33 Expert Takeaways From Week 1 in the NFL

Editor’s note: The 33rd Team has more than 2,000 years of football experience with some of the best players, coaches and executives from around the NFL. Here are their top takeaways from Sunday’s action: 


1. Prescott Injury Devastating

“It would be hard to exaggerate how significant a loss Dak Prescott is for the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper Rush is not in the same league with Dak. The Cowboys play the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants in the next two weeks. The more important unknown is: Will it really only be two weeks? A thumb injury on his throwing hand is hard to be sure he will be 100 percent when he returns.” — Joe Banner

2. QBs Make 49ers-Bears ‘Hard Game to Watch’


3. Does Shanahan Mistrust Lance?

“Kyle Shanahan may be the best offensive coach in the game but decided to take an extremely conservative approach with new starter Trey Lance. He did not seem to trust his QB in the second half with a 10-point lead. That resulted in 19 unanswered points and a Bears 19-10 win.” — Joe Banner

4. Tyreek Who?

“Patrick Mahomes looked even better today without Tyreek Hill. He spread the ball around and threw for 5 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Mecole Hardman was somewhat of a concern — only 3 catches for 16 yards but did have a touchdown. Can they get him more involved?” — Rick Spielman

5. Lamar Poised in the Pocket

“Offensively, Lamar Jackson was really poised and comfortable in the pocket. His downfield accuracy was really good. He hit tight end Mark Andrews (5 catches, 52 yards) and they had a big pass interference called. I think they’re gonna be really hard to defend, especially when J.K. Dobbins comes back. Jackson looked exceptional today. I thought how he played from the pocket was really, really good.” — Mike Tannenbaum

6. Tua and His Game Look More Mature


7. Do Packers Miss Davante Adams?

“Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense did not look the same without Davante Adams. Rodgers was sacked 4 times, threw an interception, had a fumble and threw for under 200 yards.”— Rick Spielman

8. Vikings Beat Up Aaron Rodgers, Packers

“I saw a Vikings defense that was hungry and ferocious. Aaron got some of the hardest hits that maybe he’s gotten in his career. They disrupted the Packers’ offense—pretty much the whole game. I mean, they really never got in a rhythm. They kept Aaron moving around, hitting him. He was not able to find any big plays downfield.” — Brett Favre

9. Eagles Could Exceed High Expectations

“The Philadelphia Eagles, with Jalen Hurts as the leader, may exceed the already high expectations.” — Marty Mornhinweg

10. Hurts Force Feeds A.J. Brown

“Jalen Hurts really focused on getting A.J. Brown the ball. Although, in the process, DeVonta Smith had zero catches on only 4 targets. Hurts continues to make plays with his feet — keeping drives alive. Can he stay healthy doing this through the entire season? Last year, he was the leading rusher for Philadelphia.” — Rick Spielman

11. Matt Ryan’s Fatal Mistake

“Matt Ryan took a sizable loss on third down in overtime to make a game-winning field goal attempt longer than necessary. Ryan’s critics have long questioned his decision-making.” — Joe Banner

12. Carson Wentz’s Resolve

“Even though Carson Wentz threw for more than 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions in 2021, he was the subject of quite a bit of criticism this offseason. I think it says something about his resolve to throw 4 touchdowns and lead Washington to a win over the Jags, and his former head coach, Doug Pederson.” — T.J. McCreight

13. Big Win By Commanders

“I thought one of the bigger wins Sunday belonged to Washington. A franchise seemingly in constant turmoil, they welcomed in a Jacksonville team that is (again) under new leadership, and direction, with a good amount of talent on the roster. The Jags were a very trendy pick to win at Washington, but big credit to coach Ron Rivera and his Commanders — they were focused, blocked the noise coming from us media types, and handled Opening Weekend well.”— Charles Davis

14. Mitch Trubisky Has Rough Outing


15. Flacco Was Not the Problem

“Given what he had to work with, Joe Flacco did OK. He had to work in a terrible pocket, but he didn’t play poorly. Wide receiver Corey Davis made some tough contested catches.’ — Mike Tannenbaum

16. Saints OC Calls Brilliant Game

“The way Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael called the game in the fourth quarter was simply brilliant.” — Marc Trestman

