Week 1: Five things we’ve learned

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Each week, I’ll be highlighting five things we learned off the back of the weekend’s games, and what that could mean going forward!

With Week One in the books, it’s difficult to have a true handle on what a team is really like. Was that blowout win/loss an aberration or a sign of things to come? I suppose you can spin it whichever way you like and finding definitive outcomes can be akin to trying to reach the ground floor of the Penrose Stairs…

But here’s my five cents for your reading pleasure:

1. The Cowboys are in deep trouble

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This was evident before Dak Prescott left the game with a fractured thumb that will sideline him for several weeks. The decision to trade Amari Cooper for a pittance without tangibly replacing him meant Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz saw the bulk of the targets (a combined 18 of 41) and CeeDee Lamb was a non-factor going 2 for 29 yards off 11 targets.

With no trade for Jimmy G/A.N.Other in the offing it’s Cooper Rush SZN for games against Bengals, Giants, Commanders and the Rams at an absolute minimum. A sub-standard QB with a receiving corps as thin as NFC West Week 1 Highlight Reel spells trouble for Dallas. They could be staring 1-4 in the face come mid-October.

2. New York Giants are better than we thought

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Is this the dreaded Week One aberration? I debated giving this a ‘Titans-are-bad’ slant but opted for some optimism by throwing some praise to the G-Men.

Whilst Derrick Henry looked off the pace, Saquon Barkley was fully switched on and back to the 2018/2019 standard that the New York fan base fell in love with. With playcalling so gutsy it has coined the term ‘Dabolls’, the Giants first year Head Coach has laid down a marker for how his team can and should play. 

Whilst it may be the Eagles division to lose, there’s no reason why New York can’t be feisty and play spoiler this year in an otherwise weak NFC East.

3. The Bills are who we thought they were

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Less something learned as something confirmed. This team is legit and I was a guy who fancied the Rams at home against a Bills secondary that could be considered their weakest spot. As it happens, they tormented Matthew Stafford, intercepting him three times and giving receivers not-named-Cooper-Kupp a long, long Thursday night.

Praise must also be offered up to the burgeoning deity that is Josh Allen who has developed such a connection with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis that it begs the question – how the hell do you stop these guys scoring?!

4. The Chiefs are fine, relax

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Unless you’re in the AFC West. I know the Cardinals looked totally lost but Patrick Mahomes and co. looked ready to pick up where they left off at the end of the 2021 regular season. By the time the game reached the 4th quarter it was 37-7 and left me wailing at the box score “stop, stop they’re already dead” much like that poor child screams when Homer Simpson pummels the Krusty Burglar into unconsciousness.

One downside for Kansas City? Five fumbles doesn’t look great, even if one was from Chad Henne. Luckily only one failed to be recovered.

5. The Vikings are coming for Green Bay

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Various power rankings had the Vikings languishing in the lower half going into Week One. How foolish we all look now, eh? I know the Packers took a pummelling from New Orleans this time last year but this one felt different. There wasn’t the weird passing line from Kirk Cousins as Jameis Winston had. He threw for 277 yards and a pair of Tuddys. Justin Jefferson? How’s your 9/184/2 to start the season? 

On the other side of the ball, Green Bay were throttled. Hamstrung by the loss of Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers is now relying on rookie receivers and journeymen to make up the difference but no matter how you try to Moneyball your way out of this, Green Bay without a WR1 are in serious danger of losing the NFC North crown to Minnesota. The Packers have officially been put on notice.

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