And to think we still have 17 weeks of chaos to go
Week one has come and gone, and it’s time to react completely irrationally. If your team is 1-0, might as well punch your ticket for the Super Bowl. If your team is 0-1, time to start planning for your top-5 draft pick. Week one was full of blowouts, upsets and dramatic last-second victories. The Packers forgot how to play football, the Texans are the AFC South Division leaders and 44 year-old Tom Brady continues to be an ageless wonder.
Here we go, week one overreactions in the NFL.
Kyler Murray is going to take over the league, lead the Cardinals on a playoff run
What a performance. The Arizona Cardinals showed up at Nissan Stadium in Tenn., stole the family jewels and left the Titans wondering what the heck just happened. Murray accounted for five touchdowns, two of them to all-pro receiver Deandre Hopkins.
Murray and the Cardinals’s 38-13 win reminded me of the Ravens blowout victory over the Dolphins in week one of the 2019 season. Baltimore and Lamar Jackson looked unstoppable that day, winning their first of 14 games that season in route to a first round bye in the playoffs as Jackson took home the MVP trophy at the end of the year.
Murray and the Cardinals look capable of doing something similar after their week one drubbing. If Murray has indeed taken that Jackson/Josh Allen-type leap, it will be a long season for defensive coordinators. While the NFC West remains one of the NFL’s toughest divisions, at least for now it seems are legitimate threats to take home the division crown.
The Saints are Super Bowl contenders
The Saints entered week one as 3.5 point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers, and left week one 1-0 after a 38-3 victory over the Cheeseheads. Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns, despite throwing for less than 150 yards. How is this possible? Aaron Rodgers was not good on Sunday.
The reigning MVP threw two first half interceptions, and was benched at the start of the fourth quarter. The Saints defense was suffocating, constantly giving Winston and the Saints offense short fields.
I think everyone seemed to forget how good and well-coached the Saints have been in recent history. New Orleans has won the third most regular season games since the start of 2016.
Sure Drew Brees retired, but at times he looked like he was holding the Saints offense back with his inability to throw the ball more than 20 yards downfield. Winston adds a deep threat element to the Saints offense that they had been lacking.
Now, we have yet to see how well Winston has cleaned up his nasty turnover habits. For now however, the Saints look like they will once again be amongst the NFC’s best teams.
Mac Jones is going to win offensive rookie of the year
Before you start yelling at me, hear me out. I know the Patriots lost on Sunday, but that was not because of Jones. Jones was clearly the better quarterback on Sunday in the Pats’ 17-16 loss to Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins. The rookie was accurate and efficient, going 29/39 for 281 yards and one score without turning the ball over.
Jones was the only rookie quarterback on Sunday that never seemed too overwhelmed. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson both looked fine, but they made the rookie mistakes that Jones did not. If one more legitimate offensive weapon emerges, Jones could run away with the rookie of the year award.
Matthew Stafford is going to win MVP
In a league with Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, is it smart to pick the quarterback that in 12 years has not won a playoff game and is in his first year with a new coach and new team to win MVP? Probably not. That’s why they’re called overreactions.
However, part of the MVP award is having a good narrative, which is exactly what Stafford has. Stafford has long been one of the league’s most likable tough guys. Right or wrong, the lack of success in Detroit in Stafford’s decade plus there are largely seen as not his fault. Now expectations are through the roof since Stafford has been paired with Sean McVay and a Super Bowl ready roster.
If Stafford’s performance on Sunday night was any indication, he and the Rams looked primed to make a deep playoff run. Their roster, while imperfect, is without any glaring holes. If Stafford puts up the huge numbers he’s capable of and L.A. ends as a top two seed in the NFC, there’s no reason to believe Stafford can’t be one of the MVP favorites by seasons end.
Aaron Rodgers is throwing the Packers season away to get revenge
Okay this one is not serious, but this is an awesome internet conspiracy. The conspiracy goes that Rodgers is still upset enough with Green Bay’s front office that he is going to sabotage the Packers’s season out of sheer spite and then leave to another team in the offseason.
Is this actually what’s happening? No chance. Does anyone actually believe this? I hope not. Still, it is fun to think of Rodgers cooking up his grand plan to finally get back at Packers GM Brian Gutekunst by throwing away a season for a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
Again, this conspiracy holds absolutely no water and Rodgers will continue to be one of the game’s best quarterbacks. Then again if we check back in in two months and the Packers are 1-7, perhaps then we should take a closer look.