My analysis of every team’s first game in the 2016-17 season.
It’s finally here. After 214 days(18,489,600 seconds for all you die-hard fans out there; you’re welcome), the NFL is back. The Super Bowl 50 parties have been cleaned up, fantasy draft rooms have closed, and Tony Romo has another injury, but the important thing is that it’s football season again. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.
The 2016-17 NFL season shows plenty of promise to be one of the best we’ve ever seen. The story lines like Life After Peyton, Brady Stays Seated, and Antonio Brown and Brandon Marshall Betting Cars makes it worth while to tune in. All the teams have had plenty of time to implement new plans, make their draft picks comfortable, and get game-ready for the start of the season, so there should be no excuses for terrible performances(and boy did we see some of those already). So now let’s look at the Week 1 match ups and see what went right and horribly wrong for the 32 teams:
Broncos (21) vs Panthers (20)
The rematch of the worst Super Bowl in NFL history ends right where we left off. Cam Newton can not figure the Broncos defense out can he? This game was better than the last, but it’s pretty hard not to improve from that performance. This season, the Broncos had huge shoes to fill at the quarterback position, so they traded for the great Mark Sanchez. Well(who could have seen this coming?!), it didn’t work out, so they turned to last year’s 3rd string QB Trevor Siemian to lead the charge. Is it working? It’s still hard to tell, but a win is a win, and I’m sure if they had the chance, the Broncos would play the Panthers every game of the season; they won’t lose!
Jaguars (23) vs Packers (27)
This battle between champions-hopeful and “let’s finish above .500” hopeful ended up closer than everyone thought. The Jags walk away from this game with their heads held high after almost staging a comeback against a strong Packers team. Blake Bortles is getting better every year and watch out for T.J. Yeldon. On the side, Aaron Rodgers put in a typical performance for his standards, and boy is he happy to have Jordy Nelson back. The thing that concerns me for this Packers team is Eddie Lacy. With a lot of pressure on his shoulders, especially at 20 pounds lighter, Lacy will have to prove to the Green Bay faithful that he’s their guy, but I just don’t see him doing that.
Ravens (13) vs Bills (7)
The Ravens prevailed in this low-scoring affair with few players standing out. Any Rex Ryan led team will set out to play defensive, so it’s no surprise to see how they frustrated Joe Flacco. That didn’t stop him from finding the Mike Wallace from five years ago for the only Ravens touchdown of the game; add a pair of Justin Tucker field goals and you got yourself a win against an offensively weak Buffalo team. This Bills side will need more out of Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy if they’re going to challenge in the AFC East.
Texans (23) vs Bears (14)
Brock Osweiler isn’t a one hit wonder!…for now. The new Texans quarterback was impressive in his first game for a team that has been desperate for a franchise quarterback for years. Another debutant for the Texans, Lamar Miller, was solid as well, leading all rushers with 106 yards. As for the Bears, it’s too early to tell what they are capable of, but if I was a betting man, I’d say it’ll be another year without playoff ball. Consistency is crucial for a good team, and I can’t see John Fox figuring it out this season.
Eagles (29) vs Browns (10)
There’s always next year Cleveland. It looks like it’ll be another rough season for the team everyone makes fun of. RGIII got off to a terrible start to his tenure with the Browns, going 12-26, (drumroll please)having an injury scare, and getting beat by a rookie QB in Carson Wentz. Wentz was great in this game, but against a weak Browns defense, we’ll have to wait to see what he can really do.
Falcons (24) vs Buccaneers (31)
Famous Jameis for MVP! What a game for the second year QB. Winston’s 4 TDs led the way for a Bucs team that can surprise people this season. They looked solid on both sides of the ball, and I believe they can sneak into a wild card spot come the end of the season. Matt Ryan and the Falcons still look to be shaking off last season’s disappointment, but I don’t see them competing in the NFC South this season.
