With the first week of the season in the books, I thought it would make sense to give a short update on all 32 teams around the league. Now having watched every single matchup, I came away with one observation for each NFL squad. For plenty of them I came up with several statements, but I went with the most apparent one to me. Usually I go by divisions, but for the purpose of this I listed them in alphabetical order.
Arizona Cardinals – Sam Bradford is the checkdown king
It’s nothing knew that Sam Bradford likes to check the ball down underneath and even his then record-setting completion percentage of 71.6 back in 2016 felt like a product of throwing it short of the sticks on third downs constantly. Yet, this Sunday he took it to a different level. Bradford threw 13 underneath passes to his running backs with little room to run, leading to 9 of his 20 completions. I like to see quarterbacks throw it out hot to defeat blitzes and if nothing is there I’d rather see them check the ball down, but you need to stretch defenses vertically and attack the entire field. I know it’s early and Bradford will have another couple of weeks to prove he can get it done, but eventually it’s time to put Josh Rosen out there because he (at times to a fault) isn’t afraid to push the ball down the field.
Atlanta Falcons – Steve Sarkisian still is a horrific play-caller
I don’t enjoy bashing coaches and calling for anybody’s job, but it’s just frustrating to watch this Falcons offense have so much talent and have it go to waste. I appreciate the fact that Sarkisian made it a priority to find ways to put the ball into the hands of his best player, but he just doesn’t seem to have a clear plan on how to feature his arsenal of playmakers. First-round pick Calvin Ridley didn’t catch a single pass, despite already being an outstanding route-runner and what he showed in preseason, plus the Eagles didn’t have anybody capable of covering Freeman or Coleman having without Nigel Bradham in the lineup. More importantly though, those red-zone trips were just embarrassing. For all the times Sark has been critiqued for not targeting Julio on the red-zone, he has tried to make up for it by zeroing in on number 11 in two games versus the Eagles, despite facing double-coverage constantly. At least he put him in a stack once to give him a free release, but you have to give the guys with one-on-one opportunities a chance.
Baltimore Ravens – That defense is nasty
This franchise has always been known for tough, physical defenses and last year they already looked like one of the dominant units for most of the year, as they led the league in takeaways and pitched three different shutouts throughout the season. With that being said, they might be even more terrifying in 2018 and they started things of right with a 47-3 hammering of the Buffalo Bills. The Baltimore front controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game and completely shut down the Bills’ rushing attack, forcing Nathan Peterman to beat them with his arm. After throwing two picks and putting up a QB rating of 0.0 they sent out Josh Allen in the second half, but the only real success he had came on the ground, as he outrushed LeSean McCoy with 26 yards. That performance is even more impressive considering the Ravens were without their top cornerback in Jimmy Smith. Baltimore goes five guys deep at edge rusher, C.J. Mosley is a perennial Pro Bowler and their secondary is full of ball-hawks.
Buffalo Bills – The Nathan Peterman era is over
After finally reaching the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, the Bills were due to regress after trading quarterback Tyrod Taylor and drafting developmental prospects at quarterback and linebacker. They brought in A.J. McCarron to go with seventh overall pick Josh Allen, but decided to trade him a week before the regular season as they chose Nathan Peterman as their starter under center. We all remember the mistake they made pulling Tyrod for him last year, as he threw five picks in just the first half versus the Chargers and he had an even worse performance in the season-opener. Peterman completed 5 of his 18 pass attempts for 24 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and a QB rating of zero, while not picking up a single first down. The offensive line has been a mess as well and the pass-catcher haven’t really helped him out either, but I think the second-year man is only out there to take the hits until Josh Allen is ready to go.
Carolina Panthers – A running Cam Newton scares defenses
Outside of his MVP season Cam Newton averages a completion percentage of 59.4, 288 passing yards per game, 20.5 touchdowns a season and a quarterback rating of 83.2. Everybody who has been reading my blog for the last five years knows I’m not the biggest fan of the Panthers quarterback and for detail on why you can read more of my content or ask me directly. With that being said – boy, is that guy scary when he takes off. At 6’6”, 250 pounds Superman is as tough to bring down as anybody in the league and the Cowboys got to know that first hand once again on Sunday. Cam ran the ball 10 times for 58 yards and a touchdown, with all but one of those rushing attempts coming off zone-read plays or designed QB runs. The yardage total should even be six yards higher considering the Panthers ended the game by taking a knee three times for minus six yards. Cam is a beast as a runner and you always have to pay attention to him.
