Every-Thing Sports

NFL Week One: Good, bad & ugly

Patrick Mahomes
Photo via Kansas City Chiefs/Facebook

Football is officially back! The games now mean something and all the players fans were waiting to see are now in uniform (unless they're hurt or suspended). The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here's how I saw week one of the 100th NFL regular season:

The Good

-Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes and their offense picked up where they left off last sason. They beat the Jags 40-28, and it wasn't even as close as the 12 point difference would suggest. Losing Tyreek Hill early in the game didn't make a difference as Sammy Watkins filled that big play role with nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Chiefs are still scary.

-The Ravens beat the Dolphins 59-10 behind Lamar Jackson's huge day. He went 17/20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. "Not bad for a running back" was his comment in reference to some suggesting he should play wide receiver in the NFL coming into the draft last year.

-The Vikings offense looked like a well-oiled machine with a healthy Dalvin Cook. 23 touches for 120 yards and two touchdowns helped the Vikings beat the Falcons 28-12. Kirk Cousins only passed the ball 10 times in the victory. Getting a plus three mark in the turnover margin will help you win big when you're outgained by 76 total yards.

The Bad

-The Lions went up 24-6 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. How they let the Cardinals back into the game and allowed it to end in a 27-27 tie is beyond me. The Cardinals are an awful team. Kyler Murray is a rookie quarterback playing behind a bad offensive line. Could be the makings of a long season for the Lions.

-The Steelers put up a shade over 300 total yards against the Patriots in a 33-3 loss Sunday night. I'll be looking closely at the team who lost arguably the best running back and wide receiver this past offseason. This offense looked flat to say the least. They keep this up and fans will long for the days when they had divas as playmakers.

-The Redskins were up 20-7 over the Eagles at halftime. The Eagles won the game 32-27. If there ever were a game to steal in your division, it was this one and the Redskins blew it. Biggest contributing factor: the Redskins only had 28 yards rushing, but had 96 yards in penalties. Mind you, there were no turnovers committed by either team.

The Ugly

-The Dolphins lost by seven touchdowns and reportedly some players have asked for trades. They will be historically bad because some of those players didn't step up and play better. How can you ask for a trade when you're apart of the reason why the team played so poorly? Sure they're tanking, but those guys are all pro football players. Play better.

-The Jags lost quarterback Nick Foles to a broken clavicle. He was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return and isn't eligible for a return until week 11 at the earliest. Losing your season opener is one thing, but to lose the guy at the position you thought was going to carry you beyond purgatory in that opener is totally different.

-13 teams on opening weekend scored as much or less than the Astros scored on Sunday in their 21-1 romp over the Mariners. As much as the league has changed the rules to promote more scoring, it still amazes me that some are unable to generate points. The Bears and Packers combined to score only 13 in the Thursday night game. I wonder how many prop bets were won on weird stats like this?

Week one is in the books. We don't have another week without NFL football for another five months. If this week is any indication as to how the rest of the season will go, we should all be encouraged. We should also drink plenty of water, diet and exercise because it'll test our health with as exciting as it was.

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Astros on the hunt. Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros' surge from 10 games out of first place to within two games of Seattle, catching and going past the Mariners has naturally become the top objective. It's no given to happen but it's right there. In the final series ahead of the All-Star break, while the Mariners are in the midst of four games with the lowly Angels, the last two World Series champions renew (un)pleasantries at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros enter the weekend five games ahead of the Rangers. They lead the season series with the reigning champs four wins to three. While the Astros can't quite finish off the Arlingtonians by sweeping them in this three game set, shoving them eight games back (even further back of Seattle and the current Wild Card teams) and clinching the tiebreaker would seem close to a death blow. Taking two out of three would be fine for the Astros. If the Rangers win the series, they are clearly still in the American League West and Wild Card races coming out of the All-Star break.

Last year the Rangers had the best offense in the AL. So far in 2024 they rank a mediocre eighth in runs per game. Nathaniel Lowe is the lone Ranger (get it?!?) regular playing as well as he did last season. Corey Seager has been fine but not at the MVP runner-up level of last year. Marcus Semien is notably down, as is 2023 ALCS Astros-obliterater Adolis Garcia. Stud 2023 rookie Josh Jung has been out with a broken wrist since ex-Astro Phil Maton hit him with a pitch in the fourth game of this season, though fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been the Rangers' best player. 21-year-old late season phenom Evan Carter largely stunk the first two months this season and has been out since late May with a back injury. Repeating is hard, never harder than it is now. Hence no Major League Baseball has done it since the Yankees won three straight World Series 1998-2000.

Chasing down the Division at a crazy clip

From the abyss of their 7-19 start, the Astros sweep over the Marlins clinched a winning record at the break with them at 49-44. Heading into the Texas matchup the Astros have won at a .627 clip since they were 7-19. A full season of .627 ball wins 101 games. If the Astros win at a .627 rate the rest of the way they'll finish with 92 wins, almost certainly enough to secure a postseason slot and likely enough to win the West. Expecting .627 the rest of the way is ambitious.

With it fairly clear that Lance McCullers is highly unlikely to contribute anything after his latest recovery setback, and Luis Garcia a major question mark, what Justin Verlander has left in 2024 grows more important. With the way the Astros often dissemble or poorly forecast when discussing injuries, for all we know Verlander could be cooked. Inside three weeks to the trade deadline, General Manager Dana Brown can't be thinking a back end of the rotation comprised of Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss should be good enough. The Astros have 66 games to play after the All-Star break, including separate stretches with games on 18 and 16 consecutive days.

All-Star MIAs

Viewership for Tuesday's All-Star game at Globe Life Field in Arlington will be pretty, pretty, pretty low in Houston. One, All-Star Game ratings are pitiful every year compared to where they used to be. Two, the Astros could be down to zero representatives at Tuesday's showcase. Kyle Tucker was rightfully named a reserve but had no shot at playing as he continues the loooong recovery from a bone bruise (or worse) suffered June 3. Being named an All-Star for a ninth time was enough for Jose Altuve. He opts out of spending unnecessary time in Texas Rangers territory citing a sore wrist. This despite Altuve playing four games in a row since sitting out the day after he was plunked and highly likely to play in all three games versus the Rangers this weekend. Yordan Alvarez exiting Wednesday's rout of the Marlins with hip discomfort and then missing Thursday's game seem clear reasons for him to skip, though he has indicated thus far he intends to take part. Yordan is the most essential lineup component to the Astros' hopes of making an eighth straight playoff appearance.

Ronel Blanco should have made the American League squad on performance, but pretty obviously his 10 game illegal substance use suspension was held against him. As it works out, Blanco will pitch Sunday in the last game before the break which would render him unavailable for the All-Star Game anyway. Blanco is eligible to pitch, but given the career high-shattering innings workload Blanco is headed for, no way the Astros want him on the mound Tuesday. Just last year the Astros kept Framber Valdez from pitching in the game.

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting on Tucker's return, the Astros have also been waiting on Chas McCormick to get back to something even faintly resembling the hitter he was last year. McCormick routinely looks lost at the plate. He has four hits (all singles) in his last 32 at bats with his season OPS pitiful at .572. During the break the Astros should seriously weigh sending McCormick to AAA Sugar Land and giving Pedro Leon a try in a job share with Joey Loperfido.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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