NFL Team Grades for Week 1

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2017

NFL Team Grades for Week 1

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    It's almost incredible how terrible some teams were in Week 1.

    There was some good, sure, but then there was a lot of bad.

    Five teams scored single-digit points: The New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans. And then there were the Cincinnati Bengals, who scored no points.

    (On the flip side, something you wouldn't expect: The Los Angeles Rams scored nearly 50 points.)

    Oh, and can you believe the New England Patriots lost? By giving up 42 points inside Gillette Stadium?

    As for the good: Rookie running backs were the story of the week. Between Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears and Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars, first-year ball-carriers really made their mark.

    Some other snapshots from the week: The Baltimore Ravens defense is ridiculous, the Colts are a laughingstock without Andrew Luck and the New York Jets are as bad as you'd expect. Elsewhere in Houston, the Texans opted to start rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson in the second half after fellow quarterback Tom Savage was anything but a savage. If his name were Tom Godawful, it would make more sense.

    Lastly, before we begin, please note that the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose game was postponed due to Hurricane Irma, are not featured here.

    Now, let's start with the Arizona Cardinals—also known as the live self-destruction that is quarterback Carson Palmer's career.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: @ Detroit Lions

    Score: Lost 35-23

    Before the Cardinals got a pick-six near the beginning of the game (courtesy of Justin Bethel), the wheels had started to come off the wagon when Carson Palmer threw his first of three interceptions on the day (one of them also a pick-six).

    Palmer really hasn't been any good since the 2015 regular season, and his struggles to start this season. No, the offensive line didn't do him any favors (though he was sacked just one time), but Palmer looks like toast. He finished his day with 269 passing yards, one touchdown (in garbage time to wide receiver J.J. Nelson) and three interceptions.

    Running back David Johnson also had trouble getting going in this game. He finished the day with 11 carries for 23 yards, though he did have six receptions for 68 yards. Johnson hasn't always been regarded as the most efficient runner, but this was not good. He had some chances to find the end zone while and could not convert. He also fumbled twice (and lost one).

    Late in the game, Johnson left with a wrist injury that could sideline him for up to half of the season, according to Chris Mortensen, formerly of ESPN. That would be terrible for the Cardinals' prospects through the rest of the season.

    Beyond Johnson's contributions, the passing game was fairly mediocre. At the top of the list was veteran Larry Fitzgerald, who finished with 74 yards.

    Defensively, the Cardinals finished the day with just one sack. Safety Tyvon Branch did well, though, contributing nine solo tackles.

    Ultimately, this was a highly forgettable performance. If the Cardinals offense can't get going and their lack of a pass rush continues, this could be a long season. Two guys to keep an eye on heading into Week 2: Johnson and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche.

    Week 1 Grade: D-

    Season Average Grade: D-

Atlanta Falcons

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: @ Chicago Bears

    Score: Won 23-17

    While the Atlanta Falcons were inconsistent in Week 1, there was still plenty to be excited about.

    Remember, this team has some new coaches and the addition of Dontari Poe along the defensive line.

    Matt Ryan looked fine Sunday, completing 21 passes on 30 attempts for over 300 yards and a single touchdown pass. Nothing overly spectacular, but he did look like he was willing to run a little bit more. Ryan did an excellent job of spreading the ball around and moving the offense throughout the afternoon, highlighted by the incredible play that resulted in an 88-yard touchdown for tight end Austin Hooper.

    Other than Hooper's huge play, the passing game was rather conservative. Julio Jones finished the day with four catches for 66 yards.

    Devonta Freeman scored on the ground, but the final stat lines won't blow you away as he finished with under 40 yards rushing. The offensive line wasn't terrible, but it definitely had some holes in it. The Bears front seven looked like it could be a tough unit to deal with this season.

    Defensively, the Falcons delivered a ton of hard hits and defensive maven Vic Beasley looks like he's on the hunt for the sack title this season. Some other notable names on defense include cornerback Brian Poole, linebackers Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell and safety Keanu Neal.

    (Notice perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant was not mentioned above. He looked rusty today.)

    While all of these players made some great plays today, they also gave up their fair share as Bears running back Tarik Cohen absolutely torched them all day long.

    This game was a lot closer than people thought it would be. The Bears held their own and were underestimated while the Falcons were a bit overestimated.

    The Falcons will be fine, and they came away with a win on the road. Not an incredible performance, but solid enough.

    Week 1 Grade: B

    Season Average Grade: B

Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: @ Cincinnati Bengals

    Score: Won 20-0

    In what was the only shutout on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens defense absolutely looked legit. But before we talk about the defense, we'll cover the offense.

    Early in the game with running back Danny Woodhead in the fold, the Ravens offense had a different look to it. However, on an out-route, Woodhead suffered a non-contract injury to his hamstring and left the game.

