Even though two teams have yet to play a regular season game, week one of the NFL season is officially in the books. Let the overreactions and wild assumptions begin! Week one saw some anemic offenses, explosive defenses, and surprising standouts, but what is the biggest overreaction takeaway from the week? No one was surprised that the Seahawks offensive struggles from last year are still and issue, and everyone including Chuck Pagano knows that the Colts without Luck (both literal and figurative) are probably the worst team in the league. Yeah Sam Bradford looked good, but the Vikings did start the 2016 season 5-0 only to finish the season 8-8. Shout out to Dalvin Cook though!!! 👏 👏 👏 However, Cincinnati getting shut out by the Ravens and the Giants total lack of offensive productivity without Odell Beckham were definitely a bit surprising, but the most surprising and over reaction provoking event from week one, was hands down Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 upset of the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The take: Alex Smith will lead his Kansas City Chiefs deep into the playoffs and win the MVP.
While the Chiefs did have an extremely impressive showing against Belichick and the Patriots, the idea that a QB in his thirteenth season with an average QBR of 85.8 is going to be the MVP of the league seems like a bit of a stretch after only a single week of play (ESPN I). First things first, we know that the MVP is notoriously awarded to a QB or RB on a team that is a serious playoff contender, so do I think this could be the year of the Cheifs? It should be, but they do play in this year’s most competitive division, the AFC West. They have been a playoff team the last two years, and despite the loss of Jamal Charles and Jeremy Maclin this could be their best team to date. With weapons like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Chris Conley will have room to shine, and it showed in his two receptions for 43 yards on Thursday. After losing Charles this offseason the running game became a point of concern for the team, but some kid out of Toledo named Kareem Hunt, who fumbled on his first career carry, squashed any concern by redeeming himself with 239 total scrimmage yards in his debut (ESPN II).
The offense seems primed and ready, but on defense, with Eric Berry out for the season it could provide foes with a chink in their armor to pick away at. On Sunday we see if they can derail the Eagles’ Wentz Wagon and if Smith can repeat his performance from week one. Remember this is the same Alex Smith that has delivered spotty performances his entire career. So spotty in fact many were hoping/expecting the rookie Patrick Mahomes II to take the helm after his impressive preseason performance. I do think the Chiefs could be the real deal, but I question if Alex Smith has evolved beyond “game manager” status. Yes, he was good, but I really put the weight of the win on Hunt’s shoulders. The first quarter ended with a 7-7 tie. In the second and third quarters the Chiefs managed a touchdown in each, and the Patriots put up ten points in each to make the score 21-27 going into the fourth. Anytime a team puts up 21 points in the fourth, it is a sign that the defense has worn down, and the best way to do that is running the ball, i.e., Kareem Hunt. I am in no way discrediting the throws that Smith made, but a good running game is a QB’s best friend. With that said, we all get lucky from time to time, so I reserve my judgment on Smith until he proves that his performance Thursday was not a fluke. Breakdown: Are the Chiefs a playoff team? As it stands, yeah they are. Is Alex Smith getting my MVP vote (I know I don’t have a vote yet, but let a girl dream ok)? Yes, if the vote was today, but its not.
Basically we are all Jon Snow, because we know nothing!!!! Its week one folks, and with preseason play being so limited for key players it takes at least one if not two regular season games to knock the rust off and better evaluate what is actually going on with these teams. I mean come on man! No one really believes the Bills or Jaguars are winning their respective divisions, yet there they sit alone at the top. To assume that we should hand the MVP to Smith or Bradford out the gate is just as ludicrous of a suggestion. We still have two teams that have yet to see regular season action. If your team did not perform up to your expectations, take a breath, because things might not be as bad as it seems (unless you’re a Colts or Jets fan). If your team did well, have yourself a toast and enjoy it while it lasts, because there is a lot of football left to play.
by: Melody Murphy
ESPN I; http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/8416/alex-smith
ESPN II; http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/_/id/3059915/kareem-hunt