Week one of the National Football League season is a time for sports fans to be reintroduced to the sport they love and for teams to show what they have been working on during the off-season. With this though, come big winners and huge losers.
Among the biggest winners from Week One was the Detroit Lions. After just missing the playoffs last year in heartbreaking fashion, the Lions walked into Arrowhead Stadium with confidence. They had a tall task ahead of them as they would take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. This game was a thriller where the Lions won 21-20.
Quarterback Jared Goff looked sharp as he went 22/35 with 253 passing yards and a touchdown. Third-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown looked great, as he had 71 yards receiving off of six receptions and a touchdown. Lions rookie player David Montgomery looked solid as he had 74 yards off of 21 rushing attempts and a touchdown.
The Lion’s defense was 26th in run defense and 23rd against the pass last season and to only give up 20 points against quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is a huge step in the right direction. I predict that the Lions will win the NFC North this year and will lose in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Another massive winner this week was the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins looked like the team to beat this week in the American Football Conference as they were victorious over the Los Angeles Chargers in a shootout that ended with a score of 36-34. The show was led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Tagovailoa went 28/45 with 466 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Tagovailoa looked as sharp as ever and is certainly one of the top contenders for the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the moment.
The other star of the show was Hill, who had 215 passing yards off of 11 receptions and two passing touchdowns. The blazing speed of Hill proved to be too much for the Chargers defense and is on pace to have a 2000-yard receiving season. The Dolphins defense looked a bit uneasy without the help of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but their offense was on fire and that was all it took to win the game. I predict the Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East and to lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
While many teams looked great this week, there were also many teams that looked abysmal. The team that looked the worst this week was the New York Giants. The New York Giants had high expectations this year after making it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year. Even more so now with the addition of Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller. Here is one mind-blowing stat that sums up how poor the Giant’s performance really was. No team in NFL history has ever lost 40-0 or worse, lost the sack battle 7-0 or worse, lost the turnover battle 3-0 or worse, had a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, and threw a pick-six all in the same season.
The hard truth for the Giants is that this all happened in the same game during their 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Quarterback Daniel Jones looked disappointing as he went 15/28 with 104 passing yards and two interceptions. Running back Saquon Barkley did not look like the player he was last season, as he had 51 rushing yards off of 12 attempts. I predict the New York Giants to miss the playoffs this year and finish third in the NFC East behind the Eagles and Cowboys.
Another massive loser this week was the Buffalo Bills. The story of this game was the devastating loss of first-year Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The four-time NFL MVP tore his achilles on the fourth play of the game and was not able to complete a pass. This left the door wide open for the Bills to come in and dominate because this brought in backup quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson is in his third season in the NFL but really hasn’t proven anything. The Bills were not able to capitalize off of the injury to Rodgers as the Bills lost 22-16.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen played one of the worst games of his career, as he threw three interceptions and went 29/41 with 236 passing yards. It wasn’t like the three interceptions weren’t Allen’s fault either. They were deep shots down the field that didn’t need to be thrown. Allen needs to focus on moving the ball down the field incrementally instead of going for the home run play.
Running back James Cook also had a disappointing game as he rushed for 46 yards off of 12 attempts. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was the only bright spot for the Bills, as he had ten receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. I have confidence that the Bills will be able to tighten things up moving forward and I predict that the Bills will make it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Week One of the NFL season was filled with many surprises and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.
Week two of the NFL season was filled with excitement and surprises, but with this comes winners and losers. One team in particular that looked sharp were the Baltimore Ravens. Quarterback Lamar Jackson looked great, going 24/33 for 237 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Running back Gus Edwards had a nice game as well with 62 rushing yards on 10 rushing attempts and a touchdown. Wide receiver Nelson Algohor stepped up and had a great game, as he had five receptions and 63 yards with a touchdown. This game ended with a score of 27-24 as the Ravens moved to 2-0 and the Bengals fell to 0-2 due to the continuation of their offensive struggles.
Another team that looked dominant were the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys picked right back up from where they left off after a merciful 40-0 victory over the Giants last week. This week, their 30-10 victory over the New York Jets set the league on notice as they have emerged as one of the best teams in the league. Quarterback Dak Prescott is having a rebound year with another great game this week that included going 31/38 with 255 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Wide receiver Ceedee Lamb had a monster game with 11 receptions and 143 receiving yards. The story on defense was outside linebacker Micah Parsons, who had four tackles and two sacks on his quest to a Defensive Player of the Year title.
While many teams are starting off the year strong, others have fallen short of their expectations thus far. One team that fits this description would be the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers looked solid offensively, even without superstar running back Austin Ekeler. The issue was their defense and the fact that they struggle to close out games. Giving up 27 points against a weak Titans offense is not a recipe for success. The Chargers were up 24-21 with six minutes left in the game and they allowed the Titans to march down the field and score a touchdown. While they were able to send the game to overtime off of a field goal from kicker Cameron Dicker, they came up empty on their first offensive possession in overtime. This allowed the Titans to get themselves in field goal range and for kicker Nick Folk to drill home the game winning field goal. The Chargers are the only team in the Super Bowl Era to score 50+ points and zero turnovers in their first two games and start 0-2. Even with all the starpower the Chargers possess with players like quarterback Justin Herbert, Ekeler, and outside linebacker Khalil Mack, they still find ways to come up short in close games. Week two of the NFL season had plenty of close games and surprising outcomes, so I look forward to many more throughout the coming weeks.