    For the remainder of the game, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did not do a ton. He went just 9-of-17 for 121 yards with a touchdown and an interception (which came on a tipped pass).

    It was clear that Flacco was still feeling the effects from his preseason back injury. Good thing he didn't have to do much in this game. He looked comfortable, but this definitely wasn't a spectacular performance by any stretch. He was silent in the second half. His lone touchdown came on a 48-yard strike to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on a simple slant route where he simply outran the defenders.

    The running game emerged in a big way after Woodhead went down with an injury, however. Running backs Buck Allen and Terrance West combined for over 150 yards on the ground and a touchdown (from West) on 40 carries.

    The offensive line was solid. It allowed for the running game to prosper, though the unit as a whole did commit four penalties for a total of 30 yards.

    Back to the defense: Here is where the Ravens get fun. Their incredible defense forced Andy Dalton to turn the ball over five times, four of them being interceptions. Virtually everyone on defense played a part in making Andy Dalton look worse than Brock Osweiler.

    As far as bad things on defense, linebacker Za'Darius Smith left the game early with a sprained knee, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.

    Lastly, the Ravens special teams unit was great as always. Kicker Justin Tucker converted both of his field goals, punter Sam Koch had two of his six punts land inside the 20, and punt returner Michael Campanaro averaged over seven yards a return.

    What more can one say? The Ravens balled out today.       

    Week 1 Grade: A

    Season Average Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. New York Jets

    Score: Won 21-12

    In what was the snoozer special of the week, the Buffalo Bills hosted the Jets. Being in the crowd must have been as difficult an experience as it was to grade both of these teams.

    Tyrod Taylor played well, save for his egregious interception in the red zone. He finished the day with 16 completions on 28 attempts for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 38 yards on the ground on eight carries.

    Taylor is far from an elite quarterback, but he can make plays. If he can eliminate his mistakes like his interception today, he should be able to provide a spark in what looks like it will be a run-heavy, somewhat vanilla offense.

    Running back LeSean McCoy is nothing short of spectacular. He finished with 110 yards on 22 carries as well as 49 yards receiving on five receptions (six targets). With that said, he did suffer an injury in this game that is going to have to be monitored.

    As expected, the receiving corps was pedestrian throughout. Tight end Charles Clay was the most targeted weapon this week (nine) and scored a touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Zay Jones saw four targets while newcomer Jordan Matthews saw just three. It's going to be tough to expect high statistical outputs from any of these receivers, as this is definitely a run-first team. 

    The offensive line did well. Left tackle Cordy Glenn didn't play the entire game, though, and he rotated with rookie Dion Dawkins.

    Considering the Jets defensive line still has guys like Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, it was nice to see this offensive line hold up.

    Defensively, safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde made great first impressions in their first regular-season game with the Bills. Both had interceptions.

    Keeping in mind who the Bills played in Week 1, it isn't at all surprising that they won, but they still performed well. Minus Steven Hauschka's missed field goal, the special teams unit played well, too.

    Week 1 Grade: B

    Season Average Grade: B 

Carolina Panthers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: @ San Francisco 49ers

    Score: Won 23-3

    Sure. It was the San Francisco 49ers, but the Carolina Panthers balled out in Week 1. From top to bottom, almost everything was exceptional.

    Coming off a lack of preseason reps and a shoulder injury, it was expected that quarterback Cam Newton would struggle. At first, he did. He missed tight end Ed Dickson in the first half for a touchdown and had plenty of incompletions. Things would get better as the game went on, however, and it honestly didn't matter because the 49ers stink.

    Heading into this game, everyone was excited about rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.

    While the rookie was exciting to watch, veteran running back Jonathan Stewart was the leading rusher and even scored a passing touchdown. McCaffrey had 18 touches for a combined 85 yards. He did, however, lose a fumble in the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, these two guys look like they are going to complement one another well this season in revitalizing this Panthers offense.

    Out of the receivers, it was Russell Shepard who shined. He caught a beautiful 40-yard touchdown from Newton which prompted the question: "Ted Ginn who?"

    After it allowed just three points, it's quite obvious the defense did its job. This unit smothered 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer all game long and had a total of four sacks.

    A great performance all around.

    Week 1 Grade: A-

    Season Average Grade: A-

Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Score: Lost 23-17

    Even in defeat, the Chicago Bears held their own against the Falcons in a game that would come down to the final play.

    Heading into the season, Bears quarterback Mike Glennon was the butt of most jokes. But in Week 1 against the defending NFC champions, he did his job. He didn't have a beautiful stat line (26-of-40, 213 yards and one touchdown), but he kept the Bears in the game.

    In fact, on Jordan Howard's Wildcat touchdown, Glennon even threw a block. How about that?!

    The running game was just incredible. Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen set this game on fire—especially Cohen, who finished the day with 66 yards on the ground on five carries. But he did the majority of his damage in the passing game, with eight receptions, 47 yards and a score. (He also returned three punts for 45 yards.)

