Paul Gallant recaps EVERYTHING you need to know from the NFL's first Sunday of 2019

NFL Sunday Week 1: In a nutshell

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Sup peeps. I host NFL Rush Sundays from 3-6 CT on SB Nation Radio. And since I'm keeping tabs on all of Sunday's games on the 9 TVs we have in studio, I'll be giving you an NFL cheat sheet every Monday...

Titans 43 - Browns 13

The Titans are a decidedly average football team. Still, they deserve credit. After all, scoring 40+ points with Marcus Mariota at quarterback is like scoring a single touchdown with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Having Delanie Walker back (5 catches, 55 yards, 2 TDs) certainly helped, as did Derrick Henry (159 all purpose yards including a 75 yard screen and scramble, 2 TDs) picking up where he left off at the end of last season.

The Browns SHOULD be different than the Titans. They've got star-power and a potential star at quarterback. Unfortunately, one of these names is not like the others:

  • Baker Mayfield
  • Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Jarvis Landry
  • Nick Chubb
  • Freddie Kitchens
  • Myles Garrett
No matter how his tenure plays out, we all have to agree that Freddie Kitchen was an EXTREMELY underwhelming head coaching hire. Especially for a young team like Cleveland. And it showed Sunday.
Baker Mayfield - who threw 3 picks, was sacked 5 times, and closed the game with 5 straight possessions ending in turnovers / turnovers on downs - stunk. But the Browns were penalized 18 times for 182 yards. And they were flagged for 2 MORE penalties that were declined. They were called for 4 on the Titans first TD drive. They had 5 personal fouls in the first half, and 6 total on the game. Myles Garrett took a shot at Delanie Walker's face. Greg Robinson KICKED Kenny Vaccaro in the face. Cleveland was the epitome of undisciplined Sunday.

Chiefs 40 - Jaguars 26

Jaguars fans have gotta be throwing Myles Jack-esque temper tantrums after Nick Foles broke his clavicle. Now they'll be starting Gardner Minshew for the forseeable future. In Minshew's defense, he didn't play poorly. But it's hard to take any quarterback that looks like Uncle Rico seriously.

The Chiefs offense - as expected - looked unstoppable in this one. And even though they've got a gimpy Patrick Mahomes (ankle) and no Tyreek Hill (shoulder, out for a few weeks) after this win, they've got to be feeling great about the offense:

  • Newly acquired running back Lesean McCoy had 10 carries for 81 yards
  • Travis Kelce had 3 catches for 88 yards, and could have had a 4th for a TD if Patrick Mahomes had been looking where he was throwing
  • And Sammy Watkins stole the show, with 9 catches for 198 yards and 3 TDs
The Jaguars defense might be a little undisciplined and always trying to start fights. But they are actually talented. And they were no match for KC Sunday.

Rams 30 - Panthers 27

Never change Cam Newton.

The Rams did get the road victory. But they can't be feeling great coming out of this game.

First off, they were unsure of Todd Gurley's knee (per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, they were "going in blind" into Sunday's game) and used him sparingly (just 14 carries, though he was effective late).

Second, newly acquired safety Eric Weddle got kneed in the head and was bleeding PROFUSELY.

Third, Jared Goff - who L.A. just gave $110 M guaranteed - did not look worth anywhere close to that. He was just 23-39 for 186 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Vikings 28 - Falcons 12

This was a very Gary Kubiak (the Vikings offensive advisor) feeling asskicking. Kirk Cousins only threw the ball 10 times, and Minnesota's zone blocking scheme helped Dalvin Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison combine for 160 yards on the ground against a supposedly decent Falcons defense. At the very least, Atlanta was healthy on that side of the ball. Combine that with:

  • Their defense
  • The Packers offense looking inept
  • The Bears featuring Mitchell Trubisky as QB
And HOW are the Vikings NOT NFC North favorites?

On the Falcons front:

  • Sell all your Matt Ryan stock. He isn't a top level QB anymore.
  • Dan Quinn (+1200) is an EXCELLENT bet for first coach fired

Eagles 32 - Redskins 27

The Eagles got off to a VERY slow start. But Carson Wentz is an MVP candidate (and my MVP choice), especially with burner Desean Jackson back in green. Jackson had 8 catches for 154 yards and 2 TDs (51 and 53 yarders).

PS - Shoutout to Case Keenum for helping Washington look respectable out there. "The Wanderer" was 30-44 for 380 yards and 3 TDs despite throwing to 100 years old Vernon Davis and someone named Terry McLaurin.

Ravens 59 - Dolphins 10

The Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL, could EASILY go 0-16, and actually may be about to follow through on that whole mutiny thing they suggested. But...

