Each week during the season, we will reach out to members of the 33rd Team Insiders Network to get insight and perspective on a topical question.
Week 1 question: While we know that getting off to an 0-1 start is not the end of the world, what team do you think really needs to get off to a strong start and why?
I’ll give you two. The first is Arizona (plays at Tennessee this week). This is year 3 of the Kyle Murray era. He has had two positive years and they have have had three years to surround him with talent and build the defense. The Cardinals added J.J. Watt and wide receiver A.J. Green in free agency, and traded for center Rodney Hudson. And they play in a tough division!
The other is Minnesota (at Cincinnati). The Vikings are a very complete club. The defense looks strong. They have Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen on offense. They have surrounded Kirk Cousins with a team he doesn’t have to carry. And he is second-best QB in their division
I will say the Chargers (at Washington). They have a chance to be the most improved team in football, but are playing in a really tough division. They can’t lose ground while playing a lesser opponent.
I will go with the Raiders (home vs. Baltimore). Plenty of outside pressure on them. Even though Jon Gruden denies that it impacts their approach, early losses can create more avenues for the noise to get in the building and disrupt the locker room. They don’t have much margin for error in a very tough division.
The Jets (at Carolina), just because there’s so much excitement around Zach Wilson. He’s going to have a long and prosperous career, but just knowing that, as a rookie quarterback in New York, it would help amplify their momentum if he can get off to a good start.