With tonight's Monday Night Football double-header left on the Week 1 schedule, Sunday's NFL slate provided some surprises, and plenty of insight into the season going forward.
This season is meant to answer two questions. Could the New England Patriots succeed without Tom Brady at QB, and could Brady do what Jameis Winston failed to do in five seasons in Tampa Bay, lead them to the Super Bowl?
Week 1 provided only partial answers.
The Patriots, with yogurt salesman Cam Newton at QB, beat Miami, 21-11. Given that coach Bill Belichick is one of several NFL personalities joining the Watt brothers in shilling for Subway this season, I'd not be surprised to find subs and yogurt in the commissary for the players at Gillette Stadium. As far as the AFC East goes, it's the same old, same old.
In New Orleans, Brady rushed for a touchdown, threw 2 TD passes, and 2 interceptions, one of which was a pick-six for ex-Giant Janoris Jenkins, as Tampa Bay dropped its opener to the Saints. The Bucs' biggest problem? They acquired Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville) and LeSean McCoy (Buffalo) to bolster the running game, but the offense, as it was in New England for 20 years, is predicated on Brady. Period. Tampa will have its home opener next week vs. Carolina.
The Los Angeles Rams christened their new home, So-Fi Stadium, with a 20-17 win over Dallas. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow saw how much different things are in the pros, as Cincinnati dropped a 16-13 decision to the Los Angeles Chargers. Everyone's assuming the Carolina Panthers will fall into the NFC South basement, and for now, they share 2nd place with Tampa Bay & Atlanta after losing, 34-30, to the Las Vegas Raiders.
For all the talk about how pro sports leagues wanted to avoid Vegas like the plague, the success of the NHL's Golden Knights in their three seasons to date have proven that "Sin City" will support a pro sports team, and that's why the Raiders decided to leave Oakland a 2nd time.
Ex-Carolina coach Ron Rivera disclosed before the season began that he has been diagnosed with cancer. Then, his new team, the Washington Deviants, upset Philadelphia, 27-17. Similarly, Arizona upset the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, 24-20. Seattle opened with a road win over Atlanta, 38-25.
New year, same old Jests, who lost to Buffalo, 27-17. The clock is already ticking on Adam Gase, and the press already is assuming, for the 2nd straight season, that the Jets could tank so they can get Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the #1 pick next spring. Gase is another example of a coach who is not a perfect fit as a head coach. Wore out his welcome in Miami after 2 seasons, and it looks like the same fate will befall him in New York unless things change.
Don't hold your breath on that.