Ten Things We Learned in the NFL This Week

We’re back, people.  Your weekly look-around the NFL for the best performances, worst chokes, and most questionable prognostications.

If I didn’t mention your team this week, no worries.  Good, bad, or meh, I’ll be getting to everyone in due time.

Week 1

1.The Browns believed their own hype machine

There isn’t really any other way to say this.  The Browns are the Browns.  They will continue to be the Browns until further notice.  Sorry, Cleveland.  You deserve better, you really do.  Maybe it was a case of too much juice, or just shedding some offseason rust.  Either way, they’d better figure it out quickly.  The Titans are a beatable team.  And for a team that thinks that they’ll be playing into February, you need to win that one, not get blown out 43-13.

2.OBJ has a SWEET watch

The Browns newest offensive weapon played week one’s game rocking a crazy expensive team colored timepiece that set him back about a quarter mil.  It’s going to cost him even more, as the league has slapped him with a massive fine for breaking the league’s policy on game day accessories.  It’s a little odd.  Guys wear jewelry all the time, and for some reason watches are verboten.  And OBJ has a point.  The thing is plastic.  Read that last sentence again.  Dude paid a quarter of a million dollars for a plastic watch.  I’m in the wrong line of work.

3. The Pack is back

It wasn’t pretty, but every win counts.  Especially against the heavily favored Bears in the NFC North. The Pack’s offense looked shaky at best, but they did more than enough on defense to lock down Mitch Trubisky and company.  The Bears just couldn’t get rolling, and Trubisky could manage only 228 yards and an interception.  This wasn’t how the Bears were planning on starting the season.  The Packers, on the other hand, get a huge win to get their season rolling.

4. The Patriots aren’t messing around

Any hopes that the league had that the champs were going to go soft, or that Tom Brady’s arm as going to turn into a wet noodle are pretty much dashed after a 33-3 shellacking of the Steelers.  The Pats looked like a well-oiled machine on both sides of the ball all night, as Brady threw for over 300 yards with three touchdowns.  Phillip Dorset spent the night stretching the defense and giving Brady several big plays, including two TDs.  The running back by committee seemed to work perfectly, and Julian Edelman, who spent most of the preseason rehabbing a sore thumb, did totally normal Julian Edelman things: shaking coverages, catching balls in small windows, and generally being open when Brady needed him most.  But the real story for the Patriots is a defense that looks far more polished than we’re used to seeing in week one.  Not to mention that they did it without Kyle Van Noy, arguably the best linebacker on the roster.  If Antonio Brown ends up playing, it’s going to get crazy in Foxboro.

5.Giants fans got what they wanted

Fans of Big Blue didn’t have to wait long to see Daniel Jones under center.  They’ve been clamoring for a change and it seems that with the game never really in question against Dallas, coach Pat Shurmur decided to give the rookie a few reps in his first professional game.  You can’t blame him.  They’ve got to do something…Jones was fine in his first outing, completing thee of four passes.

6. I told y’all Lamar Jackson could pass 

Let’s get this straight.  It was against the Dolphins, who have players trying to engineer trades like rats leaving a sinking ship.  But Jackson was a monster on Sunday, carving up Miami’s depleted secondary on 17-20 passing for 324 yards and five TDs.  Heck, even RGIII got into the act, going 6-6 with a TD.  It’s a big change from the exclusive running offense that got the Ravens into the playoffs last year.  If that defense holds up, the Ravens can be a legitimate contender.  

7. The Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill early, it didn’t matter

With their top weapon on the sideline, Pat Mahomes and company still eviscerated a Jaguars defense that looked lost.  Sammy Watkins had a career night, catching three TDs and amassing just under two hundred yards in the passing game.  The one lackluster spot for the Chiefs all night was Mahomes’ cringe-worthy no-look pass attempt to Travis Kelce in the end zone.  The pass was nowhere near the mark, hilariously sailing past the wide open receiver. 

8. The Jaguars can’t catch a break at QB

Their shiny new QB, former Eagles Super Bowl hero Nick Foles lasted only a few plays with his new team.  He’s out indefinitely with a broken clavicle, which will need surgery and lots of rehab time.  Backup Gardner Minshew looks to be QB1 in Jacksonville now, but the Jags are in the market for a backup…

9. LeVeon Bell realized he isn’t in Pittsburgh anymore

We’ve already discussed how Bell is an opportunistic runner who waits for blocking to develop.  Behind a new (worse) offensive line in New York, he didn’t have his usual success. He was held to only 60 yards on 17 carries, well below his career average of just under 4.5 yards per carry.  Worse yet, when the Jets needed him to move the chains to secure a divisional win against the Bills, he couldn’t get the job done.  Halfway through the third quarter, New York had a 16-0 lead, but a string of short possessions let Buffalo back in.  They would eventually overcome the deficit to win 17-16 as New York finished the game with two consecutive punts, a turnover on downs and a fumble.  That’s not the new look Jets everyone expected.  Things are looking worse than ever, with Sam Darnold out indefinitely with…this is not a joke…mono. Seriously. The J-E-T-S are a M-E-S-S.

10. The immortal Adam Vinatieri is…mortal

Few kickers are sure fire hall of famers.  Old man time is.  He’s been with the Colts for so long(fourteen years) that people forget that he had a whole career in New England (ten years) including a couple of crazy clutch game-winning kicks that cemented Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legacies.  So when he missed three kicks in one game, alarm bells started going off.  First it was an extra point.  Then two consecutive field goals, one from inside thirty yards.  Had he connected on any of the three, Indy would have avoided the eventual overtime loss, and the Jacoby Brissett era in Indy would be off to a much more auspicious start with an impressive win over a playoff-caliber team.  

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