Before week two of the NFL regular season is kicked off later tonight and we officially turn our focus to the future, let's take one final look back at the opening weekend. After all, a lot has happened during the NFL’s first 15 games – and while not all was positive, a lot was definitely noteworthy:
1. Blowouts were on the menu: The New England Patriots’ 42-27 opening day loss was a sign of things to come: Only four of the first 15 NFL games were decided by a score or less. Furthermore, four teams failed to score a single touchdown during their respective games. In short: It was a week full of bad and unbalanced football.
2. A lot will change over the next few weeks: That being said, week one is hardly an indicator on how the season will ultimately look like. Just go back to 2014, when the Patriots were unable to find their rhythm until week five of the season. While, yes, some team did struggle, they still have plenty of time to turn the corner.
3. The Colts are putrid without Andrew Luck: Even with their Pro Bowl quarterback on the field, the Indianapolis Colts are a middle-of-the-road team. Without Luck, the team is downright awful as its 46-9 loss against the Los Angeles Rams demonstrated. The biggest question mark is at quarterback, where former Patriot Jacoby Brissett could soon be elevated to a starting role.
4. For one week, Jared Goff looked like a franchise quarterback: The first overall pick of the 2016 draft has had a forgettable rookie season. However, Goff looked very good on Sunday. Granted, it was against an overmatched Colts defense but the second-year pro looked decisive in his decision making while his mechanics appeared to be much improved. It was only one week, but it was an encouraging one.
5. The Seahawks' and Giants’ offensive lines struggled…: The Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants have two of the best defenses in the NFL. However, both teams have struggled mightily on offense in week one – and a lot of it had to do with offensive line play. Whether it is pass protection or run blocking, if the Seahawks and Giants are not able to improve up front soon, their offenses will likely remain highly inconsistent.
6. …but nothing compared to the Texans: The award for worst offensive line performance of the week goes to Houston, where the Texans were outmatched from the get-go. The unit gave up 10 sacks during its blowout loss at the hand of the Jaguars. Simultaneously, a lot of credit has to go to Jacksonville’s defense for winning the battles in the trenches and consistently making life miserable for quarterbacks Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson.
7. Don’t sleep on the Broncos: The defense still looks very good, while quarterback Trevor Simian had a mostly solid performance in week one against the San Diego Chargers. While the team still has a long way to go to repeat its 2015 Super Bowl season, Denver has shown that it belongs in the AFC playoff picture – at least for now.
8. Oakland might have to make an interesting personnel decision down the line: Placing kicker Sebastian Janikowski on injured reserve was expected to be a blow to the Oakland Raiders. However, the veteran’s replacement has done a mighty fine job in week one as Giorgio Tavecchio made all four of his field goals – two of which from 50+ yards – as well as two extra points. If Tavecchio continues to kick at this high a level, the Raiders might opt to keep Janikowski on injured reserve all year long.
9. The Cardinals’ offense could be in trouble: Arizona did not look good against the Detroit Lions as the team struggled to consistently move the football. Now, the team will be forced to do so without its most dangerous offensive player: Running back David Johnson has been placed on injured reserve and will miss at least eight weeks.
10. New England will not face Miami off its bye week: Miami was originally scheduled to have its bye in week 11. However, due to the cancellation of the team’s season opener and subsequent rescheduling, the team will now play 16 straight weeks. Furthermore, it will no longer play the Patriots coming off a bye.