OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The first week of the NFL season is in the books, and here is how things look after 60 minutes of football for each team:
1) Denver Broncos
- The Super Bowl champions started the 2016 season the same way they ended their 2015 season... By beating up on the Carolina Panthers. The Denver defense looks like they will remain one of the top units in the league. That, combined with a strong run game, is a tried and true method to win NFL games.
2) New England Patriots
- The Patriots are good, even when they shouldn't be. They took down arguably the most talented team in the NFL on Sunday night. Without Tom Brady. And without Rob Gronkowski. And they looked like the better team for almost the entire game. Bill Belichick could probably win with me at QB. (Ok, maybe not... But it's fun to think about)
3) Pittsburgh Steelers
- Antonio Brown, Antonio Brown, Antonio Brown. That's all NFL defensive backs are going to be thinking about night and day in the week leading up to a game against the Steelers. He is hands down (pun intended) the best Wide Receiver in the NFL, and it's not even close. This offense is going to be among the best in the league, and if the defense can just be average the Steelers could easily find themselves in the Super Bowl.
4) Green Bay Packers
- Jordy Nelson is back, and the only people happier than Aaron Rodgers are Rodgers' fantasy owners. He seems like an entirely different QB when Nelson is on the field. As long as they stay healthy, the Packers will be among the best teams in the league all year.
5) Carolina Panthers
- The Panthers probably should have beaten my top overall team last Thursday, but they didn't. The Panthers offensive line looks like they might be a liability, but the return of Kelvin Benjamin is huge for Cam Newton and Greg Olsen.
6) Arizona Cardinals
- Perhaps the biggest disappointment of opening week... My pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl was outplayed by the Patriots who were down their two best players. I still believe the Cardinals are the most talented roster in the NFL, and I believe they have one of the best coaches in the league, too. I believe that they will get it turned around in short order. Also, David Johnson is a beast.
7) Seattle Seahawks
- They barely beat a Miami Dolphins team that should be nothing better than completely average and Russell Wilson is now dealing with a bad ankle. The silver lining? Their defense seems to still be their usual dominant self, and Doug Baldwin continues to play at a high level.
8) Cincinnati Bengals
- AJ Green played like a man possessed. I still don't believe in Andy Dalton, and I won't until he wins a playoff game. Same goes for head coach Marvin Lewis. But the Bengals look like they will remain one of best regular season teams around.
9) Kansas City Chiefs
- The Chiefs won a crazy game against their division-rival Chargers after overcoming a three touchdown deficit. Spencer Ware looks like the real deal, and may force the Chiefs to employ a running back-by-committee even after Jamaal Charles is ready to return from his injury. The AFC West may have three teams vying for the division crown at the end of the season.
10) Houston Texans
- Houston looked excellent against the perennial under-achieving Bears in week 1. We know their defense will be solid as long as JJ Watt stays healthy. New QB Brock Osweiler seemed competent, but should face a tougher test against my #9 ranked team. Shiny new running back Lamar Miller is finally being used properly, too... Maybe if Joe Philbin had done that while in Miami both of them would still be there.
11) Oakland Raiders
- The Raiders offense picked up where they left off last year. The problem is, the defense did too. Even after big off-season additions, the Defense was porous, and one of their big free agent signings (Sean Smith) was a big reason why. If they really want to take the next step this year, the defense needs to get their act together. By the way, how about the guts by Del Rio on that two-point conversion? We would've ripped him if it failed, so we need to recognize that he got it right.
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- The Buccaneers offense looks like it's going to be the real deal. Jameis Winston appears to have made progress, and we all knew that Mike Evans had the talent. If he can avoid the drops that plagued him last year, he should easily be a 1,200 yard, 10+ TD wide receiver. I still have some concerns about their defense, but as long as the offense can avoid untimely turnovers the Buc's will be a tough test every week.
13) New York Jets
- The Jets defense looks like it will remain a dominant unit, even if Darrell Revis is no longer a shutdown corner. Brandon Marshall needs to produce more if they are going to move the ball consistently. They've got a big game against a division foe, and former head coach, this weekend. If they want a shot at making the playoffs, they need to keep pace with the Patriots while Tom Brady is out. That means a, dare I say, must-win in week 2?
14) New York Giants
- The Giants struggled a bit against the Cowboys in Dallas, something that has become a bit of a trend. This time they found a way to get the win. This offense has a chance to be special with so many explosive options at wide receiver. It's great to see Victor Cruz salsa dancing again. If the Giants defense and their fancy new high-priced additions pay off, the Giants could easily find themselves back in the playoffs.
15) Baltimore Ravens
- Possibly the most overlooked team of the off-season. The defense looked excellent, albeit against an overrated (in my opinion) Tyrod Taylor. Joe Flacco is back, Mike Wallace appears to still have some wheels, and last years top-pick (Breshad Perriman) finally played in a game! With two other quality teams in their division, the Ravens will have to fight to make the playoffs.
16) Minnesota Vikings
- Adrian Peterson was completely shut down, the Vikings offense did not find their way to pay dirt, and Blair Walsh was shaky. The Vikings defense, however, came up big. They should be a very good unit, but the offense is going to need to do far more if they want make it back to the playoffs. I still hate the trade of a 2017 first round pick (and a future pick) for Sam Bradford, who might make his first start this week.
