The first week of the NFL season is over. And whether your team won or lost, you should put it behind you. It’s over. Move on. But it’s hard to move on if you root for one of the 16 teams that lost last week. Hopefully, now that Week 2 is almost here, you’re feeling a little better about things. It is just one game, and an 0-1 streak is just as meaningless as 1-0.
And being undefeated right now isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You can look at last week’s winners and find plenty to be worried about if you look hard enough.
Fortunately, we are here to help you decide what’s worth panicking about this week, and what you should just R-E-L-A-X about.
Not even Andrew Luck can help the Colts
Andrew Luck was going to come back this season and make it all better. In Week 1, he very nearly did, overcoming a putrid first half for the Colts with three touchdown passes in the second half. Three years ago, that probably would have been yet another dramatic comeback win for Luck. But those days are gone. The Colts have a really bad team, especially on defense.
If there’s one enduring image of that game, it’s the wacky series of laterals at the end of it giving you flashbacks to that TERRIBLE trick play they ran last season. At least it’s funny when set to "Yakety Sax."
Panic index: Doomed.
Dallas is cursed without Romo
Panic is relative, especially in this instance. No Tony Romo significantly damages the Cowboys’ playoff chances, particularly in a division in which one or two games decide the crown every season. And yes, Dallas is now 1-12 since last season without Romo under center. But Dak Prescott is a very shiny silver lining, especially with Romo’s longevity in question.
Prescott wasn’t scintillating in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants on Sunday — 25 of 45 passes for 227 yards, no scores and no turnovers — but he played well enough to prove that his strong preseason probably wasn’t a mirage. His development this season will be fascinating. He’s on his way to becoming the Cowboys’ quarterback of the future, but there will likely be growing pains along the way, especially if his No. 1 receiver only catches one pass and his No. 2 receiver fails to run out of bounds as time is expiring.
So, on one hand, the Cowboys might miss the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. On the other, they’re setting themselves up for a strong offensive future.
Panic index: Panic is a social construct.
Jared Goff isn’t even playing, neither is the Rams’ offense
You knew the Rams’ offense wasn’t going to be very good this season. Sure, Todd Gurley’s going to pull off some amazing runs, but that’s really all this team has going for it offensively. At this point, the Rams would be happy getting first downs. Goff isn’t going to help, even when he is finally ready. The fact that he isn’t ready is more of a red flag for a coaching staff that doesn’t have much experience, or any, when it comes to developing quarterbacks.
What Rams fans should really be freaking out about is the fact that the defense was no match for Blaine Gabbert. And with all those first-round picks in the front seven, they still got gashed for three rushing touchdowns.
Panic index: 7-9 bullshit
Browns screwed up by not drafting Carson Wentz
Cleveland’s Moneyball exec, Paul DePodesta, told the press that they didn’t believe Wentz was a top-20 pick. Maybe he was right, but the Browns made Wentz look like the second coming of Peyton Manning in Philadelphia last week.
Now, with RG3 injured, the Browns will have the dubious distinction of being the first team in NFL history to use multiple starting quarterbacks in 15 straight seasons.
Nobody was under the illusion that the Browns were going to be doing anything other than rebuilding this year anyway, but the new, more analytical, level-headed Browns sure look a lot like the old Browns.
Panic index: Don’t overthink the Deshaun Watson pick, pleeeeeeeease.
Revis Island for sale, cheap!
If you watched the Jets lose to the Bengals on Sunday, you probably saw A.J. Green having a monster day against Darrelle Revis, owner and ruler of a well-known, untouchable island somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. People were really concerned that this signaled doom for Revis, his days as one of the NFL’s best corners at an end.
Not so fast. The same thing was said about Revis during his weird one-year sojourn in Tampa Bay. Part of the problem there was that the Schiano Bucs used Revis in zone, something very smart football person Stephen White reminded me of when I asked him about it this week. He also pointed out that while Green did have a good day, the Jets weren’t pressing him with Revis very much.
Todd Bowles said after the game that he’ll reevaluate how they use Revis. Before you start planting flags in Revis Island for the league’s wide receivers, it’s probably best to watch and see how this situation plays out.
Panic index: Avoid rushing major real estate purchases, and don’t write off Revis just yet.
Keenan Allen, the only sure thing about the Chargers, is gone
Every time Keenan Allen has been on the field, he has played like one of the best receivers in the NFL. Through seven games last season, he was keeping pace with Marvin Harrison’s single-season record for receptions. Losing him is devastating for all of us because we don’t get to see him terrorize secondaries every week. The Chargers lose that little bit of joy AND their offense is sunk. Last season, the Chargers averaged 430.7 yards per game in the seven games before he suffered a lacerated kidney, and 320.3 yards per games in the eight games after.
The upside is that the Chargers weren’t supposed to be any good, anyway. They’ll be able to develop receiving options more quickly now — second-round rookie tight end Hunter Henry was a great pass catcher at Arkansas — and perhaps spur second-year running back Melvin Gordon to step his game up. Gordon, by the way, had a mini-breakout in Week 1, rushing for two touchdowns.
The Chargers’ offense may be doomed without Allen, but then again expectations weren’t too high for the team in 2016 to begin with.
Panic index: Doomed, but you knew that already.
Seahawks are in for a down year after barely beating the Dolphins in Seattle
The Seahawks’ defense is still good. That’s a positive. The Seahawks’ offensive line is still a mess. That’s going to be a problem. Seattle has found success in recent years despite some issues on the offensive line, but the issues appear to be more troubling than ever. Teams with a dominant defensive front give Seattle major headaches, just like the Dolphins did last week.
Seattle used to mitigate the issue with a combination of Russell Wilson magic and Marshawn Lynch taking over. Lynch is gone and now Wilson is dealing with an ankle injury he suffered while getting hit behind the porous offensive line. Even if he plays through the injury, it could be a factor. Seattle can lean on its stout defense, but it’s going to have to figure out some issues on the offensive line at some point.
Panic index: Freak out a little more every time Russell Wilson gets up limping.
Adrian Peterson is finished
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has surely had bad games in the past, but there was something about the way he ran against the Tennessee Titans that just seemed off. Never mind the fact that the Titans were stacking eight men in the box because Shaun Hill’s noodle arm is worthless beyond 3 yards directly in front of him, Peterson just looked drained.
And with that, the Vikings really have nothing else going for them on offense. If Hill is replaced by Sam Bradford, does that really change anything? Peterson will have a big game or two this season based on his talent alone, but he’s past the running back sell-by date, and no quarterback on that roster is going to stop teams from stacking the box against him.
Even if he succeeds this year, the window is effectively closed without a real quarterback to take the Vikings into the playoffs.
Panic index: 2,000 yards? He may not reach 1,000!
Patriots can never, ever be stopped
The New England Patriots won on the road against what’s supposed to be one of the best teams this season, and they were missing quarterback Tom Brady, their top receiving threat (Rob Gronkowski), three offensive linemen (Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder), running back Dion Lewis and defensive end Rob Ninkovich.
For everybody who doesn’t call themselves Patriots fans, they are an evil invading army absent remorse or mercy. Nobody can ever take away or overstate the importance of Brady and what he brings to the football field, but everybody knows by now that if there is a dark lord, his name is Bill Belichick and nothing you could possibly do can prepare you for his onslaught.
The Patriots will lose some games here and there. It will be surprising every time, and they’ll probably just go win the next one. It’s what they do. It’s who they are. It literally does not matter who the heck starts at quarterback. Until Belichick has broken enough wills to satiate his dark cravings, the Patriots will remain a truly unbeatable machine of pure chaos.
Panic index: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.