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AFC South Week One Wrap

We had all waiting so long and, finally, football was here. A cracking Super Bowl rematch kicked us off on Thursday before the meat of the slate played out on a frenetic, bouncing, humdinger Sunday of action. The best opening weekend slate in recent years didn’t treat the AFC South too kindly though.

Week one is just that, one week. Beyond major injuries or catastrophic failures, we don’t learn everything about a team from one game. Perspective is needed so that we don’t make too much of the 60 minutes of action each team has had. So, to keep that perspective, let’s have one massive screaming, Super Bowl winning headline and one season-ending lowlight from each game.

In the fight for justice and relevance in the NFL, let’s have a look at how the brave, plucky heroes of the AFC South got on….

Bears 14 – Texans 23

They’re gonna win the Super Bowl!

Wide receiver/tight endDeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller combined for 10 catches, 161 yards and two touchdowns. Fuller overcame a dropped touchdown pass to catch a 19-yard touchdown pass that secured the victory.Grade: B Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

A fast-gelling offence: After a pretty silly interception where he tried to force a ball to DeAndre Hopkins through a slew of traffic, Brock Osweiler settled down and played pretty damn well. Additionally, Lamar Miller got the sort of volume he craved in Miami and was never given. He looked sharp amassing 106 yards on the ground, the league’s only 100 yard rusher in the Sunday games. Finally, Will Fuller showed that he isn’t daunted by the big stage as he reeled in five catches for 107 yards and a very nice TD where he did all the work after catching a low, almost-lateral between his legs and turning on the jets to run in for the score.

Season over, man!

A cruel blow for perennial injury victim Brian Cushing as he tore his MCL resulting in at least six weeks out. To be fair, the Bears weren’t fearsome on O but it is now more crucial that Bernardrick McKinney continues his development (and he looked good on Sunday), and John Simon can make an impact as he sees more snaps over the next few weeks (which he certainly did with a lovely sack).

Packers 27 – Jaguars 23

They’re gonna win the Super Bowl!

Allen Robinson is a superstar. Yes, his figures aren’t jumping off the stat sheets but Robinson made crucial catches and showed his elite traits. Allen Hurns was also in amongst it showing a high level of dynamism and making plays after the catch. Thirdly in the passing game, Julius Thomas looked better than he did for most of last season. He seemed to have rediscovered a step that had been missing during his first season in Jacksonville and showing the strength that made his name in Denver. Overall, that’s three really potent weapons that are a match for any in the league.

Season over, man!

The much vaunted Jags D couldn’t get much of a rush going. Dante Fowler Jr was largely anonymous and the front seven didn’t get much pressure on the pocket. The Packers O-line did a good job but it wasn’t the most trying day against a vanilla D. The Jags need the big money signings and high draft picks up front to exert pressure because if they can’t QBs won’t need to be as phenomenally good as Aaron Rodgers to take advantage.

Vikings 25 – Titans 16

They’re gonna win the Super Bowl!

Image result for vikings @ titans 2016

www.titansonline.com

The Titans D held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on 19 carries. That’s not easy. They held the Vikings QB without a TD. That’s easier. Overall, they had a game plan for their opponent and they executed it well. That’s encouraging. You can’t extrapolate this out to other games and other opponents but with one of the game’s greatest RBs, they shut him down. That deserves praise.

Season over, man!

Meltdown!! A series of turnovers in the second half destroyed the good work of the D and steady work of the O to that point. Mariota threw an INT when he simply didn’t see ILB Eric Kendricks who plucked the ball out of the air and ran it home for a TD, then a Mariota fumble after the snap led to a second defensive TD for the Vikings. These were the two highlight reel plays for the visiting defence among general dominance over a headless Titans O. In the season predictions we noted that poor coaching can kill teams. An inability to minimise errors, to course correct after errors. The Titans didn’t do that, and that’s a concern.

 

Lions 39 – Colts 35

They’re gonna win the Super Bowl!

Image result for andrew luck 2016 vs lions

www.stampedblue.com

Andrew Luck. Andrew bloody Luck. A slow start disappeared as he eased back in to football. He dragged this team back in to a game that the D didn’t want to win. He made all the throws, he showed poise and purpose. Andrew Luck proved that he is back. He managed to get the Colts to within a whisper of a win, which would have been his 11th fourth quarter comeback since entering the league. During the game Luck also surpassed 15,000 career yards, per NFL Communications. He is in illustrious company on that list. If there was a little more class on the Colts, Luck might well have been able to shepherd this game to a win.

Season over, man!

Oof, that D! Porous, weak, naïve, sloppy. The Colts D was missing its best players but this was pitiful. As D’Qwell Jackson rightly pointed out: “If you expect to win in this league, you can’t give up that many points,” he said, via ESPN. “Any other team, that would have been a blowout. Defensively we played like s**t and we have to play better.” We knew the Colts D were bad, but they can’t be this bad if they are to get anywhere near the play-offs.

 

Pic: Battleredblog.com

Article written by:

Gareth joined the NFLGirlUK.com team in 2016 and covers the AFC South for the site. He has been following the NFL for over 15 years, though first encountered the game through Channel 4’s hourly recap programme in the late 1980s, and over the last couple of seasons begun to write about the draft through his own blog. Gareth tweets from @GDux3 and you can also follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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