The NFL returned on Thursday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the Dallas Cowboys by some score that I forget. What matters is that pro football is back and Sunday’s slate offers many interesting matchups to us started on our first 17-game journey.
Soon, I’ll explain why I think we won’t have a 17-game season for long.
But first, use today’s thread as an opportunity to comment on any of the games below, either as they’re happening or whenever you feel inspired to say something about a particular player or team. I’m going to use this space as a place to share a few thoughts on each game, as well as on what music was released last week, movies to watch, and at the end, 5 bold predictions on the season.
What are your bold predictions?
Who are you picking to win today’s games?
There’s information on the Week 1 games below, here’s a Rams update from Sunday morning:
Ian Rapoport claims that when Matthew Stafford was seeking a trade in January, the Lions were listening to offers from the Carolina Panthers, when Stafford stepped in and steered the deal back towards the LA Rams. Rapoport says that Sunday night’s opponent, the Chicago Bears, were also interested in making a deal for Stafford even though they’re in the same division as Detroit and that would have made it very difficult.
The Bears ended up using two first round picks to acquire Justin Fields (a 2022 pick to trade up, then the 2021 pick used on Fields) and the Panthers traded a second round pick for Sam Darnold.
The @NFLGameDay Notebook with @MikeGarafolo & @TomPelissero: How Matt Stafford nixed a trade to the #Panthers; We could see some of #Bears QB Justin Fields tonight; Keeping it simple for Sam Darnold & why Jamaal Williams will carry the load; Saquon Barkley will be used carefully. pic.twitter.com/4a1exAylR1— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 12, 2021
Opinion: The idea that Teddy Bridgewater+Eighth overall pick is a better package than two first round picks is laughable. Bridgewater needed an entire camp to beat out Drew Lock, he has not proven to be a great long-term solution for any team during his NFL career. Jared Goff is a better quarterback than Bridgewater, and while two late future first round picks is a tough sell over a top-10 pick right now, Detroit is in build-now mode, not win-now mode.
I just don’t see the point of this story. Stafford didn’t necessarily do anything. If there was a team that wanted to beat out two first round picks for Stafford, a team could have done that. It still seems like LA had the best offer.
Week 1 - Morning Games
Steelers-Bills, 10 AM
Buffalo beat Pittsburgh 26-15 last season.
Eagles-Falcons, 10 AM
I just read this really interesting quote that mentioned Michael Vick. Lee Owens is the head coach at Ashland University and on Saturday night his team lost to Ferris State 45-19. Owens, who is 65 and began coaching high school in 1977 and college since 1992 as an assistant at Ohio State, was stunned by the score and the opposing quarterback, saying that he was quicker than Michael Vick.
“I was on the sideline (as the University of Akron head coach in 2000) when Michael Vick was at Virginia Tech. He was pretty fast and athletic,” AU coach Lee Owens said. “I’m going to tell you, I’ve never seen a kid with that kind of quickness. First of all, just the quickness. But also the acceleration and the speed.
“We can run in the secondary. We’ve got guys who are fast. He just went by us.”
That player he’s talking about by the way is playing football this season for the first time since 2015. Jared Bernhardt went to Maryland on a lacrosse scholarship, and last season won the award as the best player in the nation. With his extra year of eligibility, Bernhardt opted to transfer to Ferris State and try football again. He scored seven touchdowns in his debut last week, and then rushed for 210 yards on 14 carries this weekend.
Chargers-Washington, 10 AM
Brandon Staley’s debut as head coach.
Cardinals-Titans, 10 AM
Will Arizona open the season 1-0 or 0-1?
Jaguars-Texans, 10 AM
This game is not going to be Trevor Lawrence against Deshaun Watson in the rookie’s debut against the quarterback he followed at Clemson.
49ers-Lions, 10 AM
Can Jared Goff beat the 49ers if he’s in powder blue?
Seahawks-Colts, 10 AM
Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson will be ready for Sunday’s game against Seattle.
Vikings-Bengals, 10 AM
If you’re lookin for a movie to watch this morning, I saw Malignant on HBO Max. Technically I haven’t finished it yet. I think it’s about a puppet man who breaks into houses.
Jets-Panthers, 10 AM
It was important to schedule-makers to make this Sam Darnold’s Carolina debut because fans have been so enamored by Sam Darnold.
Dolphins-Patriots, 1:25 PM
Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa for Week 1 goes scheduled as planned.
Packers-Saints, 1:25 PM
Aaron Rodgers against Jameis Winston and probably some sort of Taysom Hill. Will the Saints be terrible?
Browns-Chiefs, 1:25 PM
How much could we possibly overrate the outcome of a Week 1 game? Every game matters, but suddenly that phrase “17-game season” enters my mind now when I think of how long away the playoffs are at this moment.
