Five Things I’m Buying and Not Buying From The First Sunday Of The NFL Season:

  1. Buying: James Jones In The Packers Offense

It was as if he had never left; after spending a year in wide receiver purgatory, James Jones made an explosive return to the Packers. He finished with four receptions (Two Touchdowns) for 51 yards. Not only did he put up respectable numbers, he looked right at home in the Packers offense. Jones played over 65 percent of the Packers offensive snaps, despite joining the team, a mere seven days ago.


  1. Not Buying: The Buffalo Bills As A Legitimate Playoff Threat

Yes, the Bills beat the team that I have representing the AFC in Super Bowl 50, yes, Tyrod Taylor did have a very efficient game, and yes, the Bills’ defense looked terrific against a bad offensive line. With all that said, I still am not buying the Bills as a real playoff threat.

First they took on a banged up Colts team, with a young offensive line. Second the Colts main offensive weapons, T.Y Hilton, Andre Johnson, and Frank Gore all had poor games. Third, Rex Ryan coached teams seem to always play well in-home openers. And lastly, during the Chuck Pagano/Andrew Luck era, the Colts have always been slow out of the gate. The Colts are now 1-3 in season openers with Andrew Luck as their starting quarterback.


  1. Buying: The Miami Dolphins‘ Defense

I know they played arguably the worst offensive team in football, but the Miami Dolphins’ defense exceeded expectations. They held the Redskins to 10 points and forced two turnovers. They held the Redskins’ offense to an abysmal 5.1 yards per play. The defensive line constantly brought pressure to Kirk Cousins. It seemed like every time Cousins was in the shotgun, a Miami defender touched him.


  1. Not Buying: Peyton Manning’s Week One Struggle

All offseason, we heard about the decline of Peyton Manning, and for people who bought that, probably think they’re right after Manning’s poor play yesterday. But, I am not buying this. It was the first game in a new offensive system for Peyton Manning. Up until this season, Manning essentially played in the same offensive system; so would you not expect a few growing pains after transitioning to a new offense? I certainly would. It was one game against an improved Ravens’ defense. Don’t overreact; Manning is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.


  1. Buying: The Cowboys‘ Offensive Line

I said it all last season, and I will continue to say it this year, the Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL and it not even close. The line didn’t allow a sack all night long; Romo consistently had plenty of time to throw the football.


  1. Not Buying: The New York Jets‘ Offense

The Jets put up 31 points on an atrocious Browns team. This is not indicative of what the Jets offense will do. The Jets’ defense forced five turnovers, giving the Jets extremely good field position. Despite, their good field position, the Jets’ struggled to capitalize. The Browns’ offense was so bad, the Jets had the ball a lot; they should have scored a lot more points. In addition to that, the Jets receivers dropped a lot of routine passes. Bottom line, when the Jets play a legitimate NFL team, they are going to get embarrassed.


  1. Buying: The Poor Play Of The Buccaneers’ Offense

Jameis Winston’s professional debut didn’t go as planned. Winston finished 16 of 32 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. On his first professional pass, Winston through an interception which was returned for a touchdown.

I know they didn’t have Mike Evans, but I expect the Buccaneers offense to play like this all season long. Winston was sacked four times and hit many more. Midway through the third quarter, the team had a mere -2 yards from scrimmage for the second half. Winston routinely made bad decisions with the football, under throwing receivers and rushing throws; something I expect out of a young quarterback playing with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Buccaneers were an abysmal 3 for 14 (21%) on third down conversions.


  1. Not Buying: The Poor Play Of The Seahawks Offensive Line

The two time defending NFC champs’ offensive line looks completely different than the previous two seasons. Only Russell Okung and J.R Sweezy are playing positions in which they have experience at. The three other starters, Justin Britt (LG), Drew Nowak (Center), and Gary Gilliam (RT), were all making their first career starts at the respective positions. So with an inexperienced offensive line going up against an extremely tough Rams’ defense, shouldn’t we have expected the offensive line would struggle? The answer; Yes.

The offensive line is young; it’s going to take a few weeks for them to jell. They lost Max Unger in the offseason, arguably the best center in the NFL. Filling that void is going to take some time. We have to be patient; the Seahawks will figure it out.


  1. Buying: The Rams’ Defensive Line

The Rams’ defensive line is the best in the NFL. Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, and Michael Brockers are a deadly combo for any offensive line. Yesterday, they constantly brought pressure to Russell Wilson, sacking him six times. They held Marshawn Lynch to 73 yards rushing and on 4th and 1 in overtime sealed the victory, by stopping Lynch. The line had seven tackles for loss and batted down four of Wilson’s passes. The Rams’ success runs through their defensive line.


  1. Not Buying: The Poor Play Of The Texans‘ Defense

The Texans’ were embarrassed in the first half yesterday, giving up 27 first half points to Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns. How can a team with J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney allow Alex Smith to throw for three touchdowns? Well, when you’re on the field as much as the Texans’ defense was it seems very likely that this could happen.

In the first half, the Texans offense was almost non-existent. Their defense was on the constantly on the field, working with little to no room for era, as the turnovers gave the Chiefs a short field to work with. This game was much more indicative of how bad the Texans’ offense is without Arian Foster, rather than their defense being overrated.

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Sean Mason

Spark Sports NFL Analyst