Week 1 of the National Football League is over, and although we’re just a small fraction through the season, a lot can be derived from this small sample set. There were some surprises — notably the Giants winning a football game and the Packers’ getting carved up by the Vikings — but do these mean anything significant? Our writers give their overreactions based on this week’s action…
Associate Sports Editor
If Jefferson didn’t make it clear last season, he is that guy in the Minnesota offense. The third-year wide receiver continues to tear up talented secondaries, this time the Packers. He hauled in nine of 11 targets for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his best game to date. This will be tough to replicate on a week-to-week basis, but if Jefferson can come anywhere close to matching this performance, then he’ll have the best receiving season ever in the NFL. He has all the tools with his speed and general athleticism, and he has solid chemistry with Kirk Cousins. He’s also proven himself to be generally injury-resistant, which should also boost his ability to have the season he’s capable of. It might be a stretch to say this, but this could be the year Jefferson takes home MVP and has a historically great stat line.
I’ll admit it: I was not big on the Trey Lance hype train going into this season. However, after his Week 1 performance, I don’t think it’s fair to automatically say that San Francisco is doomed going into Week 2. due to Lance’s inefficient play. Not only did the 49ers lose a key part of their offense in RB Elijah Mitchell, but they also were playing in poor weather that certainly put a huge damper on his performance. Lance has shown flashes of potential, and I think it’s certainly worth giving the young quarterback a few more games before making any assumptions. While Chicago’s defense looked excellent and Lance undoubtedly got outperformed by Justin Fields, it may be a bit too early to give up on him as he develops further as a starting quarterback.
For a supporter of Wentz since the beginning of his MVP-caliber year in 2017, this has been a long time coming. Things just didn’t work out for the North Dakota State product in Philadelphia, as an ACL tear in Week 14 put him on the sidelines for the Nick Foles show en route to an Eagles Super Bowl win. As a matter of fact, things didn’t work for him in Indianapolis either, as he is now on his third team in three years. But the talent is there, and has been there for a while. For once, Wentz has very little expected of him, as he’s now considered a journeyman quarterback who couldn’t steady the ship for the Eagles or the Colts. In a lower stress environment, he was able to lead the Washington Commanders to a 28-22 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, throwing four touchdowns and racking up 313 passing yards. While he’s likely not an MVP this year, Wentz should surprise a few people and earn more of his deserved respect this season.
I am less concerned about how many times he got sacked (seven) because of how historically bad the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line is. What I am worried about like a small child is how many interceptions Burrow threw. Against a stout Steelers defense, Burrow threw four interceptions and also lost a fumble, for five total turnovers. Perhaps this is the effect of a Super Bowl hangover (the Los Angeles Rams can tell you what that is like), but perhaps this is also defensive coordinators no longer taking Burrow by surprise and preparing for him like they would prepare for Tom Brady. We will know for sure by the fourth week of the season. We may not see Burrow have a clean passing game until Week 3 — the Bengals play Micah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday — but analysts will still think he is bound for a down year, despite the fact that he threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime loss.
I don’t think it’s time to panic if you’re the Denver Broncos. Yes, Nathaniel Hackett made a huge mistake not letting Russell Wilson finish out what would have been the game-winning drive. He admitted later that he regrets deciding on the 64-yard field goal attempt, which Brandon McManus missed. Wilson passed for 340 yards and a touchdown, which is promising for Broncos fans. What’s even more promising is that Jerry Jeudy had his first 100+ yard game since his rookie season. Along with that, he scored a touchdown for the first time since that rookie season. Despite the Broncos losing, there’s no need to overreact, as it was Hackett’s first game as an NFL head coach. There will be growing pains and Broncos fans just have to realize that.