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Insiders Network: Which Surprise Week 1 Winner Is for Real?

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 2 question: Among the teams that were considered surprise winners in Week 1, which team looked most "for real," and why?

Marc Trestman:

A few days ago, I wrote of the importance for the Cardinals to get off to a fast start. Going into Nashville for game 1 of Kyler Murray’s third year would not be easy, and the Titans would be a small favorite. The focus was on Murray, and he produced at the highest level with 4 TD passes (no turnovers), succeeding both in the pocket and by extending plays with his athleticism. He is also utilizing all the speed and added skill around him. But what got our attention was the dominant play and toughness of the Cardinals defense, led by Chandler Jones’ 5 sacks!  In what appears early on to be the NFC’s strongest and most competitive division, the Cardinals proved they can play with anybody.

Mike Tannenbaum:

Arizona… It was their defense in particular that stood out to me. Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt in addition to Isaiah Simmons were all productive. They have playmakers all over the defense, a lot has been said about their offense but I think Arizona’s defense has been underrated.

Wade Phillips

Arizona. Murray and running game were good and defense was outstanding against Titans, who were playing at home!

Tom Lewand:

I would say the Chargers, although I am not sure they would be considered a “surprise” winner. Both the Cardinals and Saints were impressive in road (”home” for the Saints) blowouts, but I will go with L.A. because of the fourth-quarter comeback on the road. Justin Herbert continues to impress with his leadership and performance in key situations.

Joe Banner:

I’m going with Seattle. It’s not news that they would be good, but if they stay aggressive and somewhat creative on offense, they become more likely to possibly win a really tough division and have a chance to make a real run in the playoffs.