Chicago Bears – This team is for real
I know they just gave up a 20:0 lead, but I don’t want to hear anybody say that the Bears choked or anything like that. The offense moved the ball (even if they had to settle for field goals) even for most of the second half and they made Aaron Rodgers move around on a bad knee. They just were a victim of the game’s best QB smelling blood in the water. Matt Nagy is a genius play-caller, who understands how to use the new weapons with movement and misdirection. Tarik Cohen is his version of Tyreek Hill as a gadget player and Mitch Trubisky looks very comfortable in that offense. Khalil Mack was unreal with just one week of practice and this defensive front got after it. Akiem Hicks is a disruptive force and Roquan Smith’s first play in an NFL game ended up in a sack. This is a dangerous squad.
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon is a playmaker
When I looked at last week’s matchups and I saw Mixon would go up against the Colts defense, I already had him penciled in as my RB1 for fantasy. Last year as a rookie, the former Oklahoma back was limited to 3.5 yards a carry behind a lackluster offensive line, but with the additions of Duane Brown via trade and Billy Price in the draft I expect a big season for the second-year man. A top-twenty talent a year ago, Mixon now with his mind set on the field, where he has looked like a tremendous all-around back in week one versus Indianapolis. Mixon amassed 149 yards from scrimmage on just 22 touches. He displayed balance, burst and power, but more importantly outstanding vision and patience. The screen game with him looked excellent and he has that Le’Veon Bell-esque running style. With that being said, he will face a tough test tomorrow night versus Baltimore who held Shady to 22 yards on the ground Sunday.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns still haven’t won a game
I understand this is more of a fact than an observation, but let me explain to you what I mean with this. The Browns came into this game with as good a roster as they have had in several years and they were hungry for a W after an 0-16 campaign, especially against a team that had beaten them in 14 of their last 16 meetings. Over the course of the game the Steelers turned the ball over six times and basically handed the Browns the victory. Big Ben threw three picks in the first half, but none of them ended in points for Cleveland. Up 21-7 in the middle of the fourth quarter, they capitalized off a fumble recovery at the PIT one yard line and having the ball at midfield almost off a punt. Having driven the ball down the field close to field goal range with less than half a minute left, Tyrod tossed an ill-advised pick to send them to overtime. After a series of three-and-outs and a missed Steelers field goal, Genard Avery’s strip-sack set them up for a 45-yard game-winner themselves, but they saw it blocked by T.J. Watt. I know it officially is a tie, but this was a moral loss for Cleveland, which could have kick-started a new chapter of their franchise’s history.
Dallas Cowboys – Nobody on the outside is ready to win in the passing game
Putting the ball into the hands of Zeke just 18 times simply won’t get it done. The Cowboys need to establish the running game, even without All-Pro center Travis Frederick, to set up opportunities to win on play-action. When Dallas is forced into obvious passing situations, there simply are no receivers, who can win consistently and Dak Prescott is not the type of guy, who will throw them open against man-coverage. At this point, it should also be mentioned that Dak’s decision-making against zone was pretty horrific as well. On the final two drives of the game the Cowboys had opportunities to move the ball down the field by pushing it outside the numbers, but they counted on Deonte Thompson to make plays. Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams and rookie Michael Gallup all only caught one pass, while Cole Beasley kind of kept them alive by catching seven short passes out of the slot and turning most of them into first downs. The Cowboys better get this ground game going or this could be a long season.
Denver Broncos – Von Miller is a freaking beast
I originally wanted to talk about how this team is ready to win right now and that Chad Kelly might be the better option under center after Case Keenum almost cost them a win with his three interceptions on Sunday, but oh my god – can Von Miller ball. That dude completely wrecked the Seahawks gameplan by recorded three sacks, four QB hurries and forcing two fumbles. He was chasing Russell Wilson around all game long and made Germain Ifedi look like trash. Von got one strip-sack off a stunt with Wilson stepping up into the pocket and the second one he came in from behind on Chris Carson and simply took the ball out of his hands like he was a little baby. This guy is a bad man, who has been wreaking havoc on quarterbacks around the league for seven years now and he is off to a good start to finally win a Defensive Player of the Year award.
Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford is one tough son of a gun
I could talk about the four interceptions Stafford threw and they were all pretty bad. I could also talk about a Matt Patricia’s horrific start to his head coaching career and how his defense made a rookie quarterback look like Tom Brady on Monday night. Yet, I want people to appreciate the toughness Stafford displays constantly. He got knocked around like a rag doll and you saw him limping on and off the field. I thought at some point the coaches should have just pulled him out of the game, but he went to them again and again to say he wants to go out on the field. This was not the first time the Lions QB played through injury. I remember an incredible comeback win against the Browns as a rookie in 2009, when he took a huge shot and could barely move his left arm, but pushed the doctors aside to go back out for the game-winning TD. I also remember a narrow loss to the Panthers last year, when he had his whole leg taped up and blood running down his hand. Nothing will keep this man off the field – not even his own medical staff.
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers is the most dangerous man in football
This is nothing new to me. Aaron Rodgers has pulled off stuff like this throughout the years and you can never count him and the Packers out, but it’s been a while since I last saw him work his magic. After being carted off and seeing his team go down by three touchdowns, it was time for the King of the North to take over once again. You could clearly tell that Rodgers had trouble moving and he was playing on guts, but he just carved that Bears defense up from the pocket. That bomb to the back of the end-zone to Geronimo Allison was amazing and I know Randall Cobb gained 65 yards of that 75-yard touchdown after the catch, but even that ability to understand how he will adjust his route where the ball has to be put was surgical. When you don’t put this man away, there is always a chance he will do unbelievable things.
Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson is not totally back yet
Deshaun Watson was so incredibly impressive in his injury-shortened rookie campaign that it was almost unfair to expect him to continue that trend in 2018. Going toe-for-toe with Tom Brady and Russell Wilson in shootouts on his way to scoring 20 touchdowns in six starts put him in the national spotlight before tearing his ACL in practice. In his much-anticipated return as a second-year player he didn’t look the same. Watson put his eyes down on the rush way too often instead of keeping them downfield to make plays. He showed a lack of decisiveness and accuracy down the field. Not only did he complete only 50 percent of his passes, he also threw a pretty bad pick when he was late and short on a deep ball to the end-zone. With that being said, he didn’t seem to have trouble moving around and he had his team in position to make a late comeback. So let’s see how quickly he can get back to himself mentally.
Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck is finally back
It was more than 600 days until we last saw Andrew Luck throw a pass in a regular NFL game and he did not disappoint in his comeback. The Colts’ star quarterback didn’t look good at all in preseason, being late on some throws and simply being hesitant to pull the trigger when he needed to. On Sunday it was time for live competition and Luck was ready to go. He showed mobility, touch and arm strength to rifle in some passes over the middle. He scanned the entire field, showing that he can still process information and understand where to go with the ball. The 29-year old took a vicious cheap-shot to the head by a Bengals safety, but got right back up and went back to work. Luck converted 11 of 15 third downs, including a sack. He gave the Colts the element of the downfield passing back and would have had his team in position for one of his notorious game-winning drives, did Jack Doyle not fumble after a 3-and-15 conversion. Luck made some ill-advised decisions and still needs to get used to the speed of the game, but he looks like Andrew Luck again.
Jacksonville Jaguars – They absolutely need to win with their run game and defense
The good thing is that the Jags already did that last year, when they led the league in rushing and finished the season 2nd in both yards and points allowed defensively. With the addition of Andrew Norwell to their offensive line and some of the young players on defense gaining more experience, both areas could be even better and they need to be when you look at what they have in the passing game. I like their second-year receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, plus I think Austin-Seferian Jenkins can be a mismatch as that flex tight-end, but how can you trust Blake Bortles? He completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 176 yards even though the Giants put everybody they could into the box. His best work came on scrambles. I won’t put that interception completely on him, because Donte Moncrief turned his head around way too early, allowing Janoris Jenkins to do so as well, but Bortles is not the guy you want to count on to win you games and Leonard Fournette get healthy soon.
Kansas City Chiefs – Tyreek Hill is by far the biggest homerun hitter in the NFL
I almost feel bad for not talking about Patrick Mahomes, because he was amazing. Those sidearm throws, bombs down the field and overall control of the offense makes me question my playoff predictions already. Yet, I want to talk about a different young player, because Tyreek is just a freak. Ever since Hill came into the league in 2016 you knew he was a touchdown waiting to happen. He scored three 80+ yard return touchdowns to go with his nine scores on offense as a rookie. Last Sunday versus the Chiefs he once again proved he is the most electric big-play threat in the game. Hill started the day off with a 91-yard punt return touchdown, but ended the game with 171 yards and two touchdowns on offense as well, including another 58-yard catch-and-run play. You just can’t blink when you face this guy, because if you do he might already be gone.
