All Rejoice! The NFL‘s 99th season has finally arrived in all its wonder, worries and wounds. I’m back for another season of enlightening, wacky and often caustic AF weekly NFL wrap-ups. If you are new to this column or A2DRadio in general, well, firstly, where ya been? And secondly, you may find it odd to have an NFL Week 1 wrap up before the week is actually over. That’s cause we are prognosticators here at A2D, and you’ll find a vital Monday Night Football Preview section at the end of this article, offering valuable DFS/Fantasy advice, betting line info and picks. If you are also looking for keen observations, key injury news and notable rookie performances, then you are in the right place. If you are looking for a fluff piece which praises your hometown team, don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!
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FIVE THINGS FROM NFL WEEK 1
Here are five things I was able to notice this opening week… Thank God football is BACK!!!
The #GreenZone on #SNF is the most idiotic thing I’ve seen since FoxTrax in hockey years ago… if you can’t tell how far a player has to go for a 1st down by the yellow line, you shouldn’t be watching #NFL!
— Rob Povia (@Robbybltz) August 27, 2018
Eagles vs. Falcons Opening Night – Thursday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles fans had to wait nearly an hour to see their team’s Championship Banner hung and the kickoff to the 2018 season. It was worth the wait… not for the game, which was fucking boring and rivaled preseason games, but for the pomp and circumstance of raising the banner and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at your home field on opening night. You’ve waited a long time to experience this joy, Philadelphia. Appreciate it. Relish it. Not every team has had the pleasure, and your team now lies with the elite of the elite. Atlanta starts off the season like they ended the last: putrid in the red zone. And speaking of zones, the awful “green zone” is back… vomit!
James Conner (31 carries, 135 yards, 4.4 average, two rushing touchdowns, five receptions on six targets, 57 rec yards) proved that Le’Veon Bell is just a guy… a back who benefits from an offensive system originally developed by former OC Todd Haley, now employed by Randy Fichtner. Lev… Quit your bitching, take a fair deal, and enjoy playing a game for a living. Or don’t and go be a rapper to save on your body and make that green. Just like Jay Cutler, “I don’t care!” – Pittsburgh Steelers & Cleveland Browns end OT in a deadlock for the first time in Week 1 since 1971 (Broncos 10 – Dolphins 10).
Is Ryan Fitzpatrick your Buccaneers starting QB when Jameis Winston is back from being suspended for having wandering hands? Fitzmagic’s decimation of a fairly stout Saints defense in New Orleans was a jaw-dropping piece of evidence for the Harvard Truthers (21/28, 417 yards, 14.9 average, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, 156.3 QB rating, 12 carries, 36 rush yards, rush touchdown). Famous Jameis can eat a W and grab her by the pussy from the sidelines.
On Sunday Night Football, we saw the rivalry of all football rivalries… Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers. Chitown stormed off to a 20-0 lead behind a very collegiate style of play; Matt Nagy brought the old “wishbone” from KC, having both Jordan Howard AND Tarik Cohen in the backfield at the same time. “The Human Joystick,” as he was monikered at North Carolina A&T State University, is an electric player. If it is the intention of the Bears to continue housing both Howard and Cohen on the field, it’s gonna be a rough year for all of the LBs in the good old Black & Blue Division! Well, except for #MackAttack.
The Best TD Celebration Award for Week 1 goes to Eric Ebron, Andrew Luck and the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. The cheer was deafening for Luck’s first TD pass in 616 days! [Honorable Mention goes to Adrian Peterson’s 100th TD, tying Marshall Faulk & Shaun Alexander for 7th All-Time and passing the great Barry Sanders]
Not sure what’s more impressive:
Andrew Luck throwing a TD pass after eleventy billion days
Eric Ebron actually catching itpic.twitter.com/ygYgtzRYrq
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 9, 2018
WEEK 1 KEY INJURIES
Delanie Walker – Dislocated Ankle and Associated Fracture: This one was straight out of a George Romero film, folks! Walker was unable to stand up after a 15-yard reception late in the fourth quarter, eventually getting carted off the field with an air cast around his right leg.
Prognosis: He’s expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Fantasy Impact: Tough to replace Walker; Jonnu Smith is next man up at tight end for the Tennessee offense. I’ll pass as a seasonal league replacement, as I’m sure there are better options on the waiver wire (Charles Clay, Ricky Seals-Jones, the ageless Ben Watson and the aforementioned Eric Ebron). For DFS, however, at the rate Marcus Mariota throws to his tight end (22.9%), I may be interested at his value. But not so fast. . .
Other Injury News
Marcus Mariota – Elbow Injury: Mariachi missed the majority of the second half in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. See link below for up-to-the-minute reports.
Keanu Neal (ATL – S) – Left Knee Injury: Neal was knocked out of game in third quarter and did not return. Adam Schefter reported the following day he tore his ACL and is out for the season. Shame!
