The NFL exploded back onto our TV screens Thursday night at 1am, yes 1am America that’s our loyalty, and it didn’t disappoint with multiple talking points and pointless offseason narratives being propelled to the side-line. We finally got to see Winston and Mariota go at it, enjoy the new look Eagles and all ride the Ameer Abdullah hype train.
New England Patriots 28 – Pittsburgh Steelers 21
Starting in New England and Tom Brady was back to lead from the helm of his offense. With one of the messiest off seasons ever behind them, Rob Gronkowski reminded us why the Patriots won the Superbowl last year with some eye popping plays from the league’s best tight end nabbing three touchdowns, one on a busted coverage which summed up the Steelers troubles on defence.
There is the possibility that Pittsburgh could have kept pace with the Patriots if they had last year’s best running back Le’veon Bell available, but Deangelo Williams looked very handy in his stead finishing with 127 yards running with pace and making players miss.
It’s very hard to keep Antonio Brown down but Malcolm Butler may be repaying Belichick’s faith as he played well breaking up several passes, only time will tell if he can keep it up. Hands up if you thought Dion Lewis was going to be a key cog in the Patriot’s offense? Don’t lie, should we of ever doubted this team.
Buffalo Bills 27 – Indianapolis Colts 14
Yes the Colts scored 14 points, but they were absolutely smothered by a swarming Bills defence that had all the fingerprints of Rex Ryan. I would have loved to have been at his press conference, man the guy pumps his guys up. Tyrod Taylor looked good, not great, but good, evading pressure smartly, standing in the pocket and delivering balls with some accuracy.
The Colts have consistently struggled against teams people would consider a contender and today was no exception. Frank Gore couldn’t get anything going, TY Hilton was kept quiet for stretches, Johnson never got open and the o-line was overwhelmed, but against this D-line I’m really not surprised.
I wasn’t someone who believed in the Bills hype before this game, but now I feel sucked in. The QB situation was arguably the only thing holding this team back, so if Tyler can keep this momentum going then Bills are playoff bound, but I still expect him to struggle once teams get enough game tape.
Green Bay Packers 31 – Chicago Bears 23
The Jordy Nelson effect in my opinion was felt somewhat by this offense, although Rodgers still played like the MVP from last year, in key 3rd down situations when he would look for Nelson, his replacement was found wanting. Eddie Lacy still looks good; although Cobb will like to return to 100% after dealing with a shoulder niggle. James Jones anyone? Where did he come from hauling in two touchdowns.
Jay Cutler will still remain Jay Cutler and nothing during this game suggests that it will change anytime soon, but the rest of his team mates put up a decent fight as they were able to hold the Packers down at one point even maintaining the lead for a good period.
Little bit of history for the Packers as this win was the 700th win of all time for the Packers franchise, not bad for a team that’s had 3 hall of fame quarterbacks, not many teams can come close to that sort of success.
Kansas City Chiefs 27 – Houston Texans 20
You shouldn’t let the score line gloss over the woeful performance of the Texans quarterbacks in this game, their counterpart Alex Smith on the other hand was throwing the ball further then 15 yards, something we didn’t see all last year! Travis Kelce looks like his ready to break out and become a top tier tight end, Maclin fit right in, whether you think his overpaid or not, his going to help this offense.
The Texans were awful on offense and not that much better on defence, outside of JJ Watt who had 2 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss and 2 pass defended by the 3rd quarter, defensively struggled to hold the Chiefs until they appeared to take their foot of the pedal.
Ryan Mallet should start in Week 2 for the Texans, he came in with 6 minutes left in the game and led the Texans on a couple of touchdown drives late on. Deandre Hopkins is looking very good and the perfect replacement for Johnson, any wide receiver that can make awful QB play look alright is worth keeping.
Carolina Panthers 20 – Jacksonville Jaguars 9
Sometimes it looks so obvious that the offense is struggling to replace its number one receiver it can be painful. Kelvin Benjamin’s loss is hurting Newton who finished with 18 for 31 for 175 yards and 1 touchdown. Newton found Cotchery for his lone touchdown as the Panthers failed to impress, even Jonathan Stewart with his preseason hype looked mediocre.
Blake Bortles looked far more comfortable in this offense, but having the kind of game he did against one of the best defences in the league in the past 3 years is not a bad thing, I still expect the Jags to take a step this forward and the Panthers to go in the opposite direction. TY Yeldon looks like a good pick up by Jags at running back, but anything is better than Toby Gerhart.
New York Jets 31 – Cleveland Browns 10
Johnny Manziel threw a glorious deep ball early on, had some good scrambling plays pulled back because of holding calls and silly penalties before eventually reverting back to the standard Browns QB play fumbling twice after coming on for Josh McCown who left with an injury. The Browns just look like the Browns once again.
