NFL Week 1: Over & Under Reactions

By Steve Moyse

Just like that, the 2023 season is underway – and what a first week in the NFL it was: Aaron Rodgers suffers a season ending injury after only 4 snaps, The Super Bowl Champs take an unexpected L, Joe Burrow gets humbled after becoming the league’s highest paid player, and so much more.

With experts and fans providing a whole host of different reactions, I breakdown where people might be getting a tad carried away and shine some light on that which has flown under-the-radar in Week 1.

Overreaction: The Jets season is over without Aaron Rodgers

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After an off-season full of excitement, Jets’ fans were more than ready to watch 4x MVP Aaron Rodgers end their years of suffering. You can only imagine their devastation when, less than 4 minutes into the game, Rodgers tears his Achilles – marking him out for not only the game, but the entire season.

Even with the Jets coming back from a 10 point deficit to beat the Bills 22-16, many fans are convinced that their Playoff aspirations are over.

Or are they…

While he is absolutely not Aaron Rodgers, or even close, Zach Wilson put together a very solid 2nd half of football, completing 69% of his throws and receiving a passer rating of 117.1.

When you have a backfield including Breece Hall, who in his first game post-ACL put up over 100 rushing yards, a top 3 Defence and an exciting group of WR’s, all Zach Wilson needs to be is average and this Jets team still has a chance of making the Playoffs.

Overreaction: The Chiefs’ WR’s will ruin their Super Bowl chances

Thursday night was a night to forget for Chiefs’ Wide Receivers who made 4 crucial drops against the Lions, including one which resulted in a game changing Pick-6. In fact, when targeting WR’s in the 2nd half, Mahomes was 2 of 12 with 1 interception – not exactly the production we’ve become accustomed to.

However, to say that this is what we should expect from Chiefs’ Wide Receivers for the rest of the season is a major overreaction. Next week Travis Kelce should return, immediately taking the pressure off on 3rd down and in the Red Zone. Plus, this is Andy Reid, a coach known for his ability to adjust according to the strengths and weaknesses of his weapons.

While Thursday’s performance was fairly dire, let’s give Mahomes, Reid and what is a very talented group of receivers a chance to reconvene before we count anyone out.

Overreaction: Joe Burrow isn’t the same QB now he’s been paid

Last week, Joe Burrow put pen to paper on a 5 year $275million contract that made him the highest paid player in the history of the NFL. 3 days later, Burrow has one of the worst games of his career, with only 82 yards and a passer rating of just 52.2, as the Bengals lose 24-3 to the Browns – prompting some very passionate responses from critics.

But this is Joe Burrow. A former 1st overall pick who has consistently been among the top 5 QBs in the NFL, despite sub-par Offensive Line play at the best of times. Even after various attempts to fix the Offensive Line over the last few seasons, their struggles continued on Sunday with Burrow being pressured on 17 of his 33 drop-backs.

With the O-Line facing a less dominant pass rush in Week 2, I fully expect Joe Burrow to have a huge bounce-back game and justify that contract.

Under-reaction: The Packers’ Offensive Line

Week 1 marked Jordan Love’s first official game as QB1 for the Green Bay Packers and what a performance it was by the 3rd year man. Love put up 245 passing yards for 3 TD’s with a passer rating of 123.2, helping the Packers secure a 38-20 win over the Bears.

While Love clearly showed an ability to escape the pocket when necessary, the amount of time that he had on the majority of his drop backs was obvious and yet isn’t being talked about as much as it should be.

In fact, when All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari and RT Zach Tom were on the field together they didn’t allow a single pressure against 30 pass blocking snaps. Pair that with solid Interior Offensive Line play from proven starters: Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers and Jon Runyan, and the Packers O-line deserves considerably more praise for their role in Sunday’s W and Love’s success moving forward.

Under-reaction: Desmond Ridder

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After the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10, a lot of the praise has gone to Falcons’ Running Back’s Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, who together racked up a staggering 177 yards from Scrimmage for 3 TD’s.

However, what’s being overlooked is the surprisingly impressive performance by last year’s 3rd round pick, QB Desmond Ridder.

Coming into this game, there was a lot of pressure on Ridder to step up to the mantle of QB1 and capitalise on his surrounding talent. While he didn’t light up the score sheet, he did put together a game which saw him complete 83.3% of his passes against a defence that is by no means void of talent.

With the Falcons’ backfield having shown their potential, opponents will be more likely to pack the box – allowing for considerably more play-action and freeing up Ridder to make those game-changing ‘splashy’ plays.

Under-reaction: The Patriots’ Offense

The Patriots’ offense was by no means exemplary in their 25-20 loss to the Eagles. But, when the opposing defence put up 70 sacks last season and then added a rookie DT who got 7 hurries and 1 sack in only 34 pass rushing snaps, scoring 20 points isn’t bad at all.

With Bill O-Brian back in charge, after the bizarre Matt Patricia era, the Patriots’ Offence were starting to look like their old, efficient self. Particularly in the passing game, as QB Mac Jones earned himself a nomination for FedEx Air Player of the Week after throwing for 316 yards and 3 TD’s.

While there is still a lot of room for improvement (notably in the run game), Sunday is an indication that, despite speculation, the Patriots’ offense might not be the AFC East’s weakest after all.

Feature Image Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Moyse

NFL Analyst

Steve Moyse is a Writer, Podcaster and long suffering New York Jets fan. Stay tuned with his content via Twitter – @steve_moyse