NFL Week 1 Winners & Losers

By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann


Week 1 of this 2023 season is in the books. There have been a whole host of unexpected outcomes, and some quite obvious ones.

This has led to some winners and losers, not only in terms of the score lines and results, either.

Peter and I are here to bring you three of our favourites, a feature that you can count on each week. 

Let’s get into it.

Winners - Lee Wakefield

The Lions aside, I feel that the Rams delivered the biggest shock result of the opening weekend.

The consensus is that Seattle is probably a wildcard team in waiting, whereas the Rams are in for a little bit of a rough year.

However, Los Angeles ran out 17-point winners and I feel like this proves that Sean McVay is an elite offensive mind and he doesn’t need star talent to thrive. Because of this, the Rams could be in for a far better season than some, including yours truly, had them down for.

No Cooper Kupp? No problem. Tutu Atwell and McVay’s favourite new toy, Puka Nacua, both had 119 yards receiving. Note to self; Nacua had 10 catches on the day – Elevate him from your taxi squad wherever you have fantasy shares.

Tyreek Hill, Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins' offense

This next part reminds me of the part of Brooklyn 99 where Jake yells, “oooh self burn, those are rare“.

In what was a back-and-forth contest with seven lead changes, offenses were well and truly on top at So-Fi stadium on Sunday.

The Dolphins came out on top between two of the AFC’s playoff hopefuls and Tyreek Hill was the biggest reason why.

Hill had two touchdowns, including what turned out to be the game-winner. He also ran up a career-high 215 yards on 11 catches, and generally speaking, just did whatever he wanted. Hill did so against whoever the Bolts lined up opposite him, and against whatever coverage they played.

The fact that the Dolphins won, and in particular, had Mike McDaniel scoffing at Brandon Staley’s plan look well placed, considering his offense wiped the floor with the Chargers’ leaky coverage on Sunday.

Tyler Allgeier

For all the hype and furor surrounding Bijan Robinson, and his Falcons debut, did Tyler Allgeier steal the show?

Let me get one thing straight beforehand – Bijan was excellent on Sunday and will be special, as evidenced by his opening career touchdown. But Allgeier reminded everyone that he still has a big role to play for Atlanta this season.

The former-BYU back had 15 carries (to Robinson’s 10) and three catches. With those 18 touches, he accumulated 94 yards and two scores.

Head Coach, Arthur Smith will adore having two running backs that he can lean on, this was the team that ran the most of all in the league last year. And I am certainly that Bijan will become the main man in the near future, and wow us all many, many times throughout his career. But Sunday belonged to Allgeier, and this won’t be his final day in the sun either.

Perhaps Rhys was correct when he wrote about how confusing this backfield is going to be.

I guess we have to talk about Brian Daboll’s New York Giants straight off the bat.

Most pertinently the ‘start’ in which they made it to the 2023 season, or lack of it as the case is. 

Talk about falling at the first hurdle; on national television, against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants proceeded to lose quite handsomely as they crawled over the line on the end of a 40-0 thumping. 

You can kind of say, for Giants fans at least, the less said, the better.

However, the manner in which they lost, with QB Daniel Jones’ form of last season (his best with the franchise to date) blown out the water and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas just about getting through, making for some hard lines. 

They were that poor, the Cowboys didn’t need to move through the gears as Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, and DaRon Bland et al, moved through the opposition with ease; changes will be needed in order to move forward, slowly.

Cincinnati Bengals

A sudden downfall of Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals who, for the last two seasons, have made the AFC North their own. However, this season they’re starting from the back following their opening week loss at the Cleveland Browns. 

The Bengals were only just edged out in the opening week due to the margin of the Giants’ defeat, Cincinnati’s finest crashing 24-3 and only registered via a field goal attempt in the third quarter, a 42-yard effort from kicker, Evan McPherson. 

Burrow spent pre-season nursing a calf strain and was, quite obviously, rusty. It could take a few more games at least to get back to near his best and he was looking uncomfortable throughout.

Granted Cleveland’s offense wasn’t too hot, they were just hotter than Cincinnati, and the weather, which played a huge part in denting the quality of the game.

The Browns not only kept Burrow on a tight leash, but also receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, there were some career-low scores in the offense that’s for sure.

Lee Wakefield

NFL, CFB & NFL Draft

Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. Find his Chargers content over at Bolt Beat. @Wakefield90 on twitter