NFL 2022: The Week 1 thread


Preaseason's over, boys and girls! Time to strap on some pads and hit some fools!!!!





QAaron is back! And expect a lot of Baker Mayfield GIFs this season. You've been warned.

Speaking of, it's time for ...


Among the main ones this year:

* Can the Rams repeat? Eh, probably not. It's hard as hell to make it twice in a row (Chiefs 2019-20, Patriots 2016-18, Seahawks 2013-14, a few others), but we haven't seen a team go back to back since the Patriots in 2003-04.

* Lots of new QBS this year (but no Week 1 rookie starters since 2007, huh). Among the ones you should be watching: Russ in Denver, Lance in SF, Boring Matt Ryan in Indy, Baker in Carolina, plus Wentz, Trubisky, Mariota and a few other dudes I don't really care about.

* Two new announcer/network pairings: Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on Thursday night, and Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Monday night. Sunday night is Tircio (sted Michaels) and Collinsworth; Nantz and Romo are still the top CBS team.

* Which coach will get fired first? PleaseletitbeMattRhule, pleaseletitbeMattRhule. Then it's Rivera, Kingsbury and Mike McCarthy in that order. Lots of the bad teams (Texans, Bears, Jags, Giants) got new coaches this offseason, so none of them is in danger of getting sh!tcanned (probably).

* Whither GWJ Hearthrob/QB Trevor Lawrence? Will a new non-Urbs coaching regime propel him into the top 10 of NFL QBs? Or will he always be known as the guy who can't make the short/easy throws and be fast-tracked into clipboard-holding status?

* Your Super Bowl winner is ... the Bills? That seems to be the preseason consensus, with Josh Allen winning MVP. This sports book (that I can get through my home firewall) has it Bills, Bucs, Chiefs, Rams, Packers and Niners. Remember that no one picked the Bengals last year. Related, ESPN's Bill Barnwell charts the Super Bowl path of each team. It's paywalled, but holler and I'll post your team's capsule below.

* Your dark horse team: Dese guys!


Lots of love out there for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. I don't get it, but then again someone has to win the NFC East, and it better not be the Cowboys.

* The race for the No 1 overall pick: Texans, Falcons, Jets and Bears seem to be in the lead at the moment. Stay tuned to see who will win the Bryce Young / CJ Stroud sweepstakes!

Here are some others storylines (Tua, Lamar, the Chargers) courtesy of Warren Sharp (here and here).


'Tis the season for Red Hot NFL Takes:

The Ringer picks Bills to win the Super Bowl, Justin Herbert wins MVP and the obsession over Tom Brady's will kick in around T-giving.'s panel of experts goes with Bills, Chargers, Bucs and Ravens/Packers/Colts/Chiefs/Eagles

The math nerds (aka Legion's Peeps) over at 538 gives the Bills an 11% chance to win the Super Bowl. Next are the Bucs and Packers (9% each).

The Athletic (paywalled; holler and I'll free it) gives win totals for each team. Their top 5: Bills 11.6, Packers 11.4, Cowboys (!!) and Chiefs 10.6, Bucs 10.5.

Yahoo goes with Brady, the Bills and, oh yeah, the completely stacked AFC West.

ESPN's power rankings start with Bills, Bucs, Rams, Chiefs and Bengals at the top and Giants, Panthers (up from 32nd after the draft on a rocketship!), Jets, Texans and FaLOLcons at the bottom.

There's a million more pieces out there like this one. Go find one and share!

WEEK 1 SCHEDULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday: Bills-Rams (NBC this week; remaining Thurs games will stream on Amazon)

Sunday early: Saints-Falcons, Browns-Panthers (BAKER BOWL), Niners-Bears, Steelers-Bengals, Eagles-Lions, Colts-Texans, Patriots-Dolphins, Ravens-Jets, Jags-Commandos

Sunday late: Giants-Titans, Chiefs-Cardinals (CBS national GOTW), Raiders-Chargers, Packers-Vikings (Fox national GOTW)

Sunday night: Bucs-Cowboys (NBC)

Monday night Broncos-Seahawks (RUSSELL WILSON REVENGE GAME) (ABC and ESPN, plus Manningcast*)

Byes: None till Week 6

Coverage map: It's here. Note the Baker Mayfield effect on the Panthers-Browns game: Charlotte, Cleveland and most of Oklahoma are getting that game.

