NFL Week 1 Overreactions vs. Reality
Think back to 12 months ago. The Chicago Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Burrow committed five turnovers in losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Dallas and routed the Cowboys.
By the end of the season, the Bears had the worst record in the league, the 49ers were in the NFC Championship Game, Burrow was selected to the Pro Bowl, and Brady’s final NFL season would end below .500.
We all know that we should temper our evaluations of a single week of football. But overreactions are the order of the day.
The 49ers are the Best Team in the NFL
This may actually be true. They went into Pittsburgh on Sunday and completely dominated a Steelers defense that is one of the best in the league. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers were supposed to be much improved on offense, but the San Francisco defense held them to just 239 total yards.
Quarterback Brock Purdy’s elbow looked sound, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk had monster days running and catching the ball, and the defense recorded five sacks. The 49ers are for real.
The Kansas City Chiefs Will Miss the Playoffs
Losing at home on the night that you hang your Super Bowl banner is not ideal, but it is hardly catastrophic. The Kansas City Chiefs are starting 0-1 for the first time since Patrick Mahomes has been their quarterback, but he was his usual great self last Thursday, and the Chiefs had multiple chances to win.
They were playing a good Detroit Lions team, and doing so without their second- and third-best players, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. Jones is back this week, Kelce might be, and the defending Super Bowl champions will be fine.
BetUS.com has the Chiefs at -350 to make the playoffs, and at +700 they are still the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Geno Smith Was a One-Year Wonder
Sunday’s lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Rams is a concern for the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Geno Smith. Not only did Matthew Stafford torch the Seattle secondary for 334 yards passing, but Smith finished with a paltry 112 yards. Last year’s season-low was 183 yards, which came in a Week 17 win over the Jets.
It’s a concern. But Smith is a veteran quarterback playing with one of the league’s best coaches. Week 1 games against a division opponent can be weird, and one bad performance is not a reason to press the panic button. Smith and head coach Pete Carroll will get it sorted.
Hop Off the Bears Bandwagon
The Chicago Bears were an exciting pick to go from worst to first, largely because of the addition of wide receiver D.J. Moore. It was thought that giving quarterback Justin Fields a legitimate weapon would be the difference in him taking a big step forward.
Moore caught just two passes in the Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers, and all of the many holes that still exist on the Bears’ roster were exposed by Green Bay. Chicago’s offensive line is bad, their defense couldn’t get off the field on third down, and a trip to the playoffs for the Bears still feels a year or two away.
The Cowboys are the Best Team in the NFC East
This was certainly true on Sunday. The Cowboys went into MetLife Stadium on Sunday night and crushed the New York Giants, 40-0. Dallas had seven sacks, the Giants managed just 171 total yards, and the Cowboys barely broke a sweat in cruising to the victory.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles were one toe drag away from facing an end-of-game scenario that might have sent them to defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots. Instead, Philly hung on for the less-than-dominant win.
But before we declare the Eagles inferior to the Cowboys, it’s important to remember that this game was against Bill Belichick, one of the best coaches in the history of the NFL. New England has a great defense, and when Belichick has multiple months to scheme for a game, he will make your life miserable.
BetUS.com still has the Eagles as the division favorite, paying -115.
The Jets Season is Over
The season-ending torn Ahilles tendon for Aaron Rodgers is a shattering blow to the Jets Super Bowl chances. They are now +5000 to win the Super Bowl at BetUS.com, which puts them behind the Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.
But as we saw on Monday night, even without Rodgers, this team can still win. They won’t win the Super Bowl, but they may prevent someone else from winning the Super Bowl, like the Buffalo Bills. In Josh Allen’s last three games against the Jets, he has five interceptions, three fumbles, and just four touchdowns.