Week one is always absolutely crazy every year. Find me one person who said before Sunday that the Browns would lose by 30 to the Titans or that the Bucs would put up 48 on the Saints at the Superdome in last year’s week one matchup. With how little starters play in preseason and with teams still figuring things out early on, it surprises us every year and most people overreact to the first look at all teams in an extreme way.
I kind of wanted to look at the storylines emerging from the first round of NFL games and give my opinion on if that trend will continue or that statement will prove to be right. To do so, I labeled all twelve of them, which includes almost all matchups, either as truth or deceit and explain my reasoning behind it. Here they are:
#1 Believe: The Packers finally have a defense
I thought all along Green Bay’s defense would take a major step forward in 2019 once I saw them add all those pieces and retain Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator. With two high-quality edge rushers, a versatile piece in Rashan Gary, an underrated veteran safety in Adrian Amos and a flying missile in first-round pick Darnell Savage added to what they already had, I thought they could really surprise some people.
To see them holding the Bears to a sorry three points was stunning even to me, however. Chicago’s lone field goal came on their second drive of the game off a short field. After that, they had only one possession of seven plays or more and it ended in an interception.
This will probably be the lowest total Green Bay surrenders all year because it was a combination of the lack of preseason reps, which always favors the defense, Matt Nagy getting a little too cute with his play-calling instead of giving the ball to who I predicted as the Offensive Rookie of the Year in David Montgomery and some other factors.
With that being said, I love what the Packers have done in the draft to revamp their secondary, especially with cornerback Jaire Alexander who I have been hyping up since I first saw him at Louisville, and that pass rush is for real, with Pettine drawing up all kinds of stunts and pressure packages.
#1 Ignore: Case Keenum will start all 16 games in D.C.
When Andy Dalton, Dak Prescott and Case Keenum are three of the top four leaders in passing yards, you know something is a little off. Keenum completed more than two-thirds of his passes for 380 yards and tossed three touchdowns. Surprisingly enough, the journeyman has now started every single game he was healthy for over these last three seasons, since taking over from Sam Bradford in Minnesota, with a different team every year.
While he did have those performances that would make some people believe he can be a franchise guy, at some point he always seems to lay an egg. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from Keenum for his week one performance, but this Eagles secondary is still meshing together and it tightened up in the second half, where the Redskins went three-and-out on every possession until a meaningless last-second touchdown.
Keenum is also at his best off play-action and 28 yards rushing by the team are not encouraging in that regard. In the meantime, Washington has a highly promising young QB in Dwayne Haskins, who had no problem airing it out as a Heisman finalist at Ohio State.
Over the next four weeks, Washington is facing the Cowboys, Bears and Patriots (plus the not so significant Giants). The week after that they travel to Miami, which would be the perfect opportunity to give their young signal-caller some confidence and the fans some excitement if they decide to hand over the reins to the rookie.