One of the greatest things about sports is the unpredictability that comes with it.
Every year, Week 1 of the NFL is highly anticipated by everyone who follows the sport closely. Every fan, analyst and coach has their own expectations for the upcoming season and that first game will either worry or excite them.
The first weekend with non-stop football provided so many ‘not so fast’ moments that it’s hard not to discuss them at great length. So for this week’s column, we will be revisiting some of the biggest surprises from this past weekend in football.
Da Teddy Bears
The Chicago Bears was a team that many picked to make the playoffs this year after a dominant 2018. Head coach Matt Nagy chose to rest his starters the entire preseason which had me thinking this was going to be the new trend in the NFL going forward. Not so fast!
The Bears offense looked awful and out of sync in their home opener last Thursday versus the Green Bay Packers, which has me second-guessing Nagy’s strategy. The Bears finished with only 254 total yards and went scoreless for the final 49 minutes of the game in the 10-3 loss. Not a good look for Nagy’s preseason strategy.
Don’t Believe the Hype
This entire NFL off-season we heard that the Cleveland Browns were going to be legit and were Super Bowl contenders. Not so fast! The Browns got embarrassed at home against the Tennessee Titans by a final score of 43-13.
Their offensive line got pushed around, the defense was getting smacked by Derrick Henry and the very mediocre Marcus Mariota, the team committed 18 penalties and it was just an ugly all-around game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled too as he threw three interceptions and was sacked five times in the loss. This Browns team has a lot more holes on their roster than we thought which could spell trouble for their playoff aspirations.
Another Season, Another Quarterback Dilemma
In 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars reached the AFC championship and fell just short of a trip to the Super Bowl. They have had a talented defense for the past few years but have lacked the quarterback to get them over the hump. This past off-season, the Jaguars went out and signed former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles which had many think they finally got their franchise quarterback. Not so fast!
Unfortunately, Foles broke his clavicle in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and will miss a large chunk of the season, which has to have Jaguars fans thinking “not again.” Now it will be up to rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew to steer the ship and keep this Jaguars team afloat in Foles’ absence.
A Rookie’s First Tie?
After trailing 17-3 at halftime, things looked grim for the Arizona Cardinals and first overall pick Kyler Murray. The Detroit Lions looked like they were going to coast to victory as they held a 24-9 lead halfway through the fourth quarter. Not so fast!
Murray and the Cardinals offense all of a sudden hit a groove in the final quarter as they scored 18 points and tied things up at the end of regulation. The two teams went into overtime and each scored a field goal, but neither of them could regain the lead.
So despite the great effort, first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his rookie quarterback had to settle for a 27-27 tie in their pro debuts.
No AB, No Problem
The Oakland Raiders were one of the most talked-about teams this entire NFL off-season the moment after they traded for Antonio Brown. They gave the star wide receiver his contract extension, however, no one could have predicted the events that followed.
From the helmet dilemma to the taping of head coach Jon Gruden’s phone and everything in between, Brown was eventually released by the Raiders last Saturday. With all the drama surrounding the Raiders locker room, the common viewer would have predicted the Raiders to struggle out the gates this year. Not so fast!
The Raiders looked great in their Monday Night Football matchup versus the Denver Broncos. Derek Carr looked confident, rookies Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abrams made a ton of impact plays, Tyrell Williams looked like a true number one option and Oakland came out on top by a score of 26-14. Do not count out Oakland this year for one of the AFC Wild Card spots.
An Unexpected Hero for the Trojans
Yes, I had to include one moment from college football this past weekend. After the knee injury to USC Trojans quarterback JT Daniels in the opener, Trojans fans had to be feeling discouraged about their season. Not so fast!
Backup Kedon Slovis got the first start of his career against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday and the Trojans looked like a well-oiled machine. Slovis finished the game with 377 yards through the air, an 84% completion percentage and three touchdowns. Things might be looking bright for the Trojans after all this season.
Another Patriots Super Bowl Appearance?
The New England Patriots are always a solid choice to pick to go to the Super Bowl but with the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and a few other teams, one could not feel confident in the Patriots. Not so fast!
After the addition of Antonio Brown last Saturday, the Patriots became the odds-on favorites to make it back to the Super Bowl which has to have all 31 other fan bases rolling their eyes. Brown’s off the field antics may be the only thing that stops the Patriots from making the Super Bowl again.
But even without the availability of Brown for Week 1, the Patriots proved they might not need him to repeat as NFL champs, brutally demolishing the Pittsburgh Steelers (Brown’s former team) 33-3 last Sunday.