Week 1 of the NFL is in the books! After a wild week, here were some of my overreactions to the week’s action: Marcus Mariota is a Hall of Famer waiting to happen, the Bills could be on tract to win a Super Bowl, San Francisco will continue to look dominant all year, and Peyton Manning should be benched in favor of Brock Osweiler. Obviously none of these are guaranteed to happen, but if you want hot takes after week 1 there you go. Besides making my Thursday pick, this Thursday piece will look at one week 1 outcome that I think have the ability to continue over the course of the season.
First the pick:
Broncos over Chiefs
Man, this one was actually more difficult to pick than I thought. Basically everything revolves around the fact that Peyton Manning may or may not actually be dropping off(this gets in a little bit into the next part of the article). He did not look great on Sunday against the Ravens, although he did not need to be for his team to pull out the win. He went 24-40 for 175 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The general consensus after the game was that Manning did not play very well. If this kind of play from Manning continues throughout the season, the Broncos could be in big trouble.
That is not to say that the Broncos will be bad necessarily, but it does put a ceiling on their season. It removes any kind of chance the Broncos would have had at the Super Bowl. Personally, I think that Manning can rebound and actually play well this year. However, I have my eyebrows raised when it comes to Manning for this season. If after a few more weeks it does not look like he will return to even like an above average quarterback, then the Broncos season could be screwed.
I’ll take a gamble and say that Peyton will play better this weekend, and take the Broncos over the Chiefs. Now onto a couple week 1 trends that I think have the potential to continue:
Buffalo Bills will continue to look good
I am not ready to say that they will beat out either of my wild card teams(PIT and MIA) after only one week, but what I saw from the Bills has me intrigued. They have a very dominant defense, that should be able to shut down plenty of offenses on a weekly basis. Having Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcel Dareus on your defensive line is a great start. Also, over the last two seasons, no defense has recorded more sacks(113), or interceptions(44) than the Bills D. Adding Rex Ryan to the mix, a coach well known for his defensive strategies, has the potential to make this defense even better. Hell, this is the defense that managed to shut down Andrew Luck last weekend.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Ted, the Bills are starting Tyrod Taylor at qb, he sucks1 How can they make the playoffs with him as their qb.” Look, I get that, but here’s the thing, Taylor does not have to play out of his mind for the Bills to make the playoffs. Also, he played decently on Sunday. He was 14/19 for 195 yards and a touchdown. He had a QBR of 88.2, and that’s on a scale out of 100. His QB rating was 123.8, which is also pretty good. Tyrod Taylor has plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal as well. With LeSean McCoy, and Karlos Williams in the backfield, and Rex Ryan as their coach(Ryan is a fan of ground and pound), the Bills should have a good rushing attack which should make it easier for Taylor to operate in the passing game. He also has Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins, and Charles Clay to throw too. All three of those guys are decent weapons.
If Taylor can be just an average qb over the course of the season, the Bills should have a shot at making it to the playoffs. With the Bills taking on the Patriots Sunday, it is another great test to see if this team is up to the challenge.
Ted Van Green
Spark Sports NFL Analyst