But the Jets on the other hand look like they could pull off a few upsets this year, with Fitzpatrick looking very handy in the Chan Gailey offense that got him a $60 million contract. Chris Ivory blew up with some hard hitting runs gaining 90 yards on 20 runs, with Marshall and Decker providing some sizzle on the outside.
Antonio Cromatie left the field with a towel over his head, which is normally a sign for the worst case scenario. I was never a fan of them giving him such a large contract after his year in Arizona and if his out for the year, maybe the Jets will regret it to.
St Louis Rams 34 – Seattle Seahawks 31
Are the Seahawks a better team this time around compared to last year? Tyler Lockett came up big during the game, Jimmy Graham looked like the redzone machine that we’ve seen for the past few years in New Orleans, but at least they ran it this time on 4th and 1.
Kam Chancellor must be happy with the way Nick Foles was able to move the ball at times, considering the safety they brought in to replace him while he holds out was awful. The Foles trade was something that was a focal point of many articles over the off season and he looks like he can regain his 2013 form.
Was this result a surprise to many fans when you consider that the Rams have a habit of beating the Seahawks at home, all they need to do now is now how to beat other teams then just the ones they aren’t supposed to beat and this team should be a playoff contender. Aaron Donald is just a beast, after his rookie season he started this season with the exact same disruptive play that he ended last season with.
Miami Dolphins 17 – Washington Redskins 10
Jarvis Landry saved the Dolphins blushes after they struggled to get going on offense with a highlight reel punt return with 10 minutes left in the game. Ryan Tannehill, who has just signed his franchise quarterback value contract, missed on multiple plays failing to hit Kenny Stills deep, but finding an early connection with Jordan Cameron.
Kirk Cousins didn’t fall flat on his face this time after being intercepted like he did at times last year and clearly was able to move the offense better than RG3. Jordan Reed is someone who looks good and could help Cousins develop alongside Pierre Garcon, but some worrying moments for Desean Jackson who was limping off the field had some point in the game.
By David Ironmonger
Lions 28 – Chargers 33
The Lions started the game fast right out the gate. Matt Stafford looked calmer then last season. Their young running back Amer Abdullah scored a Touchdown after a long run pretty much on his first carry. After a slow start where the Lions D dominated the Chargers, Phillip Rivers orchestrated a great comeback win, where they scored 30 straight points to beat the Lions 33-28.
The big question fort he Lions after this loss is their consistency surrounding both their offense and defence. Both are filled with star players and are maybe better then before at least on paper. They should make the playoffs but it will be tough to win their Division.
The Chargers showed up when it counted and they have a dynamic running back trio in Gordon, Woodhead and Oliver, but they had to pay a hard price for the win, Right Tackle D.J Fluker suffered an ankle injury and could miss considerable time. It will be hard to replace him going forward.
Saints 19 – Cardinals 31
Drew Brees and the Saints had a lot of promising drives against the Cardinals but had to settle for too many field goals, Brees couldn’t connect with his receivers as much as he wanted to Ingram had the most receiving Yards for the Saints, which says a lot. Carson Palmer threw the ball for over 300 yards in his first start after his torn ACL, but it was not all good news for the Cards. Andre Ellington suffered a PCL strain and will be out 2-3 weeks. He rushed for 69 yards and scored 1 TD.
The Saints defence who were terrible during preseason where not as bad as expected they are still missing some players through to injury, which could return soon, this should give them hope. The NFC South is for anyone’s taking, it will be important to win the divisional games.
The Cardinals have to see how Ellington’s injury will impact their running game and will have to battle it out all year in a strong NFC West.
Ravens 13 – Broncos 19
What a battle of the defence this was. Neither Payton Manning nor Joe Flacco had any time in the pocket to throw the ball accurately to their receivers. Both QB’s were hurried and sacked multiple times. They both scored their points with Field Goals early on and then both got a pick six returned for a TD. Flacco had the chance to win the game on a last drive but he threw another interception. Ronnie Hillman got a lot of carries for the Broncos more then CJ Anderson who was supposed to be their number one Running Back.
The most important storyline however from this game is the devastating injury to Terrell Suggs, the ravens heart and soul on defence. He torn his Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. This and a relatively weak offence will hurt the Ravens to contend in the AFC North, Flacco simply has not enough weapons to put up points.
Payton Manning looked shaky all game and you have to wonder if it was the right decision to play another year. The huge positive for the Broncos is their defence. Miller and Ware are two of the best in going after the opposing QB and with Talib and Harris they have two shutdown corners. If the O-Line can give Peyton more time the Broncos can win the Division.
Bengals 33 – Raiders 13
New year same story, the Oakland Raiders will have a though time competing in the AFC West, they have some talent on the defensive side of the ball and added a veteran receiver with Crabtree but they couldn’t stop the Bengals from putting up 33 points and only scored in the fourth quarter.