17. Another Close Loss By Lions

“The Detroit Lions fought valiantly, and tried their best to convert their “summer of good feelings” to victory against the ascending Philadelphia Eagles, but it was not to be, and they dropped a close, 3-point game at home. This team continues to demonstrate that they are buying what their coach, Dan Campbell, is selling — but eventually, they will need to convert that effort into some wins that are more than upsets. They certainly feel on track to me, and for what it’s worth, they feel like “America’s Second Favorite Team,” the one people root for as long as they are not playing their true favorite franchise. The Lions like that feeling, but are eager to become the “Team No One Wants To Play”’ in the near future.” — Charles Davis

18. Special Teams Not So Special

19. Some Teams Kicking Themselves

“If you have kicking issues and you identify an outstanding college kicker, use a pick and draft him. With so many games coming down to the wire in Week 1, it’s clear: If you have a kicker that can hit a long game-winner, it could mean the difference in making the postseason or not.” — T.J. McCreight

20. Steelers Will Lean on Tomlin’s Leadership

“The injuries to T.J. Watt and Najee Harris are obviously serious concerns in Pittsburgh, but head coach Mike Tomlin is a master at calming the waters and leading the team through adversity. Tomlin is an outstanding and natural leader … not all head coaches are.” — T.J. McCreight

21. Trubisky Not the Problem

“Trubisky was solid. Steelers’ OL will be a problem over time. Suffer some significant injuries in T.J. Watt and Najee Harris that will impact their team based on how they’ve wanted to play.” — Joe Banner

22. Steelers Will Miss Watt

“Pittsburgh’s defense played lights out in Cincinnati, sacking Joe Burrow 7 times, and forcing 4 turnovers. Huge win on the road in OT, but also a huge loss if T.J. Watt is out for the rest of the year. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year was off to a great start. Opposing offenses will have less to worry about game-planning if they don’t have to accountant for Watt.” — Rick Spielman

23. Patriots Stink

“The Patriots are just not very good. They’re not.” — Mike Martz

24. No OC in New England = Mistake

“Bill Belichick and the Patriots made a mistake not hiring an offensive coordinator.” — Chuck Pagano

25. Dolphins Could Be Tough Team to Beat

“After all the hype, excitement and huge trades on the offensive side of the ball, the Dolphins won because they played great defense. If they keep that up, it is reasonable to assume that the offense will improve, and they could become a tough team to beat moving forward.” — Joe Banner

26. Daboll’s Gutsy Call Pays Off

“Brian Daboll had a gusty call to go for two points at the end of the game on the road in Tennessee as the underdogs. Analytics say that was the right call, and it paid off for the Giants with a huge win on the road to start the season.” — Rick Spielman

27. Down-to-the-Wire Games

“So many close games that came down to the last few seconds! The parity in the NFL is awesome!” — Rod Woodson

28. Jefferson Shows He’s Worthy of WR1 Tag


29. Lions Show Rare Defensive Speed

“Defensively, the Detroit Lions are pretty good. They’ve got really good speed on defense, and I have never seen the Lions with speed on defense.” — Mike Martz

30. Saleh Lacks Fire

“I would like to see the fire from Jets coach Robert Saleh that I saw when he was the defensive coordinator of the 49ers. His personality seemed to be an excited, high-energy guy. Since he has been head coach of the Jets, he looks very calm and reserved. I would say he needs to be himself and let it loose.” — T.J. McCreight

31. Where Did McCaffrey Go?

“Hard to imagine a player like Christian McCaffrey being used so little. Especially glaring was a chance to use him at the end of the game, but deciding to run up the middle three times and kick a field goal.” — Joe Banner

32. Offensive Firepower in AFC West

“I would not want to be a defensive coordinator in the AFC West! That division is as advertised.” — Chuck Pagano

33. Don’t Panic, Stay Calm

“Let’s be careful about creating false narratives about teams whether they have won or lost. Let’s stay calm and let the next few weeks create a clearer picture of the team’s narrative. It’s only Game 1 and teams really don’t begin to define themselves for three or four more weeks. ” — Marc Trestman

WATCH MORE: Greg Jennings’ Thoughts on How a Run-First Offense Impacts Wide Receivers

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