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Let’s overreact to week one

| Monday, September 13, 2021

Football is back, and it was a beautiful sight to behold. There was a lot of chaos in the opening week, so I want to dive in and react to some of the more surprising results this weekend. 

Cardinals 38 @ Titans 13

Cardinals’ Reaction: Kyler Murray will be the NFL MVP. 

If one player should come out of the weekend looking like the MVP frontrunner, it should be Murray. He threw 32 times, completing 21 of them, getting four touchdowns, and only throwing one interception. He also added 20 yards on the ground and a fifth touchdown.

Not an Overreaction: While Kyler will not be playing the Titans defense every weekend, I don’t think this is the last time Murray puts up some incredible numbers. He’s not my pick for MVP (that’s Matthew Stafford), but he should be in the mix for the award.

Titans’ Reaction: The Titans are in trouble on both sides of the ball. 

Coming into the season, I felt like the Titans would have a lousy defense as they had the year before. That was fine, though, because the Titans were supposed to have an elite offense of A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. However, the offense was dreadful, scoring only 13 points. Tannehill was sacked six times, and Henry only had 58 yards.

Overreaction: The Titan’s defense will be bad, but the offense should improve. I will chalk this one up to rust; the Titans offensive started played a limited amount of time this offseason. 

Browns 29 @ Chiefs 33

Browns Reaction: The Browns will make the AFC Championship game.

In the AFC Divisional round, the Browns season was ended at Arrowhead last year, losing 17-22. It fitted that the Browns got to start their season at Arrowhead, and they came so close to avenging their playoff loss. Although the Browns did not get the win, they came pretty close.

Not an Overreaction: The Browns made the AFC Divisional Round last year, and they improved their defense, namely in the secondary. Their offense boasts one of the best o-lines in the NFL; they can pass and run with the best of them. The Chiefs are the team that everyone measures themselves against, and in my eyes, the Browns measured up quite well. I am not guaranteeing the Browns an AFC Championship berth, but do not be surprised if they make it.

Chiefs’ Reaction: The Chiefs have a major defensive problem. 

The Chiefs gave up 321 passing yards (although 0 passing touchdowns) and 153 rushing yards, and four rushing touchdowns. They also allowed the Browns to convert on three of four fourth-down attempts. If not for a truly miraculous one-play, 75-yard pass from Mahomes to Hill, and a bad punt by the Browns, the Chiefs could have quite easily lost.

Not an Overreaction: I do not have much faith in this Chiefs defense, and the Browns showed you just why. To be fair to the Chiefs, they were missing FS Tyrann Mathieu and DE Frank Clark. But still, this defense could be a problem for the Chiefs. Luckily, the Chiefs aren’t playing the Browns every weekend, but this likely will not be the last time the two face off. 

Packers 3 @ Saints 38

Packers Reaction: Go to DEFCON 1.

The score says it all; the Packers lost by 35, which I do not think anyone expected. Rodgers threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns. The Packers rushed for only 43 yards. Their defense didn’t force a punt until the second half. It was not the opening expected of the reigning MVP. 

Overreaction: If I were a Packers fan, I would be disappointed by the performance, but not overly worried. The temperature in Jacksonville was almost 90 degrees and incredibly humid, something the Packers struggle with. I think the weather just exhausted the Packer’s defense and forced them out of their game plan. I do not believe this is a trend that continues for Rodgers or the Packers.

Saints Reaction: The Saints have their QB in Jameis Winston.

In what reminded me of Green Bay at Tampa Bay last season, the Saints cruised to an easy win over the Packers. Jameis completed 14 of 20 attempts, passing for 148 yards and getting five touchdowns! He also added 37 yards on the ground.

Not an Overreaction: While it was not against an elite defense like the Steelers, Jameis still played incredibly well against a good defense. I did note that I thought temperature played a factor in the game, and I stand by that; this is not a typical performance or result. But Jameis of the past would have put the Packers back in the game, not keep the Saints in the driver’s seat. I bought all the Jameis stock I could when Brees retired, and I am not selling it anytime soon.

Steelers 23 @ Bills 16

Steelers’ Reaction: The Steeler’s offense is good.

Overreaction: I’m not going to try and defend the position before giving you my answer. Do not let that 23 fool you; the Steelers did not score a 23 on offense. Their defense was able to get a TD on a punt block. Big Ben went 18/32 and got less than 200 yards. The rushing game did little to help, gaining only 75 yards (of which rookie Najee Harris only added 45). However, I think that the Steelers should improve on offense this season. The Steelers had rookie Najee Harris, a new O-Line, and a new offensive coordinator. As the season progresses, I expect the run game to improve for the Steelers.

Bills’ Reaction: Josh Allen and this Bills offense will regress from last season. 

The Bills played at home well against the Steelers but ultimately came up short on offense. After an incredible kickoff return that set up the Bills in Steelers territory, the Bills settled for a field goal, which they would do two more times, outscoring their offense. Allen had 270 yards, but it was on 30 completions and 51 attempts yielding only one touchdown.

Overreaction: The Bill’s performance did not indicate their offensive ability but rather the Steeler’s defensive ability. The Steelers were outstanding on defense last year, and after yesterday’s performance, there is no reason to think they should continue to be great defensively. I think the Bills improve throughout the season. That being said, Allen and Co. do not have it any easier next weekend; they face Miami at Hard Rock.

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About Thomas Zwiller

Thomas is a sophomore currently in attendance at Holy Cross College, and is a Business major and Computer Science minor. He is from Saint Joseph MI, and went to high school at Saint Joseph High School SB, playing both varsity football and hockey. Feel free to contact him about all things NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, particularly if you're a stathead.

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