As fast as it arrived, the first week of the NFL has come through, leaving a wake of content and topics for the entire sports world to devour. I’m not the biggest fan of the NFL has an organization, if we’re being 100% honest. But goodness did I miss the CTE inducing violence that is football. If it wasn’t for football, there would be nothing to bridge the gap between the end of the NBA season and the beginning of the NBA season, as well as the MLB postseason. And with the of the college football season producing a quality of football that can only be described as good as warm celery, the return of the NFL is welcomed.
With its return, the NFL gave us the first look at every team in the League. We were finally provided with the games that mattered, and with that came a number of far-too-early conclusions to make. So if you’re like me, and you like to take all the sports topics at once and at face value, this article is for you: a number of rapid reactions that may turn out to be overreactions, but for now are perfectly logical. Let’s get started, because Week 2 is about to start in about 5 hours.
It’s Going to Be a Long Season for the Bills
Do y’all remember when the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs last year? They snuck into the playoffs via the second Wild Card position for the first time since 1999, due to the Cincinnati Bengals beating the Baltimore Ravens in the last week of the season. They achieved a 9-7 record, which is good considering they had a complete switch-up at quarterback last year. They had Tyrod Taylor, then benched him for Nathan Peterman, and then started Tyrod again for the playoffs. The front office opted not to resign him, electing to pick up Josh Allen in the first round, allowing him sit behind Peterman (who threw 5 interceptions in his first career start).
The Bills were optimistic coming into the season (Lord knows why), with LeSean McCoy handling the backfield duties. Well, all sense of optimism left this past Sunday when the Bills got stomped out by the Ravens by a score of 47-3. I don’t know if you guys can gauge how bad of a scoreline that is, considering that the Bills did not score util the 3rd quarter. The game was a mess for their offense, with Peterman throwing 2 interceptions and only throwing for 24 yards. Josh Allen was granted the opportunity to show us stuff, but didn’t do much better, as he went 6/15 and threw for 74 yards. Due to the anemic passing game, the Ravens defense could zone on the running game, only allowing McCoy to tally up 22 rushing yards. It’s going to be rough for McCoy the entire season if defenses don’t respect the quarterback enough to even drop into coverage.
What’s even worse is that the defense gave up 236 yards and 3 touchdowns to Joe Flacco! Joe Flacco, of all people, you get lit up by Joe Flacco, who has statistically been one of the most mediocre quarterbacks in the league. I understand that it was rainy, but the performance on both sides will just have to be better. You can’t consistently get lit up on defense and get shut down on offense, otherwise there will be a lot of lopsided losses.
Right before the Cleveland Browns game, I made this tweet:
and I wasn’t necessarily wrong. The Browns showed out and tied the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, 21-21. It wasn’t a result that anyone expected, but it is one that fans should not be surprised about. Cleveland made concerted efforts to improve over the offseason, adding talent on both sides of the ball. This may actually be the first year that the Browns’ bevy of draft picks are actually ready to produce and contribute. They picked off Ben Roethlisberger 3 times, a definite sign of their defensive prowess. Now that they have a legitimate QB in the form of Tyrod Taylor, a dangerous receiving core, and solid running backs, the Browns have the chance to become a below average to average team.
Aaron Rodgers is an Unstoppable Bear Killer
How many times does someone have to beat you up before you just stop running into them? I bet the Chicago Bears would wish Aaron Rodgers would retire and do State Farm commercials for the rest of his life. He once again stole their hearts, leading a comeback from which the Packers were down by 17. What is even worse for the Bears is that he was injured and out of the game. They thought that they would have a chance to get a leg-up on their division rivals, showing off their startling defense with newly minted addition Khalil Mack, and Mitch Trubisky looking pretty good.
But the wheels fell off once Rodgers entered the game again, as he erased a 20 point deficit and led the Packers to an improbable 24-23 victory. It wasn’t only that he completed this comeback, it was the fashion in which he did it. He could barely walk, as a 295 pound lineman landed on his leg early in the game as it twisted and contorted. He brought the Packers from the brink of death, and likely saved Mike McCarthy’s job in the process, with three 4th quarter touchdowns. In a win that Green Bay needed in order to keep in pace with the likely NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers delivered.