We are all the way back with football now. Congratulations, everyone! Now it’s time to overreact to everything. Are the three best teams in the NFC? Is there a worse receiver group than the Chiefs? Are the Packers good, or are the Bears bad? Both? Is it time to panic for what were believed to be Super Bowl contenders such as Kansas City and Cincinnati? Let’s go!
Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta, and Matt Nelson
We have to start with the season opener in Kansas City, as Detroit got the biggest win in recent franchise history with a 21-20 win over the defending champs. Immediately, the Hawks put their stamp on this game.
LaPorta was a great security blanket for Jared Goff and the Detroit offense. LaPorta finished his first NFL game with 5 catches for 37 yards, plus the block that ended up springing the winning touchdown by David Montgomery. And shoutout to Matt Nelson, the Detroit utility lineman that came in as a sixth lineman on Detroit’s winning score.
On the other side of the ball, Campbell did not get the start but he put an immediate imprint on the game. He had just two tackles in the game, both solo, but he had an incredible pass defense that had Twitter/X temporarily on tilt.
Really, we should have known the Lions would get a win here. Three former Hawks on the roster to zero for KC? Come on, Chiefs. Get it together. The biggest takeaway from this game was honestly, be happy you weren’t Kadarius Toney last Thursday night. 1 reception for 1 yard, 1 carry for -1 yard, 4 drops, and he tipped a Detroit pick-6 up in the air, a score that tied the game for the Lions. Hope you didn’t start him in fantasy! Let’s check in on Kadarius:
Kadarius Toney’s hands pic.twitter.com/7QZmo8MpVV— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) September 8, 2023
T.J. Hockenson, Anthony Nelson, and Kaevon Merriweather
We must mention Hockenson here. His Sunday wasn’t the most prolific ever – 8 receptions for 35 yards in a 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay, who might be a frisky team this year. Just prior to the season, Hockenson signed a 4-year extension for at least $66 million, with a chance for the deal to get up to $68.5 million. The deal has an average annual value of $17.125 million per season and $42.5 million guaranteed, both numbers making him the highest paid tight end in the league.
Nelson finished the day with 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 sack, and 1 tackle for loss, while Merriweather finished with 1 tackle in his NFL debut.
George Kittle and Desmond King
Like Hockenson, Kittle didn’t exactly light the world on fire. The Niners tight end had 3 receptions for 19 yards. He wasn’t needed, as the Niners completely dominated Pittsburgh, 30-7, in Pittsburgh, one of the most dominant wins of the weekend. Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk were the benefactors of Brock Purdy’s return, with McCaffrey going for 152 yards rushing and a score, while Aiyuk snagged 8 passes for 129 yards and two scores, plus he de-cleated Damontae Kazee on McCaffrey’s 65-yard touchdown run.
Meanwhile, King registered no stats, as he was inactive for Week 1.
C.J. Beathard and Brandon Scherff
CJB did not see action with Trevor Lawrence in command of Jacksonville’s 31-21 win over Indianapolis. That will be common for CJB, as Lawrence is fully locked in as the Jags starter.
Scherff started at right guard but had to leave the game with an ankle injury and did not return. We’ll keep an eye on this. He’s currently listed as questionable for Week 2.
Chauncey Golston, Dane Belton, and Casey Kreiter
Not a lot to take from this game, other than it was a complete massacre. Dallas’s defense has been salty for a few seasons now, but that was dominant and should put them in Super Bowl contention. Golston registered a sack and two tackles in the Cowboys’ 40-0 demolition of the Giants.
Kreiter still has the long snapper spot locked down for the Giants and recorded one tackle, with Belton also registering one tackle.
Lukas Van Ness
The Green Bay rookie made his NFL debut and recorded two tackles and a sack. The sack came in a huge spot in the second quarter. With the Packers leading 7-3 but the Bears threatening to take the lead, Van Ness recorded a sack on a rolling Justin Fields, a feat given Fields’s ability as a runner.
Packers first round pick Lukas Van Ness comes up with his first career sack at a HUGE moment✅ pic.twitter.com/tqNWeyGJ6d— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) September 10, 2023
Our man in Tennessee chipped in this week with 5 tackles (3 solo), a tackle for loss, and a pick in the a 16-15 loss to New Orleans. I didn’t watch this game and I’m glad.
I’m glad I didn’t watch Atlanta-Carolina either, a 24-10 Atlanta win. This is going to be tough sledding all year for the Panthers offense. Ihrim Smith-Marsette did not finish with a reception, but did have 3 punt returns for 14 yards.
Josey Jewell, Riley Moss, and Bronco Corner - different year, same results, as the Broncos dropped a 17-16 decision to Las Vegas. Jewell finished with 6 tackles while Moss was inactive as the Broncos missed a PAT and missed a field goal in a game in which they had just SIX offensive possessions.
Nick Niemann played all 20 of the Chargers special teams snaps in their 36-34 loss to Miami - by far the most entertaining game of the day, both ways - but did not record any official stats. Ditto Zach VanValkenberg and Noah Fant with the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, respectively. VanValkenberg and Fant both played in the Rams surprising 30-13 win in Seattle but recorded no stats.
A.J. Epenesa had 1 tackle for loss and Micah Hyde chipped in with 5 tackles in the Bills stunning 22-16 loss to the New York Jets. Buffalo probably missed their window with this core, and New York’s might have never opened. This is all that really matters from this game.