Leonard Fournette – Right Hamstring Strain: Button pulled up lame in second quarter and didn’t return. He later told Josina Anderson of ESPN that his hamstring is “good” and he could have re-entered Sunday’s 20-15 win over the Giants.
Greg Olsen – Right Foot Injury: Olsen was using crutches and had a walking boot on his right foot after he left Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports. He suffered the injury when, while running after the catch, the 12-year TE stepped on a Cowboy defender’s foot and crashed to the turf in pain. It was the same foot he broke last season. Not good!
Aaron Rodgers – Left Knee Injury: Packers fans shit their pants when ARodge was carted off in the first half. He returned to the game to start the second half, as all bulldogs do, and pulled out the largest fourth quarter comeback in franchise history. He was seen favoring his plant leg though. When asked about next week, Rodgers responded (even before the reporter could finish the question), “I’m playing next week!”
For up-to-date NFL injury news on these players and more, click here.
NOTABLE ROOKIE PERFORMANCES
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Saquon Barkley (18 – 106 – 5.9 – 1; 2 – 6 – 22)
Phillip Lindsay (15 – 71 – 4.7; 2 – 3 – 31 – 1)
Will Dissly (3 – 5 – 105 – 1)
Nyheim Hines (5 – 19 – 3.8; 7 – 9 – 33)
Dante Pettis (2 – 5 – 61 – 1)
Royce Freeman (15 – 71 – 4.7)
MNF DOUBLEHEADER PREVIEW
GAME 1: New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (Ford Field, 7:10 ET) – Choosing the winner of Week 1 games in the NFL is much like having intercourse with your ex… nobody wins, but it feels so good! Sam Darnold will start his career on Monday Night Football. So, right away we’ll see what the kid is made of and if he’ll make the previous section this season. He has a cannon for an arm, but much like Dak Prescott (two years his senior), he also has erratic footwork. I smell some picks for this Lions defense, who had 32 takeaways last season.
On the other side of the ball, classy vet Matthew Stafford takes on an improved Jet secondary, which added Trumaine Johnson, the 72 Million Dollar Man. He is the new #1 CB for the Jets; something they had been sorely lacking since the days of Revis Island. However, his Pro Football Focus rating (67.9) and other stats have been declining over the past three seasons. I smell a bromance between Stafford and wide receiver Golden Tate in this game, who should be matched up with “Busted Skrine” (65.9). Stafford posted an absurd 17/3 TD:INT at home last season, and I expect him to pick right back up where he left off.
Lions win 27 – 13
Lions -6.5 O/U 45 (Take the Lions giving the points and the under)
Vegas Team Totals: Not Quite Yets – 19.25, Lion-O – 25.75
DFS Top Cash Plays: Stafford, Detroit D, Tate, Marvin Jones
GPP Plays: Darnold, Quincy Enunwa, LeGarrette Blount, Bilal Powell, Luke Willson
Seasonal Sleepers: Kerryon Johnson, Enunwa, Darnold
GAME 2: Los Angeles Rams @ Oakland Raiders (Oakland Alameda Coliseum, 10:20 ET) – What a way to wrap up Week 1 in the NFL! Jon Gruden, already used to spending his Monday Nights on ESPN, begins his second tenure with Oakland. These “Raaaaaaaaaaiders” had been underachieving with former head coach Jack Del Rio and look to turn things around with Chucky. It’s been a rocky start, to say the least, especially with questionable personale calls like trading Khalil Mack to the Bears for a bag of peanuts (actually first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019). Michael Crabtree is also gone (Baltimore), but luckily, Amari Cooper is still in town to gobble up those 101 departed targets. Derek Carr looks to rebound this season but will have a difficult time in Week 1 vs. a very game Rams defense.
Rams went on a trading frenzy this off-season, acquiring the likes of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. These once elite (but still pretty darn good) cornerbacks join slot CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, forming arguably the best secondary in the league. Their safeties Lamarcus Joyner and John Johnson III are strong as well, grading over 85 at PFF last season. While I don’t expect a shut-down performance, I do see limitations on the Raiders offense, even with Chucky’s bag of tricks.
With no Mack in town, I see Todd Gurley have a “huuuge” night. Per PFF, “Mack is most associated with rushing the passer, but he’s also elite at setting the edge and finishing run plays.” Raiders defense, as a whole, ranked 16th in rush DVOA (22nd overall DVOA), so big things are in store for Gurley, third-year QB Jared Goff and one of his prime targets, Cooper Kupp.
Rams win 41 – 20
Rams -4.5 O/U 48.5 (Take the Rams giving the points and the over)
Vegas Team Totals: LA Gurleys – 26.5, Cult of Chucky – 22
DFS Top Cash Plays: Gurley, Kupp, Goff
GPP Plays: Marshawn Lynch, Brandin Cooks, Jared Cook, Rams D
Seasonal Sleepers: Cooper, Carr