* Manningcast is scheduled for Weeks 1, 3-4, 7-9, 13-15 and the Wild Card weekend.


If you're just waking up from a coma, here's how we left off the 2021 season. Yep, those are Super Bowl highlights.

As a bonus feature, it's time to Self-Scout a Team. My pick: your Carolina Panthers


Things I like: Baker > HEY DARNOLD. The O-line and the coaching staff both were upgraded in the off-season and should be closer to league average than league worst. CMC is back (and fingers crossed he'll stay healthy). Brian Burns is great. And the DBs are actually pretty good and are probably the team's best unit.

Things I don't: The WRs are a steady/solid DJ Moore and a bunch of question marks. None of the TEs can catch worth a damn. The front 7 on D aren't great run-stoppers, and there's no proven (or good) pass rusher opposite Burns. The kicker (who was great last year) is already on season-ending IR, and his replacement was on this week's injury report. The schedule is brutal (starting in week 3 it's Saints, Cards, Niners, Rams, Bucs, Falcons, Bengals, Falcons, Ravens, Broncos -- a lot of potential Ls, in other words). And I'm not sure if I like the scheme fit. Baker likes to heave the ball down the field, and McAdoo's offense is slant/flat Mike McCarthy nonsense. Plus McAdoo hasn't been an OC since 2015. Oh, and Rhule (still the HC, boo) wants to run the ball 30+ times. Should be a real sh!tshow once teams get some tape.

Watchability: A 6 if Baker is good and CMC is healthy; a 2 otherwise.

Best case: 9 wins and the final WC spot in a weak NFC.

Worst case: 5 wins, which isn't bad enough to get a good QB in the 2023 draft.

My guess: 5 wins. There's not much talent, and Rhule's still there. Ugh.

... y'all try the same things with your team. Feel free to use the template above. Or not. Don't want that Panthers' stink on your team.

Has it been 10 years? Time for Ravens Niners super bowl rematch.

Enix wrote:

As a bonus feature, it's time to Self-Scout a Team. My pick: your Carolina Panthers

I'll let Legion do the Niners and Paleo do the Ravens

Oh right my dark horse pick... Tua gets hurt and Teddy leads his hometown Dolphins to the playoffs.

My darkest of dark horse picks is that Jameis Winston throws more TDs than INTs this year.

My fantasy is the Seahawks go 0-however many games they play now and Pete Carroll (and hopefully John Schneider too) gets his ancient ass shown the door. I'd like to predict that Russ will be mediocre in Denver, but I feel like him being great makes it that much easier to fire everyone.

Also, f*ck the NFL for blackballing players who opine on actual social issues in this country while rewarding rapists.

Paleocon wrote:

My darkest of dark horse picks is that Jameis Winston throws more TDs than INTs this year.

Hey, now, Jameis has about a 1.5/1 TD/INT ratio. That's pretty good. For 1976.

Enix wrote:

... y'all try the same things with your team. Feel free to use the template above. Or not. Don't want that Panthers' stink on your team.

I'll take a shot. I know there's a couple of other Pats fans here so please feel free to argue with me about this.

My pick: your New England Patriots... well, not "your" because you probably hate them but can we just try to keep it civil?


Things I like: (1) Watching the evolution of Mac Jones, for better or for worse, I'm excited to see in which direction he is headed. Needless to say, it's a new feeling around Foxboro and I'm here for it. (2) Our group of skill players which may still not have a superstar in it but will be improved by the arrival of DaVante Parker. I also have a lot of faith in Rhamodre Stevenson's maturing into a complete RB and call me a dreamer but I still believe in Jonnu Smith. (3) On the other side of the ball, a very strong group of safeties and the continuation of a solid but perhaps not very deep front seven. (4) Nick Folk is back. There's nothing like having a reliable kicker. It's like knowing that, no matter what happens today, there's a cold can of your favorite IPA waiting for you in the fridge at the end of the day. (5) Oh, I also like have the GOAT HC for sure. (6) Outside (or around?) the field, I'm excited to see the new look of Patriot Place with a whole new section of stands and a new giant screen.

