I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of Just one week talk going on for the next couple of days. The Eagles looking good, the Packers and Bills looking bad, etc. I think a lot of that talk will be valid. And a lot of it will be overly optimistic. When a team puts up a real stinker, it can be an outlier, but also indicative of significant problems.
Jaguars at Texans: This is what I get for betting on a rookie quarterback. Virtually all of Trevor Lawrence's production came after the outcome was no longer in doubt. Some ugly interceptions and near interceptions. Not pretty. If you started Lawrence, as I did in our Blackout competition, no complaints, but the skills guys around him were less inspiring. But he'll be involved in lots of shootouts because Jacksonville's defense is still godawful. Houston just played its best game of the year. I suspect. I guess I need to give them some credit since I ripped them all offseason. Eh, they don't care.
Chargers at Football Team: The Ryan Fitzpatrick era came and went quickly. An offseason story about Mike Williams playing the Michael Thomas role in the offense seems relevant today. Good games for Williams, Keenan Allen, Justin Herbert, and the early Ekeler TD was nice for those who risked the hamstring injury. Nice stats and usage but a costly lost fumble (among 2 total) but Antonio Gibson. Fitzpatrick apparently out multiple weeks, what can you say, us older guys hurt our hips sometimes. Larry Rountree seems to be the No. 2 (although Justin Jackson not 100 percent, might have been a factor).
Seahawks at Colts: Tyler Lockett fans will say See? Skeptics will say he'll now have a few 3 for 30 games before blowing up again in Week 5. Whatever, nice week for Wilson and Lockett. You gotta like the way Seattle concentrates its offensive production with a few key players. For the Colts, well, the running backs were both productive. I can't imagine anyone actually benefited from Zach Pascal catching 2 TDs. Gonna be a tough passing game to invest in.
Jets at Panthers: You have to love when guys do what you hoped they would do, like Corey Davis. Not a great offensive outing for the Jets, but I've been thinking Carolina's defense might be better than expected, and it was. Big game for Christian McCaffrey, natch. 30 touches. Geez. Nothing else to point out except for the anticipated Jets running back committee.
Vikings at Bengals: Point 1 for the preseason doesn't matter argument. JaMarr Chase couldn't catch a cold in August but debuted with a nice game, as did Tee Higgins and Joe Burrow. Big game for Joe Mixon, Adam Thielen made us look good, K.J. Osborn came out of nowhere to hint Minnesota might have three good receivers (though Kirk Cousins won't throw for 350 every week). Reader talked me out of picking Minnesota in a Survivor Pool. Good call.
Cardinals at Titans: This was all Cardinals from the get-go, as the Titans left their intensity and drive back in 2020 I guess. Huge games for Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, decent one for Chase Edmonds. I'm gonna put this in the just one week file for Tennessee -- they're better than this. I know there's a whole They miss Arthur Smith angle here, but I think it's too soon to start shipping off key Titans.
49ers at Lions: People who love the NFL and dislike fantasy football can presumably point to this game, where the casual observer might think Jared Goff lit it up with his new team. This one was in fact over early and Goff did it all in garbage time. Which might happen a lot this year because Detroit's defense isn't any good. Raheem Mostert got hurt early, shocker, but what was more surprising was Elijah Mitchell being the No. 2 who took over and ran for 100-plus, while preseason darling Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch. Huge game for Deebo Samuel, painful for those of us who ranked him way higher than anybody else a year ago, but came off that to prop up Brandon Aiyuk this season. In one league I drafted Aiyuk early and then let Samuel keep falling past my mid-round picks strictly because I didn't want to have both guys. Ah well, hope some had Deebo, who's looking like a No. 1 (for now).
Steelers at Bills: Reports of the demise of the Steelers Defense might have been premature. And the Bills might be finding out that it's a little tougher not to sneak up on people. Or maybe it's just one week. Anyhoo, the fact that Najee Harris didn't come off the field but did very little is mildly disappointing, although the Bills have a very good defense, too. So chill. Buffalo will bounce back, although Miami last week (who the Bills destroyed in the last meeting late last year, knocking them out of the playoffs) won't be easy.
