5 Most Surprising Week 1 Results

Posted: September 13, 2016 in NFL
Broncos win Super Bowl 50 rematch behind C.J. Anderson, Defense

The Broncos and Panthers played on Thursday night in a very intense and hard-hitting game. The outcome was the same as the Super Bowl and came as a shock to many. A lot of talk going into the game was of the Panther’s revenge and non-Broncos twitter barely gave Denver a shot. The odds were not in the Broncos favor either, giving them only a 20% chance of winning the game. Despite all this, the Broncos won the game, 21-20, after Graham Gano missed a field goal with four seconds left on the clock. The Broncos won this game in a similar fashion to how they won many of their games last season, with great defensive play and less than stellar QB play. Siemian kept his composure during the game despite several turnovers early into his first career start and C.J. Anderson had a great day running the ball (92 yards on 20 carries with a TD). The offensive line looked significantly better than last season and the addition of Janovich, who had a touchdown himself, helped pave the way for Anderson’s big day. Cam Newton and the Panthers offense opened the game strong, and appeared to have made plenty of wise adjustments from the Super Bowl. The Panthers scored 17 first half points versus the 10 points they scored in the Super Bowl. However, the second half was a different story as the Broncos pass rush stepped up and began getting after Newton. Cam took many hits throughout the game, both as a runner and a passer. The main takeaway from this game is that the Broncos still have a great team because of their elite defense and if the offensive line continues to play as they did on Thursday, they could be right back in the Super Bowl conversation. The Panthers entered the season as one of the best teams in the NFL and one-point road loss that came down to a missed field goal will not change that.

Patriots win in Arizona, without Brady and Gronkowski

The Cardinals were slight favorites, projected to win 60.3% of simulations. With the absence of Brady, Gronkowski and Ninkovich, there was a consensus that Arizona would handle the Patriots. However, the Patriots still had the most important person to their team, Bill Belichick. The Patriots won 23-21 after Arizona missed a 47-yard field goal with under a minute to play. The Patriots experienced the problems you would expect with a young QB behind a below average offensive line but Belichick was able to scheme around that in order to gain a total of 363 yards. The Patriots defense, especially the front seven, stood out in the upset win over Arizona. Chris Long, Jabaal Sheard and Jamie Collins all turned in above average performances in order to hold Arizona’s lethal offense to just 344 yards and only 14 first downs (NFL average is typically 19 first downs per game). The win means a lot for the Patriots as they appear to be in a good position to win at least two games before Brady returns, keeping them at or near the top of the AFC East race (Jets, Bills and Dolphins all lost). The division is likely the Patriots to lose. The Cardinals loss is a little bit more concerning given how poor the offense did play. It is just one game and is only something to keep track of as the season continues, the Cardinals will likely still be a force in the NFC.

Seattle struggles with Miami at home

My lock of the week ended up being a close game that had me holding my breath near the end (as it was also my Eliminator Challenge pick). Seattle won the game 12-10 in an offensive struggle. Both defenses did play well but the offenses really put on poor displays, specifically at the quarterback position. Tannehill and Wilson both had QBR’s of less than 45 and neither QB had more than 7 yards per attempt. Wilson did injure his ankle and was dealing with that for much of the game and, behind a sub-par offensive line; Wilson struggled to scramble with his normal effectiveness. Both teams also averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry on the ground. This game will likely be an outlier for both teams as I still feel that Seattle will be a top-10 team in the NFL with Miami being a contender for a top-10 draft pick. This game did bring some of Seattle’s weaknesses to the surface and showed some of the promise that the Dolphins defense has for this season.

Packers barely hold on in Jacksonville

Another game that was surprisingly close. Green Bay entered the season as the best team in the NFL and they played an improving Jacksonville team that showed a lot of promise last season. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense struggled for most of the game, and credit goes to a much-improved Jaguars defense, which held Rodgers to less than 200 yards. The game was close throughout with neither team every really taking a large lead. There was only one turnover, a Bortles Interception on the opening drive, in the entire game. Ultimately, this game shows Jacksonville may be ready to compete sooner, rather than later. Hanging around with the Packers is a definite success for a young, talented team like the Jaguars. Packers’ fans have no need to worry about playing the Jaguars close.

Lions defeat Indianapolis, despite Luck’s outstanding play

It was a seemingly known fact that the Colts did not have a great defense entering the season and this game solidified it as a full-blown fact. The Lions put up 39 points (2 from a safety on last play of game) without forcing a turnover and never beginning a drive past their own 30. The Lions had 448 total yards and Stafford was 31/39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns (0 INT’s). The Colts were without their best defensive player, Vontae Davis, but had no answers for the Lions offense. The Lions defense was just as Andrew Luck led the Colts to 35 points. Luck, the highest grading week 1 QB on PFF (before Monday Night games), went 31/47 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. The main takeaway from this game is to start fantasy players against both the Lions and the Colts. Both teams will have to rely on consistently stellar offensive performances or hope their defenses improve over the course of the season if they want to be serious playoff teams.

I went to bed early; 49ers lead Rams 14-0 at the half

I went to bed early but felt like it was worth noting that a 49ers win would certainly be surprising. Many people liked the Rams entering this season as a deep sleeper for a playoff pick behind and Aaron Donald and a stellar front seven but the numbers say otherwise, giving the Rams only a 6.2% chance of making the playoffs. Struggling with the 49ers, especially, is an early sign that the Rams are not quite there yet.

Vote on next week’s game of the week here:::

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