We finally, mercifully have real football to analyze. Last season in Week 1, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers, the Tennessee Titans beat the Kansas City Chiefs and the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins. None of this will stop us all from overreacting to every little thing that happened this week.
Tom Brady celebrated getting his suspension overturned by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots confused the Steelers defense with their tight ends. A big Week 1 win moves New England to the top of the mountain.
The Green Bay Packers got out of Chicago with a hard-earned divisional road win, moving past their heartbreaking loss in the NFC Championship and sticking to the second spot in the rankings. The Bears played them tough but Aaron Rodgers performed in the clutch as it came down to the wire. The Green Bay defense put it away.
The Denver Broncos put together a dominating defensive performance that overcame a lackluster day on Peyton Manning's part, riding that win to the No. 3 spot.
Defense wins championships, it's said, but it sure helps to have some offense too. That was apparent for three teams: the Arizona Cardinals, Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
Carson Palmer threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns to help the Cardinals hold off the New Orleans Saints. They look poised to take the NFC West. The Chiefs, underdogs on the road in Houston, raced out to a 27-6 lead and coasted the rest of the way. Alex Smith looked calm and collected as he threw for 243 yards and three scores. Having Jeremy Maclin in that offense will surely help, but Travis Kelce looks like the superstar here.
Finally, the Bills seem to have found an answer at quarterback: Tyrod Taylor. He finished with an efficient 14-of-19 line for 195 yards and one touchdown while adding 41 yards on the ground. The Bills left no doubt in their opener, shutting out the Indianapolis Colts through nearly three quarters.
Stumbled out of the gate
The Seattle Seahawks face the prospect of getting over the hangover surrounding their Super Bowl loss; a Week 1 loss in St. Louis doesn't help that. There was a botched kickoff in the start of overtime that helped the Rams score the go-ahead field goal, followed by a fourth-and-1 attempt by Marshawn Lynch that got stuffed for a loss. Seattle gave up 34 points -- more than any game all of last season -- and struggled to finish in the red zone throughout.
The Colts failed to get their high-octane offense rolling until it didn't matter. The same could be said for the Baltimore Ravens, who failed to score an offensive touchdown. Joe Flacco's line was anything but elite: 18-of-32, 117 yards and two picks. Woof.
Pittsburgh kept the ball moving against the Patriots even without Le'Veon Bell, but its defense couldn't get stops when they needed them, and they frequently looked out of sorts. The Eagles started very slow and allowed the Falcons to get a big lead before charging back into the game. Ultimately, it wasn't enough, and they dropped a tough one on the road.
SB Nation presents: The key takeaway from every NFL game on Sunday
The Chargers looked strong in their opener, coming back from a big early deficit to run away from a tough Detroit Lions team. Philip Rivers and company started strong, but the key for them is to be consistent. At the same time, the Rams got off to a great start knocking off their division rivals in overtime.
The Niners shrugged off an offseason of negativity and despite a shaky first half, wore the Vikings down in the second to run away with a big Week 1 win. Perhaps Jim Tomsula can turn this team around.
Dan Quinn and the Falcons held off a furious comeback attempt by the Eagles to move to 1-0 and look to be a team that could be a force in the NFC South once again. The Panthers took care of business but still have some major questions to answer on offense. The same could be said for the Dolphins, who escaped with a win in Washington.
Backseat middle, feet on the hump
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars did nothing to indicate they're on the road out of the cellar. Same for the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.
On the other hand, the Titans looked pretty damn impressive. Marcus Mariota became the first rookie since Fran Tarkenton to throw four touchdown passes in the first half of his first game. It's a small sample size, and the level of competition has to be factored in, but Tennessee looks like an early favorite for the bounce-back team of the year.
Washington also played better than expected, giving Miami a run for its money until late in the game, and the New York Jets dominated the Browns in their opener, even without their presumptive starter in Geno Smith. Keep an eye on these teams.
|RK||WEEK 1||SB NATION BLOG|
|1||New England Patriots, 1-0 (Preseason: 3)||Pats Pulpit|
|2||Green Bay Packers, 1-0 (Preseason: 2)||Acme Packing Company|
|3||Denver Broncos, 1-0 (Preseason: 4)||Mile High Report|
|4||Arizona Cardinals, 1-0 (Preseason: 9)||Revenge of the Birds|
|5||Kansas City Chiefs, 1-0 (Preseason: 10)||Arrowhead Pride|
|6||Buffalo Bills, 1-0 (Preseason: 19)||Buffalo Rumblings|
|7||Dallas Cowboys, 1-0 (Preseason: 11)||Blogging the Boys|
|8||Seattle Seahawks, 0-1 (Preseason: 1)||Field Gulls|
|9||Philadelphia Eagles, 0-1 (Preseason: 6)||Bleeding Green Nation|
|10||Indianapolis Colts, 0-1 (Preseason: 5)||Stampede Blue|
|11||Cincinnati Bengals, 1-0 (Preseason: 13)||Cincy Jungle|
|12||Pittsburgh Steelers, 0-1 (Preseason: 8)||Behind the Steel Curtain|
|13||Baltimore Ravens, 0-1 (Preseason: 7)||Baltimore Beatdown|
|14||San Diego Chargers, 1-0 (Preseason: 15)||Bolts from the Blue|
|15||St. Louis Rams, 1-0 (Preseason: 23)||Turf Show Times|
|16||San Francisco 49ers, 1-0 (Preseason: 22)||Niners Nation|
|17||Atlanta Falcons, 1-0 (Preseason: 21)||The Falcoholic|
|18||Miami Dolphins, 1-0 (Preseason: 16)||The Phinsider|
|19||Detroit Lions, 0-1 (Preseason: 12)||Pride of Detroit|
|20||Carolina Panthers, 1-0 (Preseason: 20)||Cat Scratch Reader|
|21||New Orleans Saints, 0-1 (Preseason: 17)||Canal Street Chronicles|
|22||Minnesota Vikings, 0-1 (Preseason: 14)||Daily Norseman|
|23||Houston Texans, 0-1 (Preseason: 18)||Battle Red Blog|
|24||New York Giants, 0-1 (Preseason: 24)||Big Blue View|
|25||New York Jets, 1-0 (Preseason: 26)||Gang Green Nation|
|26||Chicago Bears, 0-1 (Preseason: 25)||Windy City Gridiron|
|27||Tennessee Titans, 1-0 (Preseason: 32)||Music City Miracles|
|28||Washington, 0-1 (Preseason: 30)||Hogs Haven|
|29||Cleveland Browns, 0-1 (Preseason: 27)||Dawgs by Nature|
|30||Oakland Raiders, 0-1 (Preseason: 28)||Silver and Black Pride|
|31||Jacksonville Jaguars, 0-1 (Preseason: 29)||Big Cat Country|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 0-1 (Preseason: 31)||Bucs Nation|