The raiders couldn’t stop Hill the Bengals second year RB out of LSU and did not pressure Dalton nearly enough to make it a competitive game. Raiders QB Derek Carr injured his hand and had to leave the game, but the team reported he just has a bruised thumb and might play in the next game against the Ravens.
The Bengals have another great team maybe even better then last year and should make it into the playoffs again, and maybe Dalton finally gets a Playoff win. The Raiders will try to compete and could scare some with their defence but in the end will be hoping for 5 wins.
Titans 42 – Buccaneers 14
Maybe the most anticipated game of Week 1, two Heisman winning QB’s and the first pick of the draft against the second. Mariota finished his first drive with a TD after some quick and accurate passes. Jameis Winston on the other hand threw an interception on his first throw; the only other QB who did this was Brett Favre, which was returned for a TD.
Mariota impressed while he was out there he threw for 209 yards with four touchdowns, before the Titans took him out and brought on Mettenburger. He was calm and accurate all game long and the Titan’s good running game helped him out. Winston however panicked a few times and ended up with two TD’s and two interceptions for 210 yards but was not nearly as impressive and accurate as Mariota.
Winston will learn from his mistakes down the road this season but more worrying for the Buccaneers should be their defence, which could not handle the Titan’s offense and simply got blown out. The only bright spot for them was their newly drafted TE Seferian Jenkins who scored two TD’s. The Titans sit atop of their Division at least for one week and we will have to wait and see what they are capable of doing against better defences.
Giants 26 – Cowboys 27
Last time these two teams met Odell Beckham Junior made the unbelievable one handed catch of the year. This game however he was pretty much a non-factor just like the rest off the Giants offense. The Cowboys controlled the game had a huge advantage in total yards and time of possession but had three strange turnovers, one fumble and Tony Romo threw two interceptions, which both were tipped by cowboys players and then landed in the hands of giants defenders.
The Giants scored almost all there points from the Cowboys turnovers and the key play off the game was the last Giant’s drive where they failed to get a TD and to run down as much of the clock as possible. Tony Romo who was solid all game had one last drive with the chance to win it and the Giants defence completely crumbled and Romo connected with Witten for a game winning TD.
The biggest concern for the Cowboys is the injury to Dez Bryant, which he suffered midway through the game. He has a broken bone in his foot and will miss about 3-6 weeks. Other then that there are lot of positives the O-Line is still probably the best in football and the running game still works even without Murray, who they meet for the first time next week for an important game against the Eagles. The Giants on the other hand have to get over this game, where they could have won without playing their best; they will have a tough time competing this season with their defence, which could be without JPP for most of the season.
Eagles 24 –Falcons 26
The head-coaching debut for Atlanta’s Dan Quinn ended in a win. Atlanta’s defence came out strong in the first half and limited the Eagles to just 3 points. You could clearly see Quinn’s influence on a defence that was one of the worst last season. The Falcons should half lead with more then 20 points but Matt Ryan threw two interceptions.
The Eagles and their new QB Bradford had a nervous start with a lot of imprecise throws and they couldn’t get their running game going. It was a tale of two halfs as the Eagles found their rhythm and the key against the Atlanta defence who seemed to get tired. The Eagles were on a comeback with the help of Darren Sproles in as RB not last years rushing leader DeMarco Murray. But it all ended as Sam Bradford threw an interception to Allen in their last drive.
The Falcons still have to figure out their Pass Rush first round pick Vic Beasley certainly did not play as good as they expect him to perform. Their luck is that they play in a division where there is no overpowering team where almost every year another team wins the division. Another positive is the good link up between Ryan and Julio Jones is already back at such an early part of the Season.
The Eagles have to play consistent defence for a whole game and will have a huge test in next week’s home opener against the Cowboys. Especially their big free agent acquisition at cornerback Maxwell has to perform much better he was too easily beaten by Julio Jones again and again.
Vikings 3 – 49ers 20
Everything new for the 49ers so many players gone and a new head coach, so not that much was expected oft hem before the start oft he game. The defence did not look weaker then in the last years with a healthy Navarro Bowman they dominated the Vikings and did not let Adrian Peterson run over them. He ended up with just 31 yards.
On the offence Colin Kaepernick seemed like a new QB he made no stupid throws did run the ball when he had to but most of all gave the ball as much as possible to the man of the game 49ers RB Carlos Hyde, the second year man out of Ohio State, he carried the niners to victory with 168 yards and 2TD’s. The Vikings where a disappointment in this first game, their defence couldn’t stop the 49ners running game, the only positive was a blocked FG and a Fumble recovery after a punt. They will have to figure out their offense and give Peterson the ball more if they want to compete for the division title with Green Bay. It will be interesting to see if the defence of the 49ers can perform like this for the whole season the same applies also to Kaepernick.
And for all the Rugby fans Jarryd Hayne fumbled the ball on his first punt return but then settled in and got some carries and ended up with 13 yards.
By Sebastian Liggenstorfer