Around the NFL: Week 1 Recap

With Week 1 in the books, it’s critical on a weekly basis to parse through the box scores and ignore the talk-show fueled narratives to understand what happened on the field and the implications of such on a go-forward basis. We’ll have concise game recaps on Tuesdays all season long that give you an unbiased glimpse into what happened each week and equip you with the knowledge you need to confidently attack the board in the week ahead.

Chiefs / Lions

  • The Lions are a real, physical football team with a top 5 offensive line that protects its quarterback, real weapons at the skill poisitinos and a defense that improved in the secondary in the offseason.
  • KC didn’t have Kelce or Chris Jones and Kadarius Toney dropped a ball that hit his hands that turned into a pick 6 for the Lions, but Detroit went into Arrowhead and grabbed a signature win in the season opener.
  • Detroit has a banged up secondary in Seattle up next, while KC travels down to Jacksonville to face the Jags, who trailed the Colts 21-17 late in the 3rd quarter of their season opener.

Browns / Bengals:

  • The Browns’ defense held the Bengals to just 142 yards of total offense and Burrow to 82 yards on 14-31 passing in Jim Schwartz’ debut at defensive coordinator. The Bengals did not enter the red zone and finished 2-15 on 3rd down. If Cleveland’s defense can sustain that type of success over the course of the season, they’re a live contender in the AFC North.
  • Cleveland ran for 206 yards on the ground on 40 carries as the Browns outgained the Bengals by a margin of 350–142.
  • The Browns travel to Pittsburgh for a MNF matchup with the Steelers as a 2-point road favorite, who fell flat on their faces in Week 1, while Cincy will host Baltimore at home in the 1pm slot as a -3.5-point favorite.

Falcons / Panthers

  • Bryce Young was shaky in the pocket in his NFL debut, finishing with just 146 yards on 20-38 passing (3.8 YPA) with 1 TD and 2 INT’s. The Panthers are banged up at the receiver position with lingering injuries to Adam Thielen and DJ Chark – they lack speed all around at that position, which is not a good combination with a rookie QB at the helm. Young didn’t complete a pass longer than 14 yards.
  • Atlanta looks to be running the same style of offense in 2023 with Desmond Ridder under center that they did in 2022, rushing for 130 yards on just 26 carries (5.0 YPC). Ridder was an efficient passer but was sacked 4 times, finishing 15-18 for 115 yards and 1 TD. Tyler Allgeier led the Falcons in carries with 15, going for 75 yards and 2 TD’s. Bijan Robinson contributed 56 yards on 10 carries (5.6 YPC) and more prominently in the passing game, catching 6 balls for 27 yards and a nasty TD out of the flat.
  • Atlanta will host a Green Bay defense that finished 26th in rushing YPG and 27th in both YPC and explosive rushing plays allowed as a 1-point underdog, which bodes well for both Allgeier and Robinson in the running game. Young and the Panthers will take on the Saints as a 3-point underdog against a defense that picked off Ryan Tannehill 3 times in Week 1.

Ravens / Texans

  • Baltimore looked a bit disjointed as they look to implement a new pass-oriented offense under Todd Monken, finishing with just 265 yards of total offense and 155 yards passing. Zay Flowers was a bright spot, catching 9 balls for 78 yards on 10 targets, but Lamar was sacked four times and the Ravens lost JK Dobbins to a torn Achilles. They also suffered bad injuries on the offense line as OT Ronnie Stanley and C Tyler Linderbaum both left the game and are in question for Week 2.
  • The Ravens’ defense held the Texans to just 268 yards of total offense and sacked CJ Stroud 5 times, but lost safety Marcus Williams, a development that’s a concern for a secondary that’s already missing Marlon Humphrey.
  • CJ Stroud will face off against fellow 1st rounder Anthony Richardson as a 1-point underdog at home, while Baltimore will travel as a banged up bunch to face the Bengals as a 3.5-point underdog on the road.

Steelers / 49ers

  • The 2023 campaign could not have started much worse for the Steelers, who were dominated from start to finish by the SF 49ers. Kenny Pickett led Pittsburgh to -9 yards of total offense in the first half before a 12-play, 95-yard scoring drive got the Steelers back to a 20-7 deficit heading into halftime. The Steelers opened the 2nd half with two three and outs, a turnover on downs and interception and a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter.
  • Pittsburgh finished with just 3.9 yards per play on offense. Pickett was sacked 5 times and threw two INT’s after winning preseason MVP.
  • San Fran picked up where they left off before Brock Purdy’s elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game. They moved the ball with ease on offense all day, racking up 391 yards of total offense and 188 yards on the ground, dominating the time of possession battle 37:23-22:37.
  • Pittsburgh will have a tough matchup against what looks like a rejuvenated Cleveland defense as a 2-point underdog at home on MNF, while the 49ers will head down to LA as 8-point favorites against a Rams team that surprised many against the Seahawks in Week 1.

