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NFL Week 1: Winners and losers of a crazy week in football

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NFL week 1: winners and losers
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson meets with Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) at the end of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Landover, Md. Washington won 28-22. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Upsets, kicking disasters, poor quarterback play, oh my! The NFL season is officially underway and the first week was full of surprising twists and turns. 

The first week of the NFL season is never truly indicative of future NFL success. In 2021, the Packers and Titans, the two top seeds of the playoffs last season, lost by over 20 in their openers. 

That doesn’t mean that there were clear winners and losers from Sunday’s contest. 

Winners: Rookie Head Coaches

Like we said before, the first week of the NFL season isn’t indicative of NFL success. That doesn’t mean some of the new hires across the league weren’t impressive. 

Kevin O’Connell had the Minnesota Vikings flat out dominating the Green Bay Packers at home. Justin Jefferson is a star and Kirk Cousins looks far more comfortable in this offense. The Vikings are a very scary team this year with a new coach. 

Then there are the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Jags took a loss on Sunday to Washington, the team itself looks far more buttoned up with Doug Pederson. It looks like the Jags will be a tough out against any team. 

Matt Eberflus used the elements to his advantage on Sunday with one of the biggest upsets against the San Francisco 49ers. 

And then there was Brian Daboll. The Giants hadn’t won a season opener in over six seasons, played the top seed in the AFC playoffs, and came away with a 21-20 win. New York has had little to cheer about over the last few years but in one game alone, the coaching staff had the team prepared and ready in a way that few coaches have had the franchise looking. 

It may be a disappointing season ultimately for New York, but the Giants are going in the right direction. 

Losers: NFL Revenge Games

Week one of the NFL season was touted as a chance for players on new teams to get their revenge on their former squad. 

Right from the get-go, it went poorly for most of them. Joe Flacco played the team he won a Super Bowl MVP with when the Ravens and Jets faced off. Flacco was extremely disappointing and the Jets were blown out at some 24-9. 

Then there was Baker Mayfield. The former top overall pick was traded to Carolina in a bevy of controversial moves by the Browns. Mayfield and the Panthers couldn’t make Cleveland pay though with a rough first half and a disappointing 24-23 loss at home. 

Mayfield had a better game than Flacco did, but it wasn’t nearly enough to get the win against his former team. 

Winners: Chicago Bears

The field was a mess, and the 49ers were unveiling a new quarterback, but it was still the biggest upset in week one. 

The Chicago Bears have questions in a lot of different spots, but Justin Fields made the necessary plays needed to win at home and in a torrential downpour. The Bears were able to suffocate a struggling Trey Lance and the 49ers’ rushing attack, en route to a 19-10 upset win. 

Good start for Chicago. 

Losers: 2021 Division Champs

What a disaster for the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Tennessee Titans. The 2021 division champs had a dismal showing in the first game of the new NFL season.  

The Bengals lost to a Steelers team that forced four Joe Burrow interceptions and had their top kicker miss chip shot after chip shot. The rest of the AFC North won which puts the Bengals already in the hole one week in. 

Green Bay, on the other hand, lost a top receiver and pass rusher in the offseason and it showed on Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings dominated the Packers throughout in a 23-7 route. The Packers will be fine because Aaron Rodgers usually struggles in week one, but the Vikings are far more improved than people realize. 

It took a quarter for the Dallas Cowboys to join these teams as well in their Sunday night contest. Dropping a 19-3 dud to Tampa Bay at home wasn’t the only problem though. The offensive line struggled, and the defense couldn’t get a pass rush outside of Micah Parsons. The poor performance was compounded by Dak Prescott being lost for the next two months due to a broken hand. 

A lot of division champs came out far worse to start the 2022 season. 

Winners: Make or Break Quarterbacks 

There are several quarterbacks on their last chance to earn a starting job. Almost all of them showed out when it mattered most. 

Carson Wentz, in his first game as a Commanders quarterback, led a fourth-quarter comeback against Jacksonville. Jameis Winston and Daniel Jones both led fourth-quarter comebacks of their own to help their team push out wins in the final minutes. 

Jalen Hurts was the main reason the team outlasted a scrappy Detroit Lions squad as well. The season isn’t made off of one week, but it’s very clear the quarterbacks that needed to step up with strong showings in week one did just that. 

We’ll see what the rest of the NFL season has in store for these players later on though. 

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