Things I don't like: (1) The shakiness of the O-Line. They did not look good in the preseason. There is a strong group of starters although it admittedly includes a rookie. For some reason, they've switched around the tackles compared to last year and depth is not great. If there's one thing that can hurt Mac's evolution, it's bad protection. (2) The brain drain has definitely affected the coaching staff. Patricia and Judge are fine, but the team has lost a bunch more assistants and scouts.

Things I don't know if I like: The CB group is very young. Exciting, but young. Belichick's history with young CBs is boom or bust. Are the new kids going to be more like JC Jackson or Duke Dawson? That's going to make a huge difference in the team's performance.

Watchability: An absolute 10. If the Patriots are good, I'm going to be very happy. If they're bad, the fans of 31 other teams are going to be happy.

Best case: 12-5. And I almost wrote 13-4. Here's the thing: their schedule is not that bad (but also not easy at all). Ravens, Packers, Bengals, and Bills x2 are the really tough games.

Worst case: 5-12. They can realistically lose against the Colts, Raiders, Cardinals, Vikings, and Dolphins x2. The Steelers, Browns, and Bears are big unknowns depending on QB play.

My guess: A mildly optimistic 10-7, but I accept 8 or 9 wins is a more reasonable expectation. If they do get 9 or 10 wins, they'll depend on other results to get a WC spot. Then, it will be a long shot to beat a team like the Bills, Chiefs , or maybe even Broncos in the playoffs.

Great post Enix! This probably cuts down 70% of my work "related" pre NFL season research.

Pink Stripes wrote:

My guess: A mildly optimistic 10-7, but I accept 8 or 9 wins is a more reasonable expectation. If they do get 9 or 10 wins, they'll depend on other results to get a WC spot. Then, it will be a long shot to beat a team like the Bills, Chiefs , or maybe even Broncos in the playoffs.

You are more optimistic than I am. It doesn't look like Jones has improved, on decision making, and other stuff around him is shaky as you pointed out. They need a new Scarnecchia! Also, I always hated the Pats bend & don't break under Patricia. I doesn't give me good feelings about his O play calling.

EvilDead wrote:

You are more optimistic than I am. It doesn't look like Jones has improved, on decision making, and other stuff around him is shaky as you pointed out. They need a new Scarnecchia! Also, I always hated the Pats bend & don't break under Patricia. I doesn't give me good feelings about his O play calling.

That's totally fair and I reiterate I'm aware that my guess is optimistic. I guess more than anything I feel a lot of uncertainty about who good (or not good) the Pats will be this season, hence the wide range of my best-worse case scenarios.

Since no one except me likes the Ravens, here I go.

Things I like I'm cautiously optimistic about the likelihood that my Ravens' injury luck will regress to some sort of mean. The fact that they were 8-3 and the one seed in the AFC before the Lamar Jackson injury despite playing with literally half of their starters gives me (perhaps irrational) optimism that a healthy Ravens roster would have an easier time of it. The additions of Marcus Williams, Kyle Fuller, and Kyle Hamilton along with the return of Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey in the secondary makes me hopeful that we will not be the punching bag to JaMarr Chase we were last year. This new kid Isaiah Likely also appears to give Jackson a big bodied target in 13 and 23 sets that isn't named Mark Andrews. And considering how Mandrews got flesh tuxedoed last year, that is a good thing.

Things I don't like I am concerned that the injuries to JK Dobbins, Ronnie Stanley, Gus Edwards, Tyus Bowser, and David Ojabo kept them out of camp. Ojabo will likely not show up until late in the season if at all, but Stanley represents the anchor to an offensive line that the Ravens rely upon more than most other offenses. They are particularly thin at OLB and are relying on a geriatric Justin Houston to provide QB pressure opposite Odafe Oweh until Bowser is back.

Things I don't know if I like Some of the rookies have shown some tremendous promise and it looks like we managed four or five first round talents in a very stacked draft. Tyler Linderbaum may be our answer at center, but he is a little undersized on a line that values big bodies. Daniel Falele (OG/OT) is gargantuan and had great hands, but isn't the dancing bear that you'd want at tackle. Josh Ross (ILB) shows extraordinary football smarts and hustle, but is 225 and runs a 4.8. Travis Jones looks like the second coming of Haloti Ngata, but so far we have only seen him bulldoze scrubs in D2 and preseason. It's a lot of question marks, but question marks with a lot of upside.

