Freud on the NFL: Surprises abound in Week 1, but the Broncos win
1. Eagles (1-0) … Still the champs
2. Rams (1-0) ... Won in a tough environment
3. Vikings (1-0) … The NFC looks good
4. Patriots (1-0) … Still winning
5. Jaguars (1-0) … Big test vs. Pats
1. Bills (0-1) … Zowie, that was bad
1a. Browns (0-0-1) … A tie is not a win
3. Cowboys (0-1) … Why is Dez gone?
4. Giants (0-1 and 68-77) … Both have no offense
5. Saints’ defense (0-1) … Fitzmagic?
Really. The Steelers and the Browns played to a 21-21 tie.
That’s just one of the fun surprises during Week 1 of the NFL season.
First things first, of course, the Broncos got by the Seahawks — more on that later — but we also had:
• Fitzmagic: As Tampa Bay goes into the Superdome to beat New Orleans, 48-40.
• Bears-Packers: Khalil Mack shows that training camp is highly overrated and Aaron Rodgers is still The Man.
• The Super Bowl champ Eagles defeat the Falcons in a staggeringly similar fashion to that of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff game.
• New Lions coach Matt Patricia realizes, “Dorothy, we’re not in New England anymore.”
• And a tie. How does this affect Le’Veon Bell’s holdout? What does this say about the Steelers with or without Bell? Will the Browns win a game? They were plus-5 in turnovers and still tied?
Yes, Denver won, 27-24, and there was much rejoicing.
The good: Von Miller freaking rocks. Goodness gracious. I don’t like the Broncos, but I love Von. What a defensive player. … We have early signs of a running game with Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay having identical lines of 15 carries for 74 yards. … Emmanuel Sanders had a big day. I just bring this up because you almost forgot he was on the team the last two years with the Broncos’ line and quarterback issues. … Speaking of the line: It allowed just one sack.
The bad: Case Keenum did throw three touchdowns. He also had three picks. This is what we were talking about with regard to his tenure in Minnesota. There are times he doesn’t make the best decisions.
The bottom line: The Broncos won. Seattle ain’t the Seattle of old, yet 1-0 is better than 0-1. Denver hosts Chucky and the Raiders next week before the season starts in earnest with a roadie to Baltimore and the Chiefs coming to town.
AFC West watch
• Speaking of Kansas City, the Chiefs beat the Chargers in L.A., 38-28. Yes, the Chiefs started fast last year and faded. We don’t draw much from this except for the fact that it was a divisional game and the Broncos usually drop a game to the Chargers on the road, be it in San Diego or Los Angeles. Just looking ahead at tiebreakers, people.
• The Raiders played OK during the first half, but the Rams’ talent won out. Again, Jon Gruden is not playing for this year after the Mack trade. He’s building his program for the move to Las Vegas. Oakland could still be a problem for teams in the AFC West.
• Week 2: It’s Raiders week in Colorado, but elsewhere Kansas City heads to Pittsburgh in an interesting case of timing. No Bell is an issue for the Steelers, but my bet is that coach Mike Tomlin is not being Mr. Happy Fun Guy in practice this week. Pittsburgh should be ready to play. Meanwhile, the Chargers are in Buffalo. The Chargers are notorious slow starters, but they ain’t that slow.
News and notes
Just a reminder. The Bills were a playoff team last year. Strange, but true.
• Anyone else feel bad about how the Cowboys’ offense looked in a 16-8 loss to Carolina? Thought not.
• Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer undefeated as a starting quarterback in the NFL. In fairness, the Vikings on the road is tough start. Minnesota’s going to make a lot of quarterbacks look bad this year.
• Games to watch this week: Chiefs at Steelers, as discussed … Vikings at Packers … Does Rodgers play? Either way, a marquee matchup in the NFC North … Patriots at Jaguars … This may be an AFC title game rematch/preview.
On to Week 2.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.