Broncos-Giants, 1:25 PM
Songs of the week, if you’re looking to listen to new music this afternoon:
email@example.com - take a trip
Tay Money - The Assignment
seeyousoon - Fix Your Face
Bears-Rams, 5:20 PM, NBC
What’s your prediction for tonight’s Rams game?
Ravens-Raiders, Monday, 5:15 PM, ESPN
The NFL showcases SoFi Stadium on Sunday night, then Allegiant Stadium on Monday Night Football.
5 bold predictions:
- The Jets will be good. Maybe not in the playoffs, but closer than most think. Zach Wilson’s transition to being a good NFL starter is quick and painless.
- There won’t be many 17-game seasons. It might only be one or two years before the NFL moves to 18 games. The NFL is the last true version of massively popular appointment television.
- Chargers in the Super Bowl.
- The 49ers miss the playoffs.
- Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs, a fifth round pick, wins Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Post-Afternoon Games Updates:
Eagles 32, Falcons 6
Jalen Hurts, 27/35, 264 yards, 3 TD, 62 rushing yards
DeVonta Smith, 6 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD
Javon Hargrave, 2 sacks
Matt Ryan, 21/35, 164 yards
Kyle Pitts, 4 catches for 31 yards on eight targets
Chargers 20, WFT 16
Justin Herbert, 31/47, 337 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble
Keenan Allen, 9 catches, 100 yards
Kenneth Murray, 10 tackles
Derwin James, 7 tackles, 1 PD
Joey Bosa, 1 sack
Ryan Fitzpatrick, injured
Taylor Heinicke, 11/15, 122 yards, 1 TD/0 INT
Antonio Gibson, 20 carries for 90 yards, 2 fumbles
Cardinals 38, Titans 13
Kyler Murray, 21/32, 289 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, 20 rushing yards, 1 TD
DeAndre Hopkins, six catches for 83 yards, 2 TD
Christian Kirk, five catches for 70 yards, 2 TD
Chandler Jones, 5 SACKS
Isaiah Simmons, 9 tackles, 2 PD, 1 INT
Ryan Tannehill, 21/35, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 rush TD, 2 lost fumbles
Derrick Henry, 17 carries for 58 yards
Julio Jones, three catches for 29 yards
Kevin Byard, 1 INT
Texans 37, Jaguars 21
Tyrod Taylor, 21/33, 291 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 40 rush yards
Mark Ingram, 26 carries for 85 yards, 1 TD
Brandin Cooks, five catches for 132 yards
Trevor Lawrence, 28/51, 332 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Panthers 19, Jets 14
Sam Darnold, 24/35, 279 yards. 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 lost fumble
Christian McCaffrey, 21 carries for 98 yards, 9 catches for 89 yards
Carolina with 6 team sacks
Shaq Thompson, 10 tackles, 1 sack, 3 PD, 1 INT
Zach Wilson, 20/37, 258 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 6 sacks
Corey Davis, five catches for 97 yards, 2 TD
Elijah Moore, -3 yards on one catch, four targets
Bengals 27, Vikings 24 (OT)
Joe Burrow, 20/27, 261 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Joe Mixon, 29 carries for 127 yards, 1 TD, 23 rec yards
Ja’Marr Chase, five catches for 101 yards, 1 TD
B.J. Hill, 2 sacks
Kirk Cousins, 36/49, 351 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Dalvin Cook, 20 carries for 61 yards, 1 TD, 43 rec yards, 1 lost fumble (led to losing game)
Adam Thielen, nine catches for 92 yards, 2 TD
Justin Jefferson, five catches for 71 yards
Michael Pierce, 2 sacks
49ers 41, Lions 33
Jimmy Garoppolo, 17/25, 314 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 lost fumble
Trey Lance, 1/1, 5 yards, 1 TD, 3 carries for 2 yards
Elijah Mitchell, 19 carries for 104 yards, 1 TD
Deebo Samuel, nine catches for 189 yards, 1 TD, 1 lost fumble
George Kittle, four catches for 78 yards, 1 lost fumble
Nick Bosa, 1 sack, 3 TFL
Dre Greenlaw, 1 pick-six
Jared Goff, 38/57, 338 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
T.J. Hockenson, eight catches for 97 yards, 1 TD
D’Andre Swift, 39 rush yards, 65 rec yards, 1 TD
Seahawks 28, Colts 16
Russell Wilson, 18/23, 254 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Chris Carson, 16 carries for 91 yards, 26 rec yards, 1 lost fumble
Tyler Lockett, four catches, 100 yards, 2 TD
Gerald Everett, 1 TD
Carson Wentz, 25/38, 251 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 lost fumble
Zach Pascal, four catches for 43 yards, 2 TD