One week of football is officially in the books. The Bills looked as explosive as expected. The cowboys are in a world of trouble. And the Seahawks got the better of Russell Wilson. How’s that for an opening round of NFL action?
Get yourself fully caught up with The NFL Morning Scramble, a new weekly rundown of top takeaways and tidbits from the latest slate of games. Like the best greasy breakfast plates at your local diner, this is meant to be a hodgepodge of the good stuff — from weekly MVPs and true-or-false narratives to a look ahead at next weekend’s best games and hot-seat candidates.
Now dig in, and let’s recap:
Week 1 Awards
AFC MVP: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
MVP award, here he comes! Without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs gunslinger actually looked … better? Maybe the Cardinals defense is just Swiss Cheese (very possible), but Mahomes effortlessly went 30 of 39 for 360 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-21 rout. The craziest part is that few of us even blink our eyes at those numbers, because he’s set the standard so high.
NFC MVP: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Does anyone collect as many wide-open passes across the middle of the field as this guy? I don’t think so. And to be clear, that’s not a slight on him, but a compliment, for he is doing most of the work; it’s not his fault he’s leaving defenders in the dust! Nine catches for 186 yards and two scores in the Vikings’ 23-7 upset of the Packers, and he still had a full tank of gas.
Coach of the Week: Bills’ Sean McDermott
Mike Tomlin deserves credit for rallying the Steelers to an ugly, hard-fought, what-else-do-you-expect-from-the-AFC-North win over the Bengals. But McDermott had his boys prepped like no other in the Thursday opener. Under his watch, with Ken Dorsey cut loose as the offensive coordinator, Josh Allen looked as confident throwing the ball as he ever has, and the Rams paid for it.
Mr Cool of the Week: Geno Smith
Talk about a confident performance from the longtime backup, who owned the stage with both smart and backyard-style throws to lead the Seahawks over their old leader, Russell Wilson, in prime time. As if that weren’t enough, he capped it off with one of the best quotes of the season, to be sure: “They wrote me off, but I ain’t write back, though.”
teams of the week
- the Steelersfor humbling Joe Burrow, enduring the loss of TJ Watt and surviving overtime to beat the Bengals
- the Ravensfor dashing all Jets offseason hype in the effortless flick of Lamar Jackson’s wrist
- the Commandersfor displaying the entire Carson Wentz experience in a thrilling win over the Jaguars
- the Vikingsfor embarrassing the Packers while debuting Kevin O’Connell’s modern-day offense
- the Seahawksfor spoiling Russell Wilson’s return with a big night from Geno Smith and Pete Carroll’s defense
have you covered with the latest waiver recommendations, week 2 projections and much more. In the meantime, here are the guys I’d definitely, 100 percent be eyeing:
- Commanders WR Curtis Samuel: Health will remain a concern, but 12 touches against the Jaguars confirms Washington is serious about utilizing him as a utility man. As long as Brian Robinson Jr is out, he has added value as a flex play.
- Saints TE Taysom Hill: Yes, I’m serious. And I don’t care if he actually lines up at tight end. This team refuses to stop deploying Hill as a Swiss Army Knife, and the fact is he’s always liable to break off a big run or appear in the red zone.
- 49ers RB Jeff Wilson Jr.: With Elijah Mitchell down indefinitely, this is the obvious one. Kyle Shanahan relies on the run, and Wilson is the next man up. Even if gaudy numbers don’t follow, the volume should be there.
True or False
Which developing narratives — popular or artificial — are actually valid?
The Cowboys are doomed: With Dak Prescott done for maybe two months due to a hand fracture, Cooper Rush will be tasked with making the Mike McCarthy-Kellen Moore offense functional again, behind a shoddy line and throwing to a makeshift receiving corps. Verdict: TRUE.
The Patriots might be bad: After falling 20-7 to the rival Dolphins, they may or may not have a healthy Mac Jones under center for Week 2 against the Steelers. Somehow Bill Belichick still thinks the best way to develop his young QB was to hand the offense over to … Matt Patricia? Verdict: TRUE.
The Packers, as we knew them, are dead: Basically lifeless offensively during their 23-7 drubbing at the hands of the upstart Vikings, Aaron Rodgers and Co. may lack formidable receivers right now, but their line should be healthier as the weeks progress, and Matt LaFleur can still lean on his elite one -two punches in the backfield. Verdict: FALSE.
On the Horizon: Week 2
Game of the week: Chargers at Chiefs
The powerhouses play early this week, kicking off in Kansas City on Thursday. It’s Mahomes and Justin Herbert, for a chance to take an early lead in the AFC West. Los Angeles could be down some key players, including Keenan Allen, but the Chargers also have a defense that racked up six sacks and three picks in Week 1. Buckle up.
Hot Seat Alert: Nathaniel Hackett
His job certainly isn’t in actual jeopardy right now, but after botching the final minute of the Broncos’ ugly 17-16 loss to the Seahawks, not only by wasting time but refusing to rely on Russell Wilson in favor of a 64-yard field-goal try, Denver’s first-year coach will be under a lot of pressure to right the ship against the lowly (or not-so-lowly?) Texans.