No presason? No problem. The NFL came back yesterday, without a preseason and without fans. And I did not miss either. The preseason is merely a way to build up some hype and put some $’s into the owners pockets,(IMO) and while I would love to be going to see some live football, I do not need the roar of an actual crowd on the TV. I’m typically watching multiple games as well as RedZone, or at the Sports Book watching them all, and this week was no exception. And what a tremendous, triumphant return it was.
Does it get any better than football on Sunday? 13 games. 26 teams. Half a dozen+ fantasy football pools. Numerous daily fantasy football teams. Straight up bets, prop bets, overs, unders….aaaahhhhh. It was all there in real life and real time in week 1.
Green Bay Packers 43 @ Minnesota Vikings 34: The rumours of Aaron Rodgers death were greatly exaggerated. It was the Vikings defence versus Rodgers and it was Captain cheese head by knockout. 364 yards passing and 4 TDs and NOBODY could cover Devante Adams (14 catches 156 yards and 2 TDs). Minnesota was shredded for 522 total yards as they got fed a cheese slathered 40 burger. It wasn’t all bad news mind you. Dalvin Cook and his new 5 year $63 million dollar contract ($28 milly guaranteed) scampered into the endzone for 2 TD’s and Adam Thielen had 6 catches for 110 yards and 2 TDs. Kirk Cousins could not have had a more Kirk Cousins day. 19 of 25 259 yards, 2 TDs 1 INT. Minnesota will need to find a way to defend the pass. Quick.
Seattle Seahawks 38 @ Atlanta Falcons 25: This one had the makings of QB battle and that is exactly what we got here. Matt Ryan put in a full day at the office going 37 of 54 for 450 2 TDs and an INT with 3 differnt WRs catching 9 balls each (Julio Jones 9 catches, 157 yards. Calvin Ridley 9 catches 130 yards 2 TDs. Russell Gage 9 catches 114 yards.) Normally that would be enough to win most games. Not when you face Russell Wilson who had himself a near perfect day. A ridiculous 31 of 35 for 322 yards and 4 TDs. 9 different players caught passes for Seattle and 7 caught 2 or more. It was just a beautifully executed air assault from a team that has prided itself on running the ball. Like Minnesota, Atlanta needs to fix those holes in the secondary.
Cleveland Browns 6 @ Baltimore Ravens 38 : THIS is suppose to be the year the Browns take that leap forward (isn’t that suppose to be every year). That might still be the case, but it ain’t starting this week. Cleveland managed to run the football in a bad news for fantasy owners situation. Kareem Hunt had 13 carries for 72 yards and Nick Chubb had 10 carries for 60 yards. Hmmm. Problem here was Baker Mayfield was 21 for 39 for a mere 189 1 TD and 1 INT. Not good. And double not good when on the other side of the ball you have reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson going 20 for 25 for 275 and 3 TDs and rushing for another 45 yards. Marquise Brown had a good day receiving with 5 catches for 101 yards, but Mark Andrews remains Jackson’s favourite red zone target snagging two TDs.
New York Jets 17 @ Buffalo Bills 27: There is new hope in the Bradyless AFC East and the Bills want to send a message. This was a showcase game for Bills QB Josh Allen who was BUSY. 33 for 46 for 312 yards and 3 TDS. Sacked 3 times and rushed 14 times for 57 yards and 1 TD. And he got the ball to EVERYBODY. 8 different players caught 2 or more passes. Off season acquisition Stefon Diggs led the way with 8 catches and 86 yards. And the Bills defence made sure the effort was rewarded holding Sam Darnold to a 21 for 35, 215 yards 1 TD, 1 INT stat line and holding the Jets to to 52 yards on the ground. Things are looking good in Buffalo. So far . . .
Las Vegas Raiders 34 @ Carolina Panthers 30: The Raiders opened up the season under a new city name…again and put up an impressive win against the Carolina Panthers. This was a battle of the running backs. Vegas rolled the dice with their workhorse back Josh Jacobs for 25 carries, 93 yards and 3 TDs plus 4 catches for 46 yards. Fantasy football darling Christian McCaffrey didn’t disappoint either with 23 carries for 96 yards and 2 TDs and 3 snags for 38 yards. A great start for both these backs.
Chicago Bears 27 @ Detroit Lions 23: This was just a classic example of the Lions being the Lions. up 23-6 heading into the 4th quarter they found a way to lose. A tipped pass for an INT from Matt Stafford (24 for 42, 297 yards 1 TD, INT) and an endzone drop by rookie RB D’Andre Swift with 5 seconds left. Of note, newly acquired “Ageless” “All-Day” Adrien Peterson had 14 carries for 93 yards and 3 catches for 21 yards. Looked odd, but good in the Lions uniform. On the other side of the ball, Mitch Trubisky was horrible for 3 quarters, but the 20 for 36, 242 yards and 3 TDs line has a W beside it. And that is all that matters.
