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Deep Dive: How NFL’s Week 1 will affect teams’ perspectives

first_imgDario is a junior writing about sports. His column, “Deep Dive,” runs every other Tuesday. The Vikings shut out the Falcons through three quarters, blocked a punt, Dalvin Cook looked electric with the ball and Kirk Cousins only had to attempt 10 passes in the blowout. You have to wonder if the Falcons made a mistake firing Steve Sarkisian and replacing him with Dirk Koetter. I’m still a believer in the Falcons’ talent, but they looked asleep on the field Sunday as the Vikings asserted themselves as the team to fear in the NFC North. (Surprise meter: 8.5/10) Ravens 59, Dolphins 10 Rams 30, Panthers 27 Cardinals 27, Lions 27 (OT) Division winners: Eagles, Rams, Saints, Vikings Wild Cards: Cowboys, Panthers AFC Predictions It was shocking to see the Eagles down 17-0 in the second quarter, but as soon as Carson Wentz hit DeSean Jackson for his first of two 50+-yard touchdown receptions, it was clear they’d come back for the win. Good luck stopping this Eagles team — they’re stacked on both sides of the ball. Despite the loss, the Redskins showed the upside to steal a few games this season. (Surprise meter: 4.5/10) Chiefs 40, Jaguars 26 The biggest shock surrounding the Patriots is the addition of Antonio Brown. Dominating the Steelers like this is just icing on the cake. Don’t be surprised when the Patriots are playing home games in January. (Surprise meter: 4/10) The Cardinals offense flashed potential in the fourth quarter, but the Lions should still be embarrassed to have tied a team with so little talent on its roster. It’s going to be a long season for fans of both teams. (Side note: When is the NFL going to eliminate ties?) (Surprise meter: 2.5/10) 49ers 31, Buccaneers 17 The Rams managed to come away with the road win despite limited usage for runningback Todd Gurley. The Panthers looked good, but quarterback Cam Newton might not be back to 100% yet from his preseason foot injury. Expect both teams to play meaningful games as the season winds down in December. (Surprise meter: 3/10) Thursday’s opener was an upset, but Aaron Rodgers beating the Bears is nothing new. He’s 17-5 against them in his career. The bigger surprise is that both offenses stalled for the entirety of the game. The burden of proof still rests on Matt LaFleur and Mitch Trubisky to get their respective offenses going. I think this game dampens both teams’ high expectations. (Surprise meter: 6.5/10) Jameis Winston and Jimmy Garoppolo combined for three pick-sixes, and each team had multiple touchdowns called back on penalties. It doesn’t get much uglier, and I don’t see either of these teams keeping up with the NFC’s contenders. (Surprise meter: 4.5/10) The Cowboys’ offense looked much more potent under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and they could be a threat to win the NFC. (Surprise meter: 1.5/10) NFC Predictions Cowboys 35, Giants 17 Wild Cards: Chargers, Browns center_img Seahawks 21, Bengals 20 Chargers 30, Colts 24 (OT) The Browns’ offseason hype got Thanos-dusted on Sunday. Titans rookie receiver A.J. Brown sparked the offense and three Baker Mayfield interceptions helped the Titans seal the game. I’m holding out hope for Cleveland, but it might not yet be a Super Bowl contender. On the other hand, Tennessee has found new hope; maybe this is the year Marcus Mariota stays healthy and lives up to his potential. (Surprise meter: 9/10) Eagles 32, Redskins 27 Division winners: Patriots, Chiefs, Ravens, Texans Welcome to overreaction week in the NFL! After many long months of waiting for some meaningful game action, it’s time for premature conclusions based a one-game sample for each team. This week, I’ll be diving into the results from Week 1 (ranked from most surprising to least) and drop predictions for the NFL season.  The Colts should be pleasantly surprised at taking Chargers down to the wire. Chargers runningback Melvin Gordon’s holdout is something to keep an eye on with the Chargers, but Austin Ekeler was excellent in his place. (Surprise meter: 3/10) Collarbone injuries knocked out new Jags quarterback Nick Foles and Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, reigning MVP quarterback Pat Mahomes played through a sprained ankle, and Jags linebacker Myles Jack was ejected for throwing a punch. Otherwise, this game produced few surprises as Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins erupted for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in Hill’s absence. Jags backup quarterback, rookie Gardner Minshew, played surprisingly well, but Foles’ injury still hurts their outlook for the season. The Chiefs are firmly entrenched as Super Bowl contenders. (Surprise meter: 3.5/10) The Seahawks were 9.5-point home favorites in this one, and the Bengals played them surprisingly close. This may be receiver John Ross’ breakout year, but the Bengals’ outlook is still bleak. The Seahawks will need to sharpen up to beat tougher opponents in the coming weeks. (Surprise meter: 4/10) Vikings 28, Falcons 12 Bills 17, Jets 16 Titans 43, Browns 13 Packers 10, Bears 3 It hurts to pick the Evil Empire, but the addition of Antonio Brown makes the Patriots unstoppable. They’ll get their revenge on the Eagles for Super Bowl 52, and Tom Brady will win his seventh ring. A big day for Bills receiver John Brown helped decide a sloppy game for both teams. I remain skeptical of the Jets’ offense thanks to Adam Gase’s questionable track record. The Bills still lack the roster depth to challenge the Patriots for an AFC East crown. (Surprise meter: 3.5/10) Super Bowl Prediction  Everyone knows the Dolphins are tanking; the surprise is how well Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw the ball and receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown exploded in his debut. The Ravens looked like AFC North favorites, but let’s wait and see how they look against more respectable teams. (Surprise meter: 1.5/10) Patriots 33, Steelers 3last_img


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