Watchability Are you f*cking kidding me? Lamar. f*cking. Jackson.

Best case Insanely, Vegas has us as underdogs in exactly two games (@Tampa and @Cincy). That would indicate that if we win all the ones we "are supposed to", we should be 15-2. That, however, is insane. I see us as a 13-4 best case if everyone we need to stay healthy stays healthy. If we peak at the right time, a Super Bowl is nowhere near out of the question.

Worst case Honestly, after last year's injury luck, I am done talking about worst cases. Going from 8-3 to missing the playoffs after 6 straight losses nearly broke me. I am very aware that that is all very much in the realm of possibilities, but I am hopeful we found the gypsy woman we must have insulted and apologized.

My guess My homer prediction is a very reachable 12-5 and an appearance in the AFC Championship game. There is no one team I think we "can't" beat, but there are one or two matchup nightmares and a lot of injury uncertainty. If the Ravens play as well as they can and generally do, there are few teams that can outplay them.

I think Draw Play Dave speaks for us all:


Paleocon wrote:

Since no one except me likes the Ravens, here I go.

Dude, I'm standing right here in my Lamar Ravens jersey.

Things I like: After two years of great offenses, this is potentially the best set of skill positions the Bucs have ever had. Russell Gage was a significant improvement as a #3 even before the addition of Julio, who will probably break two minutes into the season but you never know I guess? Also, rookie Rachaad White at RB looks very intriguing and could really provide a lot of speed out of the backfield.

Things I don't: With Brady coming up, the team is clearly loading up for one more run, and the Bucs surrounded him with talent, and, importantly, traded for Shaq Mason at G and brought back Ryan Jensen at center. And then Jensen got hurt and then Jensen's backup got hurt so a third-string center protecting a 45-year-old who has traditionally really only had one real problem over his ludicrously long career, that problem being pressure up the middle. It's the worst possible set of injuries, and offensive line depth is highly problematical. Also, with the loss of JPP and Suh, there are a few young guys on the defensive line who have to produce.

Watchability: It's a 10. If they're good, it's a 10, if Brady gets his ass kicked because of the holes in the middle of the offensive line, if he gets hurt and Blaine Gabbert farts his way through the season and the camera locks on Brady's face on the sideline it's a 10.

Best case: 14-3, Super Bowl win.

Worst case: Brady injured or so distracted from his wife dumping him the team struggles to 9-8. Four games against the Falcons and Panthers mean it's probably a winning record regardless, and there's so much talent at skill positions even Blaine Gabbert could scrape together a few wins.

My guess: 12-5, lose in the divisional round. Could certainly win it all, but not betting on it.

Enix wrote:

I think Draw Play Dave speaks for us all:

I especially like how he put the Bills in that chest. I hope they stay there.

Pink Stripes wrote:
Enix wrote:

I think Draw Play Dave speaks for us all:

I especially like how he put the Bills in that chest. I hope they stay there.

Took me a minute to realize he was talking about making sure that they don't shut off his electricity or water and not the team from Buffalo.

One more preseason hot take: the SI QB Poll (ie projecting the QBs who will be the best in the league by the end of the 2022 season).

In order: Mahomes, Allen, Rodgers, Herbert, Burrow, Brady, Stafford, Lamar, Carr, Russellwilson, Kyler, Trevor and Tua.

Eh, I guess. Everyone's just spitballin' till the games are played.

Enix wrote:

Eh, I guess. Everyone's just spitballin' till the games are played.

What do you think we've been doing since February?

The Packers your NFC North Division Champs. People picking the Vikings? come on.

Things I like:
The RBs + the CBs.
Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are just likable humans and great to watch.
Eric Stoke, Rasul Douglas and Jaire Alexander also just likable humans who are fun to watch.
Special mention to the Defense as a whole (I love you Kenny Clark). Why? Because I have to. The narrative is the Offense is going to struggle to adjust without Davante (LaFleurs chance to prove his worth) and the Defense could be very good. The thing is this is all speculation on how the Defense could play vs actual proof. There's lots of great talent on the defense including the recent draftees but again we will have to see what Joe Barry gets out of them week to week. This could be very bumpy.

