The first week of the NFL season had us all scratching our heads more than usual. There were more than a few games where we had to step back, pause for a moment, and say, “What did I just witness?”
There are several teams that played well above or well below their expected level of competition. Green Bay, for example, got its butts from someone who hadn’t started an NFL game in over a year. Are they really that bad? Are the saints really that good? Was it just a weird week where we look back and say, “Yeah, that was just a big fluke”? Probably the latter, but we won’t be sure until we see it happen.
This week, the Packers get their old punching bag, the Detroit Lions. On paper, this should be the perfect opportunity for the reigning MVP to get back on track. In his last four games against Detroit, Rodgers has thrown for 1,136 yards, nine touchdowns and just two picks. I’d go back further, but Rodgers’ most recent fifth game against the Lions saw Mr. Discount Double Check start the game, throwing five passes, and then hitting the showers. However, his most recent sixth game against Detroit saw Rodgers throw for 442 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rodgers basically owns the Lions. He’s been doing it for a long time, but if you asked a group of people which team they think played the best in Week 1, you’d probably get multiple responses like, “Oh, Detroit. Safely. ”
Detroit did not play well during the 55 minutes of their Week 1 matchup against San Francisco. However, those last moments seem to have several fans forgetting about the rest of the game. Keep in mind that the Lions were primarily playing second-team players in two of their last three drives, and they needed incredible luck on that side kick to be within a 49ers score. Rodgers shouldn’t be worried about the Lions. We all know how well he plays when there’s a chip on his shoulder, and a 38-3 loss along with several fans on Twitter blaming his offseason antics is a huge chip.
On the other hand, there are several teams that played much better than we think. The first that comes to mind are the Denver Broncos. They absolutely thrashed the New York Giants by a 27-7 final. That led many of us, myself included, to think that Washington, whose defense was monstrous in 2020, would have a field day with the Giants on Thursday night. In reality, the Giants gave Washington a run for their money and, if it weren’t for a great drop by Darius Slayton In the end zone, the Giants will likely win that game. So if Denver can crush New York, who can be with Washington, who was a playoff team in 2020 … are you following me here? We all knew Denver had a few ballers on their squad at the start of the season, but we weren’t sure whether or not Teddy Bridgewater had the talent in his arm to make the Broncos a legitimate playoff contender. He certainly sported the role in Week 1, and while a Week 2 competition against Jacksonville may not seem like a good yardstick game, imagine if the Broncos take the L … so how will that game be measured? The Broncos should crush the Jaguars, no questions asked, and if they don’t, they may not have what it takes to compete in the undefeated AFC West.
Speaking of the Jaguars, after the blows they suffered in Week 1, a lot of questions began to arise about Urban Meyer. After USC announced that fired his soccer coach Clay Helton, rumors began to swirl that Urban Meyer was getting ready back to the university. While Meyer made an effort to turn off those rumors fairly quickly, other rumors began to circulate on the internet that Meyer had lost his passion for coaching after just a week in the NFL, and that Meyer’s temper he was causing problems in practice for the Jaguars. Meyers’ performance in Week 1 did nothing to allay the concerns thousands of Jaguars fans had as the season began. A 37-21 win at the hands of the team that many thought would be the worst in the league is not a good sign. Meyer made the worst possible first impression, but a Week 2 win in the team’s home opener would, in all likelihood, remove any ill will Jags fans have for their head coach.
Will the Wests still be the best?
Finally, I understand that giving any team the title “undefeated” after just one week may be a bit of a stretch. That said, in Week 1, zero teams from the AFC or NFC West divisions started the season with a loss. Even more impressive, all but two of those teams took home the Week 1 dub against teams that made the playoffs in 2020. In Week 2, we see an equally difficult roster of games for those divisions. The Seahawks, Rams, Raiders and Chiefs get 2020 playoff participants once again, and the Cardinals and Chargers each get teams that were close to a playoff spot last season. It will be tough, but we may see two divisions start the season undefeated for two weeks. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the last time something like this happened.
Those are the stories to watch out for in Week 2 of the NFL season. If you had to pick a team from any Western division to lose this Sunday, you would probably pick the Raiders. While they looked great in their MNF win over Baltimore, they are coming off a short week and heading to Pittsburgh, a notoriously hard-to-win city. The Steelers defense looked phenomenal in Week 1, and more than made up for the lackluster performance. by Ben Roethlisberger. That said, the Raiders proved they were more than capable of moving the ball across the field against Baltimore. Perhaps with some key Steelers fumbles, the Raiders can pull off the surprise once again.