NFL Week 1 preview
On Thursday, the NFL kicked off its 100th season with one of the most prestigious rivalries in league history, Packers vs Bears. The game was unlike anyone expected, there were only 10 points scored. The game winning touchdown was a result of Aaron Rodgers just lobbing the ball up for Tight End Jimmy Grahm to make a play. Offensively, the game was not good for either team. Trubisky had a very rough game and Rodgers did not play as well as he can. Here are some stats from the game:
QB Rodgers- 18/30 203yds 6.8avg 1TD 0 INT
WR M. Valdes-Scantling- 4 REC 52yds 13avg
QB Trubisky- 26/45 228yds 0TD 1 INT
WR Robinson- 7 REC 102yds 14.6avg
Going into the season, people had high expectations for both teams. The Bears were 12-4 last season and lost all 4 games by a combined 14 points. The Bears and Mitchell Trubisky showed a lot of promise last season and improved greatly from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, the Bears had the 1st ranked defense last season. Last season, the Packers had a record of 6-9-1 and struggled offensively throughout the season. The Packers fired former HC Mike McCarthy and hired former Titans offensive coordinator, Matt LaFluer. This game was a surprise to most but that often happens in week one.
In the last couple of weeks many things have happened, to the Titans and around the NFL. The biggest thing being that WR Antonio Brown was cut by the Raiders on Saturday morning at about 11:00am. The cut came after a string of questionable things Brown had done such as complaining about his helmet, yelling at the GM, not showing up to practice, posting about his fines on social Media, and finally on Saturday night Brown requested a release via Instagram. The release was requested after Raiders GM Mike Mayock said that Brown would be playing Monday Night against the Broncos. On Saturday afternoon at about 4:00pm, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Brown will be signing a 1 year, $15m contract with the Patriots. This does not come as a surprise to me because it is likely that Belichick will be able to straighten Brown out.
In Titans news, the team made their cuts, traded Taywan Taylor to the Browns for a 7th round pick, and most importantly, placed Kicker Ryan Succop on IR with a knee injury.
Last Saturday, the Titans made their cuts and reduced the 90 man roster to 53. There were not many cuts I was too shocked about except the release of Guard Corey Levin who signed with the Broncos just hours later. Throughout camp, the Titans have had a question mark at RG and Levin is a hybrid offensive lineman who can play center or Guard. Projected starting RG Kevin Pamphile was placed on the injury list for Practice on Thursday. The injury to Pamphile adds an extra problem for the Titans heading into Week 1 and it would be nice to have Corey Levin still on the roster.
The trade for Taywan Taylor was not surprising but unlike many people, I do not like the
Trade. I was a big fan of Taylor and he provides a deep threat for Mariota. The trade was likely executed by the Titans because Taylor had a history of dropping the ball and that was re-affirmed in the preseason.
The biggest Titans news over the last few weeks came on Thursday when veteran Kicker Ryan Succop was placed on IR and the Titans signed Kicker Cairo Santos. In 2014, Santos beat out Succop for the starting Kicker job in Kansas City, Succop was later released and signed with the Titans. Over the last few years Succop has been very consistent for the Titans, and nowadays, finding a consistent kicker is not always easy. It is not uncommon that games are decided by one single kick. I am concerned about the Kicker situation because many times, the Titans place the game deciding play on the foot of Ryan Succop. I would not be surprised if Vrabel is even more aggressive than he normally is with a new kicker. I expect the Titans to go for it on 4th more often when they are in field goal range.
The Other NFL games this week:
Chiefs v Jaguars SUN 12:00pm
Falcons v Vikings SUN 12:00pm
Titans v Browns SUN 12:00pm
Bills v Jets SUN 12:00pm
Ravens v Dolphins SUN 12:00pm
Redskins v Eagles SUN 12:00pm
Rams v Panthers SUN 12:00pm
Colts v Chargers SUN 3:05pm
Bengals v Seahawks SUN 3:05pm
Giants v Cowboys SUN 3:25pm
49ers v Bucs SUN 3:25pm
Lions v Cardinals SUN 3:25pm
Steelers v Patriots SUN 7:20pm
Texans v Saints MON 6:10pm
Broncos v Raiders MON 9:20pm
The games I am most interested by are Falcons v Vikings, Redskins v Eagles, Colts v Chargers, Steelers v Patriots, and of course Titans v Browns.
I will not cover each game individually but I will talk about the Titans game:
Coming into the 2019 season the Browns are by far the most hyped up team. The Browns team is full of many controversial players that often do not know when to keep their mouth shut such as Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. I predicted the Titans would win this game in my Titans Prediction Article. My view on this game has not changed much but I am quite concerned with the Titans offensive line. As of now, the Titans offensive line will likely look something like this: LT Dennis Kelly, LG Roger Saffold, C Ben Jones, RG Jamil Douglas, RT Jack Conklin. I am mostly concerned with RG but the whole line is a bit shaky. I do not like the match up of the Browns defensive line (One of the best in the league) against the Titans offensive line. This will likely be a tightly contested game because the Browns have a highly explosive offense on paper, and the Titans have one of the best Defenses in the League.
My key to the game:
The Run Game. Specifically Derrick Henry. If Henry can get going then I don’t think the Browns will be able to stop him. Although the Offensive Line is crucial to running success, Henry can still make plays if they are struggling. As we saw last season, When Derrick Henry gets the ball, it is extremely tough to stop him. This offense will be very fun to watch with new Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith, new WR targets in Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown, and Delanie Walker returning from injury.
I am predicting a 24-17 Titans win. I think the Defense will play very well, especially the Linebackers. Rashaan Evans, Harold Landry, Jayon Brown, and Wesley Woodyard make up one of the best LB Corps in the league and I think that will show against the Browns. Anything can happen in week 1 but I think the Titans will shock the national Media and beat the Browns.