17) Detroit Lions
- Matt Stafford looked fantastic, and Marvin Jones looks like a great signing following the off-season retirement of Megatron. Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah for an interesting backfield combo, too. Their defense, however, appears that it will be a problem again this year.
18) Jacksonville Jaguars
- The Jags are young and talented, but don't appear to be completely ready to win yet. They've got the right players, but it hasn't molded together yet. Chris Ivory was released from the hospital yesterday, and when he returns he should give a nice boost to the running game. They lost on Sunday, but played well against a good Packers team.
19) Dallas Cowboys
- Looks like it might take a little while to get Dak to The Future. He came back down to earth after an unbelievable pre-season. Dak needs to get Dez Bryant involved early and often and Ezekiel Elliot must also play better. The Cowboys will be unpredictable team as long as they have a rookie playing QB.
20) Philadelphia Eagles
- In the battle of the team that loved Carson Wentz vs. the team that didn't want to draft him, the Eagles came out on top in more than one way. Wentz showed off the arm talent that made the Eagles fall in love with him on his way to winning his first career start. Not to mention their defense looked fantastic, even if it was against the Browns.
21) Miami Dolphins
- They did almost beat the Seahawks, but they also scored only 10 points. Ryan Tannehill still can't throw the deep ball well. The one time he did, Kenny Stills committed an egregious drop. Their defense looked solid, but the offense needs to step their game up in a big way if Miami wants to win many games this year.
22) Washington Redskins
- YOU LIKE THAT? I sure didn't. I was banking on Cousins having a good game (for my fantasy team) against a defense that let QB's do what they wanted last year. Instead, Cousins started his Franchise Tag season off on a less-than ideal start. Their defense was torched by the Steelers, and their offense negated. The good news? They'd have to try really hard to have another game that bad.
23) Buffalo Bills
- I really didn't understand the Tyrod Taylor hype in the off-season. He's a game manager at best, in my opinion. He needs a good defensive performance and a strong running game to be successful. His defense held up their end of the bargain, giving up only one touchdown. Taylor managed 111 passing yards in the 2nd most embarrassing passing performance of the weekend (shout out Case Keenum).
24) Indianapolis Colts
- He's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Andrew Luck, that is. But that's where the good news ends. Luck was fantastic, throwing the ball where he wanted & when he wanted. The problem is, the Colts defense allowed Matt Stafford to do the same, and ultimately failed to stop him in crunch time. The Colts will score a lot of points this year, but it looks like the defense is going to give a lot of them up, too.
25) New Orleans Saints
- I could basically copy and paste the Colts' post and put it here. There really isn't much else to say. Brees looked fantastic. The offense will score. The defense will suck.
26) Atlanta Falcons
- Matt Ryan looked pretty good. The Falcons offense looked pretty good. But their defense was awful. I'm starting to sound like a broken record, aren't I?
27) San Francisco 49ers
- Has there ever been a less entertaining blow-out? This was easily the ugliest game of the week. The silver lining? Carlos Hyde and NaVorro Bowman both looked pretty darn good. The key for them will be health. Don't expect any more games like this from SF. Their best WR is Jeremy Kerley, acquired just weeks ago, and Blaine Gabbert is average at best. I'm not a believer. Let's see how Sunday in Charlotte goes.
28) Tennessee Titans
- Let's mix it up a bit. The Titans defense looked excellent on Sunday, albeit against a Shaun Hill led Vikings team. They completely shut Adrian Peterson down, and didn't allow the Vikings offense to get into the endzone. The problem is that the offense gifted the Vikings defense two touchdowns of their own. If the offense can hold up their end of the deal, the Titans might just be a decently average team. Quite the improvement from being the worst team of the last two years.
29) San Diego Chargers
- Things started so perfectly for the Chargers. Melvin Gordon got into the endzone twice, Keenan Allen was getting open at will, and they built a 21 points lead. The wheels fell off after Allen went down late in the first half. A torn ACL brought his season, and most likely the Chargers' season, to an abrupt end. The Chargers averaged 8 points per game more with Allen in the lineup last season (24 ppg over 8 games) than they did without him (16 ppg over 8 games). In a division that features 3 other good teams, the Chargers will not be contending for the playoffs.
30) Chicago Bears
- Da Bears... Looked bad. Any other season, the performance their defense put on the field might have earned them the 32nd slot. Luckily for them, we have the Rams and Browns.
31) Los Angeles Rams
- Technically the Rams looked worse than the Browns last week. But, they have Todd Gurley. Case Keenum doesn't belong on an NFL field. The Rams WR core is easily the worst in the NFL. I feel bad for Gurley. Unless Goff comes in and proves to be worth his draft slot, his career will likely go the way of Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson: Wasted on terrible offenses.
32) Cleveland Browns
- I mean, I don't even know what to say. They're the Browns. RG3 is on injured reserve already. The silver lining? Fantasy owners that drafted Gary Barnidge have to be looking forward to Josh McCown starting after the two developed a nice connection last year.