Colts / Jaguars

  • The Jags won this game outright by 10 points, but it wasn’t pretty as they found themselves trailing 21-17 late in the 3rd quarter after a Colts fumble return for a touchdown. That said, Trevor Lawrence righted the ship and logged the win, leading the Jags to two fourth quarter touchdown drives on short fields.  
  • Calvin Ridley flashed as Lawrence’s favorite target, catching 8 balls for 101 yards and 1 TD on 11 targets.
  • Anthony Richardson took a lot of hits in this game, including 4 sacks, but played admirably in his NFL debut. The Colts finished just 2-12 on 3rd down and 1-3 in RZ trips; 3 turnovers on the day ultimately sunk their ship at home.
  • The Jags will host the Chiefs as 3-point underdogs at home – they’ll need to take better care of the ball against Mahomes and company if they want to compete in the AFC Divisional round rematch. The Colts travel down to Houston to face the Texans in a what could be an entertaining matchup of two rookie first rounders.

Vikings / Buccaneers

  • Baker Mayfield turned in a gutsy performance in his Bucs debut, throwing for two TD’s and picking up two critical first downs on 3rd downs late in the 4th quarter to ice the game. The Bucs’ defense allowed the Vikings to do significant damage through the air, as Kirk Cousins finished 33-44 for 344 yards and 2 TD’s, but Vita Vea and team clogged up the middle of the field and held the Vikings to just 41 yards on the ground.
  • Justin Jefferson caught 9 balls for 150 yards, but the Vikings could cash RZ trips into touchdowns, finishing just 1-3 in their RZ trips.
  • The Vikings outgained the Bucs by a margain of 369-242, but Mayfield led the Bucs on a 16-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ate up nearly 9 mintues of game clock to start the 2nd half and picked up several critical 3rd downs to ice the game late in the 4th quarter.
  • The Vikings possessed the ball just three times in the second half – they put together a 16-play, 75-yard scoring drive of their own on their first possession in the 2nd half, but turned in two three-and-outs in the 4th quarter.
  • The Bucs will host the Bears at home on MNF in what will be an easier defensive assignment with Justin Fields under center, while the Vikings will travel to Philly to face the Eagles as 6-point underdogs.

Eagles / Patriots:

  • The Patriots effectively spotted the Eagles a 14-0 lead with a pick-6 and an Ezekiel Elliot fumble at their own 25-yard line on their first two drives, but Mac Jones settled in behind a banged up OL and finished with 316 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 INT on 35-54 passing with Bill O’Brien back in the mix.
  • The Eagles finished the first half with four straight 3-and-outs and managed 3 long field goals in the second half to hold off NE at Gillette.
  • The Eagles are banged up on defense and will host the Vikings at home on TNF as a 6.0-point favorite without CB James Bradberry, S Reed Blankenship, LB Nakobe Dean and RB Kenneth Gainwell. NE will host the high-powered NE offense at home as a +2-point underdog.

Rams / Seahawks

  • Many wrote the obituary on the Rams’ 2023 season before it even started, but Matt Stafford came out swinging against a Seattle secondary that was missing Jamal Adams and Devon Witherspoon and threw for 334 yards on 24-38 passing. Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua combined for 16 catches for 238 yards on 23 total targets.
  • The Rams outgained the Seahawks by a margin of 426-180 and scored 23 unanswered points in the second half, dominating the time of possession by a margin of 39:23-20:37.
  • The Seahawks lost their two starting tackles in the 3rd quarter and will be heading to Detroit to face the Lions’ high-powered passing attack as a 4.5-point underdog. Goff threw for 378 yards and 4 TD’s on 26-39 passing in October 2022 in a 48-45 shootout in Detroit. The Rams will face a much tougher test than the Seahawks as they welcome the high-powered 49ers to Sofi Stadium on Sunday as an 8-point underdog.

Dolphins / Chargers

  • Miami dropped 536 yards of total offense on the Chargers on the road in a game where Tua finished with 466 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 INT on 28-45 passing. Tyreek Hill was dominant, finishing with 215 yards and 2 TD’s in 11 receptions.
  • The Dolphins and Chargers combined for 10 RZ trips and converted on 7 trips, a testament to both offensive prowess and question marks on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Despite the addition of Vic Fangio at defensive coordinator, Miami’s defense allowed 433 yards of total offense and 234 yards on the ground. Their rushing defense finished 4th in rushing YPG a year ago, but the Patriots may look to establish the run game with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliot and work in play action with Mac Jones in the passing game against a banged up secondary that’s going to miss Jalen Ramsey until at least November.
  • Miami will face a tougher test in the passing game as a 2-point favorite on the road against New England, but at a certain point you can only try to contain Tyreek Hill’s speed. The Chargers wil travel across the country to take on the Titans’ suspect secondary that allowed Derrick Carr to finish for 305 yards on 22-33 passing (9.2 YPA) as a 3-point favorite.

Raiders / Broncos

  • Russell Wilson had a promising start in the first half of this one, entering halftime with 125 passing yards and 2 TDs on 17-19 passing, but he finished with just 52 passing yards in the second half as the Raiders ramped up their pass rush. Samaje Perine led the Broncos in receiving with just 37 yards on 4 receptions.
  • Jimmy G was efficient in his Raiders debut, throwing for 200 yards and 2 TD’s on 20-26 passing. Both of these offenses were extremely deliberate in their offensive approach – they both had only 3 possessions in either half.
  • Denver will host the Commanders at home in altitude as a 3.5-point favorite. The Commanders amassed just 248 yards of total offense and turned the ball over 3 times against a Cardinals defense that projects to be among the worst in the league.  The Raiders travel across the country to Buffalo as a 9-point underdog against a Bills team that will be looking to right the ship on offense after a sloppy start in Week 1 against an elite Jets’ defense.