Los Angeles Chargers – These guys just can’t start fast
I might have made a mistake. I predicted the Chargers would win 12 games and earn the AFC’s number one seed. What I forgot or rather what I blindly trusted would change was the fact this team simply can’t beat the Chiefs (now having lost the last nine meetings) and they don’t get out of the gates running. Yes, they were without Joey Bosa and yes, Antonio Gates still needs to find his way back, but this team made mistakes in all facets of the game. Philip Rivers threw a crucial pick in field-goal range in the third quarter, they didn’t run the ball often enough, the defense gave up seven plays of 20+ yards, they allowed a punt return touchdown over the entire field to Tyreek Hill and they still can’t convert field goals when they really matter, as Caleb Sturgis missed a 48-yarder when the Chargers still had more than a minute and all three timeouts left. I still believe in this team because they are so damn talented, but they better get started because Kansas City looks explosive.
Los Angeles Rams – You can’t fall in love with the pass game
This is such a talented team. The Rams are loaded at pretty much every single position outside of linebacker. They made some enormous additions on the defensive side of the ball and the offense might be most fun to watch with playmakers all over the yard and Sean McVay’s creative play-designs. And while I thought their slow start versus the Raiders was more about the lack of live reps than anything else, as they sat most of their starters throughout the preseason, I couldn’t help but notice one element of their game in particular – they got pass-happy. The Rams started the game with a three-and-out before going down the field in consecutive pass plays and then putting the ball into the hands of Todd Gurley on a little touch-pass sweep for a 19-yard score. The following drive they threw it five times while Gurley only touched the ball twice to end the half with just eight-and-a-half minute of possession. Over the final 30 games they handed the ball off to Gurley 17 times, but at the start of the fourth quarter up 23-13 they went back to throwing the ball on eight of their nine plays. Todd Gurley is the engine that makes this offense go and they need to establish him to open up everything else.
Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase can elevate an offense with average talent
The Dolphins head coach got rid of guys like Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Mike Pouncey and Ndamokung Suh, who were all very good players but apparently didn’t fit in with the disciplined Gase. Instead he brought in locker-room guys like Danny Amendola, Frank Gore and Daniel Kilgore, who can help turn around the culture of his franchise. However, that lack of offensive firepower comes at a price when it comes to the talent-level. I think Kenyan Drake is a superstar in the making, but DeVante Parker has yet to show any consistency and Kenny Stills has been a very good number three receiver, who shouldn’t lead your team in yards. Outside of a badly placed ball on a fade route to rookie Mike Gesicki split out wide and an overthrown deep shot leading to interceptions I thought this offense moved the ball pretty well. They won with clever route-combinations and different alignments.
Minnesota Vikings – This is a complete team
When you think about the Vikings you think of defense first and deservedly so. That unit held Jimmy Garoppolo to 15 of 33 with one touchdown compared to three interceptions, having taken one of them to the house. More importantly they showed they can follow the gameplan, by keeping the defensive ends home against bootlegs and taking away easy completions. However, they got the job done offensively as well. The 84-million dollar man Kirk Cousins looked confident and has already established good connections with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, plus he has shown understanding of play design. Case Keenum had a magical year in 2018, but Cousins is a much better player. Also, Dalvin Cook is a special talent and even though he was limited to 2.5 yards per carry, he made things happen in the quick passing game with six catches for 55 yards.
New England Patriots – Gronk is pretty much unstoppable one-on-one
We heard all about the lack of pass-catchers surrounding Brady as we have done in recent years with Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis all gone, but as long as they have Rob Gronkowski they have that one guy who simply can’t be covered by one man. Throughout the all-world tight-end’s career there have been very few guys, who have been able to at least slow him and it has really only been those big hits from Bernard Pollard and Earl Thomas that made him less of a locomotive in the middle of the field. Last Sunday the Texans were tasked to come up with a strategy to make Brady’s number one weapon less effective and they just couldn’t find a way. They played straight-up, put safeties on him, moved linebacker Zach Cunningham to the outside and shaded him with a safety over the top, but nothing worked. Gronk still ended up with seven catches for 123 yards.
