Whenever we get to sit down and watch close to 12 hours of straight NFL football, there can be little to complain about.
Sure, a six-week-old daughter can make concentrating on every snap just that little bit tougher but where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Atlanta and Philly kicked off the season officially but this morning’s slate of 13 games saw things really get rolling.
A Monday Night Football double-header will round out week one as the Lions host Gang Green before Oakland and the Los Angeles Rams round out the opening week.
Each week, I’m going to attempt to do a good, bad, ugly from each game – provided Lottie allows me to see enough football…
RAVENS 47, BILLS 3
Good: Joe Flacco – A fire has been lit beneath him thanks to the Ravens drafting QB Lamar Jackson. Cool Joe was precise, dropping 25/34 for 236 yards and a trio of TD.
Bad: LeSean McCoy – When I went to look at the brief box score, McCoy was not even among the Bills top two rushers. He totalled 22 yards on seven carries.
Ugly: Bills Mafia – Buffalo is a proud football community. The team is much-loved but continue on with performances like today and every single person’s head on the Bills will be on the chopping block.
BROWNS 21, STEELERS 21
Good: James Conner – Yes, we’ve heard Le’Veon Bell is AWOL but a few years removed from beating cancer, this young thumper shone brightest with 192 combined yards and two scores.
Bad: Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben has been absolutely awful on the road in recent memory. Today, he continued that streak with three INTs and a fumble.
Ugly: The result – Pittsburgh turned the ball over five times, which almost never ever results in a win but unfortunately – and I was cheering hard for them – Cleveland did not yet know how to win, botching what would’ve been a game-winning FG.
BENGALS 34, COLTS 23
Good: John Ross – We have a sighting. The fastest player ever recorded at the NFL Combine scored his first TD today. It was a nice goal-line score and whilst there were no others receptions, breaking his TD duck is a perfect start.
Bad: Shawn Williams – Cincinnati still make too many bone head plays which often become costly. This time, it was Williams, hitting Andrew Luck late and in the head, resulting in an ejection.
Ugly: AJ Green – Sure, the superstar wideout hauled in 92 yards and a 38-yard score but he put the ball on the turf after two of those catches. Being his Fantasy Football owner and seeing that gave me a headache.
DOLPHINS 27, TITANS 20
Good: Kenny Stills – The former Saint restarted his career in South Florida surpassing 100 yards and landing two scores.
Bad: Floridian weather – This contest kicked off at 1pm local time but ended as a night game thanks to two seperate and lengthy weather delays. Eerie, after Miami’s week one game was cancelled last season versus Tampa Bay.
Ugly: Delanie Walker injury – Walker has been a constant source of success for the Titans but he is likely gone for the season after dislocating his ankle in this one.
VIKINGS 24, NINERS 16
Good: Harrison Smith – The All Pro safety helped drive Jimmy G mad with seven tackles, a sack and interception.
Bad: San Fran beginning – The Niners first eight offensive plays fetched a total of 13 yards. Hardly ideal for a road team facing one of the premier defences in the NFL.
Ugly: Richard Sherman – He was far from disgraced but Sherman was turned around a time or two by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
PATRIOTS 27, TEXANS 20
Good: Rob Gronkowski – The best tight end to have ever lived was in Gronk Mode to begin the season. Catching passes from Tom Brady helps, but 87 was impossible to guard as he went for 123 and one on seven catches.
Bad: Rory Atkins – He trekked all the way to Boston and then boarded the train to Foxboro to watch this big clash. Problem is, he was the only person in the stadium who wore shorts – a real no-no in that part of the world.
Ugly: Deshaun Watson – Coming off an ACL injury, Watson was held out of pre-season work and it showed. His timing was awful and the poise and precision which made him a stunning rookie, was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps pre-season games are worthwhile after all.
BUCCANEERS 48, SAINTS 40
Good: Ryan Fitzpatrick – Oh boy. Those that had Fitzy in Fantasy Football deserve a medal for bravery but they’ll duly be rewarded with a 1-0 start. Fitzpatrick was ‘Fitzmagic’ dropping 417 yards, 4 TD and even a rushing TD on the hapless Saints defence.
Bad: Mark Ingram – Yes, Alvin Kamara was magical but the Saints desperately needed Ingram to help steady the pace when Tampa Bay got rolling. His suspension has already hurt this squad.
Ugly: Saints defence – Lauded as a top five group, the Saints defensive unit got off to a horrific start, giving up 48 points to a journeyman back-up QB.
