The recipe for forming opinions on the first Sunday of the NFL season calls for plenty of one ingredient: salt. It’d be ridiculous to read too much into anything that happened in Week 1, but at the same time, for all but four "Monday Night Football" teams, 6 percent of their season is now over. In a league driven by parity, that means an early-season loss won’t define a season moving forward — no one should panic — but that one loss, in a league where margins are so tight, could also be the thing that keeps a team out of the playoffs. The significance of Week 1 will become clearer as time progresses, and there’s an awful lot of time and room for its impact to swing either way in the next few months.
APRoss D. Franklin
Broncos 21, Panthers 20 (Thursday)
What we learned: Trevor Siemian is capable of not losing games for the Broncos — he might even win them one or two — but he needs to take his game up another gear in the coming weeks; Cam Newton is very good, the Broncos defense is very good — the refs in this game were not very good.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsRon Chenoy
Vikings 25, Titans 16
What we learned: The Vikings might have made a knee-jerk reaction (sorry for the pun) in trading for Sam Bradford — Shaun Hill looked really good in the season-opening win. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out against better teams. The Titans' running backs might also be the team's best receivers, and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is probably wondering whether he can get Marcus Mariota to play in the defensive backfield, too.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsChristopher Hanewinckel
Texans 23, Bears 14
What we learned: The Bears are going to have a long, long season because that offense has the characteristics of a woeful unit. The Texans, who know all about woeful offenses, might have one capable of winning a game. This one could have been a blowout.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Chiefs 33, Chargers 27
What we learned: The Chargers aren’t as bad as so many thought they’d be this season — particularly if Melvin Gordon is a factor — though the presumed season-ending knee injury to wideout Keenan Allen is a massive blow. The Chiefs bounced back from a wickedly slow start to tie the game late and win in overtime — you can’t find guts in the box score, but Kansas City leads the league after one week of play.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
Raiders 35, Saints 34
What we learned: ESPN isn’t coaching the Raiders, which is good, and while all the talk will be about the gutsy (but smart) 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, few will bring up the bigger issue -- that the Raiders’ defense looked terrible. They’ll need to improve drastically if they want to win the AFC West. That linebacker corps, in particular, was roughed up Sunday. In New Orleans, Drew Brees is going to throw until his arm falls off, then the Saints will play him a few million over two more years. All offense, no defense — same ol’, same ol’.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E. Hingle
Bengals 23, Jets 22
What we learned: A.J. Green is amazing and is the new Governor of Revis Island; the Jets defense is nasty and has a chance to be the best in the league if it decides it no longer wants to be burned over the top.
William Hauser-USA TODAY SportsWilliam Hauser
Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24
What we learned: If you’re wondering whether Jameis Winston is the real deal, put on this game film. Some of the throws the 2015 No. 1 overall pick made were spectacular, and he’s only going to get better. The Bucs have an offense that’s capable of putting up points on anyone in the NFL this year and a risk-reward defense that — if it finds consistency — has a chance to be special. You have to take the Bucs seriously this season. There’s not much reason to take Atlanta seriously so long as it remains this disjointed on defense and reliant on Julio Jones on offense.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
Packers 27, Jaguars 23
What we learned: Aaron Rodgers can win any game he wants, and Week 1 was a spectacular performance from the MVP candidate. He had all afternoon to stand in the pocket, and the one time he did see pressure, at the end of the second quarter, he made a touchdown throw that was otherworldly (pictured). The Packers defense only needs to be average for them to win games — they were that Sunday. Joke about the Jaguars being overhyped all you want, they showed something Sunday — they aren’t going to be at Green Bay’s level, but they were able to throw counterpunches and land a few haymakers themselves. This might not be the year they break through, but it is still going to be fun to watch.
Rick Wood-USA TODAY SportsRick Wood
Ravens 13, Bills 7
What we learned: The Ravens defense showed up for the start of 2016 after taking a year off in 2015, and Joe Flacco didn’t look all that rusty after tearing his ACL last season. The Baltimore receiver corps has a chance to be the deepest in the NFL this year — Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are weapons they could have used last season. In Buffalo, when you’re a coach on the hot seat, as Rex Ryan is, it’s a bad idea to lay an egg in the first game of the season. The Bills’ offense looked terrible in the season opener. If not for a spectacular scramble and throw by Tyrod Taylor on a third-and-long in the second quarter, the Bills would have likely been held without a touchdown.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
Eagles 29, Browns 10
What we learned: Robert Griffin was wholly uninspiring — he looked like a kid playing pick-up football, and not in a good way. His memorable highlights were sky-high jump balls thrown into double- and triple-coverage ... and a safety. The Browns defense is still poor. It’s going to be a long season in northeast Ohio. Eagles QB Carson Wentz didn’t need big-time college experience or a preseason to play in the NFL — it might have been against the Browns, but Wentz turned in an absolutely inspiring performance. If he can keep up that form (big ask), he and the Eagles’ impressive defense should make waves in the NFC East.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
Seahawks 12, Dolphins 10
What we learned: The Dolphins cannot score on good defenses and can’t stop a good offense from scoring on them when it wants. The Seattle offense took the first 58 minutes of the game off and still beat Miami. What we didn’t learn was the answer to: What’s worse, taking a safety on the final play of the game, down 2, or not getting the snap off at all?; Seattle’s defense is still excellent, but the offensive line problems the Seahawks have carried for the last two years have a real chance to backfire — in a big way — on the team this season. Russell Wilson’s clipped ankle might only be the start. Doug Baldwin was worth every penny of his new contract Sunday, and the Seahawks might need to squeeze every ounce of value out of him for 15 more games — the Seattle running game didn’t alleviate many preseason concerns.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Giants 20, Cowboys 19
What we learned: The Giants are a prototypical 8-8 team, just good enough on both sides of the ball to contend for the playoffs — so long as Ben McAdoo doesn’t keep making silly decisions. In Dallas, the Cowboys’ defense remains the team’s biggest problem. Dak Prescott is a more-than-adequate game manager, but he needs the offensive line to play like the unit that has the reputation as the best in the NFL for the Cowboys to stand a chance this year. Also, get out of bounds when there’s nine seconds left in the game and you have no timeouts.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY SportsErich Schlegel
Lions 39, Colts 35
What we learned: The Lions’ offense can look really good against bad defenses — the Colts might have the worst in the NFL. Indy's Andrew Luck is a really good quarterback who has some weapons, but no run game to balance things out and no defense to help give him a break. Both of these coaches have long roads ahead of them to keep their jobs.
What we learned: Jimmy Garoppolo can start and win in the NFL — Tom Brady doesn’t have to worry about losing his job before he wants to retire, but the Patriots also don’t have to worry about who is going to replace him — the kid looked the part; The Cardinals’ defensive line has a chance to be the best in the NFL when it jells. Larry Fitzgerald, who caught his 100th TD pass after a report that he'd retire at the end of this season, is timeless — why couldn’t he play for another four years if he wanted? David Johnson is going to get a lot of work this season and was probably worth the No. 1 pick in your fantasy football draft. Arizona isn’t any less of a Super Bowl contender because of the Week 1 loss.