A smattering of familiar faces donning new jerseys ushered us into the 2023 NFL season and, with that, left us with many question marks. So what did we learn after all teams took the field for week one? Without excessive hyperbole, let’s look at some team takeaways from the first week, both good and bad.
NFL Week 1 Takeaways
Jacksonville Jaguars Are Back
Trevor Lawrence and the Jags picked up right where they left off from their nice little 2022 run. Opening the season against division rival Indianapolis, they had a pretty decisive win (aside from one underwhelming quarter) and got rolling on all sides of the ball. Rookie running back Tank Bigsby should continue to get more reps this season and wideout Calvin Ridley looked like he never missed a beat. He hauled in eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown!
Though some say it is only the Colts, it is not usually easy to win on Sundays against anyone, let alone on the road. Jacksonville looks to host the Kansas City Chiefs at their home opener in week two and will really test this team’s chemistry.
Worried Bills Mafia?
Are the Bills in trouble? Quarterback Josh Allen sure has some high highs and low lows. In the 2022 season, he did lead the league in red zone turnovers (6). The next closest QB to turn the ball over in the red zone clocked in with only three.
The Bills trotted into MetLife Stadium where a deflated Jets team lost Rodgers seconds into the game. Somehow, the bigger storyline was Josh Allen coughing up the ball four times. There is no doubt that he can hurl the ball, but it may be time to retool some of this offense and establish a solid ground game.
Allen said it himself in his post-game press conference: “Same story, different day.” I still believe that the Bills can put together a decent season, but mistake-ridden games like this in a competitive conference can turn out lethal by January.
Chiefs Opening Loss
There seemed to be mixed reactions to the Chiefs’ loss to the Detroit Lions on the Thursday night NFL kickoff. Kansas City had not lost a season opener in eight seasons, but Chiefs faithful should not press the panic button just yet. Mahomes without his trusty sidekick Travis Kelce definitely reared its ugly head. Kadarius Toney did the team no favors dropping three balls; one that would lead to a pick-six for Detroit.
Though the KC defense looked effective without star defensive tackle Chris Jones, you certainly always want a four-time Pro Bowler to suit up. Kansas City actually held the Lions to only two offensive touchdowns which would normally be enough for Mahomes to counter on offense.
I noticed a lot of discourse on whether the end game was more of a solid Lions performance or a flailing Chiefs team. One would have to assume the answer is somewhere in the gray area. Detroit is a badass football team that will do good things this season, but Kansas City isn’t anywhere on the decline.
A Giant Slaughter
Not only did the New York Football Giants get embarrassed and shut out in a primetime routing by the Dallas Cowboys, but they really strayed from the basics. Daniel Jones was haunted all night getting sacked SEVEN times by an unrelenting Dallas D. This resulted in turnovers and a downward spiral for the offense, defense, and even special teams as K Graham Gano missed two field goals.
The G-Men do have an opportunity to rebound in Phoenix and reroute their season. A week two loss against the Cards could be a panic-button moment for Daboll’s guys.
Packers Here To Stay?
The youthful Green Bay Packers came out in week one looking like they came to compete. Taking on their heated NFC North rival Chicago, they came away with a 38-20 victory on the road.
Green Bay had the highest pass-blocking grade (85.3) which always helps a brand-new number under center. Jordan Love‘s pocket was clean and he was able to connect with multiple pass-catchers; notably RB Aaron Jones and WR Romeo Doubs. While it was an encouraging victory, could it be that Chicago’s defensive line is severely subpar? While Bakhtiari and this offensive line progress through the season and face tougher opposing faces, the Packers seem to at least have a chance to make some magic.
Jordan Love notables week 1:
-Tied with most touchdowns thrown (3)
-Owns the longest completion (51 yards)
-Highest QBR in the league (123.2)
-Third in YPA (9.1)
This was certainly not just an offensive win, but a complete team effort as the defense and special teams were on the money. Defensively, the Packers ranked 2nd for opening week in pressures with 35-just one less than the Cowboys. Kicker Anders Carlson, who had his struggles throughout training camp and preseason, had a perfect day striking all five PATS and a 52-yarder through the upright. Another win on the road in Atlanta would be a stellar start for cheesehead nation.
Return Of The Rams
After a hefty roster turnover, injuries, and a could-have-been-rusty Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams looked like they didn’t have many hitches. They beat NFC West rival Seattle in a decisive 30-13 win at Lumen Field: aka not an easy place to win.
Stafford threw for over 300 yards and this was all without his go-to receiver Cooper Kupp. (Puca Nakua has entered the chat!). There was no panic for the 35-year-old QB. He showed a calm command throughout the entire game. His line, mostly manufactured late in the Summer, held up nicely for him.
The Rams’ defense was a consistent, team effort steered by LB Ernest Jones. Jones had a massive day. They were able to get good pressure on Geno throughout the game. Holding Seattle’s offense to 13 is fantastic. I think I speak for everyone when I say I am a little surprised this team was so dominant. However, I am stoked to watch how they continue to perform.