Lots of opening week NFL story lines. Now that the Sunday results are in here are 10 things I learned:
1. Never fade Bill Belichick when he’s an underdog. The Patriots are 6-1 as ‘dogs the past two plus seasons. They’ve won all six of those games straight-up.
2. To paraphrase the late Dennis Green, “The Colts are who we thought they were and the Lions didn’t let them off the hook.” The Colts are weak in the trenches and vulnerable in the secondary due to injuries.
3. Gus Bradley and Rex Ryan are the two most hopeless coaches in the league. The Jaguars have tremendous young talent – best in the AFC South – but they won’t win the division because Bradley can’t take advantage of his skill position talent and makes horrendous on-field decisions while needlessly burning time-outs. You can always count on Ryan to be more bluster than results and for his team to incur unnecessary and costly penalties.
4. Adrian Peterson isn’t a top-five running back anymore. He needs a big run to bolster his average because he’s stacked up nearly every time he runs. Defenses have no respect for Shaun Hill so the box is loaded. If Sam Bradford is only a slight upgrade then Minnesota is in trouble because its defense can’t bail out the offense every week.
5. Carson Wentz played much better than expected. Expectations need to be kept in perspective, though. This was the Browns, maybe the worst tackling team, that the Eagles played. Philadelphia has an aging offensive line and suspect wide receivers. Wentz will be making his first road start on the national stage this coming Monday against the Bears, who are well-coached on defense.
6. Keenan Allen is the unluckiest wide receiver in the NFL. Philip Rivers didn’t look so good after Allen got hurt. Morale can’t be good for the Chargers losing Allen, blowing a 24-3 second-half lead to the Chiefs and realizing they may not be long in beautiful San Diego.
7. We all know the NFL is a copy-cat league. So maybe more coaches will emulate Jack Del Rio’s ballsy decision to go for two points and the win against the Saints rather than go the conventional route and play for overtime. I thought Del Rio having his team line up to go for two after scoring the tying touchdown was brilliant because it surprised the Saints causing Sean Payton to use up his final time-out. I was shocked when Del Rio actually had the Raiders go for two especially being the road team. Perhaps the odds were against it, but Del Rio had the advantage of surprise and momentum on his side not to mention a favorable passing matchup.
8. If Russell Wilson is hampered by a bad ankle the Seahawks are in big trouble because their offensive line is bottom-three caliber. I also don’t think we’ve seen the last of Marshawn Lynch.
9. Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters is a jerk. There are dignified ways and proper times to show protest.
10. Brock Osweiler was lucky. His statistics were aided by his receivers making a number of outstanding finger tip catches. You expect it from DeAndre Hopkins, but he wasn’t the only Texan receiver who made difficult receptions.
Written by Stephen Nover for 10StarPicks.com