Week 1 of the NFL season was filled with surprises, littered with upsets, and is bound to trigger some overreactions.
After an offseason's worth of predictions and prognostications, we finally got a first glimpse of how the league might shape up this season. Here's a look at where things seem to stand after Week 1:
1. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Miami proved the old adage 'speed kills' still holds water in 2023, after all, the Dolphins averaged a league-high 8.2 yards per play against the Chargers while winning in comeback fashion in Los Angeles. Tua Tagovailoa took his place among the game's elite passers by finishing with 466 yards with three touchdowns to one interception while notching his seventh career fourth quarter comeback. Sunday was the kind of win that proves the Dolphins' mettle and cements their status as championship contenders. Perhaps, even, as the team to beat in the AFC.
2. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
The Cowboys' defense is elite, as advertised — err, perhaps even better than expected. Micah Parsons made an early Defensive Player of The Year statement leading the Cowboys' sack parade of Daniel Jones in the swamps of Jersey, wrangling the Giants' quarterback for 1.0 of Dallas' 7.0 sacks. The defense scored a touchdown, special teams scored a touchdown, and the Cowboys announced their presence in the Super Bowl race with a 40-0 shutout win, on national television, that felt at times like it was headed to 100-0.
3. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
If Sunday's shellacking of the Steelers in Pittsburgh is any indication, this might be the most complete roster in the NFL, and if this is the Brock Purdy who shows up for work over the next 16 weeks, San Francisco might be the toughest out in the league. At one point, late in the second quarter, the 49ers had out-gained the Steelers 200 yards to 1. Seriously. While Pittsburgh's defense was completely overmatched all afternoon, Christian McCaffrey's 152-yard and one touchdown performance along with Brandon Aiyuk catching all eight targets for 129 yards and two scores certainly put the rest of the NFL on notice.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
It looked like smooth sailing for the Eagles, when the reigning NFC champions jumped out to a 16-0 lead over the Patriots. But, Philadelphia had to hold on for dear life just to escape Foxboro with a 25-20 win on a steamy New England afternoon. On an afternoon where the Eagles' offense slipped into a midday slumber, rookie Jalen Carter vaulted to the top of the Defensive Rookie of The Year hierarchy by notching six quarterback pressures and recording a pivotal sack on the Patriots' final possession. Hurts and Philly shook off the cobwebs in Week 1, and a Thursday night clash with the Vikings could prove telling about where this team is in its race for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
Oh look, Kadarius Toney dropped another pass. Patrick Mahomes received no help from his weapons in Thursday night's season opener. Despite passing for 226 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while proving lethal as ever with his legs while adding a team-high 45 rushing yards, Mahomes couldn't overcome the myriad dropped passes, including one by Toney that was returned for a touchdown in a stunning 21-20 loss. Good news for Kansas City is Travis Kelce sounds like he has a great chance of returning in Week 2, and we should have a much better barometer of where the Chiefs are in their title defense after Sunday's game against the Jaguars.
6. Detroit Lions (1-0)
The Lions have arrived. Detroit walked into the maelstrom that is Arrowhead Stadium, with a Super Bowl banner being unveiled, and punched the champions in the mouth. By playing their brand of hyper-competitive football, and forcing two turnovers on defense, including rookie Brian Branch's pick-six off Mahomes, the Lions look like a team that is going to tax its opponents for 60 minutes, in all phases. And, this is an offense that is going to get first-round talent Jameson Williams back in Week 7. Look. Out.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
Trevor Lawrence was a model of efficiency, walking into Indianapolis and completing 24-of-32 passes for 241 yards with a pair of touchdowns to one interception and emerging with the lone victory by an AFC South team in Week 1. Calvin Ridley already looks like he's going to have the kind of transcendent impact on Lawrence that A.J. Brown has had on Jalen Hurts, and the Jaguars look capable of punching above their weight, as a legitimate contender in the loaded AFC race.
8. Cleveland Browns (1-0)
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had the Browns ready for prime time. The Bengals' explosive receiver trio managed only seven catches for 49 yards, Joe Burrow was sacked three times while only passing for 82 yards, as Cincinnati's offense could punch its way out of a phone booth amid a monsoon and a barrage of exotic Schwartz blitzes. The Browns' identity seems to be playing disruptive, dominant defense, while pounding the running game with Nick Chubb and DeShaun Watson's improvisation. At least for one afternoon, against a legitimate title contender, it certainly looks like a formula that will travel.
9. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
What exactly is the Ravens' identity? Sure, they trampled the lowly Houston Texans — in C.J. Stroud's first start, but Lamar Jackson failed to pass for 200 yards, or rush for 50. Zay Flowers flashed some promise, and Baltimore's defense held serve while holding Texans to 3.7 yards per play. But, losing running back J.K. Dobbins for the season is a crushing blow for the offense.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Todd Bowles' team answered the bell and authored one of the more impressive performances of the weekend. Baker Mayfield looked rejuvenated, throwing to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, while the defense produced some timely turnovers. If the Buccaneers are for real, beating the reigning NFC North champions is an impressive victory to have stashed away come tiebreaker season ...
11. New York Jets (1-0)
Monday night was the ultimate emotional roller coaster for the Jets, in East Rutherford. From the stunned heartbreak of Aaron Rodgers suffering a significant injury that some fear is a ruptured Achilles tendon, to a cathartic finish with a game-winning punt return for a touchdown in overtime, the victory over the Bills had it all. New York's outlook for the rest of the season largely hinges on the severity of Rodgers' injury, but a menacing defense led by Quinnen Williams, Sauce Gardner, and Jermaine Johnson are going to keep the Jets in the mix.
12. Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Was that Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love behind center for the Packers? Even without wunderkind receiver Christian Watson, the Packers' offense was dynamic as ever. Aaron Jones proved just the security blanket Love needed, while rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown while adding a team-high 86 receiving yards and another score. Sunday showed the chasm between the Packers and Bears is wide as ever, and perhaps the rest of the world has been sleeping on Love's upside ...
13. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
As mentioned above, the Browns' defense pulverized Burrow's Bengals amid miserable conditions. The further Burrow gets from a hamstring injury suffered during practice back on July 27, the more efficient and explosive this offense is going to be. It's unlikely, but if Sunday was more truth than mirage, than this offense will need to figure things out quickly.
14. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Derek Carr was the best quarterback on the field, against the Texans, and might easily be the best quarterback in the NFC South. Carr's connection with dynamic receiver Chris Olave proved frutiful for the Saints, as the duo connected on eight passes for 112 of Carr's 305 passing yards. New Orleans' defense slamming the door late is encouraging for things to come in a wide open division race.
15. Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Buffalo's loaded and talented roster, led by Josh Allen is going to keep the Bills in the Super Bowl race in the AFC. However, Allen tossing three interceptions was an abject disaster. The fact that Allen has turned the football over 82 times in his career shows that Buffalo has played with fire over the past several seasons, and Monday night, it was the Bills who got burned. How this team responds, with minimal margin for error in the division race will be compelling to watch.
16. Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
Bijan Robinson made a flashy introduction to the rest of the NFL, but the Falcons' offense never quite got out of its own way. Desmond Ridder managed only 115 passing yards, the defense got gashed by Miles Sanders and Chubba Hubbard, and it seemed the Falcons were fortunate that Sunday was Bryce Young's NFL debut.
17. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
No Cooper Kupp? No problem. Sean McVay coached, and Matthew Stafford played like a team tired of being written off and forgotten. Is it sustainable? Time will tell. But, that the Rams' defense held the Seahawks to 2-of-9 on third down and made Geno Smith look like he hopped into a time machine back to 2014 is the kind of performance that could produce aftershocks throughout the AFC West.
18. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
After finding themselves on the wrong end of seven one-score games in 2022, the Raiders spoiled Sean Payton's Denver debut, rolling out of the Mile High City with a 17-16 thriller. Jimmy Garoppolo delivered the kind of methodical performance with a clutch finish the Raiders were hoping for when they acquired him this offseason.
19. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)
Kellen Moore's arrival unearthed running back Austin Ekeler, who rushed for 117 yards while busting off one run of 20+ yards and a game-high 55-yard scamper. Even though Justin Herbert was efficient while passing for 228 yards with one touchdown, while scoring 34 points, Los Angeles ran into a buzzsaw. Brandon Staley better figure out some way to fix the Chargers' defense. Quickly.
20. Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
That was decidedly not how the Seahawks drew up their opener, after receiving an offseason's worth of praise for a strong draft class and prudent additions. Sean McVay's offense produced 426 yards of total offense, without wide receiver Cooper Kupp, as Los Angeles effortlessly slashed through the Seahawks' defense for 27 first downs and 30 points. If the Seahawks had sights set on keeping pace with the 49ers in the West, it might be time to have their collective vision checked.
21. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
The Vikings have been straddling a line between rebuilding or going all-in one for one last ride with Kirk Cousins. Justin Jefferson and rookie Jordan Addison were prolific, combining for 211 yards with a touchdown. But, scoring 17 points just isn't going to get it done ...
22. Washington Commanders (0-1)
If the Commanders' Week 1 opponent were anyone other than the Arizona Cardinals, who have at least one eye trained on USC quarterback Caleb Williams, there would be major concern and significant questions in the nation's capital about Sam Howell as this team's starting quarterback.
23. Denver Broncos (0-1)
Sean Payton vowed to fix Russell Wilson, and shake things up for the Denver Broncos. Well, Wilson netting out just 166 passing yards and scoring 16 points against the AFC West rival Raiders wasn't exactly a tone-setter.
24. Chicago Bears (0-1)
There was plenty of optimism that Justin Fields' familiarity with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's scheme, and the addition of D.J. Moore would unlock the former first-round pick's potential and take the offense to new heights in 2023. Instead, after another afternoon that saw Fields scrambling like his life depends on it, it's beginning to become fair to wonder if this is the worst possible situation in the league for the 24-year-old to develop in. The Bears have a long way to go ...
25. New England Patriots (0-1)
New England withstood the reigning NFC Champion Eagles' initial storm, and threw some haymakers of their own. The Patriots have to be encouraged by Mac Jones leading scoring drives of 71 yards, 58 yards, and 75 yards against that defense that relentlessly pressured him all afternoon.
26. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Is this not who the Titans are? Even the addition of DeAndre Hopkins couldn't ignite a passing game that has been stagnant for years. That the Saints were able to shut down running back Derrick Henry, holding him to 4.2 yards per carry and 63 rushing yards should be cause for concern in Music City.
27. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Even the flukiest defensive touchdown you'll ever see wasn't enough to lead the Colts past the Jaguars. But, Indianapolis has to be encouraged by the play of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson played like the moment wasn't too big for him, frequently showed off a quick release, and seems to be building chemistry with playmaking receiver Michael Pittman Jr. If Richardson develops quickly, there's major opportunity for the Colts in the South.
28. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
It might be a slog for the Panthers this season. Bryce Young looking competent and Carolina's defense sacking Desmond Ridder 4.0 times while logging six quarterback hits wasn't even enough to keep this game competitive. For Frank Reich's group, this season is all about getting Young meaningful snaps, but any designs on competing for the postseason appear ... premature.
29. Houston Texans (0-1)
As expected, C.J. Stroud took his lumps, passing for 242 yards against a menacing Ravens defense, but failing to find the end zone. It's going to take time for DeMeco Ryans to establish a winning culture in Houston, and Stroud will go through growing pains. But, this young team showed glimmers of promise in a 25-9 loss to a significantly deeper and more talented roster.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
If someone had said that Mike Tomlin was no longer the Steelers head coach, it would have been believable on Sunday afternoon. The 49ers marched into Pittsburgh and ripped the soul out of a defense that had high expectations — before allowing 391 yards and 30 points, and made the Steelers' offense look punchless. Not every matchup will be against a team as loaded on both sides of the ball as San Francisco is, but the Steelers' effort should cause a five-alarm fire throughout the iron city.
31. New York Giants (0-1)
That was the kind of loss that has sweeping consequences from the front office to the coaching staff. Not only did the Giants get blanked, 40-0, but Brian Daboll left Daniel Jones in the game to withstand a meaningless barrage of hits from the Cowboys' defense in pouring rain with the outcome long since decided. Dallas outlcassed the Giants in every facet, and exposed that the decade-plus search for a competent offensive line remains a colossal organizational failure. If Sunday night is any indication, 2022 was a fluke and the Giants will be looking up a ways at the Eagles and Cowboys in the NFC East.
32. Arizona Cardinals
Don't expect the Cardinals to move much higher from this spot all season. First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon couldn't be less inspiring, and despite showing some fight early, this team did exactly what it seems built to do; fold, while getting one step closer to Caleb Williams.
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