Indianapolis Colts 20 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 27: It was weird to see Phillip Rivers in a Colts uniform, I’m not going to lie. He was to bring some stability to the position after the numerous Andrew Luck story lines and push the Colts over the hump. Meanwhile, the Jags were being accused of “Tanking for Trevor Lawrence” Well, we all know nothing is ever as it seems in the NFL. Rivers threw a lot (36 for 34, 363 yards 1TD and 2 INTs) but the day belonged to the more efficient and precise Gardner Minshew II who went 19 for 20 for 173 yards and 3 TDs hitting 10 different receivers in only 19 completions.
Miami Dolphins 11 @ New England Patriots 21: I don’t remember a season starting with so many players looking so out of place in their jerseys. Cue the Cam Newton era in New England. He didn’t shock with his arm (15 for 19 for 155 yards) but he awed with his legs (15 carries for 75 yards and 2 TDs). The Patriots ran and ran and ran against Miami (team total 42 carries for 217 yards). Meanwhile Ryan Fitzpatrick was less magic and more tragic throwing 3 INTs. Who needs Tom Brady? Right? Stay tuned…
Philadelphia Eagles 17 @ Washington Football Team 27: The nameless ones in Washington looked a lot like their old selves falling behind 17-0. Then they went on to score 27 unanswered points to give Ron Rivera his first win in his first game as Washington’s coach. The offensive numbers weren’t pretty but Haskins looked okay going 17 for 31 for 178 and 1 TD. What WAS impressive was the defence. WOW. They sacked Carson Wentz 8 times and 2nd overall pick Chase Young looked every bit the dominate beast he was hyped to be with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and wreaking havoc all day in the Philadelphia backfield. Teams better take notice, as this nameless teams defence is making a name for itself early.
Los Angeles Chargers 16 @ Cincinnati Bengals 13: It’s hard enough being a rookie quarterback in the NFL, but when you make your first start without any preseason to size up just how much bigger and faster pro defences are…that is a daunting task. Add to that you play for the Bengals, and good luck to you Joe Burrow. They were not afraid to let the rookie throw as he threw 36 times for 193 yards (23 completions 1 INT). And it wasn’t like Tyrod Taylor (16 for 30 for 208) was throwing it all over the park. This game was won on the ground with Austin Ekeler (19 carries for 84 yards) and Joshua Kelley (12 carries 60 yards) leading the Los Angeles Chargers to victory. Neither team looked very good and the games are not going to get any easier.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 @ New Orleans Saints 34: The Senior Citizen Bowl, by NFL standards. 41 year old Drew Brees. 43 year old Tom Brady ( in another bizzaro uniform mind melt). Numbers one and two respectively in both passing yards and touchdowns in NFL history this COULD have been a QB battle for the ages. Instead, they both played like they were 40 somethings. Brady never looked 100% comfortable going 23 for 36 for 239 with 2 TDs and 2 INTs (including a pick 6) and Brees had a very pedestrian 18 for 30 for 160 and 2 TDs stat line (by his standards). It played out like just a football game. Rob Gronkowski (someone is messing with me) was a non factor (2 catches for 11 yards) in his weirdo uniform. Quite simply the better team found a way to win.
Arizona Cardinals 24 @ San Francisco 49ers 20: Was that DeAndre Hopkins in a Cardinals jersey? What did they put in my drinks here?? The 49ers coming off their Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs just might have run into the up and comers of the NFC. Led by 2nd year QB Kyler Murray who had himself a game (26 for 40 for 230 yards 1TD and 1 INT and 13 rushes for 91 yards and 1 TD) the Cardinals looked dangerous. And Hopkins looked spectacular in the red and white catching 14 balls for 151 yards. That stout 49ers defence was kept just off balance enough all game and the offence couldn’t get enough out of Jimmy G (19 for 33 for 259 yards and 2TDs) despite an overall great game from Raheem Mostert (15 rushes for 56 yards, 4 catches for 95 yards and 1 TD). Don’t sleep on the Cardinals this year. They look like the real deal.
Dallas Cowboys 17 @ Los Angeles Rams 20: The Los Angeles Rams opened up their new gorgeous state of the art SoFi Stadium to no fans…but a victory nevertheless. This was a ground and pound type of game with the running backs being the stars. Malcolm Brown (18 carries for 79 yards and 2 TDs and 3 catches for 31 yards) didn’t outplay Ezekiel Elliot (22 carries for 96 yards and 1TD and 3 catches for 31 yards and 1TD) as they both backs were equally good this game. The Cowboys, who were down 3 points in the 4th quarter opted to go for it on 4th and 3 from the LA 11 with 12 minutes to play. They came up short and the 4th quarter was a scoreless one. Wanna bet they kick the field goal next time?
And how was your Sunday?