Week 1 gave us some surprises, late-game blunders, and heroics we’ve come to expect from the NFL each week. For some teams that captured a Week 1 victory, it was business as usual. But for others, there is still plenty of doubt whether Week 1 is the start of something magical or if they’re faking the funk.
The following teams are more fraudulent than a $6 bill.
2 / 6
Geno Smith shocked many with his Monday night performance against the Denver Broncos and Seattle’s former favorite quarterback, Russell Wilson. But it’s time to snap back to reality and temper expectations for this Seahawks squad that had no one coming into the 2022 season.
Smith completed 82 percent of his attempts against the Broncos, which isn’t a pace anyone can keep up, even in today’s pass-happy NFL. Let’s keep it real, if not for some penalties and bonehead plays by Denver, along with coach Nathaniel Hackett opting not to “let Russ cook” late in that game, Seattle is 0-1 and on the Powerless Ranking for Week 1.
Somehow, the NFC West division leader will eventually end up among the powerless, but for now, we’ll let Seattle have its day. Week 2 against the 49ers will likely be a splash of cold water on the Seahawks’ faces. We could see 40-plus run attempts from Kyle Shanahan’s team to slow the game down even more for Trey Lance. He didn’t play well last week, but this will be a bounce-back game for Lance and San Francisco. Sorry Seattle, enjoy that first win while you can.
3 / 6
Oh Lordy. Just when you think the Bears have something going and they’re off to a good start…BAM! Here comes Bears “owner” Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Chicago should petition the league to not be required to play Rodgers until at least a month into the season.
No, the Packers did not look good last week against the Vikings. But we know how this usually ends. A-Rod has the Bears’ number and has for years. He’s got Chicago’s entire emergency contacts list on speed dial. Rodgers will bounce back and pass for at least 250 yards (his WRs may need stickum) and at least two touchdowns.
The Bears’ defense did look pretty good against the Niners, but they were playing in ugly weather and had the advantage of facing a novice at the QB position. Weather conditions could be similar in Green Bay, but the opposing QB is at the other end of the spectrum. Chicago is 5-22 against the Rodgers-led Packers. Rodgers wasn’t just being snarky when he said he owned them; the proof is in the film.
Saquon Barkley’s return to action was all that and then some. He rushed for 164 yards, a TD, and averaged over nine yards per carry. But all that goodwill was nearly fumbled away with four minutes left in the game when Barkley had the ball punched out of his arms on a long run.
Fortunately for the Giants, Lady Luck was in their corner as the ball bounced 10-yards forward and out of bounds before the Titans could pounce on it. Tennessee was up 20-13 at the time, and that would’ve likely sealed the game.
Daniel Jones had a nice season debut but not nice enough to make anyone outside of NYC a long-term believer. Jones completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards. The Giants made a gutsy 4th and 1 play call during their final drive of the game — which Jones was able to make — setting up the go-ahead TD. But that kind of performance won’t be enough to sustain winning for 17 weeks, even in the NFC Least.
Barkley’s performance was phenomenal, and he looked like rookie year Saquon, but it’s early. Let’s talk in Week 12 and see where Barkley and the Giants are at the point of the season. The Giants won four games last year, so improvement is possible, but anything more than six wins would be shocking.
5 / 6
Pittsburgh might be the luckiest team of Week 1. The Bengals did all they could to bungle this game early on and still had a chance to win, pushing the Steelers to overtime. Pittsburgh’s defense looked good as usual, forcing four Joe Burrow interceptions and holding Joe Mixon to three yards per carry.
But the Steelers’ offense was nothing to be too excited about, notably in the running game. Najee Harris rushed for just 23 yards before leaving late in the game with a leg injury. Wide receiver Chase Claypool led the team in rushing with 36 yards. Mitchell Trubisky was okay, but not great. He passed for 194 yards and a TD but completed just 55 percent of his passes.
That type of weekly performance from the offense isn’t going to cut it in the AFC North or the conference in general. Pittsburgh won’t be able to continue winning like this for long. The days of the defense solely carrying a team are in the rearview. The Steelers were gifted a victory in Week 1, but that type of luck will run out sooner than later.