With Week 1 of the NFL in the books, I think it’s safe to say it is not going how many people expected. I mean, the Bears actually won with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback. He’s won more games so far than Deshaun Watson this season, so I think the pick is justified.
All in all though, which two teams or players had the biggest increase to their stock this week, and which ones took the biggest hit?
Welcome to NFL risers and fallers, Week 1.
Riser: Arizona Cardinals
The Cards pulled off one of the biggest upsets of Week 1, knocking off the defending NFC Campion, San Francisco 49ers, 24-20. Major offseason acquisition DeAndre Hopkins made his impact felt throughout the entire game, racking up 14 receptions, a career-high, for 151 yards. He didn’t reach the endzone, but it was by no fault of his own as he accounted for almost 50% of the team’s scrimmage yards by people not named Kyler Murray. The touchdowns just went to other hands. Speaking of Kyler, the second-year quarterback had a very solid start to his season, throwing for 230 yards, one touchdown and one pick while also picking up 91 yards and a score on the ground. The defense played well enough, sacking Jimmy Garoppolo three times and limiting the offense to 366 yards on the game, which is right about middle of the pack in Week 1. I picked the Cardinals as a possible dark horse Super Bowl contender this season, and so far they’ve held up their end of the bargain.
Faller: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There was probably not one team in the NFL that had more hype surrounding them this season than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s to be expected when you bring in a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback and his maybe Hall-of-Fame buddy tight end, but I always thought it was way too overblown. There was too much of an abbreviated offseason, there were too many new faces and just too much team chemistry to form in such a small amount of time. Teams didn’t even get preseason games to work the kinks out. Oh, and did I mention Tom Brady is 43 years old? Well on Sunday, he looked it, falling to the New Orleans Saints 34-23. He only threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns, which is acceptable when you’re not turning the ball over, but he threw two really bad interceptions. Not only that, but a lot of his positive offensive statistics came in garbage time when it didn’t really matter. The defense also looked like swiss cheese, as Drew Brees (who is 41 years old by the way) and Taysom Hill were able to carve them up however they pleased. All in all, it was just a very negative day for Tampa. Yes, they did play a very good team in the Saints, but for a team that some people were unironically picking to win the Super Bowl, they didn’t even compete.
Riser: Gardner Minshew II
Minshew Mania is back! Seriously though, the Jaguars might not be as horrible as everyone thought. Personally, I think they’re still very, very bad and Sunday was more of a product of the Colts just being worse, but the one player who definitely needs some credit is Minshew. He went 19/20 passing (!!) for 173 yards and three scores. Sure, the yardage isn’t anything special, but when you’re getting the job done as efficiently as he was, it doesn’t really matter how many yards you throw for. Maybe the Jaguars won’t go after Trevor Lawrence after all. Maybe Minshew is the guy. He has an entire season to prove he is, and he got off to the right start.
Faller: Carson Wentz
Speaking of potential teams that might be entering the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, the Eagles might want to move on from Carson Wentz if he keeps playing like he did on Sunday. While I used that as more of a transition, seeing as the Eagles are stuck with his absurd contract and likely won’t go after a new QB, it doesn’t change how terribly he played. The Eagles lost to the Washington Football Team. By two scores. Wentz threw two stupid interceptions and lost a fumble, letting Washinton claw back into a game they once trailed 17-0. Yup, Wentz just stopped scoring after the Eagles’ second touchdown of the game, about two thirds of the way through the second quarter. Sure the defense also let up 27 points, but Wentz can’t let those be unanswered. He’s getting paid like a franchise quarterback, it’s time he plays like one.