New Orleans Saints – Where has the defense gone?
After being ranked 31st in yards and/or points allowed defensively for three straight years, the Saints finally started being more than an explosive offense that threw the ball all over the field with Drew Brees. They actually started stopping opponents and producing takeaways. Which is why Sunday’s 48-40 defeat to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was all the more disappointing. Fitzy put up an almost perfect passer rating at the Saints house and the Bucs offense produced 529 yards on offense without Jameis Winston. This was a really bad showing, but there is reason to believe that things will get better. Marshon Lattimore won’t allow a perfect QB rating when matched up against Big Mike again, especially after holding him to three catches for 38 yards in two meetings last season, and Cameron Jordan & company won’t go without recording a single sack anymore. With that being said, they sure made a journeyman quarterback and a mediocre team look good.
New York Giants – OBJ and Saquon make this an explosive offense
I know the Giants lost at home to the Jaguars and only put up 15 points in the process, but they have some gamebreakers. I love Sterling Shephard, who is one of the most consistent and underrated slot receivers in the game and Evan Engram is a vertical threat down the seams. Yet it’s the showings of Odell and the second overall pick and their break-away ability that makes me believe the G-Men will be exciting to watch this season. OBJ looks like the guy who is second in NFL history with 94.5 receiving yards per game and can take a simple slant route to the house on any given play. Saquon Barkley was bottled up for most of the day, but you saw what he is capable of once he has some kind of daylight on that 68-yard TD run and he is special in the open field.
New York Jets – Sam Darnold is the Jets’ savior
I had four blue-chip players at the top of my draft board, who I thought were can’t-miss guys, but right behind them I had Darnold, who also was my clear-cut number one QB and I feel pretty good about that right now. The rookie out of USC already looked very impressive when I watched his preseason tape, with how quickly he diagnosed coverages and processed information. He just doesn’t seem to get fooled by disguises and doesn’t show any hesitation when defenses change post-snap, but instead he just simply knows how to adjust and where to go with the ball. Outside of the anticipatory skills and his toughness, it was his even keel attitude that made me believe in him as a pro. That’s why I thought tossing that pick-six when trying to squeeze in a wheel route to the running back across the field was a perfect start to his career in the sense that you can see how he will respond. He went on to complete 16 of his 20 passes, while going four for four on third downs for 72 yards plus another conversion with his feet. The defense was unbelievable, but finally having that franchise quarterback is the key for Gang Green.
Oakland Raiders – This Jon Gruden thing could go pretty wrong
Unlike a lot of people, I wasn’t worried too much about Gruden not being able to adjust to the modern game and adapt different offensive schemes. I like the toughness he wants to install into his players, I think he has gained insight into different coaches with TV production meetings and I believe he is the type of flashy hire the Raiders needed after announcing they would move to Las Vegas. Regardless of all those factors, I have yet to see him display touch with this generation of players and his feel for the flow of a game in real-time. His comment about “needing a pass rush” after their loss to the Rams was almost comical and I thought it was pretty harsh to put all the blame on Khalil Mack for saying “ he didn’t want to be on the team”, but more importantly their offense got stuck in the mud after their portion of scripted plays and when it was time to react to how the game progressed.
Philadelphia Eagles – This team can win ugly games
Carson Wentz will likely be out for another couple of weeks and no matter what anybody says, Nick Foles is not nearly as good. People forget that the Eagles defense gave up 20 points per game and they averaged just over 100 yards rushing until their bye in week nine last season. A lot of weight was on the shoulders of their young signal-caller, who I had as my MVP favorite until he got hurt versus the Rams. He was tremendous at producing big plays and keeping drives alive on third downs. The defense was pretty dominant throughout the playoffs at home and Nick Foles played the best football of his career, but they couldn’t do anything to stop Tom Brady until Brandon Graham’s strip-sack and I analyzed the brilliant offensive play-calling that made Foles’ job a lot easier. However, in an opening game where the offense looked sloppy their ferocious D-line took over and they emerged victorious, buying Wentz some time to fully recover.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Le’Veon Bell drama is in full swing
I could talk about Big Ben’s ridiculous struggles on the road or T.J. Watt’s monster game of four sacks and the blocked field goal at the end of the game, but we all know what is on every Steelers’ fans mind right now – is Le’Veon Bell worth the distractions? This is not Bell’s fault primarily, since Pittsburgh has been the most-drama filled franchise in the NFL for a couple of years now. All the on-field antics, contract disputes and media news have felt like a reality show more so than a professional football team at times. Bell’s contract status has been discussed all offseason and he has yet to show at the team’s facility or sign his franchise tender. To me he is the best all-around back in football, but the Steelers clearly don’t see him as part of their future at his price tag. James Conner’s outstanding performance of 192 scrimmage yards and two TDs certainly won’t quiet down the noise and at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bell traded.