Titans (16) vs Vikings (25)
No Teddy, no problem, right?! With Shaun Hill at the helm, and a LOT of help from the defense, Minnesota erased a 10-0 halftime deficit to start their season in winning form. The Titans were’t bad, but the two defensive touchdowns they gave up were the difference and the killer blow. Also, neither running back, Adrian Peterson or DeMarco Murray, showed they can still be elite backs in the league; they’ll need to turn back the clock for that.
Jets (22) vs Bengals (23)
Take a bow A.J. Green. The Bengals wide receiver had a monster game with 12 receptions for 180 yards and one TD as they squeaked by the Jets. It was a good game for both teams, so there are many positives to take into Week 2. Matt Forte is fitting right in with his new Jets offense, and Andy Dalton looks to have another great year…that is until the playoffs start.
Saints (34) vs Raiders (35)
John Madden was squealing like a little girl after this game ended. What a performance till the end from the Raiders. This isn’t the same Oakland team we love to poke fun at; this team means business. To pull out an away win after the performances Drew Brees(will he ever slow down) and Willie Snead had is amazing. The defense plays with toughness and grit, while there are finally some pieces to work with on offense. The Raiders will win the AFC West, mark my words.
Chiefs (33) vs Chargers (27)
Well, there goes the Chargers season. Star wide receiver Keenan Allen went down late in the second quarter with a season ending ACL tear, starting the collapse for the Chargers, who blew a 17 point lead and eventually lost in overtime. Alex Smith is still a lower top 10 QB and it showed in his team’s fight back.
Seahawks (12) vs Dolphins (10)
This game was a battle of the defenses, but looking at this matchup before hand, the teams offenses aren’t all too great to begin with. The Seahawks have some work to do to get back to the top of the NFC, because they will not be able to grind out results like they did in this one. For Miami, it’ll be another middle of the pack run this season.
Colts (35) vs Lions (39)
Andrew Luck is back for the Colts, but luck wasn’t on their side in this one. Opposite to the previous game I talked about, this game had no defense what so ever. The poor Colts secondary was at mostly at fault, allowing Detroit to come back in this game and win by a Matt Prater field goal and an odd illegal forward pass that led to a safety on the resulting kickoff.
Cowboys (19) vs Giants (20)
No Romo, no problem, right?!(Insert Dallas fans tears here) This game had two rookies to watch: Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Playing behind the best offensive line in the league, they both did alright in their first NFL appearances. Give them a few more weeks and this Cowboys side will be a contender in the NFC East. As for the Giants, it’s a job well done for Eli Manning, OBJ and company. Can they gain momentum and stay consistent this season. Nope.
Cardinals (21) vs Patriots (23)
No Brady, no problem, right?! The Patriots without the suspended Tom Brady under center prevailed over a slow starting Arizona side. Jimmy Garoppolo did just enough to win on his first start and gave promise to New England fans for the next three games. NFC Championship contenders Arizona need to rethink their game plan if they want to improve on the season they had last year.
Redskins (16) vs Steelers (38)
To succeed in the NFL, a player must have loads of confidence in his abilities. Kirk Cousins had zero. The Steelers walked all over the Redskins in Washington in this one, intercepting Cousins twice and never letting him settle in the game. DeAngelo Williams had the game of his life in place for the suspended(I’m using this term more and more with NFL players) Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown was his normal self. Pittsburgh will want to ride this momentum builder into their next week’s matchup with Cincinnati to prove to everyone that they are championship contenders.
49ers (28) vs Rams (0)
Welcome to Los Angeles! The 49ers blanked the newly christened LA Rams in the last game of Week 1. The standout in this one was Carlos Hyde, beginning the season right where he left off before he was injured last year. Both teams will struggle going forward, but is it already time to call upon #1 Draft Pick Jared Goff for the Rams?
Well that was longer than I anticipated, so I apologize, but there you have it; my take on the NFL season thus far.
Until next time, peace, and remember:
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben