After a thrilling end to the Cardinals and Chargers game on Monday night, Week One of the NFL season is in the books. As we’d certainly expect no less from the league, there were plenty of headlines that took center stage this weekend. Here’s a look at some of the impressions we have from Week One and how things could pan out moving forward.
The NFC West Is What We Thought They’d Be…
The NFC West was the toughest division in the league last year, as both the 49ers and the Seahawks would advance to the playoffs and the Cardinals just barely missed out. It looks like this season is going to be no different as these three teams look to battle it out for the next 15 weeks. Seattle shrugged off any misconception of a Super Bowl hangover with their win over Green Bay on Thursday, and San Francisco’s defense looked among the best in the league with the way it dominated Dallas on Sunday morning. And despite being down going into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals came storming back on Monday night to edge out the Chargers, 18-17. The Seahawks have a league-best 4/1 odds to repeat as Super Bowl Champs, while the 49ers aren’t too far behind at 12/1. Although Arizona finds itself a bit lower down the list at 65/1, make no mistake that they picked up right where they left off last year when they won seven of their last nine games. It’s still two weeks away, but you can’t help but get excited about the game between Arizona and San Francisco that will take place during Week Three.
And, oh yeah, sorry St. Louis fans, but this is about where expected your team to be without Sam Bradford as well.
…As Is The NFC East
As great as the NFC West is, the NFC East once again came out and had a relatively disappointing weekend. The Redskins lost to a Houston team that hasn’t won a game since Week Two of last season, Dallas was embarrassed when Tony Romo threw three interceptions in the first half, and the Giants looked lost in a new offensive scheme going against Detroit on Monday night. The one bright spot for the NFC East was that Philadelphia got a win. The only note to make of that is the fact that it came against a Jacksonville squad that has the second-worst odds in the league to win the Super Bowl, and also that they needed 34 points in the second half to do it.
The Eagles find themselves with 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, but the Giants are at 60/1, and both the Redskins and Cowboys are at 150/1.
Houston Starts The Season Like They Did Last Year; Will The Rest Of Their Season Be Different?
Things looked great for Houston this time last year. They were coming off a postseason push and many expected them to be among the favorites in the AFC. After two wins to start the season, everything looked to be right on par. Then Week Three came and the Texans wouldn’t win another game throughout the rest of the season. Houston was able to notch a 17-6 win against Redskins, but the game certainly wasn’t as joyous as it could’ve been. The #1 overall pick in last years draft, Jadaveon Clowney, went down with a knee injury, and we’re still waiting reports as to how long he’ll be out. The good news is that it looked like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andre Johnson looked to be on the same page, as Johnson accounted for 93 of Fitzpatrick’s 206 total yards. However, with Clowney out, there certainly have to be some fears in Houston that it could be another long and disappointing season.
The Falcons Are Back?
Maybe it’s too soon to be jumping on the ATL bandwagon, but the Falcons certainly started things off on the right foot on Sunday. When New Orleans and Atlanta opened things up last year, the Saints earned a 23-17 win. The Flacons would go on to lose three of their next four, and they only had four wins total on the season. After their intense 37-34 win over New Orleans on Sunday, the Falcons are one-quarter of the way to their season total from last season, but this year they look to be much better. Matt Ryan was on fire, throwing for 448 yards, including 116 to Julio Jones and 99 to Devin Hester.
The Saints currently have 12/1 odds to win the Super Bowl and they have plenty of pieces that warrant that prediction. However, the Falcons, who have just 60/1 odds, look to be much better than last season and they’ll hope to keep things up next weekend against the Bengals. Don’t forget to check in with sportspicks.com before all of the games in Week Two, and you can also make your own picks in the Million Dollar Challenge for your chance at cash prizes.
Peyton Manning Loves Week One
Peyton Manning loves the first week of the NFL season. And apparently this year, some of that rubbed off on Julius Thomas. Manning would throw for 269 yards on the evening, including three touchdowns that all went to Thomas. The Broncos were able to avenge their loss against Indianapolis from last season, as they were the only team in the AFC West to get a win in Week One.
Before Colts fans get too concerned, Andrew Luck certainly showed plenty of heart on Sunday. Luck would lead the Colts to a 14-point fourth quarter that brought the Colts to within seven in the final minutes. He also had more yards than Manning, 370, but he also threw two key interceptions.
Welcome To Miami, New England
The Miami Dolphins have now beat the New England Patriots in back to back games dating back to Week 15 of last season. But what may be more unusual for the Patriots is that they find themselves in sole possession of last place in the AFC East, after every other team in the division won their first game. The key to this game was the play of newly acquired Knowshon Moreno, who racked up 134 yards and a huge fourth quarter touchdown in his Dolphins debut. The Patriots came out strong and even had a 20-10 lead going into halftime. However, the Dolphins poured it on in the second half and became the first team to score more than 20 points against the Patriots since the Steelers did it back in 2008.
The Dolphins stlll have plenty of work to do as they sit in the middle of the pack at 50/1 odds. But they have to be excited opening things up with a win against a Patriots team that is currently sitting at 10/1.