Bad Takeaways From Week 1 In The NFL

By Adam Barton

The NFL season is underway. Not only that, we’ve reached Overreaction Monday. The first Monday after the Sunday before. There have been lots of opinions about the first novella of the season. But which ones should we ignore?

The Bengals Are In Trouble

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Starting your season with a 24-3 loss against a division rival is far from ideal. Especially within a challenging division in a huge conference arms race. 

It was concerning that the Bengals couldn’t get anything going either on the ground or through the air but they have recovered from slow starts before. Cincinnati need to get back in the saddle, give Joe Burrow some snaps and tick the loss to the Browns down to a quirky game in torrential conditions. They are only a game down in the division and level with Patrick Mahomes.

The Ravens' Defense Is Fixed

Baltimore started their season with a regulation win at home to Houston. It came at a huge cost though, losing J.K. Dobbins, Marcus Williams, Tyler Linderbaum and Ronnie Stanley to injury – the latter two at the very least for extended periods. 

The Ravens were outgained in yards, passing yards and first downs by the Texans, with a rookie QB making his first start under center. 

They are 1-0 without Marlon Humphrey but the true challenges start this week versus the Bengals. It will be a gametime decision if Humphrey is fit, and the Ravens need their primary and only starting calibre cornerback at his best. 

Even worse, the loss of Marcus Williams limits the Ravens’ ability to mitigate against Humphrey’s absence. Without Dobbins, 40% of the offensive line and 50% of the secondary, the Ravens don’t have the firepower to hang with the Bengals in week 2, or across the length of the season.

The Vikings Have Regressed - And Are In Trouble

Minnesota had a bad loss in week 1 to an expected NFC also ran. It was clearly a regression to the mean, having gone 11-0 in one score games in 2022. 

The Vikings played a sloppy game with three turnovers and six penalties but they almost doubled the Buccaneers passing yardage with 328 yards. 

Rushing was a concern without Dalvin Cook but there weren’t many red flags in Minnesota’s game, save for not getting the win in a game they had under control.

The Chargers Are Ready To Challenge For The AFC West

LA came out on the wrong side of an exciting game against the Miami Dolphins. There were definitely some positive signs, including rushing for 234 yards at 5.5 yards/carry. 

The Chargers should compete for the wildcard, although this loss will very much hurt being 1.5 games behind the Dolphins. But to fight at the upper echelons of the AFC, the Chargers need to improve game management. On top of six sacks, the end of the first half epitomised this. LA didn’t run out the clock before a kick to end the half. That gave the Dolphins vital seconds, which included a Hail Mary leading to a completely needless DPI penalty, gifting the Dolphins an easy three points. The Chargers lost by two. 

Games like this will prevent them winning the division, and could even knock them out of the playoff picture.

The Rams Are A Playoff Team

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LA beat a hapless Seattle team on the road. While it was an impressive display, it was near faultless, and they can’t keep that up for 18 weeks. The Rams ran 78 plays to the Seahawks’ 46, which isn’t sustainable. Sean McVay’s team went 3 for 3 in the redzone and had 8.8 yards per pass. 

While the defense did very well to stifle the Seahawks, it was helped by a regression to the mean for Geno Smith. There is very little star power beyond Aaron Donald. Playing Brock Purdy, Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts in the next 4 weeks will put the Rams new look defense to the test.

Feature Image Credit: USA Today Sports

Adam Barton

NFL Analyst

A veteran NFL fan of 15 years, Adam has followed the Ravens since growing up in Maryland. He puts his loyalties to one side to provide (largely) unbiased content from across the NFL for The Touchdown, as well as appearing on the Ninety-Nine Yards podcast. You can find Adam on Twitter @abarton93.