I'm SO PUMPED for Lamar Jackson. He's one of my favorite college football players ever. And for those who watched him at Louisville, YOU KNEW he can throw the football. So it was great to see him show off that arm with a 17-20 day for 324 yards and 5 TDs. Even more promising? Jackson only ran the ball 3 times on the game.

Also important: the contributions that the Ravens got from their 3 biggest offseason acquisitions:

  • Earl Thomas had an interception
  • Mark Ingram had 14 carries for 107 yards and 2 TDs
  • And first round pick Marquise "Hollywood" Brown had 4 catches for 147 yards and 2 TDs (47 and 83 yards respectively)
After the Steelers and Browns embarrassing themselves Sunday, the Ravens look like the class of the AFC North.

PS - shout out to Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing an interception for an 8th NFL team, a record!

Bills 17 - Jets 16

NOBODY circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, who rallied from a 16-0 second half deficit FTW.

And NOBODY disappoints the Tri-State area like the New York Jets. The Bills have a great defense. But you can't feel good about the Jets regressing offensively in Sam Darnold's second season.

Seahawks 21 - Bengals 20

The Bengals might have stumbled into something by hiring Zac Taylor. Who knew that Andy Dalton had a 400 yard passing game left in the tank? Or that John Ross (7 catches for 158 yards and 2 TDs) actually might not be a first round bust?

The Seahawks are SOOO lucky to have walked away with a win. Their offensive line struggled to protect Russell Wilson (4 sacks allowed) AND pave the way for Chris Carson (15 carries for just 46 yards). Worse? It's GLARINGLY obvious how badly they miss safety Earl Thomas. ANDY DALTON JUST THREW FOR 400 YARDS.

Cowboys 35 - Giants 17

I don't want to overreact to a win over the Giants. But it's hard not to after Dak Prescott had perhaps his best game ever. With a full compliment of weapons (Amari Cooper, offseason signing Randall Cobb, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliott) Prescott ALSO had a perfect passer rating. He threw for 405 yards, with 4 TDs and just 7 incompletions on the game. He was so effective that the Boys only needed to give 'Zeke 13 carries.

Prescott had a strong finish to the season once Dallas traded for Amari Cooper. And now with Randall Cobb in the fold, he's got one of the strongest offensive supporting casts in the league. If he's still looking for $40 M a season, he might be able to statistically justify it.

The Giants? Until they take Eli Manning out back Old Yeller style, they're a waste of your time.

Chargers 30 - Colts 24 (OT)

Well, the Juice is right. The Chargers didn't miss a holding out Melvin Gordon at all. In fact, his backup Austin Ekeler IS a better running back. Ekeler had an Alvin Kamara esque day at the office (12 carries for 58 yards and a TD, 6 catches for 96 yards and 2 TDs) and gave the Chargers the W with the final score of the game.

As for the Colts, don't sleep on them. Jacoby Brissett is likely nothing more than a plus game manager. But Indy's O-Line is no joke, helping Marlon Mack run 25 times for 174 yards and a 63 yard touchdown.

49ers 31 - Buccaneers 17

If you've got stock in "Jameis Winston / Jimmy Garoppolo are going to be good quarterbacks...some day [gulps at latter]" takes, it's time to sell it. ALL OF IT. PANIC. PANIC. PANIC.

You can't fully appreciate Jameis if he's not making dumb throws, so you've got to thank Bruce Arians for keeping unintentional comedy in our lives. But Jimmy G picked up right where he left off in the preseason - Schaubing - and the 49ers have got to be regretting giving him $74.1 M. He might need another "learning experience" with an older adult film star to get him back on track.

Lions 27 - Cardinals 27 (OT)

WHY WOULD YOU WATCH THIS GAME? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Kyler Murray and Arizona's offense looked completely lost in the early going of this game. Sure, Murray eventually rallied the Cards back from a 24-6 deficit. But don't be too impressed. After all, how many Lions can you name after Matt Stafford?

Here's one: rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson. You'd have to be in a VERY DUMB fantasy football league for Hockenson to be available to you. Take a look anyway, and put in that waiver claim if he's available. He had 6 catches for 131 yards and a TD...the best debut by a rookie tight end since 1950.

