The NFL has returned, ladies and gentlemen. That means it’s time for my weekly column, too. My goal is to watch everything so that you don’t have to. I will present to you the best games to watch back; the craziest moments; the best individual performances and the season-long stat leaders and records. I will also be previewing the upcoming games, too.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check in each week.
Not everybody in the UK has the ability to watch almost 20 hours of live NFL every week, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss anything you’d wish you didn’t. Without further delay…
This is what happened This Week in the NFL.
Game of the Week
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Watch now or continue for spoilers.
When you’re watching NFL Redzone, the game that dominates ‘the witching hour’ is usually a shootout with TD’s going back and forth as the clock runs low. That was not the case in Week 1. This week, we had two separate games in overtime, threatening to result in a tie, courtesy of some wild kicking woes. One of them was crazier than the other.
This wild game ended 23-20 in favour of the Steelers. The scoreline itself doesnt scream ‘Game of the Week’ admittedly, but the way we got there was insane.
Joe Burrow had an absolutely torrid time, with five turnovers (4 INT’s and a fumble), while also being sacked an incredibly concerning 7 times. My excitement for this team was based on an improved offensive line, but they got decimated by TJ Watt and co. The Steelers only scored one offensive TD in the game, and still won, due to their defensive dominance.
The star of the game was Minkah Fitzpatrick, who opened the scoring with a first-quarter pick-six and also blocked what would have been the game-winning walk off PAT, had he not got to it. This gave his team a lifeline, and they won it on a last-minute field goal from Chris Boswell.
The kicking wasn’t pretty down the stretch of this one, so if you’re #ForTheBrand and love your kicking, maybe skip this one.
Other games to watch back
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams
Upset of the Week
Indianapolis Colts 20 – 20 Houston Texans
This game did not go remotely as expected. The Texans, considered by most to be one of the worst teams in the league, not even particularly far through their rebuilding process, completely blanked the Colts for the first 45 minutes of this football game. They were winning 20-3 when the fourth quarter began, courtesy of two O.J Howard TD’s and two FG’s.
In the fourth quarter, the Colts managed to put together 17 points, but they settled for the PAT and took it to overtime, where they failed to maintain their momentum, resulting in a 20-20 tie. The single goal of this Indy team is to make the playoffs, and this is a very disappointing start for a team with such plans. They really need Shaquille Leonard to return and get that defense locked in, and Matt Ryan has to step up.
Honourable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers 23 – 20 Cincinnati Bengals
Winners and Losers
Buffalo Bills (1-0)
Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Chicago Bears (1-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Miami Dolphins (1-0)
Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Washington Commanders (1-0)
Cleveland Browns (1-0)
New York Giants (1-0)
Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
Las Vegas Raiders (0-1)
Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Detroit Lions (0-1)
New England Patriots (0-1)
New York Jets (0-1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Denver Broncos (0-1)
Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1)
Houston Texans (0-0-1)
Standout Individual Performers
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
76.9% completion rate, 360 yards, 5 Passing TD’s
Anybody who asked questions about how the loss of Tyreek Hill would affect the offense was perfectly justified. Pat Mahomes is still Pat Mahomes, though. One of the most talented QB’s there is, dominated in his campaign opener. He terrorised the Cardinals defense in a 44-21 win, throwing 390 passing yards and 5 TD’s. He’s back and he’s firing on all cylinders.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
8 receptions on 9 targets, 121 yards and a TD.
I mentioned the departure of Hill, but don’t worry. For as long as Travis Kelce is in town, this offense will always have a true #1 weapon. Mahomes targeted him 9 times and he hauled in 8 of them for 121 yards and a typical Kelce TD, going up and getting one from the top shelf.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
76.5% completion rate, 279 yards, 3 Passing TD’s
The LA Chargers missed out by the smallest of margins in Week 18 last year. This season began with them facing the team who knocked them out, the Raiders. Las Vegas weren’t so successful this time, as Herbert played a mature game and led his team to the win, despite losing Keenan Allen to a hamstring injury in the first half. Deandre Carter stepped in when Allen left, and Herbert didn’t skip a beat. He threw three TD’s including one to Carter in a tight window.
And for those looking ahead to week 2… The Chiefs and Chargers face off on Thursday night. I can’t wait.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
9 receptions on 11 targets for 184 yards and 2 TD’s.
Before this season started, Justin Jefferson declared to the world that when the 2023 NFL Season started, he would be the best wide receiver in the league. His efforts to prove that he deserves the title of best WR started strong. He absolutely exploded against the Packers defense this week. Jefferson hauled in 9 of 11 targets for a blistering 184 yards and 2 Touchdowns. The 23-year-old superstar looks like one of the best players in this league – and his journey to the WR1 is well underway.
Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
10 receptions on 17 targets for 141 yards and a TD.
When Jetta told the world he wasn’t the best just yet, he said it was Davante Adams who currently holds the top spot he’s aiming for. The Raiders debut was incredibly impressive from the ex-Packer, despite losing. He attracted a huge target haul, matching the number on his back, for 10 receptions. He turned those into 141 yards and caught an impressive finger-tip catch. The Raiders offense would be absolutely terrifying if they could block.
Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers
6 combined tackles, including 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble.
I said if they could block. Unfortunately for Raiders fans, they cannot. Their old friend Khalil Mack returned to the AFC West for his Chargers debut this week. He got to his best mate Derek Carr three separate times for a tied league-high three sacks. His hat trick performance was part of an impressive six-sack performance from the Chargers, in a well-earned win.
Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh Steelers
9 combined tackles, including 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble.
The other outside rusher who managed to start the year on a hat trick was the young Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith. He is just 25 years old, but a huge boon to this Pittsburgh defense. Their offense is pretty awful, but their defense led them to a surprising upset victory. Three sacks is always impressive, but even moreso as the Bengals invested lots of money into improving their offensive line this offseason.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers
14 combined tackles, a pick-six and the game-saving PAT block.
This might be the last time I can smoothly segue between all the best performers, unfortunately, but we got through most of them. Minkah Fitzpatrick single-handedly stopped the Cincinnati Bengals from winning this football game. Not literally, with Highsmith also wrecking them, but from a point-scoring perspective, it was all Minkah. He scored a pick-six in the first quarter, to open the scoring, and then made a heroic play, blocking what would have been the game-winning PAT, to send it to Overtime. This was an epic game-changing performance by the veteran safety.
Jerry Hughes, Houston Texans
3 combined tackles, including 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble, and an interception.
If you’re trying to decide the most sought after stat for a defensive player, it’s a tight one between sacks and interceptions. When someone gets both, though, that’s a big day. This week Jerry Hughes played a big role in our Upset of the Week, tying with Indianapolis. He got two sacks and an interception, really putting a dampner on Matt Ryan’s debut for the Colts.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
18 carries for 164 yards and a TD, 6 receptions for 30 yards.
Nothing makes me happier than to write this name in our top performers this week. Saquon Barkley is back healthy and dominating football games. When that is the case, the world is a better place. The Giants RB started off his season with impressive efficiency, recording 164 yards on 18 carries. He scored a touchdown, helping his team to upset last year’s #1 seed in the AFC. The Titans also let him get his hands on the ball in the passing game. He only managed 30 yards on his 6 receptions, but he will continue to thrive in both phases of the offense as he regains confidence.
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
31 carries for 161 yards and a TD, 4 receptions for 14 yards.
I told you Saquon was pretty damn efficient… Don’t take anything away from Jonathan Taylor though. The Colts as a team maybe don’t feel so good about themselves, but at least their workhorse RB made an impression. On an admittedly huge number of carries, he put up 161 yards and scored the first of many touchdowns for the year. Indy lost but Jonathan Taylor’s fantasy owners are happy, at least.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
13 receptions on 15 targets for 128 yards and a TD.
Although the Rams got dominated by the Buffalo Bills [who were first in my NFL power rankings article by the way], their star WR still put in a very impressive performance. Cooper Kupp finished last year with an absolutely ridiculous 1,947 yards on 145 receptions, with 16 TD’s. I won’t get ahead of myself, but this week he was ahead of that pace on all accounts. The Rams might be a bit worse this year than last, but Cooper Kupp isn’t.
Stat Leaders Through Week 1
Passing Yards – Patrick Mahomes KC, 360
Passing TD’s – Patrick Mahomes KC, 5
Rushing Yards – Saquon Barkley NYG, 164
Rushing TD’s – Jamaal Williams DET, 2
Receiving Yards – Justin Jefferson MIN, 184
Receiving TD’s – 7 players tied at 2
Total TD’s – 10 players tied at 2
Tackles (combined) – Kamu Grugier-Hill HOU, 18
Sacks – Alex Highsmith PIT and Khalil Mack LAC, 3.0
Interceptions – 27 players tied at 1
Week 2 Preview – What to watch
Week 2 Best Games
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs – TNF
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 6pm UK
Arizona Cardinals @ Las Vegas Raiders – Sunday 9:25pm UK
Week 2 MNF Double Header!
On top of the exciting normal slate of games, this week we have a Monday Night Football double-header:
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills – 12:15am
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles – 1:30am
If this double header wasn’t worth its own section in the preview, I’d have put that Vikings Eagles matchup in the second spot on my best games rankings. Admittedly, the TNF matchup is incredible, but MNF might not be far off. The Eagles and Vikings both have high-flying offenses and their defenses could be better, so let’s have some fun.
Tyler’s Bold Week 2 Prediction
The Bears upset the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Week 2 Storylines
One of the most exciting matchups of the season, on Primetime. LAC @ KC, TNF
The oldest rivalry in the NFL… Can Green Bay bounce back? CHI @ GB, SNF
The Jaguars ruined the Colts season in Week 18 last year, will the Colts avenge their loss? IND @ JAC, 6pm
Will the Raiders O-Line look any more serviceable against less elite opposition? AZ @ LV, 9:25pm
Can the Bengals bounce back after a disappointing loss against a Dak-less Dallas? CIN @ DAL, 9:25pm
Two teams with huge aspirations this season face off in an epic matchup, MIA @ BAL, 6pm
Can the Steelers defense still carry the team without T.J. Watt? NE @ PIT, 6pm