The first NFL Sunday of the season has passed, and after a day full of surprises, these five teams should be the most excited after Week 1.
- Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers turned the page from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love this offseason, and Love quickly made the Packers’ faithful forget their old quarterback. Love passed for 245 yards and three touchdowns, showing a command of the offense and the ability to take it to the next level. Defensively, they looked improved compared to 2023, but it’ll be interesting to see how they fare against a higher-level offense like Detroit in Week 3. Still, the Packers came away Week 1 with the confidence that Love can be the guy, so now they must put it all together and sustain it.
- Dallas Cowboys
While I believe that the 40-0 beatdown by the Dallas Cowboys had much more to do with the New York Giants being horrifically bad than the Cowboys being great, 40-0 is still 40-0. Everything was clicking for the Cowboys. They didn’t need to do much offensively, but the running game made their mark with Tony Pollard’s first game as the full-time back. Dak Prescott only attempted 24 passes, so it’ll be better to judge him in Week 2, but he still had a promising opener. Defensively, even though Daniel Jones looked incompetent, they were flying around, totaling seven sacks, two interceptions, and a touchdown. Not to mention, they added a special teams touchdown for good measure. You can’t ask for a better opening game.
- Los Angeles Rams
How about the Los Angeles Rams? Not many called for them to be any good or compete against the Seattle Seahawks, but they made a statement. In a 30-13 victory, they dominated the Seahawks in their building, showing flashes of how they looked in their 2021 Super Bowl season even without Cooper Kupp. Matthew Stafford shredded a highly touted Seahawks secondary for 334 yards with unknown receivers Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, who are no longer unknown. Defensively, many questioned the talent surrounding Aaron Donald, especially an unproven secondary, but they didn’t give Geno Smith anything to work with at all. The Rams will host the San Francisco 49ers next week, so with a strong showing, they’ll find their way into the playoff conversation.
- Miami Dolphins
What a performance from Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and the Dolphins offense. Tua played himself to the forefront of the MVP conversation after he passed for 466 yards and three touchdowns. Hill appears to be the frontrunner for Offensive Player of the Year after hauling in 11 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, despite allowing 34 points to Justin Herbert and a loaded Los Angeles Chargers offense, they held it down when it mattered most in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Dolphins will have a tough test on the road again in New England for their Week 2 bout, but all signs are pointing up in South Beach.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Could the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the NFC South? After Week 1, I’d bet on it. Baker Mayfield wasn’t phenomenal, but he did his job efficiently, relying on his talented receivers. The running game could use some work, but it’s only Week 1, so we’ll see how that looks in a few weeks. Defensively, Justin Jefferson may have got the best of them, but they forced three critical turnovers that won them the game. Looking around the division, none of the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, or Carolina Panthers looked overly impressive. This division is as much the Bucs as it is anyone else’s.
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