    The Bears will need this running game if they're going to compete, because the pass-catching options are getting thinner by the day.

    We knew going into Week 1 that wide receiver Cameron Meredith was lost for the season, but it appears that the Bears could also be without Kevin White after he fractured his collarbone, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Running back Benny Cunningham left the game early too.

    This leaves guys like Josh Bellamy and Kendall Wright out wide, and Zach Miller at tight end. That corps had limited action in Week 1 as a result of Cohen's explosion.

    Elsewhere on offense, the Bears have a solid offensive line on paper. However, this was definitely not one of the strong points today as Vic Beasley absolutely beat up on offensive lineman Bobby Massie. Also, center Cody Whitehair had a few mental errors throughout the game in the form of some of his snaps being errant.

    One thing is for sure: The Bears certainly miss their best offensive lineman, Kyle Long, who was out with an ankle injury.

    Where the Bears make their mark on defense is in their front seven. It's actually quite scary.

    Whether it was defensive linemen Akiem Hicks or Eddie Goldman or linebacker Jerrell Freeman, they did an excellent job containing one of the most explosive backfields we saw last season. The Bears secondary is going to be an issue, but hey, at least they held Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones under 100 yards receiving.

    The Bears and their fans should be proud of this showing.

    Week 1 Grade: B-

    Season Average Grade: B- 

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Baltimore Ravens

    Score: Lost 20-0

    This was definitely the worst performance of the week. As such, I'll try to make this recap painless.

    The Bengals got shut out. This was largely because quarterback Andy Dalton was absolutely atrocious. With four interceptions and a fumble, this was easily one of the worst games he's ever played.

    And in the red zone, their struggles continued.

    The running game showed some promise as running backs Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill had their share of nice runs, but rookie Joe Mixon finished with just nine yards on eight carries, with a long of eight yards. Meaning, on seven carries, Mixon had a total of just one yard. One.

    It's tough to really grade the pass-catchers considering how bad Dalton was, so we'll just skip by them.

    There are no compliments in order for the Bengals offensive line. They got absolutely obliterated. The losses of guard Kevin Zeitler and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth definitely showed in this game.

    Outside of defensive end Jordan Willis, this entire Bengals defense was bad. Linebackers Kevin Minter and Nick Vigil did poorly and could not cover anyone over the middle (but Vigil did have an interception, so there's that). This unit also gave up a long touchdown to Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on a simple slant route that went 48 yards.

    It will be difficult to be worse in Week 2. This game was a total dumpster fire.

    Week 1 Grade: F

    Season Average Grade: F 

Cleveland Browns

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Score: Lost 21-18

    Believe it or not, the Cleveland Browns actually looked like a competent football team.

    Starting in his first NFL game at just 21 years old, Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer made his mistakes, but he also showed some flashes of hope.

    Kizer was sacked seven times, and about five of those were his fault: He simply held the ball for too long. On the other hand, he showed promise in the fourth quarter, leading the Browns down the field on an eight-play, 73-yard touchdown drive.

    Of course he's going to make some mistakes, but it's evident that head coach Hue Jackson made the right decision in going with the rookie signal-caller over Brock Osweiler.

    The running game, on the other hand, was not good. Between some offensive line issues and running backs Isaiah Crowell showing a lack of vision, they couldn't get anything going.

    All the same, Kizer made use of his weapons. He got guys such as tight end Seth Devalve involved, and he used Corey Coleman on a crucial fourth-down conversion. Kenny Britt could have had a better day—he dropped a sure-fire first down on 3rd-and-19.

    On the defensive side, the Browns did their part in slowing down Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant. Of course, Antonio Brown finished with, like, a billion yards, but he's not from this planet.

    The Browns did not allow the Steelers to get a first down for the entire first quarter. That is not something a Browns defense would have done last season. Safety Derrick Kindred had a fantastic Sunday afternoon, with a fourth-quarter interception.

    Like the Chicago Bears, the Browns did well. Even in defeat.

    Week 1 Grade: B

    Season Average Grade: B

Dallas Cowboys

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Score: Won 19-3

    Offensively, the Dallas Cowboys took care of business.

    Dak Prescott wasn't perfect, as he had his fair share of errant throws, but he did have nearly 270 passing yards and a touchdown. He also assisted tight end Jason Witten, who passed Michael Irvin for the most receiving yards in Cowboys history.

    On the ground, the suspended-then-unsuspended running back Ezekiel Elliott eclipsed 100 yards per usual. Other than that, on offense, wide receiver Cole Beasley made a heck of a sideline catch when he trapped the ball on his upper back where his shoulder pads are.

    The offensive line was great. In other news, it will be for a very long time.

    Defense was a big concern for this team heading into this season, but that group showed up in this one. The Cowboys racked up three sacks and held the Giants to just three points, and cornerback Anthony Brown came up with an interception. 

