit. Then got here an epic fourth quarter wherein he threw three landing passes to show the consequence right into a stunning 27-23 Chicago victory.
Ultimately, Trubisky (20-of-36 passing, 242 yards, 104.2 ranking) had extra environment friendly numbers than counterpart Matthew Stafford, however he nonetheless accomplished simply 55.6 % of his passes with a below-average 6.5 yards per try.
After an uninspiring offseason battle with Nick Foles that he received extra as a result of he was the incumbent than for standing out in camp, Trubisky actually wanted these 15 minutes. He lastly bought right into a rhythm after making unhealthy selections and some actually unhealthy throws earlier within the sport. The Bears helped him by establishing a a lot stronger working sport than the one they produced final season, keyed by beefed-up blockers and a extra decided David Montgomery.
Trubisky saved it easy within the passing sport as he performed off the run, trusting principally in one of many higher (most underrated?) vast receiver duos within the league, Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. A superb chunk of the boldness Trubisky misplaced in 2019 needed to be restored Sunday after he led a comeback in opposition to a still-shaky Lions protection.
That mentioned, Trubisky shredded Detroit final Thanksgiving, too (29-of-38 passing, 338 yards, three touchdowns). One or two video games in opposition to the Lions doesn’t a profession make; the Bears want him to do that in opposition to good groups, too. This sport reminded them how inconsistent he’s.
Trubisky has to go wire-to-wire with pleasing outcomes for the workforce to rethink the onetime franchise QB’s future past 2020.