COMMENTARY ON FIRST WEEK OF NFL AND SECOND WEEK OF NCAA FOOTBALL
There were certainly some surprises in Week 1 of the NFL. The biggest upset being the double digit underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers eight point victory over the New Orleans Saints. The lesson from this game is simple. When teams are poor defensively, the rest of the talent level of the teams, prior season's record, and point spreads do not matter.
The absence of Jameis Winston likely increased the number, but NFL fans know Ryan Fitzpatrick has had plenty of highlights in his NFL career, including some big games for the NY Jets. He had a big game in reserve leading the offense to almost 50 points. Expect a turnaround next week against a stout Eagles defense in the Bucs home opener.
The second biggest surprise was the ease at which the Redskins defeated the Cardinals on the road. Although the Cardinals were only small favorites, the Redskins 18 point victory was not expected. Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson are committed to proving they are still effective at their ages. The Redskins defense was inconsistent last season, but they finished the season respectfully, including limiting the Cardinals to 15 points in the home matchup last season. On the other hand, Sam Bradford did not look like his old self. His numbers were very poor and running back David Johnson was fairly contained. If Smith and Peterson can remain healthy, the Redskins will continue to perform well and will offer good value.
On the college front, we primarily focus on the ACC and Big Ten. We also will periodically share some observations on title contending teams from other conferences. The biggest disappointment from our perspective this week was the very close win by Clemson at Texas A&M. A&M did a tremendous job exposing a major weakness of the Clemson Tigers - The Secondary. It is well documented how many commentators expect the Clemson defensive line to be all NFL level talent, including several as First Round prospects. However, despite the consistent pass rush, receivers were so consistently wide open in the secondary it was shocking. Clemson is very lucky to escape with a win.
Another observation from this week relates to the Big Ten. Although Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin flexed their muscle against weak opponents, the rest of the Conference performed poorly as a whole. The belief entering the season was that this conference was very deep, but it is beginning to look much worse than expected. Duke handled Northwestern easily on the road, Purdue was defeated as significant favorites at home to Eastern Michigan, Nebraska was defeated at home in Scott Frost's debut, and Michigan State was defeated as Road Favorite against Arizona State.
We are expecting some significant line adjustments in the coming weeks, especially with the Spartans who have looked awful in their first two games despite bringing back a significant amount of talented starters from a solid 2017 season.