The Green Bay Packers were riddled with injuries and looked lost on Sunday, being handled by an explosive Minnesota Vikings team.
The new-look Green Bay Packers made their Minnesota debut against the Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Well, most of them anyway.
Green Bay’s unveiling fell horribly flat, losing 23-7 with Jordan Love providing mop-up duty for the beat and beleaguered Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was sacked four times and hit five times behind a makeshift offensive line playing without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and star guard Elgton Jenkins. The result was predictable against Minnesota’s fearsome pass rush that was bolstered by former Packers stud Za’Darius Smith, who scored a sack in the win.
But for the Packers, it wasn’t the loss that was troubling.
That’s how it happened.
Green Bay was handled physically, a problem for a team no longer blessed with the ability to target receiver Davante Adams 10+ times a week. The Packers built a defense loaded with seven first-round picks, yet the unit was ripped for 395 total yards on 6.2 yards per play, including 184 receiving yards for Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson.
And Jefferson brings us to another issue: defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s scheme. Barry refused to have All-World cornerback Jaire Alexander travel with Jefferson. The result was multiple hideouts, while Alexander wasted his time on smaller players buried in the sequence.
This is something Alexander was vocally displeased about in the post-match commentary.
Jaire Alexander to me and @RobDemovsky postgame on coaches not having him shadow Justin Jefferson: “All week, (I was) asking about the matchup. But it’s not about me. It’s about the team . It’s not about me. If it was my way, you know what I’d do.”
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 12, 2022
Barry has to be better in his weekly preparation with something so obvious. If you have a great corner who can travel, he needs to do it against an opponent with perhaps the best receiver in football. Period.
Some of these issues should self-correct over time. Bakhtiari and Jenkins have been practicing and could be back for Week 2. That, in theory, eases the pressure on Rodgers. It also creates more rushing lanes for Aaron Jones and A.J. A combined Dillon ran for 94 yards on 15 carries and could be even better.
While many will criticize the Packers’ lack of proven receivers, that issue should improve as well. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs will gain experience, and hopefully Watson won’t see the concerns of pre-draft drops become the problem they were on Sunday. Tight end Robert Tonyan will continue to work his way back from a torn ACL.
In short, the offense will improve, but that is not enough. The defense also needs to become a dominant group given how much has been put into it. Packers fans know this.
Ultimately, the Packers need to accept an identity shift from high-flying to hard-nosed.
Otherwise, Green Bay will pretend its way through bad opponents but lose to the good ones.
A recipe for another fun season with a crash landing in January.
1. Week 1 is always a crapshoot, and Sunday was no different
If you got the Chicago Bears, Giants and Steelers to win your parlay, congratulations. If the Colts and Texans played to a 20-20 tie, you’re a magician. This may interest you : Fletcher Cox’s role, the under-the-radar runner and Andre Dillard’s trade value | Birds Huddle. If you had the Atlanta Falcons take a huge lead and then blow it against the New Orleans Saints, well, you’re familiar with the Falcons.
Of course, the kickers were also a mess. Cincinnati only needed an extra point or a 29-yard field goal to win, but got neither. Tennessee’s Randy Bullock had the Titans game on his feet, but the kick sailed wide.
Then the Steelers and the Colts have also watched their kickers miss possible field goals to win a game, although Chris Boswell makes amends later for Pittsburgh.
Then there was Kansas City, which saw Harrison Butler leave with an ankle injury, only to see safety Justin Reid come in and drill an extra point. Then there was Cleveland Browns rookie Cade York, who connected on a 58-yard game-winner.
We also saw good quarterbacks go wild, with Derek Carr helping to sink the Las Vegas Raiders with three interceptions, while Joe Burrow turned the ball over five times (four interceptions and a fumble) in the loss to Cincinnati. We also saw Aaron Rodgers post a QBR of 16.1.
Week 1 is always a circus, and all three rings were fully operational on Sunday.
2. Dak Prescott’s hand injury could send NFC into chaos
The Dallas Cowboys lost a hell of a lot more than a Week 1 game. This may interest you : Highlights of the Eagles Training Camp | Day 1. They might have lost their season.
In Sunday night’s 19-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Dak Prescott broke his thumb and will be out 6-8 weeks following surgery. Without Prescott, it’s Cooper Rush, at least as the depth chart stands. And as for Rush, it’s curtains if he plays extended time.
All of this leads to an obvious question: would the Cowboys trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, and if so, will the 49ers deal him there?
Garoppolo is now at a palatable cap hit of $13.9 million, with the veteran also holding a no-trade clause. The reality? Dallas could afford to acquire him in terms of draft capital and financially, and Garoppolo would have an incentive to start on a contending team and thus give up his leverage.
Yet the ultimate question is would San Francisco move Garoppolo after losing to the Bears in a soggy 19-10 affair at Soldier Field? If the Niners believe in Trey Lance, it’s a great opportunity to get an extra draft pick. If not, Garoppolo is likely too valuable to move in a season with Super Bowl dreams.
If the Cowboys can’t acquire Garoppolo, they seem doomed. If they bring him in, maybe they can compete in the NFC East, a division that otherwise won all of its games in Week 1.
What ends up happening with Dallas, and possibly Garoppolo, could affect the entire conference.
3. Mahomes, Chiefs explode without Tyreek Hill for 44 points
One of the biggest storylines this season was whether the Chiefs would continue to be an elite offense without Tyreek Hill. To see also : Former NY Jets HC Rex Ryan is a contestant on The Amazing Race.