Things I don't:
The offensive line and the eventual A Aron tantrum. With David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins coming back from injury I really don't know what to expect. I'm setting the bar really low considering the injuries. There's the possibility some of the young guys step up + the vets come back at a B+ level. In reality were going to get lots of Rodgers on his butt and complaining about how the young WRs are dropping balls or not running routes right.

Special mention special teams. Rich Bisaccia was brought in to shore up the most comical unit in football (I said unit not organization Jaguars/Texans/Browns/Panthers this list is getting too long). The thing is they were still a big hot mess in the pre-season.

Watchability: 8? 7? 6? It really depends on how much the offense takes a step back + how good the defense is. I could see some very close lower scoring games where Rodgers can't get much done but he's good enough to not lose the games. Big question will be what magic can LaFleur cook up and prove he's the young offensive mastermind people imply he is. If he can scheme his way results with this makeshift group of WRs then it could be very watchable.

Best case: 14-3 + Super bowl appearance. I guess they could win but come on that's too many games in row for Rodgers to win in the playoffs.

Worst case: Rodgers goes down, Love Era starts and who knows from there.

My guess: 11-6 12-5, NFC Title game loss. Because.

Who the f*ck at Little Caesars, famously Detroit-based pizza chain, thought it would be a good idea to use Stafford, the guy that promptly won a Super Bowl after leaving Detroit, in their commercials?

Or, does the Ilitch family only care about the Tigers and Red Wings?

Sean McVeigh and Les Snead get extensions. Les Snead looks like Sean McVeigh's stunt double.

Great, now I have to watch TNF tonight just to see how badly NBC tries to incorporate the queen's death into the broadcast.

Self-scout 2-for-1!


Let's start with the 49ers, since the Jaguars are usually more comfortable being last anyway.

Things I like: With the summer dramas of Lance and Garoppolo and Deebo, it's easy to forget that the 49ers actually made a big-dollar free agent acquisition this year. Admit it, you forgot too, and you're waiting for the next sentence to tell you who it is. Well, the team signed one of the league's better press corners, Charvarius Ward, addressing the big weakness of a defense that was already a Top 5 squad. Ward's signing not only gives the team a true CB1, but upgrades every other cornerback position by sliding the rest of the depth chart down one spot. Along with the best depth the defense as a whole has had in the Shanahan era, there's few realistic scenarios where this group doesn't end up as one of the best defenses in the league again in 2022.

Javon Kinlaw finally got the knee surgery he's needed since college, and appears to actually be able to stay on the field. No longer having to tough out chronic knee pain, Kinlaw's been floating around in a state of relief, suddenly able to train and play without pain. Big potential to add to a group that's already an embarrassment of riches.

Trey Lance's play will ultimately determine this offense's ceiling, but the run game will be leaned upon to set a high floor. With the Shanahan coaching tree spreading the gospel of outside zone around the league, Shanahan himself has been cranking up the use of power/gap run as a counterpunch against defenses who deploy edge-setting 6-man fronts to shut down outside zone like the Patriots did to the Rams in the Super Bowl a few years ago. It's gonna be a lot of Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson early on, but running backs always come from the bottom of Shanahan's depth chart to become the new anointed guy, and I think rookie Tyrion Davis-Price's combo of speed and tackle breaking are going to find him climbing the ladder at some point this year.

The team enters this season unusually low on injuries. The only meaningful player starting the year on PUP is Jason Verrett, but he was re-signed this offseason with the expectation he would miss time, and is just expected to be a high-value depth reinforcement later in the season rather than a starter. There's one key injury to discuss, in the next section.

Things I don't: The uncertainty of Trey Lance's play on a game-by-game basis. For a team whose other 21 starters are all equipped to win now, it's a wildcard that could sink or skyrocket the team at any given time.

The nightmare scenario with Lance in 2022 isn't him being trash, not now that they've brought back Jimmy Garoppolo and stuck him behind the "in case of emergency" glass. The nightmare is Lance being just productive enough to avoid the Jimmy G swap, but too inconsistent at exactly the wrong times, costing the team games they should have won.

The interior offensive line has 3 new faces at starter (though one supplanted one of the previous starters, Daniel Brunskill, who is now the top backup). Rookie Spencer Burford (4th round) and second year Aaron Banks (2nd round last year) have all eyes on them, and will likely add some new starter ups and downs of their own. Jake Brendel is a new starter too, though he's been in the league since 2016 and seems a little more sure-footed in his new role. Still, he has to fill the vacant shoes of Alex Mack, whose presence on the Niners offensive line really solidified the whole group.

