Without a doubt, Week 1 is absolutely the most incomprehensible slate of 16 games we’ll see all season. Teams, even the best ones, are still getting their footing and trying to sort out the roster, which leads to upset wins, shocking developments and impressive outings from fairly unknown players. But as Aaron Rodgers once said, “R-E-L-A-X.” Don’t overreact after just one week. Don’t start crowning players as future Hall of Famers, and definitely don’t give up hope on your team after one loss. Well, unless you’re a Browns or Rams fan. Here are the biggest overreactions from the first week of NFL action.
Getty ImagesRich Schultz
The Colts are doomed
Indianapolis picked up right where it left offlast season, losing to a team it should have beat, especially at home. The Colts absolutely should have sent the Lions home with an 0-1 record, and Andrew Luck (385 yards and four touchdown passes) did everything he could to make that happen. His defense, though, was shredded. As bad as the Colts looked, they’re far from done. The Colts have a fairly easy schedule playing in the AFC South, and just two of their next six opponents were 2015 playoff teams. With a quarterback like Luck and a rejuvenated wide receiver group, the Colts are going to put up points in bunches this season. They just need the defense to get healthy and to limit opponents to 21 of fewer points. The Texans are the only real threat to the Colts in the AFC South, but they have Brock Osweiler – not Andrew Luck. Indianapolis will rebound from this disappointing loss.
Jimmy Garoppolo deserves to start all season
With Tom Brady at home watching the game, Garoppolo stepped into the starting lineup and put on a show against Arizona, which has one of the best defenses in the NFL. He completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown, posting 106.1 passer rating. It was one of the most impressive performances of Week 1, regardless of his age, inexperience or the team lining up against him. He played exceptionally well, but don’t get overwhelmed by one game – this is still Brady’s team. The Patriots have seemingly found their heir to Brady, which is a huge step for New England. However, he hasn’t earned the starting job for all of 2016, and he never will. Brady is among the top quarterbacks in football – Garoppolo is not. That tells you all you need to know about the blasphemous “QB controversy” some are calling for. The Garoppolo era isn’t going to happen this year, and probably not even next season, so cool the jets.
The Cardinals aren’t elite
Everyone calm down. The Arizona Cardinals are still one of the three best teams in the NFC despite falling to the Tom Brady-less Patriots at home. New England is arguably the top team in its conference regardless of whether Brady plays, mainly because there’s a guy named Bill Belichick on the sideline. The Cardinals played poorly on defense and didn’t get nearly enough pressure on Garoppolo, even with several offensive linemen missing for the Patriots. Bruce Arians will learn from the loss and build a better game plan for Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teams are allowed a few poor games, and Arizona still nearly came out on top with a last-second field goal try. There’s little reason to be concerned about the Cardinals this season. Arizona will still make a deep playoff run when it’s all said and done.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
The Cowboys can’t win without Tony Romo
Dallas continued to struggle without Romo in the lineup once again Sunday, falling to the New York Giants at home. It wasn’t, however, a pathetic display of offense as was the case several times last season with Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden taking snaps. Dak Prescott made a handful of great throws and showed impressive poise in the pocket. He just didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. Ezekiel Elliott had just 51 yards rushing on 20 attempts, while Dez Bryant caught only one pass for eight yards. It’s clear the coaching staff came up with a safe game plan for Prescott in his debut, but that will change going forward. He will take more shots downfield and attempt throws he shied from against the Giants. Heck, if the Cowboys get even one touchdown instead of a field goal in the red zone, they win that game. Or, if Terrance Williams runs out of bounds, Dan Bailey has a shot at a 61-yarder for the win. Dallas will win games with Prescott this season, and that’ll start this week against the Redskins.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
The Broncos are the best team in the AFC
Denver had arguably the biggest statement win of Week 1 by beating the Panthers to open the regular season. The defense was once again swarming and physical (borderline dirty?) against Cam Newton and was the main reason Denver came away with the win. However, that doesn’t mean the Broncos are going to make another run at a Super Bowl. Trevor Siemian had his moments and made a handful of key throws, but he also showed the glaring holes in his game. His two interceptions were both poor throws and showed a lack of awareness on his part. Siemian played better than some expected, which isn’t necessarily a compliment given that he threw two picks, but he did show potential. If the Broncos are to make another run at a Super Bowl and take control of the AFC, they’re going to need much better play from their quarterback.
The 49ers will challenge for a playoff spot
Don’t be fooled: The 49ers are not a good football team. They were the beneficiaries of having months to prepare for a horrendous Rams squad, which Chip Kelly took full advantage of. It’s clear the 49ers are better than Los Angeles, Cleveland and a handful of other bad teams in the NFL, but that doesn’t make them a team to beat. That being said, they do deserve credit for stuffing Todd Gurley and moving the ball against a stout Rams defense. The true test for San Francisco will come next week, when the Niners take on the Panthers on the road. Expect Carolina to beat San Francisco handily and send the 49ers back down to earth after blowing out the inept Rams.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Carson Wentz is the next great quarterback
Wentz had a terrific debut. It went about as well it could have with the No. 2 overall pick completing 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns without committing a single turnover. He did, however, fumble it twice and make a few ill-advised throws, but those minor mistakes weren’t enough to turn his great outing into a poor one. Yet, for as solid as he was, we need to tap the brakes on the Wentz hype a bit. Yes, he was impressive. And yes, he has all the tools to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. But it was against Cleveland, and it was one game. The Browns have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and it showed on Sunday. Wentz won’t face a worse secondary this season than the one he just saw, which could lead to some issues. He still needs to speed up his motion and processing of coverages, but it was a solid start. Just don’t go calling him the second coming of Joe Montana.