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Facts of the Week: 2019 Week 1
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com


BENGALS - Freemans debut was a winner but Giovani Bernard may be ready to fulfil his potential. If this is true then a two pronged Bengals offense may lead them to the promised land they've struggled for.

BRONCOS - they choked up this game allowing a 20 point comeback in the last quarter. The defense needs to do a better job all round to avoid this sort of embarrassing loss again, especially against divisional rivals.

BROWNS - in Mallett vs Mallett version 1 2019 edition the Browns came out on top with an impressive passing display. Now if Boston can keep some consistency going they're in for a good run, but he's pretty much the barometer for this team.

BILLS - if your offense can't get enough done then have your defense do it instead, right? Not a good plan and it failed the Bills this week who will need better outings from Luck and Owen in future to stay competitive in their division.

CHARGERS - they haven't been their dominant self recently but an empathic come from behind win which throws out 20 points in a quarter shows they still have the potency to go off if you let them. Keeping their offense in check is a must.

CHIEFS - turnovers lose games and the Chiefs feel the pain of this. Manuel still shows his inconsistency and until they can tame this wild beast it will be a rough ride.

COLTS - the only winning team of the AFC South this week, so the Colts can rejoice in being on top for a change. If they can continue to put points on the board they can be competitive, but the defense needs to do its job too.

DOLPHINS - this isn't the sort of game we expect from the Dolphins and they'll need a better all round effort to return to the post season this year. Wilson needs to step up and lead this team again otherwise it will be a painful year.

JAGUARS - when your starting line up is riddled with injuries you can only plan your heart out and hope for some luck. With such a defensive deficiency already it will be a rough start to the year. If they can get their offensive weapons to gel then there could be an upside but it will take a miracle to match up against this leagues talent.

JETS - Higgins and Drogan may finally be forming a click but they'll need more magic to make this a competitive season. It's all about getting points on the board moving forward for the Jets, not just looking big an menacing.

PATRIOTS - without Matt Ryan at the helm the season is still a mystery in New England but they'll need more offensive output to keep it alive. Nudging out a divisional rival is a good start but it's notoriously been the end that has troubled the Patriots.

RAIDERS - an offense that doesn't fire makes for painful times and a defense that goes from gold to cold in mere seconds is a recipe for disaster. They'll need something more solid to be able to compete again or the tough road ahead will steamroll them.

RAVENS - the defense kept them comfortable while their offense almost gave it away in the fourth quarter. Flacco needs to get better to make this franchise sing again otherwise it will be more pain and frustration in Baltimore.

STEELERS - new times in Pittsburgh without Big Ben for the first time since the league's inception. Ryan Mallett will have to do more to keep the Steeler legacy flying and the defense needs to keep offensive numbers down across the board.

TEXANS - irving is still proving problematic with his health and you can see why GM Willis left town and that frustration behind. The talent is there but finding out how to get it to work together is a task for new GM Merlin Smith to figure out.

TITANS - Henderson needs to find his form quickly otherwise the Titans will derail their season quickly. The defense tried to keep things in check but without points on the board they couldn't do enough.


BEARS - they managed to contain a potent Titans outfit enough to snatch a fourth quarter comebacks and overtime win, but they'll need better returns from their wheel house (Klein) and drive unit (Pittman) if they want more success this year. Their defense may have found its form, keeping Henderson in check (Jimmy Smith with 2 interceptions and 4 deflections) which will be integral to their hopes this year.

BUCCANEERS - a 61 point game is a great opening start but not likely a tone that can be maintained for the year. Tannenhill had plenty of good and bad in his debut while Gurley went beast mode. Their defense is putting together all that talent with 6 forced turnovers this week which is the scariest thing of all. An injury to star safety Kyle Nelson does put a dampener on their spirits though.

CARDINALS - a good opening win against a Superbowl calibre team where they did a balanced job everywhere. If the offense can keep that scoring going whilst the defense can minimise points scored then they'll be there to match it with the Rams this year.

COWBOYS - if their defense could be guaranteed to win them matches each week they'd be gold, but in reality it's up to Sanchez and Gordon to get the yards and the points. If you can't get over 200 yards of offense in a game you're in trouble.

EAGLES - it's never easy just trying to outgun your opponent and that's not something the 2018 Eagles could have done, but they pulled it off with a big running game. This isn't something they can maintain so the defense (especially the pass defense) needs to do a better job of keeping the yards and points down to make games manageable.

FALCONS - massive pass yards is always great but your defense needs to show up occasionally too. They have the weapons to post big weekly scores but they'll want their defense to curb the output of their rivals if they hope to chase down the epic start by the Buccs. Oh and they need to bring in a decent kicker who can hit extra points while their young leg develops.

49ERS - it's tough to begin your year against the Superbowl champs but it's good when your offense (minus your starting HB) is up to the challenge. Shame that the defense can't slow down a rampaging runner to save themselves but that's where they need to focus their improvement if they want to avoid another top 10 pick.

GIANTS - the offense looks capable minus a real running game but the defense needs to tighten up quickly before they get man handled out of the division.

LIONS - Stafford may score all the points but he needs to produce all the yards too. It's been hard to stop the Lions from gaining yards through the air even if the turnovers flow freely but I wouldn't call it wise for the Lions to deviate from this game plan as their running cast just isn't prime time to compensate.

PACKERS - the new arrivals have teed off in Green Bay and it may spell the doom of incumbent under-performer Jimmy Clausen. If the Pack can mount a successful passing game consistently then they just made an already difficult task insurmountable.

PANTHERS - doesn't say much when you score the only touchdown of the game but can't win it by stopping the second string opposing quarterback. They also need to produce more offensive yards if their defence is going to be so mediocre, allowing 6 field goal attempts. On the flip side their kicker is unreliable when it comes to the crunch.

RAMS - when your team can swing between run focus and pass focus at will you're always on to a winner, but their defense still needs to figure out how to stop the pass, especially with the talent at defensive back available.

REDSKINS - we expect bigger numbers out of the Redskins but this could just be the calm before the storm. Stanzi needs to find his form again to fire up this team and put most encounters quickly out of reach.

SAINTS - if the Saints can squeeze out a win without their starting QB hopefully they can fry bigger fish when he can complete a whole game. Their O-line will need to close it's holes otherwise they'll be the fish caught and fried.

SEAHAWKS - when will the Seahawks bounce back to their Superbowl best? This weeks thrashing at the hands of the Buccs isn't the way to start a year and they'll be looking to re-invent their offensive mojo be sure. They did force 3 turnovers of their own but it's their offense which gave up this one. Rock Pritchett will also be missing for a number of weeks and may diminish their likely rebound.

VIKINGS - this young offense will take some time to develop it's style, a luxury they can't afford in such a contested division. Mediocre weeks won't cut it and they'll be left behind if a quick fix can't be found.
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