Now that the first edition of Overreaction Monday is out of the way, it’s again time for another 16-game slate. As always, the start of an NFL season has its share of surprises and this year’s Week 1 slate would not disappoint.
Four of last season’s eight division champions took it on the chin last week, including the reigning Super Bowl champions. Exactly half of the 14 teams who made the playoffs in 2022 are 0-1. It figures to be an interesting second week that will have a pair of Monday Night games.
Thursday, Sept. 14
Minnesota (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0): The Vikings return to Philadelphia for another prime time contest. Last season, the Eagles came up with a 24-7 Monday night win (Week 2). Last week, Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins was harassed into three turnovers in a home loss to the Bucs. The Birds’ pass rush could thrive.
Sunday, Sept. 17
Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0): Both of these teams come off double-digit victories and Matt LaFleur’s club hopes to play better on the road than it did last season (3-5). A victory by the Falcons would be the team’s first 2-0 start since 2017, which ironically marks the last time the club reached the postseason.
Las Vegas (1-0) at Buffalo (0-1): The Raiders head to Orchard Park for the first time since 2017 and hope they can keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was not sacked at Denver, out of harm’s way this week. Josh Allen committed all four of Buffalo’s turnovers in Monday night’s overtime loss to the Jets.
Baltimore (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1): A year ago, the Bengals overcame a 0-2 start and won the AFC North. That’s certainly worth noting if Zac Taylor’s team falls to a divisional rival for the second straight week. Lamar Jackson (2 turnovers) and the Ravens’ offense was spotty last Sunday in a win over Houston.
Seattle (0-1) at Detroit (1-0): A year ago at Ford Field (Week 4), the Seahawks (48) and Lions (45) combined for 93 points. Are these two teams headed in different directions? Including playoffs, Seattle is 3-7 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Dan Campbell’s improving club has won nine of its last 11 contests.
Indianapolis (0-1) at Houston (0-1): Last week, the DeMeco Ryans Era in Houston began with a loss at Baltimore in which the team managed only three field goals. The Texans are now a dismal 11-39-1 dating back to 2020. They are a respectable 8-9-1 vs. AFC South rivals but 1-4-1 vs. the Colts over that span.
Kansas City (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0): These reigning AFC division champions clash for the third time in less than a calendar year. In 2022, the Chiefs won both meetings, including a 27-20 victory in the divisional playoffs. That’s Jacksonville’s only loss in their last eight overall games dating back to ’22.
Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (1-0): The skid is 11 straight games. The Bears have made a lot of offenses look good over that span. In those losses, Chicago has given up 369 points (33.5 average) and 42 offensive touchdowns. Todd Bowles’ team forced Kirk Cousins into three turnovers in last week’s win at Minnesota.
L.A. Chargers (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1): Has Brandon Staley’s team recovered from last week’s meeting with Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill? His defense had no answers for that passing duoe. The Titans have dropped eight straight games dating back to 2022 and, last week, failed to score a TD at New Orleans.
N.Y. Giants (0-1) at Arizona (0-1): Neither the Giants’ nor Cardinals’ offenses were able to find the end zone last Sunday. Since defeating Minnesota in last year’s wild card round, Brian Daboll’s team has lost to the Eagles and Cowboys by a combined 78-7 score. Arizona has dropped eight in a row dating back to ’22.
San Francisco (1-0) at L.A. Rams (1-0): This has been a pretty lopsided series as of late. The good news for the 49ers is that they have won eight straight regular-season meetings. The bad news was a loss in the 2021 NFC title game. Both of these teams put exactly 30 points on the board and on the road in Week 1.
N.Y. Jets (1-0) at Dallas (1-0): Both of these teams parlayed strong defensive efforts and got contributions from their special teams in their Week 1 victories. Neither the Jets (289) nor Cowboys (265) gained at least 300 yards of total offense last week. Can New York’s offensive line protect erratic Zach Wilson?
Washington (1-0) at Denver (0-1): The Commanders’ franchise seeks its first 2-0 start since 2011 when the team was under the command of head coach Mike Shanahan. A loss by Sean Payton’s team means the Broncos would be 0-2 for the third time in five years. Denver’s pass rush was non-existent vs. the Raiders.
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Miami (1-0) at New England (0-1): Will Bill Belichick have an answer for Miami’s passing combination of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and speedy Tyreek Hill? Perhaps the solution is exploiting a Miami defense that allowed 234 yards rushing to the Chargers last Sunday. The Pats haven’t opened 0-2 since 2001.
Monday, Sept. 18
New Orleans (1-0) at Carolina (0-1): Dennis Allen’s defensive unit picked off Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times last Sunday and the Saints limited Tennessee to five field goals. Panthers’ rookie quarterback Bryce Young threw for only 146 yards (1 TD) and was picked off twice in the loss at Atlanta.
Cleveland (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1): Jim Schwartz’s defense performed as advertised in the team’s latest win over the Bengals. The same can’t be said for the supposedly formidable Steelers, who had no answers for the 49ers’ offense. Will T.J. Watt and company make up for Pittsburgh’s offensive shortcomings?