By Ben Greenberger
The first week of the NFL season is always a big one for fans. They’ve been waiting for months to see their team back in action. Unfortunately, many fans have a tendency to look at the results of week 1 and claim to immediately know their respective teams’ fate for the whole year. Just because a team won doesn’t make them Super Bowl contenders, and losing doesn’t ruin your season. Let’s take a look at several teams whose fan bases need to take a step back and give it time.
Overreaction #1: The Cleveland Browns are done
Cleveland fans have long been known for unwavering loyalty, despite a perpetual lack of results. Last year, the Browns improved by seven wins. Seven! In the NFL, that is astronomical growth. Couple that with landing one of the most prolific wideout talents in the game today, and it is clear why Browns’ fans were amped up for this season. Losing by 30 points at home goes a long way to quell much of that excitement. People in the media have been extremely quick to write off the Browns and many of their own fans are completely reevaluating this season. Slow it down Browns’ fans! This team still has an abundance of talent and tends to play with a chip on its shoulder. This was a wake up call for Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens, and they won’t let this happen again. The Browns will be just fine and will surprise many people with how well they turn out this year.
Overreaction #2: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are legit
Lamar Jackson has faced scrutiny ever since running Joe Flacco out of town. He is a shifty, elusive, quick athlete at the quarterback position. That combination isn’t seen very often. Comparisons are often drawn to RGlll (ironically now his backup), and arguments are made that this style doesn’t work in the NFL. Lamar and the Ravens went out week 1 and put almost 60 points on the lowly Miami Dolphins (lowly being the key word there). Miami is in a very rough stage of rebuilding. They will struggle to compete in every single game this year, and will likely get blown out a lot. At the end of the day, Lamar being able to exploit a pathetic secondary does not prove anything. On Sunday, he was able to sit in the pocket and launch the ball deep without concern. When he gets into tough crunch time against the Steelers or the Browns, he is not going to have that luxury. He is going to have to be smart, is going to have to make precise throws and is going to have to be an elite game manager. The Ravens are primed for success this year, but they are going to need a much larger sample size before becoming legitimate contenders.
Overreaction #3: Nick Foles going down dooms the Jags
Nick Foles’ career with Jacksonville didn’t start as well as he likely would have hoped. He wasn’t able to make it one quarter in to his week 1 matchup with the Chiefs before he fractured his clavicle and was placed on IR. For many Jacksonville fans, that was it. There is no way that the Jaguars can compete without him, right? Wrong. The surprise of the week, Gardner Minshew entered the scene and did about as well as he could have done. He ended the game with 275 yards passing. To put that in perspective, there were eight quarterbacks around the league who WON their games and passed for fewer yards! Minshew showed that he can compete at this level, and with Jacksonville’s elite defense, anything is possible. Sure, Pat Mahomes was able to pick them apart, but that isn’t a true representation of the Jaguars’ potential. Mahomes and the Chiefs will be destroying most of their opponents this year. Jacksonville plays in a division that has recently opened wide with the retiring of Andrew Luck, so don’t be surprised when you see them competing for an AFC South crown come December.
Overreaction #4: The Raiders don’t need AB
The Raiders went out on Monday night and put on an absolute clinic against the Broncos. They dominated every facet of the game and went home 24-16 winners. Derek Carr looked back to his 2016 form, and the defense looked surprisingly competent. Raiders fans took to social media to berate Antonia Brown, and gloat the fact that their offense didn’t miss him at all. Wow. Slow it way down Oakland fans. You guys had a good game against a historically good defense. The Broncos were in their first game under a new head coach, and you were at home. Just wait until Week 17 when they have to go to Denver, and the Broncos have had time to adjust. It won’t be pretty. To go along with that, Oakland’s next six games are against the Chiefs, Vikings, Colts, Bears, Packers, and Texans. The Raider’s could quite realistically head into Week 9 as a 1-6 team. The Raiders are not back, Denver is just bad.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org