NFL Week 1: Biggest Takeaways

Videos by OutKick

If anyone tells you they know who’s going to be taking home the Lombardi trophy in early February they’re lying to you.  Despite the tendency to overreact after 60 minutes, take a deep breath and realize it’s all going to be ok. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways:

1. The Arizona Cardinals have some major problems.  We knew their secondary was going to be a work in progress but I don’t think anyone anticipated they’d struggle this much against a pedestrian receiving core.  Whether it was 3rd and 15 or 3rd and 5, Bruce Arians’ defense couldn’t get off the field, allowing a young quarterback making his first start to gain confidence and look like an all pro.  I’m not taking anything away from the Patriots; they earned this victory. However it’s the Cardinals defense as well as Carson Palmer that have me concerned going forward.

2. Indianapolis needs to count their lucky stars they have a franchise QB in Andrew Luck.  While the Colts weren’t able to complete the 18 point comeback, Luck giving them even a chance to steal victory is a credit to his abilities.  Defensively this team is a nightmare and with more role players in the secondary getting hurt against Detroit, Coach Pagano needs to go deeper into the scrap heap before he finds himself on the unemployment line.  Indianapolis will win games this year but expect plenty of track meets where scoring 40 points becomes the norm.

3. Cleveland is in for a historically bad campaign, even by their abnormally low standards.  The Browns’ defense was shredded by rookie QB Carson Wentz; yielding 403 yards while spending 39:20 on the field.  All the blame doesn’t fall on the Browns defense, considering RG3 looked like a quarterback ill-equipped to produce consistently at this level.  Philly’s defense is one of the more underrated units in the league but for the Browns to lose by 3 scores to this Eagles team doesn’t give their fan base reason for much optimism.

4. One play changes a game. Marcus Mariota’s Pick 6 for the Titans was a prime example; turning what appeared to be a hard-fought potential Titans’ victory into a tough-to-swallow defeat.  Tennessee led 10-6 looking ready to strike again from deep in Vikings’ territory.  An ill-advised screen pass became a 77 yard Pick 6 for the Vikings, ultimately leading to 19 straight points before an inconsequential TD (not to over/under bettors) from DeMarco Murray made the final score line more respectable.

5. No lead is safe in the modern NFL.  Two teams blew leads of 17 or more yesterday with one holding on for dear life (Detroit) while the other (Chargers) let the Chiefs complete the amazing feat.  Coaches need to keep their foot on the gas in this day and age rather than playing it safe to churn clock.  Taking the conservative approach on offense limits your chances of closing out a game when the opposition seizes all the momentum in comeback mode.  We’ll never figure out why teams ease off the throttle in an era where quick strike offenses are the norm, not the exception.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.