Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)
Here’s a look at how each team stacks up after one week. I tried hard not to overreact, but I definitely did. We’ll see how this list looks in a few weeks.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) (LW: 1)
Kings stay kings. It blows my mind that the Eagles have twice as much talent on both lines as most of the league. They are just pure bullies on both sides of the ball. Can you imagine what this team will look like when Wentz is back? There’s not a single team in the league that dominated more in the trenches, unless you count Baltimore winning their record setting 6th preseason game.
2. Green Bay Packers (1-0) (LW: 6)
Yes, we all saw Aaron Rodgers dominate. And dominate he did. But that’s not why they’re at #2. Well it’s not the full reason. I was so impressed with how this young secondary performed, especially in the 2nd half of the game. This defense completely shook Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky. If they keep this up and Rodgers doesn’t suffer any more injury scares, the Packers are the biggest threat to Philly in the league.
3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) (LW: 2)
I’m so confident that the Rams will crush the Raiders, that I’m writing this on Monday afternoon and I’m hoping I can use this for the article tomorrow. Wow Todd Gurley looked good. So did Jared Goff. And this defense is insane right? I’m assuming all of these things will happen, and if not, I’ll take an L and add an edit while keeping this as the main paragraph.
Edit: So that didn’t go quite as I expected, the Raiders kept it a little closer. But the final score was close enough.
4. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) (LW: 7)
This is the best defense in football right now. It might not be for the whole year, but there is too much talent on all levels for the Vikings. Sheldon Richardson was such an underrated pick up for them. He gives them the versatility that Fletcher Cox provides Philly. That’s a scary thing to think about. Kirk Cousins looked solid, but I’d like to see more from him and this offense as the season progresses, especially since their defense bailed them out a few times near the end of the game.
5. New England Patriots (1-0) (LW: 4)
New year. Same Patriots. I doubt their pass rush looks this dominate all season, seeing as the Texans are atrocious on the offensive line. But Tom Brady looks fine, and the offensive line performed better than I expected it to this early in the season. Looks like we’ll have to wait another year for them to slow down.
6. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) (LW: 3)
I won’t overreact too much to their loss in Philly. That’s a tough environment, and they still kept it close. This is still one of the most talented rosters in football. Losing Keanu Neal is tough, but they have plenty of depth in the secondary to survive it. Matt Ryan does need to step up his game, there aren’t many excuses for him this year with all of the talent he has surrounding him.
7. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) (LW: 19)
Their defense did what I expected. I was 0% surprised to see them hold Buffalo to 3 points. But what did surprise me was how well Joe Flacco played. This offense looks different. Maybe it was just some momentum riding, but there’s a chance that this offense is the best it has been in years. If the offensive line continues to get the job done, the Ravens could be a surprise contender.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) (LW: 12)
As the weeks progress, I’ll get more and more obnoxious about how right I was about Patrick Mahomes. Ignore all of my awful predictions from the last week and just focus on that one. I thought it would take some time for him to adjust, but he looked ready. Crazy part is, he still has a lot of room to grow. I will say I’m concerned about this defense. Philip Rivers carved them to shreds all game. Tyreke Hill and Mahomes covered up their flaws.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) (LW: 8)
The Steelers are fine. They lose road games to teams they should beat all of the time. This isn’t new. The turnovers were bad, but they’ll fix those issues. They will handle business at home against Kansas City next week, even though Kansas City is very good. Because that’s what the Steelers do.
10. Washington Redskins (1-0) (LW: 21)
Maybe Sam Bradford is terrible and the Cardinals are awful on offense. It’s possible. But this Redskins defense was one of the biggest surprises of the week. I didn’t expect a performance like that, and it could be a sign of things to come. The Redskins will continue to fly under the radar, but I’ve been saying this is one of the most balanced teams in the league, and they proved it on Sunday.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) (LW: 17)
The Jaguars won in typical Jaguars fashion. The offense was mediocre, but the defense made the big play that sealed the victory for them. Will this work against better offenses in the league? Well we’ll find out against New England next week.
12. Carolina Panthers (1-0) (LW: 18)
The Panthers were not surprising at all this weekend. Their front 7 dominated, because it’s loaded. Cam Newton was inconsistent, which isn’t surprising. Christian McCaffrey looks very good. The Panthers will be very interesting to watch over the next few weeks.
13. New Orleans Saints (0-1) (LW: 5)
What was that New Orleans? They looked like a Big 12 defense out there. Against Ryan Fitzpatrick. At home. Poor Drew Brees puts on a fantastic performance, but we’ll spend the week memeing the Saints because their defense forgot how to play football. If they lose to Cleveland, it’s officially panic time. For now, I think they’re still ok.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) (LW: 9)
That was the most Chargers football game of all time. I don’t know what they pay special teams coordinator George Stewart to do on a weekly basis, but I’m convinced his sessions involve more glue sniffing than film study. The Chargers are comically bad on special teams. Philip Rivers could have thrown for 600 yards today if his receivers could catch. Just like Brees, his team let him down.
15. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) (LW: 11)
Everybody who was low on San Francisco is ready to hop on the “See, I told you!” train. But not so fast. Minnesota is one of the toughest environments in football. We saw them dominate the Saints at home in their opener last season. The 49ers are fine, they just had an awful situation to start the year.
16. Miami Dolphins (1-0) (LW: 26)
I knew I was being too harsh on Miami. They look like the Redskins of the AFC, only not quite as good. Ryan Tannehill might not be a star, but he looked very solid, especially considering the weather delays. Minkah Fitzpatrick was phenomenal. Kenny Stills is better than I gave him credit for. The Dolphins are not trash and I apologize to their fans for underselling them.
17. New York Jets (1-0) (LW: 29)
What a show the Jets put on last night. I figured Sam Darnold would be a stud, but I didn’t know what to think about the rest of this offense. The offensive line was impressive, the receivers made some nice plays, and this defense is nasty. Henry Anderson really stood out to me. There might finally be a competitor in the AFC East.
18. Houston Texans (0-1) (LW: 10)
The Texans need some time to adjust, considering so many of their top players are coming off of major injuries. Deshaun Watson did not live up to my lofty expectations, but his offensive line did him no favors either. I’m very concerned about them, whereas I’m convinced he’ll be back to his normal self within a few weeks.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) (LW: 27)
It was an impressive win for Cincinnati, but the Colts also shot themselves in the foot near the end. They’ll be tested by a much tougher defense in Baltimore next week. Is Joe Mixon the real deal? Is this offensive line better than we thought? Or is Indianapolis awful on defense? I’d bet on the latter, but who knows.
20. Denver Broncos (1-0) (LW: 28)
That was a classic week 1 Denver football game. Their defense looks ferocious, which is not surprising. It should stay that way all season. I doubt this offense will be as fluid in a few weeks, but for now they do look solid.
21. Chicago Bears (0-1) (LW: 16)
The BEARS ARE BACK! WHAT A WIN! I turned the game off at halftime, but I assume they handled business with ease. Oh wait. Rodgers came back and pulled a Rodgers? Well then, I guess the Bears are not back. Seriously though, the defense looked good and the offense was rolling for a half. Nagy needs to figure out how halftime adjustments work, but they should be able to beat Seattle next week. Russell Wilson is not looking forward to facing this pass rush.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) (LW: 31)
If Ryan Fitzpatrick can throw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns every week, the Bucs may be in business. I slept on their offensive talent, I was especially impressed with the offensive line in passing situations. The defense got shredded, but Drew Brees does that often. Maybe this team is better than I expected.
23. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) (LW: 14)
They were a few plays away from winning this one. The defense is a problem, and the offensive line did not perform well. If the young pieces figure things out, the Colts will improve as the year goes on. They have room to grow, but that was a winnable game that they could regret at the end of the season.
24. Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) (LW: 23)
This defense is something else. Denzel Ward was fantastic. Myles Garrett is unstoppable. If the offense can get into a groove, the Browns could be a tough beat every single week. It all hinges on Tyrod Taylor, but this was a solid start for them. We can make all the jokes about the Browns being the only team that could end a losing streak with a tie, but this was a promising game for them.
25. Tennessee Titans (0-1) (LW: 15)
I don’t get it. I won’t put too much into this game because of all of the weather delays, but how can they be this bland on offense still? It baffles my mind, they have too much talent to look this bad. I’m starting to question Marcus Mariota more and more, and I don’t want to give up on him. But if he can’t win with this roster, then it might be time to move on. Countless QBs would kill for this offensive line.
26. Detroit Lions (0-1) (LW: 13)
I doubt Matthew Stafford performs like this again, but there were some serious issues in this game. The team just looks soft on both fronts. That won’t work in the NFC North.
27. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) (LW: 20)
Russell Wilson is going to be a sore man by the end of the season. Thank goodness he won his Super Bowl early, because he is going to lose a few good years thanks to this offensive line. This is an unfortunate situation.
28. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) (LW: 22)
I actually don’t want to overreact too much to the Cowboy’s loss. I know there’ll be plenty of scorching takes about how Dak is awful, how Zeke is overrated, blah blah blah. The Panthers have a great defense, and they played well. Dallas should get better as Dak develops chemistry with his new weapons. This was a tough loss, but it’s too early to freak out. I can see them rising soon.
29. New York Giants (0-1) (LW: 24)
You could repeat a lot of what I said about Dallas for the Giants, only they have better weapons. But they also have a worse line. Next week will be very interesting. The Giants can’t depend on Barkley to score 70 yard touchdowns every week. They need more consistency on offense, which they likely won’t get behind that offensive line.
30. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) (LW: 25)
This was bad. Things are bad. Sam Bradford is bad. Larry Fitzgerald is still great though. I do think they’ll improve as the season progresses, but this was not a great start to the year.
31. Oakland Raiders (0-1) (LW: 30)
They actually held their own for 3 quarters, which was pretty impressive. But this defense lacks a pass rush and the offense was stagnant in crunch time. I don’t expect great things going forward.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-1) (LW: 32)
Image Credit – https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/1/13/16866350/eagles-falcons-2018-live-scores-results-highlights-nfl-playoffs