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One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 1 of 2021 season: Cardinals are hot, Giants defense exposed


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One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 1 of 2021 season: Cardinals are hot, Giants defense exposed


A look at one thing we're taking away from each of the 32 teams

Cody Benjamin
Sep 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

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Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. Sixteen teams logged wins. Sixteen others fell short. But what did we learn about each of the 32 after one game of action? We're so glad you asked. As Week 2 draws near, here's a look at one thing we took away from each team thanks to the opening weekend of football:

Arizona Cardinals

Whatever Kliff Kingsbury concerns you may have, Kyler Murray is still a problem. For opponents, that is. Chandler Jones stole the show with five sacks, but No. 1 alone could keep Arizona in the hunt for a surprise division title.

Atlanta Falcons

Despite the arrival of new coach Arthur Smith, their offense is lifeless, and that includes longtime QB Matt Ryan, who was practically left a mangled mess against the Eagles -- literally face down in the turf -- after getting little help from his O-line.

Baltimore Ravens

Concerns about their offense are warranted. Lamar Jackson remains one of the NFL's deadliest weapons, but he faced a ton of pressure against the Raiders and fumbled twice while, perhaps, overcompensating for moving parts up front and in the backfield.

Buffalo Bills

Despite all the Super Bowl hype, they might actually be candidates for regression. It's early, but what if 2020's 13-3 finish and Josh Allen MVP candidacy represented the peak? Allen and Sean McDermott both made some questionable decisions against Pittsburgh.

Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold is probably an upgrade at QB. Or at least from what Teddy Bridgewater was in 2020. There's time for this to change, but the ex-Jets signal-caller looked athletic, smooth and, best of all, confident in a close game.

Chicago Bears

We already knew it, but Sunday night's loss confirmed it: Justin Fields deserves to start at QB. Not because Andy Dalton was horrible against L.A., but because Fields, in limited snaps, is far and away the superior athlete/prospect.

Chicago Bears

We already knew it, but Sunday night's loss confirmed it: Justin Fields deserves to start at QB. Not because Andy Dalton was horrible against L.A., but because Fields, in limited snaps, is far and away the superior athlete/prospect.

Denver Broncos

With a solid supporting cast around him, Teddy Bridgewater is the clear QB1. He was always a safer play than Drew Lock, his camp competition, but he looked both poised and elusive in the pocket against the Giants.

Detroit Lions

They will not be pushovers. How else do we interpret them pulling within one score of the 49ers (and dropping 33 on them!) in the first outing of the Dan Campbell-Jared Goff rebuild regime?

Green Bay Packers

All that offseason drama, and Aaron Rodgers is suddenly cause for concern. A rebound may -- and likely will -- come in short order, but man, did No. 12 have the most anticlimactic season opener in recent NFL history. Who's to say all that time away from the team this summer didn't actually affect his chemistry and/or mental preparation for the new year?

Houston Texans

Thanks to Tyrod Taylor and a band of veteran misfits, they might not be the worst team in the NFL. Look what happens when you have nothing to lose!

Indianapolis Colts

Their training camp COVID issues took a toll. Not sure how else you describe Frank Reich's offense looking so "meh" against Seattle's defense; new QB Carson Wentz, who missed plenty of practice time, was fine but unspectacular.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Simply having Trevor Lawrence does not mean Urban Meyer will win. And Lawrence himself doesn't look especially comfortable, either. Buckle up, Jags fans.

Kansas City Chiefs

Sorry, but it has to be this: Patrick Mahomes remains king. However imperfect he and the Chiefs start, he is always good for a thrilling and seemingly effortless comeback.

Las Vegas Raiders

It took a crazy fourth quarter and overtime to confirm it, but they might have something at wide receiver. Darren Waller still dominated as Derek Carr's favorite target in a wild upset of Baltimore, but Bryan Edwards' emergence was something else.

Los Angeles Chargers

No surprise here, but Justin Herbert is still that guy. In a lower-scoring game, he still led big gains and, best of all, played smart when it mattered most for the win.

Los Angeles Rams

The Matthew Stafford hype is warranted. The QB wasn't perfect in his Rams debut, but he repeatedly hit on big-time throws to make pretty light work of Chicago.

Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa may or may not be the long-term answer at QB, but Jaylen Waddle is ready to shine. The rookie wasted no time making a big-play impact.

Minnesota Vikings

Color Vikings fans surprised: The offensive line is still an issue. Kirk Cousins didn't always help matters against the Bengals, but the trenches were consistently a source of trouble, whether via penalties or poor blocking.

New England Patriots

Regardless of the final score, Mac Jones was right to be declared QB1. The rookie just has a feel for the game, and things should only get better from here.

New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston is a thing. Seriously, what else is there to say? Five TDs per game is not sustainable, but boy did Drew Brees' overlooked successor look comfy airing it out against the Packers.

New York Giants

Their defense was probably overrated. Most of us already figured Daniel Jones is probably not elite material under center; fewer of us figured Patrick Graham's unit would let Teddy Bridgewater look like Patrick Mahomes.

New York Jets

Zach Wilson can have all the electricity in the world, but the offensive line is, in fact, a mess. That's made worse by Mekhi Becton's injury, but it was apparent in how little room Wilson's backfield counterparts had to run.

Philadelphia Eagles

This one's especially for the jokers who clowned him because of his opening press conference: Nick Sirianni has the juice. He had the Eagles cool and confident, easily routing the Falcons in their own stadium.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Thanks in large part due to their still-stingy defense, they can't be counted out. After an offseason in which most assumed they'd fall behind the Browns and Ravens, they just beat one of the AFC favorites.

San Francisco 49ers

They need reinforcements in the secondary. That should've already been clear coming in, but with Jason Verrett down and the Lions threatening a comeback, they're on high alert.

Seattle Seahawks

Whatever your feelings about their defense, the Shane Waldron offense looks like a match. Russell Wilson airing beautiful bombs to Tyler Lockett, with Chris Carson still active on the ground? That's a "W" nine times out of 10.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

At 44, Tom Brady might actually be in his prime. Sounds nuts, but not if you watched him uncork all kinds of pretty (and clutch) throws in Tampa Bay's first win post-Super Bowl.

Tennessee Titans

Their offensive line might be in big trouble. Longtime left tackle Taylor Lewan just got eaten alive by Chandler Jones, but what if he's also just permanently on a decline? He just turned 30 and is less than a year removed from an ACL tear.

Washington Football Team

Their gamble on Ryan Fitzpatrick was always really risky. Maybe Taylor Heinicke will step in admirably, but no one should've ever expected a smooth ride after giving the keys to a 38-year-old journeyman with an injury history.



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