By Serenity Bishop
NFL football is finally back! The 2016 regular season kicked off with Thursday Night Football with a rematch of Super Bowl L. The fresh-faced Denver Broncos and the Josh Norman-less Carolina Panthers gave a much better showing than in the Super Bowl. We should have realized it then when the Broncos came from behind and beat Carolina 21-20, but 2016 is going to be a year to remember.
The Panthers game also hinted to something else. Besides the fact that Cam Newton still can’t beat Denver, it hinted towards the week one match-ups being mostly all competitive games. Of the 13 Sunday afternoon games, only one was a blowout. The Philadelphia Eagles torched the Cleveland Browns. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns. In his first career start, he led the Eagles to victory and proved to be everything Philadelphia fans envisioned him to be.
However, before we crown Wentz as the next Donovan McNabb, let’s realize the Eagles played the Cleveland Browns. Bring the Wentz hype back down to earth. The Browns on the other hand, well, played like the Browns. Robert Griffin III refused to slide once again and he is now hurt. The Browns didn’t have much of a chance as Wentz played well and Ryan Mathews rushed all over the defense. It was clear the Eagles didn’t need Sam Bradford or DeMarco Murray for this one.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, former college roommates played against each other. Well, Bradford sat on the bench and Murray played. The Titans started the game off rushing the ball down the throat of the Vikings. The power running attack by Marcus Mariota, Murray and Derrick Henry proved to be a lot but if Mike Zimmer’s time in Cincinnati is any indication, his defenses bends, but doesn’t break.
The Vikings rebounded due to their play on defense. Linebacker Eric Kendricks intercepted the ball from Mariota and took it to the house. Despite Adrian Peterson’s performance and Shaun Hill playing quarterback, the Vikings won. The young mistakes from Mariota cost the team the game.
While Mariota cost his team the game, Jameis Winston picked apart the Falcons. Winston threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns. While the Falcons are certainly not contenders, they are a tough team, especially early in the season. With the performance Winston put on, it is clear that he has taken the next step from year one to year two.
The rest of the eight games on Sunday were all nail-bitters. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers barely got by Jacksonville. The game ended 27-23, but the high-powered offense of the Jaguars is going to shock a lot of teams this season. The same could be said for the New York Giants.
The Giants barely hung on to beat the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys winning 20-19. Bad news for the Eagles- Victor Cruz is back and the Giants are a legit threat, if he can be even half of what he used to be. The Giants may need to call Dallas and trade for a running back, but the Giants look like the division favorites as of right now.
In the rest of the league, Detroit beat the Colts 39-35, despite clock management mistakes by Marvin Jones Jr. The Miami Dolphins almost beat the Seahawks in Seattle, but Russell Wilson was just able to lead Seattle down the field with a few incredible plays to win the game. The Dolphins could be a team to reckon with this season if Kenny Stills can catch the ball.
The Patriots beat the Cardinals despite not having the great Tom Brady. Is this a testament to how great of a coach Bill Belichick is or how good Jimmy Garoppolo could be? Time will tell. In the Cincinnati Bengals-New York Jets game, as well as the New Orleans Saints-Oakland Raiders game, the final score came down to the wire.
Andy Dalton got the job done by getting his team in position to kick the go-ahead field goal. Although, it was Josh Shaw who made the game winning interception to seal the game. In New Orleans, the game winning catch went to Raider Michael Crabtree on a go-ahead two-point conversion. Jack Del Rio made a gutsy call, but it paid off big time.
The Ravens beat the Bills 13-7 in probably the worst game on Sunday and the Texans also got their first win over the Bears. The most exciting game on Sunday had to be the Chargers-Chiefs game. The Chiefs came back to win 33-27 in overtime after being down 24-3 in the first half. Salute to Alex Smith.
Lastly, the Monday Night games were complete blowouts. The Steelers humiliated the Redskins. The only thing worth taking a look at in this game was the fact that Josh Norman didn’t match up with Antonio Brown. Yet, he’s the best corner in the league?
The only thing to take out of the Rams blowout loss- Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand for National Anthem and continued his protest. Oh, and for the Rams, well their value doubled since they moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
After Week 1, we can tell it’s going to be another exciting season!
Follow author Serenity Bishop on Twitter @BossLifeBishop.