So, was that a fun Week 1 or what?
Upsets seem to hit differently in Week 1. The NFL is such a hype-driven operation. It saturates sports media by virtue of having its own network, as well as through the mega-deals that it makes with TV networks and streaming platforms to broadcast or stream games. Also, everything that happens in the league is breathlessly reported on ad nauseum by sports media networks, publications, and personalities, who put a positive spin on everything.
Certain teams enter the season with a lot of league and media-created expectations, which may or may not be warranted. As a result, when one of these paper contenders gets a dose of reality on the field of play, it has the illusion of being more than it is.
Personally, I love the upsets. It’s boring when things go as expected too often.
I picked four upset specials in Week 1. I hit on two, with Minnesota beating Green Bay, and Big Blue New York outlasting Tennessee. In the other two, I picked Carolina, who lost to Cleveland on a 58-yard FG with 13 seconds left, and I picked Jacksonville, who led Washington by 8 in the 4th quarter before surrendering two late TDs.
As I say every year, don’t overreact to the results of Week 1. Many star players don’t play at all in the preseason, so Week 1 is their first meaningful action in several months. Players change teams, teams change coaches. It takes time for some players and teams to settle in. It’s a long season; nobody gets crowned in September.
The season has only just begun. We know nothing.
Week Two Picks
Winners in Bold
Miami at Baltimore
Both of these teams won in Week 1, but neither looked particularly impressive in doing so. They’re both overhyped and overrated. This is the type of game that Miami usually loses, but I still think they’re the better team, so…
New York (Green) at Cleveland
A lot of people predicting an upset here, mostly based on Jacoby Brissett’s tepid performance in Week 1. Cleveland still has the run game and the defense, and New York is still “Gangrene.”
Washington at Detroit
Apparently, Detroit is favoured in a game for the first time in forever (if you’re into that sort of thing). I was planning on picking them this week, until I saw C Frank Ragnow is listed as “Out” for this game. Ragnow’s top-notch, so Detroit being without his services against a quality Washington DL is a serious concern.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Indy showed heart in avoiding a loss to a plucky Houston squad in Matt Ryan’s debut. We’ll know more about the offense after this week, and their defense needs to get healthy.
Tampa at New Orleans
New Orleans has absolutely plagued Tampa in the regular season since Touchdown Tommy’s arrival. Tampa’s defense looked really good in their opener, which spells trouble for a New Orleans offense that might be without Alvin Kamara this week.
Carolina at New York (Blue)
Don’t be surprised if this is a high-scoring game. Both teams feature talented offenses, with New York’s looking particularly feisty under the new coaching regime. Neither team looks particularly good on defense either, so this could turn out to be a fun duel between two QBs with a lot to prove, and two RBs with room to run.
New England at Pittsburgh
New England looked rather unimpressive on offense in Week 1. Despite what everyone seems to believe about this game, a few facts remain: TJ Watt is not absent, New England’s failure to take care of the ball in Week 1 is atypical, and Pittsburgh won last week because Cincinnati played abysmally.
Atlanta at Los Angeles (Horn)
Tampa’s defense made LA look bad in Week 1. Atlanta’s new-look offense gave New Orleans a scare. This might not be the walkover for LA that many think it will be.
Seattle at San Francisco
It’s hard to tell anything about San Fran’s offense under Trey Lance after they played their Week 1 game in a lake. One thing we did see in Week 1 was Geno Smith playing well and beating Denver. This game will tell us a lot about both teams.
Cincinnati at Dallas
A lot has been said about Joe Burrow being a cool, calm, and relaxed QB. That’s great and all, but you can’t be so cool that you don’t care. Largely due to Burrow’s wretched play, Cincy went into a Week 1 game they had no business losing, and turned it into a game they had no business winning. Cincinnati is better than Dallas, and without Dak Prescott, Cincy absolutely has no business losing this game.
Houston at Denver
Loved the Week 1 performance by Houston. This motley mix of cast-offs and kids has talent, and showed through their effort that they won’t lie down for anyone. That’s why it was aggravating to see Lovie Smith decide to play for a tie in OT rather than trying to win. The players deserved better. Denver decidedly did not live up to the hype that came with their acquisition of Russell Wilson. Though I expect Denver to get better, their coaching seems a bit suspect. Although most people were talking about Denver’s failure to use a timeout before attempting a 64-yard field goal, I was much more curious about their coach’s decision to use his remaining two timeouts on Seattle kneeldowns when the game was unwinnable. That’s some bush-league shit right there, folks.
Arizona at Las Vegas
Las Vegas lost to a superior Bolts team in Week 1; no shame there. If I had one quibble, it would be the offense being overly focused on Davante Adams, when there’s top-notch talent to share the workload. That said, I will be legitimately surprised by anything less than a comfortable Vegas victory over Arizona.
Chicago at Green Bay
Green Bay’s offense couldn’t get it going in Week 1, but I believe they’ll improve. Chicago beat San Fran with a major assist from Mother Nature, but they’ll come crashing back to earth this week against Green Bay’s defense.
Tennessee at Buffalo
Tennessee has given Buffalo all they can handle in these teams’ most recent meetings. Buffalo is on a mission, though, and Tennessee isn’t nearly as good as they’ve been the past couple of seasons.
Minnesota at Philadelphia
Philly’s much-hyped offense showed up in Week 1. Their defense decidedly did not, however, and if they don’t play better this week, Minnesota will absolutely give them the shootout they’re looking for.