    Speaking of cornerbacks, Orlando Scandrick left the game early with what general manager and owner Jerry Jones is calling a fractured hand, according to 247 Sports.

    To get back to a feel-good story, linebacker Jaylon Smith made his first career NFL start after coming back from a devastating knee injury. He finished the game with seven total tackles, second on the team only to fellow linebacker Sean Lee.

    This wasn't the outpouring of offense the team wanted, but the Cowboys got the win.

    Week 1 Grade: B+

    Season Average Grade: B+

Denver Broncos

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

    Score: Won 24-21

    Though he may not have overwhelmed in the passing-yards department (219), Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian played well on Monday Night Football. Totaling three touchdowns (one rushing), Siemian did throw an interception, but it wasn't entirely on him.

    Running back C.J. Anderson's talent was evident, as he averaged 4.1 yards per carry and had 81 yards rushing.

    Everyone in the passing game got their share, too. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler had five, three and three receptions, respectively—not to mention Fowler's two touchdowns. Tight end A.J. Derby had three catches as well.

    Per usual, the Broncos defense did a nice job, too, minus allowing a few late touchdown passes by Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

    Defensive end Shelby Harris is the real MVP for blocking the game-tying kick at the end of the game, though.

    Week 1 Grade: B

    Season Average Grade: B

Detroit Lions

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Arizona Cardinals

    Score: Won 35-23

    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw four touchdowns en route to a second-half comeback against the Cardinals. As a result, wide receiver Golden Tate went over 100 yards on 10 receptions and rookie Kenny Golladay scored two touchdowns (including one diving catch) on 69 yards receiving.

    However, I'm not entirely sure the team played well.

    It was far from a perfect day for Stafford—he did throw a pick-six despite not being pressured much—but he still played like a top-eight or top-10 quarterback on the day. Oh yeah, he also had a glorious play in which he spun away from pressure and ran for a first down.

    To no one's surprise, the Lions running game is putrid. Ameer Abdullah continues to be a huge disappointment. On 15 carries, he had just 30 rushing yards.

    The offensive line for the Lions—especially new offensive tackle Ricky Wagner—was solid today, with the exception of center Travis Swanson, who graded out terribly on Pro Football Focus

    To my surprise, slot cornerback Quandre Diggs played a great game. Last year, he was known for getting absolutely torched, but in this game he held his own and played great against Larry Fitzgerald.

    While on defense, the Lions only had one sack, but they hit Palmer seven times. The MVPs of the defense were definitely Diggs, safety Glover Quin, defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and cornerback Darius Slay.

    Special teams were a mess for the Lions. Punter Casey Redfern was carted off with an injury, forcing Prater to pull double duty. There were a number of botched snaps, and running back Dwayne Washington, while on kick return duties, brought the ball out of the end zone when he clearly should have knelt with the ball.

    Another avoidable mistake: too many penalties. The Lions had 10 of them for 100 yards.

    Overall, a solid day for the Lions, but not the kind of day that would usually result in 35 points on the board.

    Week 1 Grade: C+

    Season Average Grade: C+

Green Bay Packers

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Score: Won 17-9

    Facing a restocked defense with Seahawks safety Earl Thomas back in the fold, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had trouble making big plays all day long. He eventually did his damage with short and quick passes to his receivers.

    His lone touchdown pass came on a beautiful route by wide receiver Jordy Nelson in which he ran between Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner. Rodgers delivered one of his usual gorgeous throws for the score.

    The running game did enough to help wear the Seahawks down and clinch the narrow victory. It wasn't overpowering, but it did what it needed to do. Running back Ty Montgomery scored a touchdown in addition to his 54 rushing yards on 19 carries.

    Rodgers, per usual, made his receivers look great, and Nelson continued to be Nelson—he's an elite wide receiver.

    The offensive line did allow four sacks, but to be fair, the Seahawks have a fearsome front seven.

    Defensively, the Packers kept the Seahawks under 10 points. Linebacker Nick Perry was unblockable.

    The Packers had a tough opponent, but they did what they needed to do to win.

    Week 1 Grade: B+

    Season Average Grade: B+

Houston Texans

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

    Score: Lost 29-7

    Here's how this game went: Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage started and backup quarterback Deshaun Watson finished.

    The Texans were almost as bad as the Cincinnati Bengals in this game. If not for a Watson touchdown to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they'd be in that territory.

    Then again, Texans quarterbacks were sacked 10 times, four by Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

    In addition to the plethora of sacks, the Texans turned the ball over four times, including a fumble returned for six points by Jags defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.

    Everything stunk about the Texans. Defensive end J.J. Watt even left the game early with a finger injury.

    Savage's final stat line before being yanked: 7-of-13 passing, 62 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, six sacks and two lost fumbles.

    Trust me, it was uglier than it appeared.

    Simply atrocious, Texans.