JAGUARS 20, GIANTS 15
Good: Odell Beckham Jr – The match-up was mouthwatering and whilst Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars walked away with the W, Beckham showed enormous maturity and his otherworldly skill-set with 11 catches for 111 yards.
Bad: Leonard Fournette – The former LSU stud was a sensation as a rookie, with only injury holding him back. Well, the injury bug has struck him again as Fournette was forced to leave the game after only nine carries. His health is vital to Jacksonville.
Ugly: Kaelin Clay – Clay was sent back to return a Jaguars punt with under a minute remaining in the ball game, NYG needing a TD to pinch it. Clay muffed the punt, resulting in a Jags recovery and the game being over – MetLife Stadium was not a happy place.
CHIEFS 38, CHARGERS 28
Good: Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill – I truly cannot split these two. Mahomes surpassed the hype and was a gun-slinging sensation whilst Hill was at his explosive, game-breaking best. Mahomes blitzed LAC for 4 TD whilst ‘Cheetah’ had 169 and 2 scores as a receiver after opening the game with a 91-yard kick return TD.
Bad: Chargers defence – More than a couple of experts were choosing LA’s ‘other’ team to make a Super Bowl run. Now, one cold day does not make it winter and even without standout defensive end Joey Bosa, LA gave up way too many big plays to a divisional rival.
Ugly: Nine straight – LA has a problem whenever they face Kansas City. Andy Reid’s high-scoring squad have won its past nine versus the Chargers. That needs to be ended.
REDSKINS 24, CARDINALS 6
Good: Adrian Peterson – All Day has always been able to tote the rock. Apparently, his receiving skills have been underused for a decade as Alex Smith competently found Peterson twice for two big gains – 70 yards in total.
Bad: Sam Bradford – Bradford is accurate and competent but his issues remain. He looked sore at times and could only manage 153 yards through the air.
Ugly: David Johnson – DJ has his work cut out for him. With Bradford’s early struggled and Bruce Arians’ creative mind gone, Johnson will be the focus of every defence he sees. Today, Washington kept him to 67 total yards.
PANTHERS 16, COWBOYS 8
Good: Christian McCaffrey – Today was not his largest statistical game but Cam Newton and the Panthers coaches have figured out exactly when and where to use CMC.
Bad: Dallas receivers – Jason Witten and Dez Bryant were always going to leave a void. Evidently, that void was not filled as Dak Prescott struggled to locate any reliable pass-catchers. Aside from Cole Beasley’s seven, no Cowboy had more than three catches.
Ugly: Greg Olsen’s foot – It seems Olsen has had a reoccurrence of a foot injury he sustained a couple of seasons back. He returned to the sidelines in a moon boot and on crutches.
BRONCOS 27, SEAHAWKS 24
Good: Case Keenum – As a LA Ram, Keenum was a mess. With Minnesota he looked like an MVP candidate and now in Denver, CK is providing the Broncos with exactly what they’ve longed for since Peyton Manning departed – competent and capable QB play.
Bad: Seahawks rushing – Chris Carson averaged 7.3 yards per rush but again, Seattle did not get anything consistent from its backs. Whether it’s coaching or something else, Wilson needs more than 14 carries to help him win.
Aussie: Nothing ugly here. Aussie Michael Dickson has been a sensation in the pre-season after a stellar career at Texas. He was powerful today, booming four of his six punts inside the 20 as well as averaging 57.5 yards.
PACKERS 24, BEARS 23
Good: Khalil Mack – He’s been a Bear for a week and he’s barely practiced but Mack was a force of nature in the first half. He had a sack, caused another, a forced fumble and a pick six in a truly stunning display. He’s worth every penny.
Great: Aaron Rodgers – Mack had to receive some love but Rodgers ends up where he usually does – on top. He returned in the second half to lead the Pack to a memorable win. He punched Chicago for 286 and three scores, largely in the fourth quarter.
Ugly: Aaron Rodgers’ knee – The Frozen Tundra went silent. The commentators were shaking. Aaron Rodgers was down and he was not getting up. Rodgers’ knee injury forced him to leave the game, but he returned and played like a God but it looked like something that could hang around.
From a best bets perspective, we had a great start landing 8/13 suggested bets. Hopefully you followed a couple in and earned a few bucks whilst watching the football.
I even had a nibble at the Cheeseheads when they were trailing the Bears 20-3 and paying any old odds.
Enjoy the opening week of MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – Lions and Rams easily for me.