I mentioned the group is low on injuries for once, and it's true, with the short-term exception of safety Jimmie Ward. Ward will start the season on IR and miss the first 4 games. His absence does add a chink in the armor of that Niners defense, but the injury isn't expected to keep Ward out long-term.

Also of some concern is the groin injury suffered by George Kittle this week. It's not a serious injury, but it has thrown his week 1 participation into doubt, and there's some concern that it could stretch into week 2. The Niners are calling it day-to-day.

Watchability: One of the league's most talented rosters plus the league's most intriguing new starting QB, this number was already going to be a 10. Then they brought back Jimmy Garoppolo, ensuring every Niners TV broadcast will have a half-dozen shots of him helmetless and stunningly handsome on the sideline, and now it's a 15.

Best case: Lance provides a bit more total offense than Jimmy could, 13 wins and a deep playoff run, with a chance at the Super Bowl.

Worst case: Lance gets hurt, Jimmy comes in and immediately gets hurt (someone doing a Nelson "ha-ha!" can be heard coming vaguely from the direction of Tampa Bay), and Brock Purdy becomes the new Nick Mullens, exciting people with better-than-expected play in primetime broadcasts while the team drags themselves to a mere 6 wins.

My guess: 12 wins, either taking the NFC West or the top wildcard, and at least advancement beyond the first round.


Alright, time for the Jaguars.

Things I like: URBAN IS GONE! SEATTLE COACH VOLTRON IS GONE! Much like a dental patient after a root canal, the entire Jaguars team seems to be functioning better simply from the absence of debilitating pain. There is a lightness and feeling of relief around the team, and at least with the coaching staff, it feels like adults are finally running the show.

Looking at the Jaguars depth chart doesn't give me the same urge to cry that it usually does. The holes on the roster are a lot smaller than the usual Jaguars standard. Not all the free agent signings were necessarily the best use of money, but there's still a base level of competence across the chart that I'm not used to.

One name to watch is Tyson Campbell, last year's 2nd round cornerback, who took some lumps as a rookie, but had a sensational camp and preseason and seems to be on the fast track to being a quality starter. Alongside last year's free agent CB Shaquill Griffin, and this year's free agent CB Darious Williams, the Jags have a cornerback group that can legitimately cover people for the first time in a while.

Trevor Lawrence, as countless YouTube film breakdowns highlighted this offseason, showed he was capable of making top shelf NFL throws at every level, in those brief moments of Jaguars offensive clarity last year that pierced through the Urban smog.

Evan Engram gives the Jags a receiving TE they haven't had in forever, though I recognize Engram's flaws in terms of hands and, at times, availability. Still, Engram plus Dan Arnold returning from injury makes throwing the ball out of 12 personnel a reality for the Jags that hasn't existed since... ever? Arnold's 40.5 yards/gm last year in 8 games as a Jaguar was the 3rd best TE yardage rate in Jags history.

Things I don't: BAALKE IS NOT GONE! And, perhaps worse, I may have to admit that he might have been right about Travon Walker. He had an outstanding preseason, one of PFF's top graded rookies. His explosiveness as a pass rusher was immediately evident. He did not remotely look outmatched against NFL tackles. We'll see when it's against first stringers, but he's already generated more excitement in a Jags uniform than K'Lavon Chaisson ever has.

But this isn't a job interview "what's your greatest weakness" question, so let's get into some actual bad things. The team has a bunch of potential impact players, but until any of them actually become that, what they have is a roster with almost no game-changing impact players outside of The Reigning Champion of Josh Allens, Josh Allen. Lawrence, ETN, and Walker may break out and join that list, but they aren't there yet, and the Jags need guys to reach that level more than anything.

The WR group is no longer a raging dumpster fire of despair, but I still don't love the group. Kirk has a bit of juice and may still be on the way up, but I have a hard time seeing him get beyond being a low-end WR1 (which in and of itself would be a good step up for a guy who was a WR3 until now). Zay Jones... well he hangs onto passes at least. Marvin Jones continues to hang around, radiating his Cal Bear energy. But the one chance the team had at developing an exciting new weapon, they traded away to Carolina.