    Week 1 Grade: F

    Season Average Grade: F

Indianapolis Colts

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: @ Los Angeles Rams

    Score: Lost 46-9

    This was the football version of a train wreck. On his first pass, Scott Tolzien threw a pick-six—an omen of the day to come. He threw another pick-six in the third quarter.

    The only positive: The offensive line played OK, as running back Marlon Mack was able to find the end zone and veteran running back Frank Gore averaged over four yards per carry.

    Thankfully the Colts inserted recently acquired Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter. He looked instantly better than Tolzien, who should find himself on a couch soon.

    Tolzien, Tom Savage and Andy Dalton should all be sent to Mars after their performances in Week 1.

    Week 1 Grade: F

    Season Average Grade: F

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Houston Texans

    Score: Won 29-7

    While Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is still an eyesore to watch on Sundays, the Jaguars defense used and abused the Houston Texans.

    The passing game stunk because of Bortles, but also because star wide receiver Allen Robinson left early due to a knee injury. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Robinson suffered an ACL tear and is out for the season.

    On a positive note, running back Leonard Fournette had a nice debut. He was under four yards per carry, but he did reach the 100-yard milestone while scoring a touchdown and caught three passes for 24 yards.

    But the offense is not why this team won in Week 1.

    On defense, that's where we are introduced to "Sacksonville."

    The Jaguars had 10 sacks and forced four turnovers. With four sacks, defensive lineman Calais Campbell ruined whatever ego Texans quarterback Tom Savage had left.

    The weakest point was cornerback A.J. Bouye against Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, as Bouye had his hands full.

    This entire defense balled out, though. I'll overlook Bortles' terrible performance and give the Jaguars an A-minus.

    Week 1 Grade: A-

    Season Average Grade: A-

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: @ New England Patriots

    Score: Won 42-27

    The first game of the season was also the most stunning.

    The Kansas City Chiefs went into Foxborough on opening night and throttled the New England Patriots while scoring 42 points.

    In the passing game, quarterback Alex Smith was unbelievable. He had four touchdown passes for the first time in nearly four years and picked apart the Patriots defense mostly out of shotgun. Seeing Smith fling the ball downfield was otherworldly.

    Kareem Hunt was incredible. Almost 250 total yards on offense and three touchdowns? My goodness. And to think he had a fumble on the very first carry of his NFL career.

    Play-calling in this game by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was fantastic overall. They beat the Patriots plenty with crossing routes, which were almost unstoppable.

    Anyone who thought wide receiver Tyreek Hill was just a gadget player is sadly mistaken.

    The offensive line held its own in this one, though it allowed three sacks (one when Smith fell to the ground).

    Defensively, safety Eric Berry was his usual elite self, but he suffered a heartbreaking Achilles rupture.

    Cornerback Marcus Peters didn't do anything, as he was rarely targeted by Tom Brady. With Peters on an island, other players in the secondary needed to perform. Other than his penalties, fellow cornerback Terrance Mitchell held his own, while Phillip Gaines in the slot looked like he'd be the target to pick on for the evening.

    Linebacker Justin Houston was nowhere to be found in the first half but ended up finishing the game with two sacks—he's still got it.

    All that said, there were too many penalties in this game. How the Chiefs scored 42 points and won the game while also being accountable for 15 penalties worth of 139 yards is absurd.

    Week 1 Grade: A+

    Season Average Grade: A+

Los Angeles Rams

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    Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts

    Score: Won 46-9

    For the first time in his NFL career, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff won a game.

    Goff and the entire Rams team were in the right place at the right time in Week 1.

    They scored in virtually every way imaginable.

    Starting on the offensive side of the ball, Goff completed 21 of his 29 attempts for over 300 yards and a touchdown to rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

    He didn't account for the majority of the 46 points scored, but Goff looked like he could hang in the league after an abysmal rookie campaign.

    While running back Todd Gurley did find the end zone, he only averaged about two yards per carry. Sure, the Colts focused on slowing him down considering they were down by 100, but it's concerning for both Gurley and the offensive line.

    The addition of left tackle Andrew Whitworth is a big deal, but the rest of the Rams offensive line needs an overhaul.

    Where the Rams made their money was on defense. The defense scored two touchdowns and a safety against the Colts.

    This will likely be the best showing from the Rams all season, so let them enjoy it while it lasts.

    They absolutely kicked the Colts in the teeth.

    Week 1 Grade: A

    Season Average Grade: A

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: at Denver Broncos

    Score: Lost 24-21

    Until halfway through the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers were out of Monday's game.

    But then Rivers had two touchdown passes to wide receivers Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin within 1:10 of game time in the final frame.

    Like Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (219 yards), Rivers didn't have a ton of passing yards (192), but he threw for three touchdowns.

    On the ground, running back Melvin Gordon was far from efficient (54 yards on 18 carries), but that was to be expected against such a strong Broncos defense.