San Francisco 49ers – Jimmy G is not invincible
Everybody knew that Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t stay undefeated forever, but with this statement I refer more to the fact that a good gameplan and the players to execute it can give the young signal-caller trouble. His completion-percentage of 45 percent and the fact he went three for eight on third downs are especially underwhelming when you consider some of the genius offensive scheming by Kyle Shanahan. Garoppolo’s job was made much easier being given easy dumpoffs off bootlegs, clever play-designs that included fake pick-plays and wide open crossing routes off misdirection. Of his three interceptions he overthrew one of his receivers, who fell down on a curl route, put a slant above the pads and he basically ended the game by trying to force the ball down the seam against triple-coverage. I still like him a lot going forward, which I described in my analysis of him once he signed his big contract, but this was a wakeup call.
Seattle Seahawks – Germain Ifedi can not hang in there
Von Miller had himself a day versus those Seahawks. He recorded three sacks, four hurries and two forced fumbles. The Broncos knew what they were doing however, because most of those numbers came rushing off the left end versus Germain Ifedi. Von had single-digit rushes against Duane Brown, who was holding his own, but he just killed the Hawks right tackle. One sack came off a stunt with the tight-end chipping him and his second fumble happened a couple of yards downfield when Miller simply took it away from Chris Carson. But Back to Ifedi – I know it’s a very tough assignment because Von still is the premiere edge rusher in the NFL, but that was an embarrassing showing and it’s not like Sunday was the first time we’ve seen that from Ifedi. He has been one of the worst starting offensive linemen in the league since he was drafted in 2015. He constantly overextended and leaned outside his frame, putting himself into horrible positions on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Fitzpatrick might be the streakiest passer in NFL history
This was the biggest upset of the week and I don’t think there was anybody in the media who predicted that the Bucs could stun a popular Super Bowl pick at the Dome. However, nobody expected to see more Fitzmagic in this matchup either. The Harvard graduate has been a journeyman throughout his NFL career, having played and started for seven different franchises. He came to all but one team as a backup, but somehow always ended up in the starting lineup eventually. Fitzy has had some brilliant moments, like a six-touchdown outing against the Titans in 2014 after being benched by the Texans three weeks earlier and he set the Jets’ franchise record for passing touchdown in a season with 31 in 2015, but plenty of times after those heroic performances, he has stunk the following week. Last Sunday was another one of those brilliant moments, when he played an almost perfect game and might have already started a quarterback controversy in Tampa
Tennessee Titans – This team could be in a lot of injury trouble
There were a few things I came away with after the Titans week one game, like Marcus Mariota still staring down some of his receivers and not getting off his primary read or the defense being tricked easily on some plays, but with the bad luck they have had in terms of injuries, this was my main observation. In almost seven hours from the kickoff the Titans saw Marcus Mariota leave the game with a banged up elbow, Taylor Lewan entering concussion protocol after taking a cheap-shot and Delanie Walker being carted off the field with a dislocated ankle. Add to that the fact that Taylor Lewan is still recovering from a torn ACL and an offense that I thought could really shine under the lead of new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur might be very limited at least for a certain period of time. Let’s hope they are healthy soon again.
Washington Redskins – The O-line is nasty and AP could have another huge year
I surprised some people when I said the Redskins had one of the top ten combinations of offensive and defensive line back in June. They were constantly reshuffling along both fronts last season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. However, when they are at 100 percent they are punishing people. I think Trent Williams is the best left tackle in football, Brandon Scherff is a Pro Bowl guard, Chase Roullier’s mobility at center gives them another dimension and they just work extremely well together. In the process, I think Adrian Peterson could have a major resurgence, because he will have running room and he moved like a 25-year old out there. Up 21-nothing at halftime, Washington pounded the ball on 42 rush attempts for 182 yards. Plus they ran a pass to the flats to AP that went for 52 yards and would have closed the game if there was no fumble.
Full NFL season predictions, college football rankings and much more at halilsrealfootballtalk.com