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NFL winners and losers: Are the Vikings for actual?

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What the hell was that? In terms of the primary week of the 2022 NFL season we actually bought all of it. A 20-20 draw, unhappy Invoice Belichick, game-deciding referee choices, a laces-in area objective that determined a recreation, and a sloppy Soldier Subject that turned a battle within the trenches to a literal battle within the trenches, prefer it was one thing out of World Warfare I.

A part of me is so glad that absolutely the bonkers unpredictability of 2021 has carried over to this season, as a result of dumb soccer is the very best soccer. There are numerous video games which deserve a deeper dive this week, however none that had the stakes of Packers vs. Vikings to claim early NFC North dominance.

This was actually a toss-up heading in. We had been all break up, principally down the center in our Week 1 knowledgeable picks, and no person has particularly robust convictions in regards to the end result, apart from Michael Irvin, who someway believed Kirk Cousins would break the NFL single-game landing document.

Somebody got here shut in Week 1, however we’ll get to that later.

For now Packers-Vikings has me all feeling blah. The Packers appeared like absolute ass, however they appeared like ass in Week 1 of 2021 too — bear in mind, that’s after they had been blown out 38-3 by the Saints in a recreation the place Jameis Winston threw 5 touchdowns and appeared completely indestructible. Oh, these heady days of Saints-based optimism. Anyway, the purpose is: The Packers can appear to be an absolute dumpster hearth after which flip every little thing round, so I wouldn’t go dancing on Aaron Rodgers grave simply but for 2 key causes:

  1. Rodgers will most likely flip this round and make you appear to be an fool
  2. He seemingly planted ‘shrooms in that fertile grave soil and disturbing them will launch hallucinogenic spores

In the meantime, the Vikings appeared … tremendous? They gained the sport in opposition to the Packers, so clearly they don’t seem to be a nasty workforce, however this was a mammoth case of unconvincing domination. When Minnesota jumped out to their 17-0 first half lead I anticipated them to maintain operating up the rating, particularly contemplating Inexperienced Bay had completely no reply for Justin Jefferson. As an alternative the foot was taken all the way in which off the pedal, and as a substitute the Vikings aimed to coast in for the W, fairly than shut the door.

It gave off a extremely acquainted feeling within the third quarter that they had been leaving this door far too open, for a lot too lengthy. I’m not going to lie, when it was 17-7 and Minnesota answered a Packers landing with a 9 play, 20 yard drive it felt like Groundhog Day and I used to be simply ready for the comeback that might result in a crushing single-score loss for Minnesota.

I don’t perceive how the Vikings hold placing themselves on this place. The coaches can change, the weapons will be improved, however they’re endlessly turning video games into battles of “can we beat ourselves on this one?”

Justin Jefferson is an absolute monster. When the mud settles I feel he’ll cement himself as the very best receiver within the NFL, however he’s not going to go off for 180+ yards each week. Groups will bracket him, successfully double him, and drive Kirk Cousins to search out extra choices within the passing recreation — and I simply don’t know if this workforce has the firepower previous JJ within the passing recreation. On Sunday Jefferson was focused 11 occasions for 184 yards, whereas each different Vikings cross catcher mixed for 20 targets and 93 yards.

The saving grace is that Minnesota’s run recreation is admittedly good. Neither Dalvin Prepare dinner nor Alexander Mattison had been spectacular in their very own proper, however collectively they put up a tidy recreation which confirmed this workforce does have some offense to squeeze if Jefferson isn’t feasting on the skin.

I’m left actually struggling to purchase in wholeheartedly. It’s bizarre as a result of on paper I completely ought to in a recreation the place they simply beat the Packers, however we’re going to have a look at a few groups this week who additionally performed actually robust opponents, however who appeared way more harmful that the Vikings.

Minnesota followers, I’m all for y’all shopping for in, and I’ll buy based mostly in your suggestion — however greatest imagine I’m maintaining the receipt and circling the 30 day return deadline on my calendar.