    The Chargers D may have allowed a rushing touchdown to Siemian, but the unit had a total of nine quarterback hits, four sacks (1.5 each from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram), five tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery.

    It was a slow start for the Chargers, but they got back in the game late and almost sent it into overtime. However, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph iced the kicker. Denver defensive end Shelby Harris then blocked rookie kicker Younghoe Koo's game-tying attempt to hand L.A. the loss as the final seconds ticked away.

    Week 1 Grade: B

    Season Average Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

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    Week 1 Opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints

    Score: Won 29-19

    To kick off Monday Night Football, the Minnesota Viking turned in a wonderful performance at home against the New Orleans Saints.

    Quarterback Sam Bradford was lights-out, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns. And yes, the Saints and defensive lineman Cam Jordan should have had a red-zone interception, but Jordan's teammate, linebacker A.J. Klein, smacked him in the head, causing a drop.

    The offense clicked, especially at wide receiver where Stefon Diggs (seven catches, 93 yards, two TDs) and Adam Thielen (nine catches, 157 yards) looked like a tandem to be reckoned with. They abused the Saints secondary. Tight end Kyle Rudolph scored, too.

    Running back Dalvin Cook (22 carries, 127 yards rushing) is a stud. End of story.

    Defensively, the Vikings managed to hold a Brees-led Saints attack to just one touchdown, and the special teams did a fantastic job, too.

    Hopefully the Vikings don't turn into the Vikings of 2016 where they rattle off a few wins and then free fall back to earth.

    No complaints here. The Vikings showed up big time Monday.

    Week 1 Grade: A

    Season Average Grade: A

New England Patriots

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    Score: Lost 42-27

    Believe it or not, the New England Patriots lost on opening night. Not only did they lose, but they gave up 42 points at home.

    A few things stood out in particular.

    First, this was not the best showing in the world from Tom Brady. Yeah, he's Brady so we give him a pass, but he made plenty of errant throws. That said, there were a few good ones sprinkled in there, like the long pass to Brandin Cooks that went beautifully over his shoulder and right into his arms.

    Stat lines don't tell the full story, but Brady's completing under 50 percent of his passes is not something you see every week. Not to mention he threw the ball over 20 yards 10 times, which is quite a bit for Brady and the Patriots offense.

    The running game was solid. In the first half, Mike Gillislee may have scored a couple of times and ran well, but fellow running back James White was even better (not to mention that stiff arm—whew).

    With wide receiver Danny Amendola in concussion protocol, the Patriots are going to be even more thin at the position now with Malcolm Mitchell placed on injured reserve officially prior to the game. From here on out, we'll see more of newcomer Phillip Dorsett, I'm sure. Speaking of Amendola, he had 100 yards receiving, too.

    Like Dorsett, there is another newcomer to the Patriots: Cooks. His speed allowed for the Patriots to get up the field, as he drew two pass interference calls and two defensive holding calls. While that doesn't get reflected on the stat sheet, it will help the team win ballgames, especially when we see Cooks and Dorsett both lined up on the outside.

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski was nonexistent in this one thanks in large part to Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who kept him in check all night up until he suffered a torn achilles.

    Defensively, the Patriots had their fair share of blunders. For starters, while Jordan Richards—who was playing linebacker but was drafted as a safety—made a few good plays in which he forced a fumble and drew a holding call, he otherwise looked out of sorts. With Rob Ninkovich retired, that is an area of concern.

    After Richards, reserve defensive end Cassius Marsh should never be in pass coverage again.

    One more negative was the miscommunication between safety Devin McCourty and cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill's long touchdown. It appeared to be McCourty's assignment, but obviously something happened because Gilmore did not look like a person who would be covering a speedster like Hill.

    Some positives now: Outside of the miscommunication, McCourty was fantastic. He had some brutal tackles, leading the team with nine and was his usual self. Defensive lineman Trey Flowers had a great game as well, picking up two sacks. And rookie Deatrich Wise got his first career sack (though it came on a trip).

    Lastly, the offensive line played well for the most part, though the Chiefs seemed to only rush three guys for quite some time there. They did manage to get more pressure on Brady as the night went on.

    Special teams played well, too.

    All in all, though the Patriots lost, there was a lot of good in this game, but you don't give up 42 points without doing some bad. They could not convert on either of their fourth-down attempts, which also helped the Chiefs maintain momentum.

    The team will be fine, of course, and maybe this is exactly what the Patriots needed.

    Week 1 Grade: C+

    Season Average Grade: C+

New Orleans Saints

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: at Minnesota Vikings

    Score: Lost 29-19

    This was a forgettable performance all around by the New Orleans Saints, who settled for four field goals and a late touchdown. Quarterback Drew Brees did all he could but didn't have enough help. Wide receiver Michael Thomas did his job in the receiving game (five catches, 45 yards) and newcomer Ted Ginn Jr. and Tommylee Lewis came to life with 50-plus yards each.

