NFL winners and losers: Are the Vikings for actual?


What the hell was that? In the case of the primary week of the 2022 NFL season we actually obtained all of it. A 20-20 draw, unhappy Invoice Belichick, game-deciding referee choices, a laces-in discipline aim that determined a recreation, and a sloppy Soldier Discipline that turned a battle within the trenches to a literal battle within the trenches, prefer it was one thing out of World Struggle 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 perfect soccer. There are quite a lot of 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 have been all cut up, mainly down the center in our Week 1 knowledgeable picks, and no person has particularly sturdy convictions concerning the consequence, apart from Michael Irvin, who by some means believed Kirk Cousins would break the NFL single-game landing report.

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 seemed like absolute ass, however they seemed like ass in Week 1 of 2021 too — bear in mind, that’s once they have been blown out 38-3 by the Saints in a recreation the place Jameis Winston threw 5 touchdowns and seemed completely indestructible. Oh, these heady days of Saints-based optimism. Anyway, the purpose is: The Packers can appear like an absolute dumpster fireplace after which flip all the things 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 like an fool
  2. He possible planted ‘shrooms in that fertile grave soil and disturbing them will launch hallucinogenic spores

In the meantime, the Vikings seemed … fantastic? 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 working up the rating, particularly contemplating Inexperienced Bay had completely no reply for Justin Jefferson. As an alternative the foot was taken all the best way off the pedal, and as a substitute the Vikings aimed to coast in for the W, relatively than shut the door.

It gave off a very acquainted feeling within the third quarter that they have 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 will result in a crushing single-score loss for Minnesota.

I don’t perceive how the Vikings preserve 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 believe he’ll cement himself as the perfect receiver within the NFL, however he isn’t going to go off for 180+ yards each week. Groups will bracket him, successfully double him, and power Kirk Cousins to seek 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 go 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 have 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 sturdy opponents, however who seemed way more harmful that the Vikings.

Minnesota followers, I’m all for y’all shopping for in, and I’ll buy primarily based in your suggestion — however greatest consider 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 talk about a participant who nearly broke the single-game landing report. “Nearly” may be a tad beneficiant, however Mahomes had thrown FIVE with slightly below 5 minutes left within the third quarter and I believe all of us believed it may need been a risk.

Mahomes isn’t a winner due to what he did on Sunday, however what he didn’t do — which was battle. I do know the thought 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 roughly 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 mild the Cardinals on fireplace and stomp via 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 battle 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 meant)


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 immediately.


Anyway, exterior 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 some of the gorgeous comebacks of the day in a recreation most had written off by halftime. Joe Burrow seemed like a shadow of himself, the Bengals’ line couldn’t block to save lots of their life, and all the things was falling aside — however by some means, 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 discipline aim from one of many league’s most automated clutch kickers.


That is particular as a result of it actually takes talent to discipline 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 picture for getting steamrolled so badly he appears to be like like he’s mid-fall in a Life Alert advert, and is on the point of yell “I’ve fallen and I can’t rise up!”

It wasn’t simply McPherson who was unhealthy on the day — it was rattling close to everybody. Seven discipline targets have 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 believe 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 typically 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 end result of the sport.

Firstly, now we have this “roughing the passer” name on Brian Burns.

This got here with 1:13 left on the clock, the Browns have been out of timeouts. It flipped a 2nd and 10 from the 25 right into a 1st and 10 from the 40. It completely shouldn’t have been roughing, both actually by the letter of the regulation, 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 really sealed the sport.

The foundations on stopping the clock with a spike are very clear, and Brissett didn’t comply with 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 instantly into the bottom.”

This didn’t occur. Brissett obtained the snap, took one step again whereas seeking 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 function), then spiked it anyway. It ought to have been known as as intentional grounding, which completely would have modified the sport’s consequence. 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 might 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 discipline aim 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 have been a nasty workforce on Sunday, however they completely obtained robbed.

Winner: Saquon Barkley

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

In unquestionably the most important influence a working 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’ve gotten a special occasion when your working again nearly will get extra yards on the bottom than your quarterback does via the air. Saquon averaged 9.1 yards-per-carry to Daniel Jones’ 8.9 yards-per-attempt, and that was an excellent 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 observe within the NFC East.

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

I nonetheless can’t consider that recreation happened. The NFL needs to be ashamed that athletes wanted to endure the sector because it was.

Winner: Lamar Jackson’s checking account

Whereas the Ravens preserve 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 fake 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 preserve farting round delaying paying Jackson it’s solely going to maintain costing them more cash. It’s clear this workforce can’t 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 really terrifying now, and might be what places them excessive.

On paper a 5 level win over the Raiders may not appear like 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 Evening Soccer

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


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