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Don’t get too worked up about a Week 1 performance

Yeah, it didn’t look pretty on Sunday, but opening weeks in the NFL are weird.

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There’s a fair amount of hand-wringing following the Eagles’ lackluster 25-20 win over the Patriots on Sunday, and that’s understandable.

Jalen Hurts didn’t look anything like an MVP player against New England, the offensive line struggled, the playcalling and player usage was weird, the linebackers and safeties got exposed and the special teams made a mess of things on a number of occasions. As everyone has said, there’s “a lot to clean up,” and they have a short week in which to do it. It also sounds like they’ll be without a few starters, too.

James Bradberry is in the concussion protocol and will likely miss Thursday night’s Vikings game, along with linebacker Nakobe Dean. That’s concerning. But it’s also fair to consider the Patriots had the third best defense in terms of DVOA last season, returned most of their starters and added significant pieces in the draft, and Bill Belichick had an entire off-season to gameplan for this one game, so perhaps it’s not surprising their Week 1 win in the rain in New England was a struggle.

It’s also fair to note that opening week in the NFL is often weird, especially now that most teams don’t play most of their starters at all in the preseason, a decision Nick Sirianni said the team might change next year.

In Week 1 last year, the 49ers lost to the Chicago Bears 19-10 on a rainy day in the Windy City. Trey Lance was at QB and blew an early 10-0 lead to an awful Chicago team that had no business beating a loaded San Francisco squad. Also last year, the Dallas Cowboys got smoked by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs at home 19-3 that was so bad, fans threw trash.

Both those teams made deep playoff runs last year, you’ll remember.

Also, Carson Wentz led the Commanders to a 28-22 win over Doug Pederson and the Jags. The Jags would make the playoffs, Carson Wentz would make the bench.

Of course, there were teams who played well in Week 1 that we weren’t expecting to, like the Lions, who scared the jeepers out of the Birds in the Eagles’ 38-35 nail-biter, the Vikings took down a Packers team that most picked to win the North, and the Giants handled the AFC’s No. 1 seed in 2021 in a 21-20 victory on the road.

The fact the Eagles were able to pull out a season-opening victory on Sunday, despite their issues, was a positive development. And looking around the rest of the league, do we really believe the Browns, despite their 24-3 victory, are better than the Bengals? Or that the Raiders’ 17-16 win means they’re gonna finish ahead of the Broncos? Certainly, the Seahawks will have a better record than the Rams, despite losing 30-13 at home. And the Giants certainly aren’t as bad as their 40-0 loss to the Cowboys at home, nor are the Bills going to struggle as much as they did in their 22-16 loss to a Jets team whose season is in turmoil following the likely season-ending injury to Aaron Rodgers.

I mean, could all of those results hold up this season? Sure, but the odds are better that many of these results were anomalous. And sometimes things go according to plan, like the 49ers’ blasting the Steelers 30-7 and the Cowboys domination of New York. They’re good teams and they played like it. Good for them.

The point is, Week 1 of the NFL season is weird. In many cases, the results are outliers. Teams with new coordinators, like the Eagles, can sometimes struggle to find their rhythm, and this was essentially the first real game action of the season for Hurts and the Birds. Maybe getting into a preseason game next year will knock off some of the opening week rust we saw on Sunday.

Provided the Birds don’t get decimated by injuries, they should be just fine.


Rate your level of concern after the Eagles’ 25-20 win over the Patriots in Week 1

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    0-3 - No worries, they’ll be fine.
    (529 votes)
  • 54%
    4-6 - Some concerning stuff, cautiously optimistic.
    (1155 votes)
  • 19%
    7-8 - That wasn’t good. New coordinators, injuries, linebackers, safety issues, I’m kinda worried.
    (405 votes)
  • 1%
    9-10 - It’s a new year, tougher schedule, roster isn’t as deep, I’m super worried.
    (42 votes)
2131 votes total Vote Now

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