Commanders / Cardinals

  • Sam Howell was underwhelming in his debut as the Commanders’ starter, throwing an INT, taking 6 sacks and losing a fumble. He finished with just 202 yards passing and 1 TD on 19-31 passing in a game where the Commanders trailed the lowly Cardinals 16-10 early in the 4th quarter. The Commanders were sloppy on the offensive line and penalized a total of 8 times for a loss of 69 yards.
  • The Commanders defense was a bright spot, holding the Cardinals to just 210 yards of total offense, 4-14 on 3rd down, 0-2 in the red zone, forcing 2 turnovers and scoring a touchdown on defense.
  • Washington will need to tighten things up on offense as they head out to Denver as a 3.-5 point underdog against a Broncos defense that ranked 9th in defensive efficiency and 7th in EPA/play a year ago. The Cardinals will welcome the Giants to town as a 5.5-point underdog.

Packers / Bears

  • Jordan Love was efficient in his debut as Green Bay’s starter, finishing 15-27 for 245 yards and 3 TD’s without their top WR in Christian Watson on the field. The Packers opened this game up with two scoring drives to start the second half to jump out to a commanding 24-6 lead. Love got the job done against a very bad Bears’ defense that ranked 32nd in defensive efficiency, EPA/play and YPP allowed in 2022.
  • Justin Fields did a great job of checking down to RB’s and WR’s in the flat. He took 4 sacks and passed for just 216 yards on 37 attempts (4.6 YPA) and threw a costly pick-6 early in the 4th quarter that gave Green Bay a 38-14 lead. DJ Moore caught just 2 balls or 25 yards, and Darnell Mooney led Bears receivers with just 53 yards and 4 catches on 7 targets.
  • Green Bay got the job done on the road and have to feel comfortable with the seasoned Love as their starter going forward – they travel to Atlanta as a 1-point favorite to take on the Falcons. Chicago will travel down to Tampa as a 2.5-point dog to face a Bucs’ defense that allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 344 yards but held the Vikings to just one touchdown on 3 trips to the RZ in Week 1.

Titans / Saints

  • Derek Carr played well in his Saints debut against a tough, physical Titans opponent. He finished with 305 yards and 1 TD on 22-33 passing against a Titans’ secondary that ranked 32nd a year ago in passing YPG allowed. Carr established an early connection with Chris Olave (8 catches for 112 yards on 10 targets) and Michael Thomas (5 catches for 61 yards on 8 targets), while Rashid Shaheed caught a pivotal pass for 41 yards on 3rd and 6 with 1:55 to go in the 4th quarter that iced the game.
  • Ryan Tannehill threw 3 INT’s in his 2023 debut against a Saints secondary that finished 1st in passing YPG allowed, 2nd in YPA and 3rd in explosive passing plays allowed in 2022. Tannehill will likely be on the hot seat early with Malik Willis and Will Levis both sitting behind him on the depth chart. Tennessee finished just 2-12 on 3rd down and 0-3 on RZ trips
  • The Titans’ suspect secondary is going to have their hands full against the potent Chargers offense at home in Week 2 as a 3-point underdog. The Saints will travel to Carolina to take on Bryce Young and the Panthers as a 3-point favorite – Young will have his hands full against New Orleans’ defense after he threw 2 INT’s and finished with just 146 yards on 20-38 passing in Week 1 in Atlanta.

Cowboys / Giants

  • The Giants were absolutely thrashed in public on national television. The Cowboys’ high-powered pass rush dominated the Giants’ suspect offensive line, racking up 7 sacks and helping to force 2 turnovers.
  • Tony Pollard was efficient in his first action as Dallas’ starting RB, going for 70 yards on 14 carries and 2 TD’s.
  • Dallas will host the Zach Wilson-led NY Jets as a 9-point favorite at home – the lookahead line was -2.5 before Rodgers busted his Achilles. The Giants will have an opportunity to turn things around on the road against the lowly Cardinals as a 6-point favorite.

Bills / Jets

  • Aaron Rodgers lasted just four plays as the NY Jets quarterback before he tore his Achilles with a Bills’ defender draped on him in the backfield. It’s a terrible development as Rodgers looked like he was going to breath life into a Jets roster that has an elite defense and was potentially a quarterback away from legitimate contention.
  • Zach Wilson looked about the same this year as he did last year, finishing with 140 yards on 14-21 passing for 1 TD and 1 INT, albeit against a Bills’ defense that ranked in 2022 as one of the top 10 units in the league.
  • Josh Allen was reckless with the football, throwing 3 INT’s, taking 5 sacks, fumbling twice and losing one at a critical juncture that gave the Jets the ball and opportunity to take the lead with 4:55 left to go in the 2nd half.