The 2022 NFL season is off and running, and what is Week 1 without overreactions? What is real after this week, and what is a mirage?
The Packers are in trouble without Devante Adams
Any Aaron Rodgers fantasy owner will tell you just how awful of a game he played Sunday against their division rival Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers went 22-of-34 passing with only 195 yards and an interception. The Packers’ leading wide receiver was running back AJ Dillion and the offense looked disjointed for most of the day. With the departure of Devante Adams, some may question the trajectory of the Packers but look no further than last year for evidence that all will be fine with the back-to-back MVP. The 2021 Packers got handled by the Saints in Week 1, 38-3, before going on to secure the number one overall seed in the playoffs. Additionally, rookie Chrisitan Watson dropped a perfect pass from Rodgers on what would have been a 75-yard touchdown. Like every year, Rodgers will find his stride, and the Packers will be one of the NFC’s top two or three teams.
The Bengals are turning back into a pumpkin
Stop me if you have heard this one before: “previous season’s Cinderella, with Super Bowl aspirations, gets stifled by the Steelers at home.”
If this sounds familiar, it is because it’s what happened to the Bills in 2021. The Bills went out to be a three seed in the playoffs and make the divisional round for a second straight year. We can quantify a lot of things in football, but one thing we can’t is Mike Tomlin’s ability to get his teams to punch above their weight and drag otherwise good offensive teams down into the mud. Sunday’s game can be chalked up to a great coach exploiting an offensive line with new pieces learning to play together. Despite the picks, Burrow pulled his team back into the game and had what could have been a game-winning drive (how often do we see a blocked extra point?) The Bengals will overcome this fluky loss to be one of the AFC’s best four or five teams.
Trey Lance concerns
We really need to have a discussion about our rush to make damning judgments of teams and players after freak weather conditions. Was Trey Lance great Sunday? Absolutely not, but he had a measly 318 pass attempts in college and just 71 attempts last year. He is an incredibly raw prospect and requires patience. Also worth noting: Trey Lance’s best PFF grade came on passes over 20 yards (72.8) and had a rating of 93.8 on those throws. I am not even saying he will be great, but declaring him a bust after one game is an overreaction.
Cowboys could down spiral
The Cowboy’s offseason included trading Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Tryon Smith, injuries, and their second-round wide receiver Jalen Tolbert not even being activated for Week 1. Now throw a Dak Prescott injury in the mix, and you have a recipe for a genuinely putrid offense. Cooper Rush will take over but he has only 63 career passing attempts to his name over four NFL seasons. The only ray of hope is the fact that three of the next five games come against the Commanders, Giants, and Lions. But at this point, even those teams seem more feisty than the Cowboys.
Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes are in a tier of their own
Football is in great hands for the next 15-plus years with the likes of Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes. All three quarterbacks showed why in Week 1. The trio combined for 928 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. They were unstoppable in their respective games. Maybe this isn’t news as much as it is a confirmation of what we already knew. These three will continue to establish themself as the top tier of quarterbacks in the NFL throughout the year.
The Patriots’ offense will sink the team
An offense without an offensive coordinator struggled? Color me shocked. The Patriots’ offense put up just seven points on 271 yards of offense against the Dolphins. The Patriots have two more weeks of playing grueling defenses in the Steelers and the Ravens before they get a reprieve against the Packers and Lions. Whoever is calling plays for them looked out of their depth Sunday. Mac Jones completed three passes over 10 air yards. It is hard to see avenues for success for this offense going forward.