    The running game struggled, however, as Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara combined for 53 yards on the ground.

    After a knee injury to veteran right tackle Zach Strief, the Saints were left with an inexperienced left tackle in Ryan Ramczyk as well as Senio Kelemete to fill in.

    Minus a near red-zone interception early in the game by defensive lineman Cameron Jordan, the defense (especially the secondary) could not contain the Vikings' passing attack. They got mauled. Absolutely torched, actually.

    The good included a few decent performances from the receivers, Brees fighting for his life and linebacker A.J. Klein (minus tackling Jordan and making him drop the interception), who contributed 11 tackles.

    On to Week 2 and a home date with the New England Patriots.

    Week 1 Grade: D

    Season Average Grade: D

New York Giants

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Dallas Cowboys

    Score: Lost 19-3

    Three points, New York Giants? That's it?

    The Giants were outclassed here. It's as if they never got off the plane.

    Without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., quarterback Eli Manning was dreadful. He had just 220 passing yards on 38 attempts and threw an interception.

    And you mean to tell me Paul Perkins was the leading rusher with 16 yards? Shut the front door.

    Everything besides the sack by defensive lineman Olivier Vernon, the 18 tackles from linebacker B.J. Goodson and the nine receptions by running back Shane Vereen was a total joke.

    Week 1 Grade: F

    Season Average Grade: F

New York Jets

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Buffalo Bills

    Score: Lost 21-12

    The New York Jets stink. We knew this heading into this season.

    So, after just a 12-point showing, we are not at all surprised by the Jets' lack of, well, talent.

    Let's make this one quick: The quarterback play wasn't any good, the running game stunk, the defense could not stop the run, and the pass defense wasn't that effective with the exception of an interception by cornerback Juston Burris.

    A bright spot: Josh McCown was sacked just once, and he had a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse had seven catches.

    That's it. USC

    QB Sam Darnold better start looking for homes in the New Jersey/New York area.

    Week 1 Grade: F

    Season Average Grade: F

Oakland Raiders

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Tennessee Titans

    Score: Won 26-16

    The Oakland Raiders looked similar to the team we saw last season, just with a much better running game.

    Quarterback Derek Carr performed beautifully. He did not look like he suffered a broken leg last season. If his poise and confidence continue from this game, the Raiders are a legitimate contender once again. He finished the day with just over 260 passing yards and two touchdowns.

    Running back Marshawn Lynch may not have eclipsed 100 yards on the ground, but he looked like his old self, running hard throughout. He adds a whole other layer to this offense.

    The receivers were solid in this one. Amari Cooper had double-digit targets (five receptions), Michael Crabtree led in receiving with 83 yards and Seth Roberts scored a touchdown.

    One bad thing, though: Cooper dropped the ball quite a bit. In fact, he had multiple opportunities in the red zone and dropped three straight potential touchdown passes. His drops are a concern, but he's still a phenomenal receiver.

    The offensive line is solid, despite Vadal Alexander's struggles. On defense, players like defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes helped shut down the run game, safety Karl Joseph played well and, of course, Khalil Mack was Khalil Mack.

    On special teams, new kicker Giorgio Tavecchio was a force. Talk about being the next man up. He was 4-of-4 on field goals and converted both his extra-point attempts. His longest field goal was for 52 yards.

    It was a fantastic job by the Raiders against a Titans team that is set up for success this season.

    Week 1 Grade: A

    Season Average Grade: A

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Washington Redskins

    Score: Won 30-17

    Carson Wentz did his best Brett Favre gunslinger impression in Week 1. From avoiding several tackle attempts and throwing a long touchdown downfield to wide receiver Nelson Agholor to overthrowing plenty of receivers down the field, Wentz did it all.

    Not only that, but right after his wizard-like play for the Agholor touchdown, the Eagles turned it over on a swing route. In addition to his deep-passing woes, Wentz threw an interception on a tipped pass by Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. He was fortunate to only have one interception on the day.

    The running game for Philly was terrible. LeGarrette Blount had some hard runs, but he was not productive with his 46 yards on 14 carries. Tight end Zach Ertz led the team in receiving with 93 yards. While other receivers like Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery didn't have the great stat lines, Wentz's erratic ways played a role. 

    On defense (and I can't believe I'm writing this), cornerback Jalen Mills played pretty damn well and had an interception for his efforts.

    Some bad news: Cornerback Ronald Darby had a gruesome ankle injury that I would never wish on my worst enemy. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Darby will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, but it looked brutal.

    Other than him, defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan and Fletcher Cox, as well as edge-rusher Brandon Graham, were fantastic. Graham had a strip-sack that Cox recovered for a touchdown.

    Week 1 Grade: B-

    Season Average Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Week 1 Opponent: @ Cleveland Browns

    Score: Won 21-18

    Favored by nearly double digits, the Pittsburgh Steelers were expected to walk into Cleveland and trounce the Browns. It didn't go down that way.

