NFL Week 1 winners and losers

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Zen Smith, Staff Writer

With the complications of Covid-19 and the cancellation of many sports seasons, including football seasons at the high school and collegiate level, many believed that the chances of the NFL starting on time were between slim to none. Nevertheless, with over 40,000 Covid tests administered to players and personnel, only 8 tests came back positive, which helped the NFL begin their season on time. The kickoff to the new season was clearly different, with many big names in new places, and only 3 out of the 16 home teams having fans in seats. However, this didn’t stop Week One from having an abundance of electric plays and late game dramatics. With the opening week in the books, here are some of this week’s biggest winners and losers:

 

Winner: Baltimore Ravens 

 

The Baltimore Ravens wasted no time getting back into the swing of things with a dominating victory over the Cleveland Browns 38-6. Lamar Jackson got an early start on his MVP defense throwing for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also led the Ravens in rushing, with 45 yards on the ground. Running back J.K. Dobbins, the Ravens’ 2020 2nd round pick, managed to get a pair of touchdowns from the ground in an impressive career start. The defense looked just as impressive, only allowing 6 points and forcing 3 turnovers throughout the course of the game. After only one week of play, there is no question that Ravens are set up to be heavy Super Bowl contenders.

 

Winner: New England Patriots

 

The New England Patriots have had a long history of picking up undervalued and otherwise unwanted players, and turning them into stars. Week One proved to be no exception with the offseason acquisition of quarterback Cam Newton. Once a heisman trophy winner and the 2015 NFL MVP, Newton’s career fell drastically after being plagued with major injuries throughout his career. The Patriots, however, were able to show the NFL what a healthy Cam Newton was capable of. Implementing a run heavy offense, Newton led the charge against the Dolphins, defeating them 21 to 11, with 75 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground. He also went 15/19 in the air amounting to 115 yards. While the Patriots win against the Dolphins wasn’t the most impressive, it served as a wake up call to the world that they are still a competitive team.

 

Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars

 

With extremely low expectations for the Jaguars following the loss of many star players including: Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell, and Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars surprised many with their week one win over the Indianapolis Colts. The standout player for the Jaguars was none other than, 2019 6th round pick, Gardner Minshew II who completed 19/20 passes and threw for 3 touchdowns in the process. The second year quarterback was completely calm in the pocket despite trailing four times in the game. The defense was able to seal the deal with 2 interceptions, including one from rookie cornerback, CJ Henderson, the Jaguars first round pick this year. While it is unlikely the Jaguars will be contenders this year, the team proved that they are still able to compete despite their losses and possibly surprise many as the season progresses.

 

Loser: Philadelphia Eagles

 

The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to be on the right track after jumping up 17-0 against the Washington Football Team early on, however, collapsed in a dramatic fashion in the second half. The Eagles were shutout in the second half, only gaining 95 yards and turning the ball over twice. The offensive line struggled greatly, giving up 8 sacks as well, the most quarterback Carson Wentz has endured in his career. With the major collapse, the Washington Football Team was able to take advantage of the struggles and scored 27 straight points, leading to their first win of the season. 

 

Loser: Detroit Lions

 

In similar fashion, the Lions had their own 4th quarter collapse, allowing 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter, blowing a 17 point lead. The Lions had a comfortable 23-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Chicago Bears offense came alive, scoring 3 touchdowns late in the game. The Lions offense came close to scoring to put the game away twice, one being a missed field goal and the other, a shocking drop in the end zone with 10 seconds left by rookie D’andre Swift. The loss was accentuated due to the competitiveness of the Lions division, the NFC North, putting them in a deep hole to start the season. 

 

Loser: New York Giants

 

The Giants got off to a disappointing start, falling to the Steelers on Monday Night Football. The Giants couldn’t seem to get their offense working with their superstar running back, Saquon Barkley, only gaining 6 rushing yards on 15 carries. Daniel Jones also had a tough night throwing with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. While the loss wasn’t an ideal start for the Giants, 3 out of the 4 teams in their division lost their week 1 games keeping them in contention for the top spot in the NFC East.