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.

Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images

So what does Bill O'Brien have in store for a Sunday encore in the clock management follies department? All's well that ends well for the Texans if another Billy Botch episode comes with another win. Get it and home games vs. the Panthers and Falcons make 4-1 a very legit possibility.

The Texans have a good shot to get the win in Los Angeles Sunday. They may have half the crowd rooting for them. The Chargers have the lamest homefield advantage in the NFL. L.A. has largely yawned at them since their move up the coast from San Diego. In their home opener the Chargers couldn't sell out the 27,000 seat soccer stadium serving as their temporary facility. Next season they move into the monument of wow and greed they'll share with the Rams. That place will hold about 70,000.

On the field it's a big game for the also 1-1 Chargers if they hope to hang with Kansas City in the AFC West race. The Chargers' three following games are at the joke Dolphins, then home vs. the not good Broncos and the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

For the Texans, one major subplot is a constant. How porous will the offensive line be? Deshaun Watson has been sacked 10 times over the first two games. The Chargers have one of the NFL's better pass rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If the Texans can protect, opportunity knocks for big plays downfield with the Chargers down both of their starting safeties. Rookie All-Pro Derwin James is on injured reserve recovering from a broken foot, Adrian Phillips broke an arm last Sunday at Detroit.

Warm California sun

So if you were 300 strikeout man Gerrit Cole, what would you be thinking about re: 2020 and beyond? I mean after next month ideally helping the Astros win the World Series. And if you are the Astros what are you thinking?

In his two Astro seasons Cole has been tremendous. The ballclub is tremendous, and if Cole re-signs it that much more figures to stay tremendous for at least another couple of seasons. But Gerrit Cole is to become the most highly coveted free agent on the market. The low end of what he should be able to command is probably in the six years 150 million range. Heck, he could get seven years 250 million.

Next year the Astros payroll is set to soar into competitive balance tax territory. Meaning, in addition to the payroll itself, the Astros are looking at paying millions in penalties if they pay up to keep Cole. To counter that the Astros certainly could pivot and trade Zack Greinke. They basically will be open to giving away Josh Reddick and the 13 million he'll make in the final year of his contract.

Maybe Jim Crane and his partners say this is such a special era, we'll forego huge chunks of profits to keep this core together. That would be fantastic, but drawing a line on how far they'll go to keep Cole would not be miserly. Long term megadollar pitching contracts carry large risks. Cole turns 30 next season.

Cole grew up in Southern California. His wife too. It's where they live in the offseason. He went to high school under five miles from Angels Stadium and grew up an Angels fan. The Angels have a desperate need for starting pitching. Even with Cole though, the Angels can't essentially promise perennial contender status. But the Dodgers can, every bit as much as the Astros, and the Dodgers have much deeper pockets. If the Coles want to spend the rest of Gerrit's prime pitching years living year-round back home in SoCal, no one should take offense. Still, if the Astros’ bid is competitive when factoring in income tax rates, proven comfort level with the team, air conditioned comfort for home games…

Big weekend for Aggies

Better college football schedule this week after the garbage card of a week ago. The biggest game nationally is seventh ranked Notre Dame at number three Georgia. Big game for Texas A&M vs. Auburn at Kyle Field Saturday. The 17th ranked Aggies are three and a half point favorites over the eighth ranked team in the nation. A hard fought loss wouldn't be shameful, but would mean that with games yet to come vs. Alabama, at Georgia, and at LSU, the Ags would have to pull off at least one upset to finish better than 7-5. 75 million dollars to lure Jimbo Fisher were not spent to yield any 7-5 seasons.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Major Applewhite would have coached the Cougars to a 1-3 start much more economically for UH than Dana Holgorsen has. 2. The Tulane Green Wave wearing powder blue uniforms is just as dopey as the St. John's Red Storm and Duke Blue Devils wearing black. 3. Names that Houstonians should rule out for daughters: Bronze-Imelda Silver-Allison Gold-Alicia

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