The NFL is a tough sport to cover. It’s only 17 weeks long, not including playoffs, and it’s hard to determine what we do and don’t know this early. We can project but it’s hard to determine what’s real and what’s not after one week. But that’s exactly what we’ll attempt to do.
Browns Are Not What We Thought They Would Be
This execise in making grand conclusions after Week 1 is a slippery slope and this is a prime example. A simple look at the score tells you that the Browns got blown out in this game. However, 21 of the Titans points came in the 4th quarter. Baker Mayfield also recorded all three of his interceptions in the 4th quarter. Those kind of stats aren’t sustainable and shouldn’t worry anyone too much. If anything is concerning, it’s the production of Nick Chubb. He amassed 75 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. In the first half, he only put together 24 yards on 6 carries and didn’t do much until the second half. However, that second half was promising for him and he should be able to rebound against the Jets next week.
The defense showed they can be the same type of unit they were in 2018 despite giving up 43 points . They recorded four sacks and three pass deflections in that game and the Titans scored 21 points off of turnovers. That being said, they can improve if Mayfield plays cleaner games and Chubb gets involved early. This season will have its ups and downs but it won’t be the mediocrity that the Browns are familair with.
Jameis Winston Is The Same
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a good start against the 49ers last week but their welcoming party was cut short by the 49ers secondary. There was a lot of buzz generating this offseason that Bruce Arians would help bring this team to the next level. Then, Jameis Winston did what he does best and turned the ball over three times. He threw three picks (two pick-sixes) against a defense that recorded just two interceptions all of last season.
He threw 36 passes, completing 20 and only throwing for under 200 yards and one touchdown in addition to those three interceptions. If not for Ronald Jones, that offense would’ve been like a fish out of water. Jones amassed 75 yards on 13 carries and showed flashes of what he was drafted to be. However, despite receiving talent like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Winston is the one holding the offense back. We have years of previous knowledge to back up the fact that Winston is turnover prone and a detriment rather than a benefit.
Verdict: Not an overreaction
Broncos Defense isn’t Strong Under Fangio
The Denver Broncos fell 24-17 Monday night against the Oakland Raiders and it was evident they have holes. Joe Flacco played fine despite miscues and Courtland Sutton looked like a true #1 wide receiver for the team. On the flip side, that defense with a vaunted pass rush was MIA. Elite pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb failed to get pressure to Derek Carr. The defense was good last year and the expectation was that Vic Fangio would elevate it like he did the Bears. Turns out, the Bears defense was fine without him, sacking Rodgers five times. Meanwhile, the unit run by Fangio recorded no sacks or QB hits during the entire game.
This might be a case of new head coach jitters but it’s something that’s going to need to improve moving forward otherwise this team will be in trouble.
Verdict: Not an overreaction
Cardinals or Lions Are Actually Good
The Arizona Cardinals tied the Detroit Lions this weekend and they both scored 27 points. However, it’s too early to crown either team as particularly good. The Cardinals secondary was swiss cheese, leaving wide receivers like Danny Amendola wide open. Meanwhile, the Lions defense fell apart down the stretch to allow Cardinlas quarterback Kyler Murray to come back in the 4th quarter.
This fit the bill of two bad teams being pit against one other and both looking fine because the competition was weak.