The first layer of the depth chart might no longer be the typical Jags depression fare, but the bottom of the depth chart still has a long ways to go. The roster may have a shiny new layer on top, but the ruins of Old New York remain under the surface.

I still hate the Oluokun free agent signing. He was a below-average linebacker who boosted his profile with high tackle stats. The Jags drafted two off-ball linebackers, one of whom is starting, and the other whom is now stuck behind Oluokun and, ideally, would have been starting while that Oluokun money was spent elsewhere.

I don't have a high degree of faith in the offensive line, especially at the tackle position. Cam Robinson elevated his play last year to a better place than he had ever been, but I still felt he should have been replaced, rather than banking on last year being the start of a sustained upward trend. Jawaan Taylor held onto the right tackle spot this offseason after a surprisingly strong summer, but I'm not convinced he won't be the same penalty-heavy player once the real games start. At least right guard AJ "Trash" Cann is gone, now a starter on Houston's line. Sorry, Davis Mills.

They sent Viska to Carolina for peanuts. I can't guarantee Viska will amount to anything, but he has talent that demands someone actually try with him.

They cut fat boi kicker.

Watchability: I expect this to be the first time since 2017 where a non-Jaguar fan could watch a Jaguars game and not want to gouge their eyes out. I'm going to give it a solid 5 here, with room to grow if the team gets some early W's and Lawrence looks the part.

Best case: Lawrence is who we thought he was on draft day, and his ass gets crowned. The Jags benefit from a weak AFC South to become a surprise entrant in the wildcard chase, helped along by the fact that the AFC West teams have to play against each other and are beating each other (and each other's W-L records) senseless.

Worst case: GOD HATES JAGS. Pederson without Frank Reich ain't it, injuries eat away at the first string and expose the trash underneath, Lawrence struggles to take the next step, and the Jags are in the hunt for their third straight #1 overall pick.

My guess: 7 wins. That probably sounds like a lot for a Jags team coming off a #1 overall pick (again), but I see them reaching the tier that Atlanta and Seattle were a year ago, and both of those were 7-win teams.

*Legion* wrote:

(someone doing a Nelson "ha-ha!" can be heard coming vaguely from the direction of Tampa Bay)

You think that's the Simpsons meme you're going to be hit with?

*Legion* wrote:

Let's start with the 49ers, since the Jaguars are usually more comfortable being last anyway.


*Legion* wrote:

... blah blah blah Niners Jags blah

The rest of it didn't disappoint.

Thanks to everyone who did the self-scouts. I learned a ton.

*Legion* wrote:

But the one chance the team had at developing an exciting new weapon, they traded away to Carolina.

I'm still not sure what Carolina wants with Shenault. Rhule made it clear he didn't like gadget guys when they dumped Curtis Samuel (and Cam), tho DJ Moore was good for about one carry a game last year.

Do they use him for blocking? Is he some sort of H-back (which Carolina doesn't need; they already have a million blocking tight ends)? Is he the slant/flat guy because the Panthers realized a week before the season opened they didn't have the WRs to run McAdoo's offense? And how long will it take him to be able to run the full playbook? So many puzzling questions.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons came out and pronounced the Panthers as a Playoff Team, which (a) confirms that Simmons is an idiot and (b) simultaneously got my hopes up, which I refuse to do after the wheels fell off of last year's team.

Enix wrote:

I'm still not sure what Carolina wants with Shenault.

Getting his hands on the kid from north Texas who opted to leave the state and go to school in Colorado rather than accept Rhule's offer to Baylor.

Kittle staying healthy might effect Lance's success. That's one hell of a security blanket target to not have.

Stele wrote:

Kittle staying healthy might effect Lance's success. That's one hell of a security blanket target to not have.

From what I've read, the feeling seems to be that Kittle could play through it this week, but that it might be smarter to sit him week 1 in order to let it heal fully and keep it from being a season-long issue.

My guess is that's what they'll end up doing.

Enix wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

... blah blah blah Niners Jags blah

Pretty much a dead-on replication of my wife's impersonation of me.

Hot take: Stefon Diggs makes Josh Allen a top-10 QB. Without him he’s league average.

staygold wrote:

Hot take: Stefon Diggs makes Josh Allen a top-10 QB. Without him he’s league average.

I’ve been saying that for years