The unpredictability of the brand-new NFL season has many fans scratching their heads as uncertainty regarding the season rises. Needless to say, it wasn’t the opening week that many were expecting. Eight of the league’s sixteen games were decided by a touchdown or less. Seven resulted in upsets based on Vegas oddsmakers’ predictions. The aftermath of such an unforeseen start to the year has left many experts and fans alike confused about what’s next, and, naturally, many have been quick to jump to conclusions. Many of the biggest claims from the past week are legitimate—however, just as many have been blown out of proportion.
The Rams are Back
Overreaction. The Rams’ 17-point victory over the Seattle Seahawks was one of the most surprising outcomes from the Sunday slate, especially considering that the latter was favored by four-and-a-half points heading into the matchup. Standout receiver Cooper Kupp was absent from the game recovering from a hamstring injury, making the win even more impressive. It is crazy to think that this same team lost all but five games last year immediately after winning the Super Bowl. Heading into halftime of this game, the Rams trailed 7 to 13. While the air attack looked promising, their backfield only combined for 92 rushing yards throughout the entire game. Given this performance, they may end up as a challenger for the wild-card race, but it would be wise to stop short of calling them “contenders.” Needless to say, upcoming dates with the 49ers and Bengals should provide a better telling of their actual status.
Jordan Love is Green Bay’s Next Franchise QB
Underreaction. In Green Bay’s 38–20 routing of their longtime foes from Chicago, Jordan Love was absolutely electric. Throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns is an impressive stat line for a player making his debut as the QB1 of a team with a history of such great security in the position dating back to the Brett Favre era. His success is particularly striking considering that he did all this with a receiving squad so poor that it contributed to Aaron Rodgers’ exit last year. Granted, the defense he fought against was far from top-tier; however, as he becomes more comfortable playing at such a high level of football, he will certainly settle in more. Only his completion percentage leaves some to be desired, having connected on only 15 of 27 pass attempts), but the newly-crowned successor in Lambeau is expected to fill some very big shoes. Bad news, Bears fans: you may be in for another rough decade if Love’s upward trajectory continues.
The Bills Screwed Themselves Over
Underreaction. To rephrase the statement, Josh Allen screwed the Bills over. This is coming from one of the biggest Josh Allen fans around. I am a proud owner of his jersey, hat, personally-branded cereal, everything. And I’m not afraid to admit it: Allen’s performance on Monday night was abysmal. With Aaron Rodgers injured on the opening drive, the game was essentially served to Buffalo on a silver platter. There’s no denying that the Jets have weapons—and many of them, at that—but with their $75 million commander-in-chief carted off after only four plays, the game should’ve been a no-brainer. Instead, Allen proceeded to hand three interceptions to Jordan Whitehead and subsequently fumbled on his own 25-yard-line, resulting in the Jets taking the lead. Allen’s turnover-prone nature does not discredit the Bills’ ability to be superpowers this season, but it does make them vulnerable to arbitrary losses. A leg up on Kansas City and Cincinnati, who both lost this week, would have been crucial to the Bills’ chances for the envied one seed (and the home-field advantage that comes along with it). Now, whether they can even surmount the Miami Dolphins to win their division is in question. Given that Allen has yet to win a road playoff game in his NFL tenure—and has only fallen at home once—, playing in Highmark Stadium is critical if Buffalo wants to finally break through to the Super Bowl this year.
The Texans Will Repeat as the #1 Pick
Overreaction. Houston’s 9-25 loss to the Ravens, judging solely by the score, could foreshadow a repeat of last year’s atrocious season. However, the final result does not paint a full picture of how competitive the game was. They only trailed by one at halftime; in addition, the Texans had fewer turnovers, fewer punts, and gained more offensive yardage than the Ravens in the entire game. Two strong third-quarter drives put the game out of reach, but the Texans played well for their standards. C.J. Stroud was solid, and, most importantly, accurate—his completion percentage was respectable and he did not throw a single interception in 44 attempts against a top-ten NFL defense; those are good signs for a rookie quarterback implanted into a situation such as his. As a team that was second-to-last in third down conversion rate across the entire league, this week’s performance eclipsed that value by nearly ten percentage points and was, as a whole, incredibly promising. Don’t count out the Texans just yet.
The Eagles Have a Lot to Worry About
Underreaction. The defending runner-ups may have squeaked by with a 25-20 victory over the Patriots this week, but the outlook for Philadelphia is not ideal for fans hopeful for a repeat visit to the Super Bowl. First of all, the NFC is exponentially stronger than it was last season. The Cowboys, Lions, and 49ers all pose themselves as legitimate contenders, and each played much better football than Philly did this week. In all honesty, they lucked out by avoiding a tally in the loss column—New England had strung together, but failed to complete, a drive deep into the Eagles’ territory. With the clock winding down, an official review overturning the completion of a crucial reception killed their momentum and stopped the Patriots just short of a victory. Don’t get me wrong, the Birds are still a talented football team; however, it’ll be interesting to see if they can prove themselves next week against the Vikings. It’ll be particularly worth watching whether they can shut down Justin Jefferson after allowing Mac Jones to throw for 316 yards last week with a subpar receiving corps. They will need a lot more than what they’re doing right now to get back to the Big Game.
Only time will tell what the remainder of the season has in store and if these claims will stand the test of time. But for now, buckle up, because it’s shaping up to be one of the wildest in recent memory.