Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and as usual, we’ve got some extreme overreactions to some of the action. We see this every year early on when teams play far above their expected output or well below. So, let’s figure out which teams may have fooled the masses during the opening week of this 2023 campaign.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Above
Baker Mayfield led the Bucs to a 20-17 opening-week win over the Minnesota Vikings, but don’t expect that to continue. We’ll give the team and Mayfield the credit they deserve for the victory, but let’s not expect them to live up to this every week. In the end, Mayfield threw two touchdowns, which was great, but the team scored 20 points. Nowadays, in the NFL, scoring 20 points usually results in a loss.
Dallas Cowboys — Above
The Cowboys are good and, right now, could be argued as the best team in the NFC. Some would take the 49ers or Eagles [Ed. note: I’d go with San Fran], but Dallas is right up there in that first tier. The defense was magnificent, and the offense was good. Not great, but good. They didn’t need to do much but don’t get used to Dallas blowing through teams like this every week. This was a perfect storm, and the Cowboys took advantage of being the better team. It’s doubtful we’ll see the same outcome the next time these teams play. Even the Giants can’t be this bad consistently. Can they?
Green Bay Packers — Above
It was a great season debut for Jordan Love, and thus far, through one game, it seems like he’s for real. Then again, it was one game against Chicago. That franchise is turned upside down and can’t seem to find its way. While the Packers looked good in nearly every department, it was Week 1 against the Bears, so let’s not overreact to what we witnessed.
Cincinnati Bengals — Below
There’s no way the Bengals will be this bad for the entirety of the NFL season. Cincy got off to a 0-2 start last year, then found themselves in the AFC title game. This team is too good and well-coached to make this the norm. Cleveland beat them 24-3 in Week 1, with Joe Burrow passing for a career-low 82 yards. This came a day after Burrow signed his new mega contract extension. These woes will not continue for long. He’ll get back on track, which means the team will follow.
Kansas City Chiefs — Below
The Chiefs lost a close game to the Detroit Lions last Thursday to kick off the 2023 campaign. Detroit squeaked past KC, 21-20, minus Travis Kelce. This was a game the Chiefs would likely win later in the year, but a loss is a loss regardless. Patrick Mahomes played a good game, but it was just good. Obviously, it wasn’t good enough to win, but it’s tough when your quarterback leads the team in rushing with 45 yards. Kansas City will be fine once they get Kelce back and a little more from their running backs.
Buffalo Bills — Below
Once Aaron Rodgers went down on Monday night, this should’ve been a cakewalk for Buffalo. That’s what you would’ve expected, but clearly, it was not the result. Josh Allen, quite frankly, was horrendous. He passed for 236 yards and three interceptions. His INTs have trended upward since Brian Daboll left, but we can’t expect him and the team to play like this all year. They are still a force in the AFC East and conference overall. At least they should be.
Denver Broncos — Below
This can’t be what’s expected from Sean Payton and the Broncos, right? Payton is supposed to be the offensive genius who saves this franchise and Russell Wilson’s career. The defense is still good, and we expect the offense to catch up at some point under Payton. Wilson didn’t play badly, but he’ll need to play better if the Broncos are going to bounce back from last year’s debacle.
Minnesota Vikings — Below
Minnesota is expected to win or at least compete for the NFC North crown again. Last season, the defense let them down in most games. In Week 1, the offense couldn’t even put up 21 points at home against the Buccaneers. With a player like Justin Jefferson, who had a great game hauling nine catches for 150 yards, it’s hard to imagine this offense continuing to sputter like this. To that end, it showed life putting up 28 points against the Eagles in a loss on Thursday night, with Kirk Cousins finally coming through in a prime-time spot. Starting the season 0-2 is not what most folks anticipated for this team.