Eagles at Falcons: First thought was the Falcons would be a train wreck this year. Second thought was, Oh, everyone's writing off Matt Ryan and company too soon! Third thought was the first thought was better. Eagles defense a little better than anticipated, I'd say, while those of us who gambled on Jalen Hurts are feeling a-OK today. Falcons have problems, and they face the Bucs next week.
Browns at Kansas City: Special teams factored heavily into this up, with the Browns dominating early but being unable to hold Patrick Mahomes and company down for four quarters, then serving up the game-losing touchdown after screwing up a punt deep in their own end. Typical great games from Hill, Kelce, Mahomes, Chubb, and Hunt scored too. A moment about Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If you like him you're glad about his feature-back usage. If you don't, you're pointing at his meager numbers despite great usage in an elite offense. Opportunity counts for a lot but I'm wondering if he's going to get those opportunities all year if he doesn't look a little better.
Packers at Saints: I do not know what to say about this one. Let's see: Green Bay missed its departed/injured offensive line starters, that's one thing. Maybe not playing any starters in the preseason hurt them here. New Orleans' defensive front still really good. Packers have a get-well game against the Lions defense next week, and I think they will. What's the 2nd-best thing about facing Aaron Rodgers yesterday? Knowing you won't have to face him in that league in Week 2. I have Juwan Johnson on benches everywhere. He will likely be starting in Week 2. I don't know what the story is with Marquez Callaway (in my lineups, not benches, everywhere) beyond he was facing a really good cornerback, and the Saints didn't throw to any wide receivers much. Will be better next week.
Broncos at Giants: I was at this game, so I have lots of thoughts. First, I've been a harsh critic of Teddy Bridgewater. There's good and bad for him here. The good: He stood tall in the pocket and made some really nice, clutch throws before getting hit. Impressed me. Was a winner yesterday. Threw what should have been a 50-yard touchdown that KJ Hamler flat-out dropped. Had a nice rapport with Jerry Jeudy, a real shame that Jeudy will be out for a while with a high-ankle sprain. The bad with Bridgewater was a couple of throws that could have been big plays but he didn't get them there. Receiver open, Bridgewater underthrew him. But better than I expected and good enough that Denver will win some games. Melvin Gordon a late breakaway TD that I didn't think he was capable of. But (and I haven't seen the snap counts) it felt like Javonte Williams played more. Not much running room for either team all game, just that one big play. Nice game for Sterling Shepard, unsurprising. Daniel Jones...I'm ready to call it on him. Can't make the throws. Giants will be looking for a new quarterback in the offseason. New York's line not helping him, but it was clear in the red zone all Jones wanted to do was run, not put a ball into a tight window. Not good enough. My Broncos fan son had a blast.
Dolphins at Patriots: Patriots fumble four times and lose by 1 point. You know that kills Bill Belichick. I don't think there were a ton of surprises here. Nice running game for Damien Harris (except for the game-losing fumble; Rhamondre Stevenson also lost one), Jakobi Meyers the best receiver, Tua Tagovailoa about as expected, running back committee for Miami. Oh: Mike Freaking Gesicki. I was higher on him than many so his zero hurt me in a couple of leagues. Seems like the Dolphins will be using a committee at the position with guys like Durham Smythe getting snaps. Just one game but a brutal one for Gesicki. Will be tough to start against Buffalo in Week 2.
Bears at Rams: Who needs the preseason. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and the rest of his receivers sure looked good. Stafford making throws all game that Jared Goff not capable of. Kupp getting extra yards after every catch (had a 2nd TD reversed by replay). Great TD for Robert Woods, 1-yard TD for Darrell Henderson (worth pointing out, feature-back usage for Henderson, including that goal-line tote). Bears will apparently be using Justin Fields for some plays, probably for more as things move forward. Rams have a really good secondary and defense so too soon to write off the Bears offense.
Monday, Monday: Josh Jacobs showed up as "questionable" due to illness yesterday. It's a Week 1 reminder that if you're starting a player on Monday night, might be best to make sure you have an alternative to switch to. I don't, and will win anyway, but you hate to take a zero (especially if you already started Gesicki). Regardless, tough matchup for whoever the Raiders are able to put on the field. It's in Vegas and the Raiders should be fired up and all in front of a home crowd in their new stadium, but I'm thinking it will be Ravens 27, Raiders 17.