The first week of the 2014 NFL is in the books, and there were quite a few big surprises. Here’s a quick recap of each game, and what the results could mean for your favorite team moving forward:
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks: If you thought the defending Super Bowl champions couldn’t get any better, you may have been wrong. Despite losing a few key starters, the Seahawks seem to be completely on pace with last year’s team as they beat the Packers 36-16 in the season opener. With Percy Harvin back, there may be no stopping the Seahawks from repeating as Super Bowl champs this season.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: Despite leading big for nearly the entire game, the Saints lost in overtime to the Falcons 37-34. Matt Ryan was phenomenal in the second half (263 yards and two touchdowns), and he exposed the overhyped Saints defense. The Saints offense looked good, but a few key mistakes (mainly Marques Colston’s fumble in overtime) cost them the game. Look for the Saints to rebound next week against the Browns.
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams: Matt Cassel was having trouble communicating with the coaches, and it looked like the Vikings were going to win 6-0. Nothing was happening. Once a connection was reestablished, however, the Vikings lit up the score board. Cordarrelle Patterson looked fantastic, actually out-rushing Adrian Peterson with 102 yards on three carries. To add injury to the 34-6 insult, the Rams also lost Chris Long to an ankle injury.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers established a huge lead, and then almost blew it in the second half barely hanging on to win 30-27. Brian Hoyer looked horrible in the first half of the game, but he came to life after halftime throwing for 173 yards in the second half. Maybe Mike Pettine threatened to bench him in favor of Johnny Manziel. The Browns actually didn’t look bad, all things considered; however, if Hoyer has another half like the first one against the Saints this week Manziel may be making his NFL regular season debut.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles: The main takeaway from this game is that more fantasy owners should have drafted Allen Hurns. The Jaguars looked amazing…in the first half. After that it was back to the old Jags. The Jaguars jumped to an early 17-0 lead before falling to the Eagles 34-17. Kudos to Chip Kelly and the Eagles for making the proper adjustments and coming out in the second half ready to show their stuff.
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets: Derek Carr is clearly not ready for the NFL: 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 of 31 passing is not what the Raiders need. His stat line would be even worse if the Jets hadn’t dropped two or three easy interceptions. The Jets also looked sloppy on offense; however, if they can cut down on the penalties they should do significantly better next week. Geno Smith is clearly still learning to play in the NFL, but with time he may be able to lead this Jets offense.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: This game was painful to watch if you are a Ravens fan. The offense looked completely out of practice, and the Bengals defensive line got to Joe Flacco way too many times. The Ravens showed some promise at the end, however; and putting up 16 points against one of the best defenses in the league isn’t bad. They still lost though, 23-16.
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears: If the Patriots hadn’t lost this would have been the upset of the week. The Bills looked atrocious in preseason, they didn’t have an owner, and the front office guys were fighting amongst themselves. The Bills season seemed doomed; but they came out and shocked the Bears winning 23-20 in overtime. EJ Manuel was by no means flawless in his return, but the young man definitely showed some promise.
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans: The Texans beat the Redskins 17-6, but the Redskins aren’t exactly a good measure of talent. The Texans defense looked great, especially JJ Watt who certainly looked like $100 million on the field. However, there is some bad news for Texans fans—Jadeveon Clowney is going to miss about five to eight weeks with another knee injury.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs: The Titans defense was outstanding in this game, pissing off fantasy owners everywhere by holding Jamaal Charles to only 19 yards on the ground and 15 through the air. The Chiefs certainly are not the team that dominated the first half of the season last year, but it remains to be seen just how bad they’ll be this year.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins: This game was definitely the shocker of the week. The Dolphins did everything right, and the Patriots looked worn out and old. Tom Brady showed signs of a major decline last season; and although it has only been one game, he certainly does not look like a three-time Super Bowl champion any more. However, cut him some slack—it’s hard to be good when you’re being chased all around the field by Cameron Wake and company. If the Patriots don’t do something fast to improve their offensive line, they could be in for a long season.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who needs Cam Newton when you have one of the best defenses in the National Football League? The Panthers absolutely dominated the Buccaneers defense, and rained on Josh McCown’s debut as a Buc. McCown finished with only 183 yard, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Buccaneers offensive line gave absolutely no help to their new quarterback. Both teams, however, may have been underrated coming into this season.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys: Despite a weird and tough offseason for the franchise, the 49ers came out and absolutely dominated the game from the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers returned a fumble for a touchdown early in the game and picked off Tony Romo three times on some very poorly-chosen throws. Romo also consistently missed Dez Bryant, who finished with only four receptions for 55 yards.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos: The Broncos offense gave us flashbacks to last year during the first half; however, they really let their guard down in the second half. The Broncos new multi-million dollar defense looked great as well…until the second half. The Colts nearly came away with this one due to tons of offensive drops and poor coverage. The Broncos have the potential to be the best team in the league, but to beat the Seahawks they will have to play hard all four quarters.
New York Giants at Detroit Lions: When the head coach refers to his team as a “work in progress” you know it won’t be pretty. The offense was certainly not ready: Eli Manning doesn’t look comfortable in the new scheme; and his receivers continuously screwed up the new hand signal play calling system. The Lions offense did well, but a few key penalties allowed the Giants to hang around. The Lions pulled away at the end, however, winning 25-14.
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals and Chargers are supposed to be two of the better teams in the league, but both of them looked sloppy. Missed tackles, blocked punts, and poor defensive line play led to a very sloppy game. The Cardinals pulled it out at the end and won 18-17; but unless both teams can cut down on their mistakes, neither one of them will be in the playoffs this season.