The first week of NFL games did not disappoint. Two games went into overtime, and five other contests were decided by three points or less, proving that one play can literally make the difference between winning and losing.
With such a competitive slate, players and coaches are being put to the test with the game on the line, and fans are able to learn how they perform under pressure. Now that the first 16 regular season games are in the books, let’s reflect on three main takeaways from the weekend.
Can Anyone Kick Anymore?
There were many instances where teams thought they had the victory sealed. The Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers all just needed one kick to go through the uprights to come away with a Week 1 win. However, only the Steelers were able to convert, and that was after Chris Boswell and Evan McPherson took turns squandering opportunities in the fourth quarter and overtime.
As many fans like to say, it is only Week 1, and it is too early to panic. However, it will be interesting to see how teams react to this. Will we see a litany of changes at kicker by multiple teams? Will franchises be nervous about these events, considering that the weather in September is largely pleasant, and kicks are still being missed?
It is also entirely possible that coaches will decide to keep their foot on the gas with their offense, and go for it on fourth down even when they are in field goal range.
The Eagles Could Make A Run In The NFC
Coming into the season, it was well accepted that the NFC might experience a little bit of a down year, paving the way for an unexpected team to have a strong run. Based on their performance against the Detroit Lions, it is entirely feasible that the team that dominates the conference might be the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jalen Hurts’ athletic ability was a given, as he proved last season he could make plays on the ground when they were designed or in a scrambling scenario. Against the Lions, Philadelphia used the threat of Hurts’ rushing ability to open up lanes for the other members of their backfield. Running backs Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott all reached the endzone on the ground, in addition to the quarterback scoring a rushing touchdown as well.
If their lethal rushing attack wasn’t enough to worry about, the Eagles also showed they could beat teams through the air. Major offseason acquisition A.J. Brown had a stellar first game with Philadelphia, catching 10 passes for 155 yards.
Don’t Forget About Patrick Mahomes
In the last several months, there has been a lot of attention focused on the ascension of young quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow. All three are going to have tremendous careers, but Kansas City Chiefs signal caller Patrick Mahomes reminded the world that he still might be the best in the game.
There were a lot of questions surrounding how the Chiefs would replace All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill, but if Sunday was any indication, it doesn’t seem like he will be missed that much. Mahomes threw for five touchdown passes, and probably could’ve had more if they weren’t up by so much against the Arizona Cardinals.
32 year-old tight end Travis Kelce demonstrated he could be the centerpiece of an offense, while newcower JuJu Smith-Schuster had a strong game as well. It looks like Mahomes will lean on several players in 2022 in order to replace Hill’s production.