The first Sunday of the NFL season is complete, and two games tonight will put week 1 in the books. A lot of interesting things happened, including a few surprise rookies stepping up and teams playing well that weren't expected to. The trick is to try and figure out which things were just teams knocking off the final rust and which are signs of things to come. Here's a quick rundown and though for each of the games yesterday.
New York Jets 12 – Buffalo Bills 21
The Bills were the favorites, as the Jets seem to have cut almost every top tier player on their roster. This makes it hard to really judge where the Bills are under new head coach Sean McDermott. Are they a contender, or do they just look good against an inferior team? That answer has to wait until at least week 2 when McDermott faces off against his old team in Carolina.
Atlanta Falcons 23 – Chicago Bears 17
Falcon fans have to come out of this game feeling a bit worried. This was a high-flying offense last season that would consider 23 points a bad outing. But under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, the offense is still trying to figure out who they are. This game was much closer than it should've been.
Baltimore Ravens 20 – Cincinnati Bengals 0
The Ravens have a good offense, but not that good. Andy Dalton had the worst outing of his NFL career with five sacks, four interceptions, and a fumble. You can excuse a slow start, but a shutout is something to be worried about.
Pittsburgh Steelers 21 – Cleveland Browns 18
Browns fans may have something to be hopeful for. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer was not rattled by the Steelers and kept his team in it for the whole game. A loss is a loss, but loosing to rival Pittsburgh by only three points with Kizer playing his first pro game is something to get hopeful about. Steelers have to be happy with their rookie, T.J. Watt, as well.
Arizona Cardinals 23 – Detroit Lions 35
Matthew Stafford showed that his new contract may have been a bargain and the defense brought a lot of pressure, something that was lacking last year. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have to be worried about the health of running back Dave Johnson and their anemic offensive output.
Jacksonville Jaguars 29 – Houston Texans 7
This is a tough game to judge. Houston's defense was lethargic and their offense couldn't protect Tom Savage long enough for him to say "Oh, sh**." They put in Deshaun Watson because he was more mobile. Not sure the Watson era has officially begun yet, and if I were Jacksonville, I'd wait before expecting to get 10 sacks a game going forward. Texans spent most of the week dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey; hard to say what the team will be like going forward.
Carolina Panthers 23 – San Francisco 49ers 3
Cam Newton looked shaky, having thrown only twice in a preseason game, but got better as the game went on. Christian McCaffrey is living up to expectations. Offensive guru Kyle Shanahan didn't make much happen in his first outing as head coach. Both teams have a lot of room to improve.
Oakland Raiders 26 – Tennessee Titans 16
Raiders looked good, and the report between David Carr and Marshawn Lynch was stronger than expected. The team looked like they were having fun, but the lack of a real run game for the Titans was the biggest problem on that side of the field. Oakland has to be happy with the debut of kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who nailed four field goals, including two from 52 yards out.
Philadelphia Eagles 30 – Washington Redskins 17
The Eagles lost their top corner in Ronald Darby, yet the secondary played lights out for most of the game with him gone. Can that continue if Darby misses extended time? On the other side, Kirk Cousins wasn't getting much time in the pocket, and the plan to feature tight end Jordan Reed only works if Cousins has time to throw.
Indianapolis Colts 9 – Los Angeles Rams 46
It was likely the Colts were going to lose when it was announced Andrew Luck was out and they traded for Jacoby Brissett — but no one expected it to be this much of a blowout. The Rams were expected to be good on defense and mediocre on offense. 46 points is not mediocre. If Luck isn't back this week, and he probably won't be, expect Brissett to start.
Seattle Seahawks 9 – Green Back Packers 17
For Green Bay, the biggest surprise was the end of Aaron Rodgers's streak of 251 pass attempts without an interception. That is impressive. For Seattle, without Marshawn Lynch, the team just doesn't have an identity on the offense. They can't protect Russel Wilson if there is no fear of a running game.
New York Giants 3 – Dallas Cowboys 19
This is an interesting one in that the Giants seem to have collapsed without Odell Beckham Jr., which is never a good sign. And while the Cowboys' defense played well, I don't think it was completely their doing. Eli Manning has become too dependent on OBJ. Ezekiel Elliot had a nice 104-yard game, but the bulk of their offense came off field goals, which has to be a concern for the team.
Overall, there are some hopeful things for some teams, while others now know they have a lot of work to do. I don't see anyone that blew me away or played amazingly against a good team. It's just week one of a very long season.