    Outside of wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Jesse James, the Steelers offense was flat. Running back Le'Veon Bell did nothing, wide receiver Martavis Bryant did nothing, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger—while he threw two touchdowns—was just average.

    Brown had nearly 200 yards receiving. James had two touchdowns. Bell had just 32 yards on the ground, and Bryant had two receptions for 14 yards.

    The Steelers offensive line is solid, and it showed up. Defensively, it was all rookie linebacker T.J. Watt. He was incredible. Between his two sacks and his interception, it was like there was no one else on the field.

    The defense as a whole did rack up seven sacks, but most of them came on rookie mistakes by Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer. Meanwhile, new cornerback Joe Haden looked lost out there. He's not his old self anymore. That's for sure.

    The Week 1 injury bug struck again in a big way: Newly extended defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt might have torn his biceps (MRI pending), according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. 

    Lastly, the Steelers committed a ton of penalties, racking up 13 for 144 yards. This was an overall underwhelming performance by the Steelers—a team we expect to go far this season.

    Week 1 Grade: C+

    Season Average Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

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    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers

    Score: Lost 23-3

    There were only two good things in this game for San Francisco: Quarterback Brian Hoyer was not terrible, and the 49ers made the right choice in signing wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who finished with six receptions for 81 yards.

    While Hoyer wasn't fantastic by any stretch, his offensive line let him down. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin dropped a long touchdown on a beautiful throw, too.

    Hoyer is not the kind of player who is going to lead you anywhere, but you can do worse. If your offensive line doesn't help you out, what are you supposed to do?

    Outside of Garcon, this receiving core is destitute, especially with rookie tight end George Kittle now injured.

    Running back Carlos Hyde did do his part. While he only had nine carries, he did have six receptions. Remember, the 49ers were down pretty much all game.

    On defense, the 49ers also lost rookie linebacker Reuben Foster to injury. Without him, a defense that is already underwhelming will be even worse.

    We know the 49ers are bad, but they were outclassed from the word "go" in this one.

    Week 1 Grade: D

    Season Average Grade: D

Seattle Seahawks

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 1 Opponent: @ Green Bay Packers

    Score: Lost 17-9

    While the Seattle Seahawks defense did not allow Aaron Rodgers to hit them with any big plays, this was not the best performance by a perennial Super Bowl contender.

    There is one caveat, though: There were some questionable officiating calls that could have changed this game's complexity.

    Let's just get this out of the way: The Seahawks offensive line sucks. It flat-out sucks. It got killed all game long. Russell Wilson is in for a hell of a season with those "offensive linemen" blocking for him.

    There was nothing spectacular about this offense. Sure, if that Jimmy Graham pass interference play goes another way, who knows, but here we are.

    A big part of it is how bad the offensive line is, but Wilson had just 158 passing yards, and no running back eclipsed 40 yards rushing. Graham had just eight yards receiving.

    The defense forced Rodgers to beat it on shorter routes (which he did). It also had a pick-six by defensive lineman Nazair Jones, but a questionable block in the back call nullified it.

    Week 1 Grade: C-

    Season Average Grade: C-

Tennessee Titans

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    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Oakland Raiders

    Score: Lost 26-16

    This is a tough game to grade. On one hand, the Titans could only score 16 points, but there were some new faces to get acquainted with.

    In the passing game, Marcus Mariota got the offense off to a quick start. However, he would end the day without a passing touchdown.

    Wide receiver Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker both finished with over 70 yards receiving. In his first game with the team, wide receiver Eric Decker was nonexistent, catching three balls for 10 yards.

    The running game started off well, but DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry combined for just 69 yards on 18 carries. Mariota was the most effective rusher on the day, scoring a rushing touchdown while adding 26 yards.

    Although the defense gave up 26 points, it played fairly well. The Raiders wanted to attack rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson. While he did make a few plays, he finished as one of the lowest-graded cornerbacks in Week 1, per PFF.

    For Titans fans, there's nothing to be concerned over. Just some growing pains here.

    Week 1 Grade: C

    Season Average Grade: C

Washington Redskins

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    Week 1 Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Score: Lost 30-17

    Like with the Tennessee Titans, there were plenty of growing pains on offense for the Washington Redskins.

    Remember, this team is without two of its starting wide receivers from last season in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

    In their debut game together, quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor struggled. Pryor had plenty of dropped passes amid his six receptions for 66 yards.

    To no one's surprise, the Redskins' running game was no where to be found. However, Chris Thompson did catch a touchdown from Cousins.

    Though the offense sputtered, the defense provided some hope.

    Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had a pick-six, and most of the defense did its part. From cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland to linebacker Mason Foster, the defense was adequate despite allowing 307 passing yards and two touchdowns to Carson Wentz.

    Week 1 Grade: C-

    Season Average Grade: C-

    Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus and Pro-Football-Reference.