Patriots 33, Steelers 3

Things I'm not surprised by:

  • The Steelers laying ANOTHER egg against the Patriots
  • Ben Roethlisberger saying "whatever." when asked for his reaction to the Patriots signing Antonio Brown
  • New England's defense looking like one of the NFL's best
Things I AM surprised by
  • The Patriots won THIS EASILY in a game where Tom Brady played a C game. Yeah, he didn't turn the ball over. But he had some bizarre throws over the course of the game. Best case scenario? He was rusty. If you're a Pats hater, I'd stay tuned to this.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 on Kube 57. He also hosts "NFL Rush", Sundays 3-6 on SB Nation Radio. Have any questions? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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After a "qualifying round" of playoffs, the actual Stanley Cup playoffs are here. In a weird hockey world that saw two 12 seeds win in round one and the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference finish last in the round robin and get a four seed, things appear wide open. The lower seeds may actually have a bit of an advantage at the beginning of these series, as they have already gone through an actual elimination round, while the top four seeds played a less intense round robin. As teams still adjust to a long layoff, more upsets could be in order. It should be fun. Here is a look at the matchups:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8)

The Flyers were dominant in the round-robin phase and look very much like a team that can make a deep run. Montreal was the lowest seed in the qualifying tournament, but stunned Pittsburgh, and were the better team throughout the series. Philly, however, is playing much better hockey than their Pennsylvania counterparts. The Canadiens will need a big effort from goalie Carey Price, who is capable of stealing games. Young Flyers goalie Carter Hart was outstanding in the two round-robin games he played and is an emerging star. Philly has more talent, but a goalie like Price can win a series.

Prediction: Flyers in 5.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7)

Tampa is as talented a group as you will find in the NHL. They have depth on all lines, terrific defensemen and an elite goalie. Yet they have a checkered playoff past. Last season, they were dominant in the regular season and looked like a Cup lock. They were promptly swept out of the first round by the Jackets. Columbus outplayed a similarly talented team in Toronto in round one and are a tough matchup. Can the Lightning be struck down twice? Absolutely.

Prediction: Jackets in 7.

Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Islanders (6)

The Caps still have Alex Ovechkin and a recent Stanley Cup, and have to be considered a contender against whoever they play. But the Isles play terrific defense, grind you down and get just enough scoring to win games. Plus they have the coach who won the Cup with the Caps, Barry Trotz, which gives them another edge. The Isles are a long shot Cup contender and could pull off the upset.

Prediction: Islanders in 7.

Boston Bruins (4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (5)

The Bruins were the best team in the league in the regular season, but played flat in the round robin, winding up with a fourth seed. It seems a little unfair that they dominated all year but three games determined their fate, but that's life. By now they should have figured things out again and should be able to advance. They are a tricky team, because if they play as poorly as they did last week, Carolina could knock them out. But the Bruins should get better the deeper they get in the playoffs. The Hurricanes have a rising star in Andrei Svechnikov, who had a hat trick in the first round against the Rangers. The Bruins, however, are deeper, more talented and have the more tested and reliable goalie in Tukka Rask.

Prediction: Bruins in 5.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Las Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (8)

The Golden Knights were impressive in the round-robin, and looked like they did not miss a beat from the break. They were on a 8-2 run before the Rona interruption and swept the three seeding games since. But the Blackhawks are a scary matchup. They dominated Edmonton in the play-in round, winning 3-1 despite being the last team to qualify. They are young and shaky on defense, but still have proven Cup winners like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. It would be foolish to count them out, but the Oilers were a much better matchup for the Hawks. If Crawford dominates in net, they have a fighting chance. But the Knights are on a different level right now.

Prediction: Las Vegas in 6.

Colorado Avalanche (2) vs. Arizona Coyotes (7)

This might be one of the more intriguing matchups of this round. The Avs look like a Cup contender, and Nathan MacKinnon is an MVP candidate and might be one of the most underappreciated superstars in the league. The Coyotes, however, are going to be a tough out. Goalie Darcy Kempner faced a ton of shots against the Predators and held up well. He will have to do the same here. Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel provide top end forward play, and Arizona matches up OK here. The Avs should win, but don't be shocked if they are pushed hard.

Prediction: Avs in 6.

Dallas Stars (3) vs. Calgary Flames (6)

Dallas is an interesting team. The Stars have Stanley Cup-level talent, but they struggle to score at times, which could be a problem in a seven-game series. They play strong D and have great goaltending, but have issues with quicker teams, which bodes well for Calgary. The Flames are also a bit of an enigma, but they seem built for the playoffs. They have two young American-born stars in Johnny Gaudreu and Matthew Tkachuk, solid depth up front and on the back end and can hold their own with most teams. Cam Talbot is the key, however. If he can consistently man the goal the way he did in the series win over Winnipeg, they have a big shot. He finished off the series with a 31-save shutout.

Prediction: Flames in 7.

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Vancouver Canucks (5)

The defending champs were not very good in the round-robin, hence the four seed. But it will probably work out; the Canucks are an easier matchup than what they would have faced with Calgary as a 3 seed. Vancouver is an interesting young team. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser are two up and coming stars, but the rest of the lineup is bolstered by gritty vets. Defensemen Quinn Hughes is another young star in the making. Goalie Jacob Markstrom was solid against Minnesota, but he will need to be better in this round. The Canucks could have made a run against Dallas, but hard to see them beating the champs.

Prediction: Blues in 6.

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