For now, the Minnesota Vikings are your first winner of Week 1.

Winner: Patrick freakin’ Mahomes

I informed you we’d focus on a participant who virtually broke the single-game landing document. “Virtually” may be a tad beneficiant, however Mahomes had thrown FIVE with just below 5 minutes left within the third quarter and I feel all of us believed it may need been a chance.

Mahomes isn’t a winner due to what he did on Sunday, however what he didn’t do — which was wrestle. I do know the concept of Mahomes struggling might sound novel, however that is the weakest receiving corps he’s ever had in Kansas Metropolis. Exterior of Travis Kelce, the Chiefs kind of entered the season with a handful of beans, and No. 15 is the … rain to show them right into a … okay, this metaphor has gotten away from me. Level is: Mahomes determined to gentle the Cardinals on hearth and stomp by their ashes with none care for his or her emotions.

Together with the 5 touchdowns he completed with 360 yards, on a brutally environment friendly 9.2 YPA. Any thought that he would wrestle with out Tyreek Hill was erased in a single week, and already JuJu Smith-Schuster is wanting like a hell of a signing who’s going to thrive on this offense when he’s absolutely acclimated.

The Chiefs are good once more, who knew? (excessive sarcasm supposed)

Loser: LACES OUT DAN!

My goodness was it a nasty week for kickers not named Cade York, which I point out solely so my coworker Colby, who’s a die-hard Browns fan, gained’t yell at me at the moment.

CONGRATS ON GETTING A GOOD KICKER, COLBY. THE BROWNS ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO NEED ONE WHEN THEY STRUGGLE WITH A TEAM LIKE THE PANTHERS, AND WE’RE GOING TO GET TO THAT DEBACLE SOON.

Anyway, outdoors of the cheatin’ ass refs who propelled Cleveland to victory, the kicking this week was abysmal — however nothing was sadder than Evan McPherson for the Bengals, and it wasn’t even his rattling fault.

Cincinnati engineered one of the gorgeous comebacks of the day in a recreation most had written off by halftime. Joe Burrow appeared like a shadow of himself, the Bengals’ line couldn’t block to avoid wasting their life, and every little thing was falling aside — however someway, a way, they managed to place collectively an time beyond regulation drive that gave them a possible win on the again of a 29-yard area objective from one of many league’s most computerized clutch kickers.

SURPRISE!

That is particular as a result of it actually takes ability to area an atrocious excessive snap and handle to rotate the ball into the completely worst place potential for a proper footed kicker. Clearly the kick was shanked abysmally to the left, and the Bengals went on to lose, however shout out to tight finish Mitchell Wilcox within the above photograph for getting steamrolled so badly he appears like he’s mid-fall in a Life Alert advert, and is on the point of yell “I’ve fallen and I can’t stand up!”

It wasn’t simply McPherson who was unhealthy on the day — it was rattling close to everybody. Seven area targets had been missed on Sunday, with missed kicks deciding three video games.

Loser: Refs within the ultimate drive of Browns vs. Panthers

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear earlier than we get into this: The Carolina Panthers completely deserved to lose on Sunday due to their piss-poor offensive recreation planning, horrible play from Baker Mayfield, and an offensive line that couldn’t open any holes for Christian McCaffrey — all whereas the protection was getting gashed all day by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

I feel it’s vital to notice that Carolina deserved to lose, earlier than whining about why they really misplaced, which was right down to the ultimate drive of the day. I usually abhor blaming issues on the referees, however typically there are errors that are so egregious they deserve point out as a result of they completely change the result of the sport.

Firstly, we’ve this “roughing the passer” name on Brian Burns.

This got here with 1:13 left on the clock, the Browns had been out of timeouts. It flipped a 2nd and 10 from the 25 right into a 1st and 10 from the 40. It completely mustn’t have been roughing, both actually by the letter of the legislation, or in its spirit.

Defensive gamers are getting penalized sufficient as it’s, now they’re getting penalized for pushing an offensive participant again right into a quarterback.

