By Aaron Jackson
Week one of the NFL season is in the books, and while many games played out exactly as you’d expect, there were some surprises. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting story lines to follow going forward.
- Ezekiel Elliott being cleared to play by the court system: A Texas judge handed down the ruling Friday night that Elliott’s suspension would not be upheld, giving the running back a temporary restraining order. This caused some real excitement amongst his fantasy owners and Cowboys fans, and a major groan for the rest of society. No telling where this will go, but for the time being, Dallas has to be considered one of the favorites to win the NFC.
- The Houston Texans’ quarterback situation is worse than we thought: Tom Savage was the opposite of his last name, looking borderline awful in his first half. In comes DeShaun Watson, who provided the team with some life, but not enough to make a comeback over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This makes you wonder if Jacksonville is actually good, or if the Texans are really that bad.
- TJ Watt can one up his brother: JJ Watt made his return from last season’s injury in week one, but it was his younger brother that made the headlines, doing something in his first week that his brother was never able to do. The younger Watt recorded two sacks and an interception in his debut for the Steelers. Pittsburgh struggled quite a bit against the Cleveland Browns, but adding a talented player to their defense could be a concern to Patriots fans.
- There may be a few offensively challenged teams: Cincinnati, Seattle, New York Giants and San Francisco all failed to score a touchdown. At least two of those teams are expected to compete for their division, which should tell you all you need to know about the state of the NFL right now. A lot of mediocrity going around.
- Rookie running backs reign supreme: Though backs still aren’t being drafted as high as they used to be, rookies are still making an impact at the position. Kareem Hunt was other-wordly against the Patriots, having perhaps the best debut ever for an offensive player. Leonard Fournette was as advertised for Jacksonville, piling up over 100 yards on the ground. Tarik Cohen rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on five carries for Chicago. Christian McCaffrey had 85 yards and a touchdown with 5 catches as well. Throw in Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook and this could be a year that is ruled by the rookie rusher.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.