A week in, the signs are positive.
Against the Arizona Cardinals, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes came alive, completing 30-of-39 throws for 360 yards and five touchdowns en route to a 44-21 victory. Mahomes found nine different receivers, with tight end Travis Kelce totaling a team-best 121 yards, while freshman JuJu Smith-Schuster added six catches for 79 yards.
Although Kansas City had just two passing plays of 30 yards or more, it was executed with ruthless efficiency. The Chiefs were 6-for-6 in the red zone, converted on 5-of-8 third downs. Kansas City also showed balance, averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt and 4.7 yards per carry, racking up 488 total yards despite playing backups for much of the fourth quarter.
It’s only one game, and the Chiefs will surely miss Hill at some point in the season. But against Arizona, Kansas City looked like its own juggernaut on the verge of the biggest win this week.
4. Baker Mayfield’s revenge effort left plenty of questions
Of the 74,000 people at Bank of America Stadium, no one had to be more enraged than Baker Mayfield when the aforementioned Yorker bent a 58-yard field goal attempt through the uprights, giving a 26-24 victory to the Browns.
Mayfield was a wreck early, throwing for 15 yards on his first 11 attempts with an interception. In the fourth quarter, the former No. 1 overall pick led a touchdown drive, erasing a 13-point deficit to give Carolina a 24-23 advantage. Ultimately, it came up short, but the questions surrounding Mayfield and the Panthers only grow louder.
While the last 15 minutes were great for Mayfield, what happened for the previous 45? Granted, Mayfield was pressured, taking four sacks including two from Myles Garrett, but Carolina had games to exploit out of the backfield and on the perimeter. It mattered a little too long.
5. Russell Wilson looks for gratification on MNF
For Russell Wilson, it’s not about revenge. It’s about justifying his desires.
Wilson wanted out of Seattle and got his wish, with the Seahawks trading their eight-time Pro Bowler to the Denver Broncos for several picks and players. Now, Wilson returns to Lumen Field in Week 1 under the lights, hoping to show that he left for a better position, and more opportunities.
For Denver, it hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015. The Broncos paid a premium for Wilson – in the trade and his extension – knowing he was potentially a ticket to postseason runs for years to come. Meanwhile, the rebuild is on for Seattle, fueled by the multiple first and second round picks acquired for Wilson’s services.
Last week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll almost begged the fans to boo Wilson. Some will, and some will cheer, but that misses the bigger point. Wilson left Seattle with a ring and another Super Bowl appearance, and now gives them a ton of draft capital to use.
And for Wilson, he walks away and gets a second life, hoping to prove he can take on more offensive responsibility and win another championship before too much sand goes into the wrong part of his career hourglass.
The Buffalo Bills clobbering the Los Angeles Rams to start the season could have many takeaways. Sean McVay’s failures were among the biggest.
McVay, rightly praised for his innovative scheme, has always been one of the more conservative coaches in the league since taking the Rams job in 2016. It was a trend that was on full display in Super Bowl LVI with’ to insist on running almost every first down through the first three quarters.
On Thursday, with his offensive line unable to stop Buffalo, McVay did the same.
The Rams had 12 first downs before trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter – not including a two-minute drill to end the first half. Of those plays, McVay called eight runs. The tact constantly put the Rams behind, forcing an already overmatched front to keep Buffalo’s pass rush from having to fear the run.
While Buffalo deserves a lot of credit for its showing in the season opener, the Rams deserve just as much blame for a game plan that is about to fail.
Inside the league
Many around the NFL wondered what the Miami Dolphins would look like after a season of big moves and hyping up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
In Miami’s 20-7 win, Tagovailoa threw for 270 yards and a score on 22-of-33 passing, with freshman Tyreek Hill good for 94 of those yards. Miami spread the ball around, Tagovailoa stayed on schedule, and the Dolphins defense allowed the offense to play an organized style, capped by a 37-yard slant to receiver Jaylen Waddle on 4th-and-1 the second quarter.
There will be additional tests for Tagovailoa and the Dolphins as more tape is created on first-year head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense. There will also be better opponents.
But the Dolphins looked great in Week 1, and Tagovailoa must be feeling better than he has come to Miami.
BetSided’s best bet
Indianapolis returns to Jacksonville’s house of horrors; looking to redeem itself from the brutal Week 18 loss that knocked it out of the playoff race last season.
Just a problem? The Colts can’t win in Jacksonville under Frank Reich. Similar to his continued frustrations in Week 1 (now 0-4-1 straight up and against the spread), Reich is 0-4 in his career in Jacksonville, even though the Jaguars finished with the worst record in the NFL the latter. two years.
Reich is also 8-12-1 in Weeks 1-5 as a head coach, and I like Jacksonville to cover a pretty big number as a home dog.
It was the first Week 1 without a rookie starting quarterback since 2007.
It’s one game, but the Eagles have to love their trade for A.J. Brown.
During the opening night of the 2022 Draft, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman sent a first round pick to the Tennessee Titans to acquire Brown. In his Philly debut, Brown torched the Detroit Lions in a 38-35 win, going for 10 receptions and 155 yards.
While Brown’s numbers are impressive, his presence is huge for quarterback Jalen Hurts. In his third pro season, Hurts has been given a great roster and a chance to prove he’s the long-term solution under center. His debut in ’22 was quite encouraging, with a total of 333 yards and a score.
Again, one game, but the Eagles looked the part of a contender.