To me, this was the worst of the 2 game-defining choices by the referees — however it was the second that actually sealed the sport.

The foundations on stopping the clock with a spike are very clear, and Brissett didn’t observe them. With a purpose to cease the clock with a spike the quarterback has to:

“instantly upon receiving the snap, he begins a steady throwing movement and throws the ball immediately into the bottom.”

This didn’t occur. Brissett acquired the snap, took one step again whereas trying to see if Amari Cooper was open, then determined to spike the ball. That is completely not allowed, and violates merchandise 4 on delayed spikes.

“A passer, after delaying his passing motion for strategic functions, is prohibited from throwing the ball to the bottom in entrance of him.”

Brissett delayed the spike to see if a receiver was open (the strategic objective), then spiked it anyway. It ought to have been referred to as as intentional grounding, which completely would have modified the sport’s end result. This play occurred on third and 1, on the Panthers 40 yard line, with 0:13 left on the clock.

If the play was dominated accurately it will have resulted in a lack of down, the Browns being pushed again 10 yards, and a ten second runoff. It could have resulted in 4th and 11, a 68-yard area objective try that by no means would have been potential — and the Browns needing Brissett, who struggled all day, to attempt to win on a Hail Mary.

The Panthers had been a nasty workforce on Sunday, however they completely bought robbed.

Winner: Saquon Barkley

I’m not going to faux that one week erases the hilarity of Dave Gettleman taking a operating again with a No. 2 general choose at a de-emphasized place that sees proficient gamers final for much longer within the draft, however rattling did Barkley do work on Sunday.

In unquestionably the most important impression a operating again had on Sunday, Barkley ran for 164 yards on simply 18 carries, scoring a landing and including 30 yards receiving.

You already know you will have a big day when your operating again virtually will get extra yards on the bottom than your quarterback does by the air. Saquon averaged 9.1 yards-per-carry to Daniel Jones’ 8.9 yards-per-attempt, and that was a very good recreation from Jones!

Time will inform on the Brian Daboll period, however the Giants have some particular life to them and are going to be a workforce to look at within the NFC East.

Loser: This poor man attempting to take pleasure in his popcorn in Chicago

I nonetheless can’t imagine that recreation passed off. The NFL ought to be ashamed that athletes wanted to endure the sphere because it was.

Winner: Lamar Jackson’s checking account

Whereas the Ravens hold balking on the contract calls for of Lamar Jackson, and are so clearly leaking the negotiations to NFL media to make their very own QB look grasping, he’s simply out right here balling nonetheless.

I’m not going to faux this was essentially the most dominant recreation of Jackson’s profession, however he was actually the one factor this workforce had on offense — in opposition to the Jets. Whereas he solely threw for 213 yards, the three touchdowns he threw determined the sport, and as soon as once more proved that Lamar Jackson simply wins.

The longer Baltimore hold farting round delaying paying Jackson it’s solely going to maintain costing them extra money. It’s clear this workforce can not win with out Jackson, and final I checked Steve Bisciotti is price $6.4. Spare me issues about whether or not he can discover the assured cash to place in escrow.

Winner: The Chargers’ protection

All of us knew Justin Herbert was going to be nice, and he was — however this Chargers protection is what’s actually terrifying now, and may very well be what places them excessive.

On paper a 5 level win over the Raiders may not appear to be dominance, however Los Angeles gained the battle at each stage. This protection feasted on Derek Carr, sacking him six occasions, intercepting him 3 times, and forcing him to fumble twice.

I don’t know the way protections across the league are going to account for Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa AND gamers like Derwin James within the secondary who can blitz you out of your boots. Man, this workforce is wanting so, so good proper now, and subsequent week in opposition to the Chiefs goes to be enjoyable.

Losers: All of us who watched the Buccaneers vs. Cowboys on Sunday Night time Soccer

That recreation sucked. Cowboys are washed. Congrats to Leonard Fournette.



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