The 2021 NFL season has officially wrapped up its first week after what seemed like one of the longest offseason hangovers in years.
The opening kickoff was only five days ago. Still, the theatre was already in midseason form as the reigning Super Bowl champions pulled off a fourth-quarter game-winning drive, and last year’s MVP suffered the worst defeat of his professional career, starting off the first-ever 17-game season with an undeniable bang.
Without further ado, here are five Cold Hard Football Facts from NFL Week One.
1: New Orleans Breezes by Green Bay
The Saints showed no loss in ability in their first game of the post-Drew Brees era, leading the league in Scoreability, Bendability, Defensive Hog Index, Defensive Real Quarterback Rating, and pretty much every metric available. Jameis Winston’s five touchdowns through the air helped New Orleans establish themselves as a serious threat in a division that features the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2: The NFC West is for the Quarterbacks
The Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers all finished inside the top-seven marks for Real Quarterback Rating in week one, with the Niners splitting some of their work between Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance. This division is the most competitive in football and could produce four playoff teams for the first time ever in a seven-team playoff format.
3: The Eagles Look… Prepared?
Phili was expected to round out the bottom of the NFC East after struggling last season; however, they looked extremely competent in their opening-week throttling of the Atlanta Falcons. First-time Head Coach, Nick Sirianni’s team finished second in the Intelligence Index— the differential between bendability and scoreability— and seem as if they could become more of a competitor in the division than they were pitted to be. This division is one of the most winnable in the NFL (last year’s champs were 7-9) and has not had a repeat winner in nearly 20 years.
4: It’s a Quarterback’s League
It is not like football fans did not already know this, but the top-11 teams in Real Quarterback Rating won their week-one matchup, with the 12th-placed Washington Football Team becoming the first to break the trend. While a team like the Cleveland Browns dominated in Offensive Rusher Rating, their 0-1 mark came largely from their 22nd ranking in RQBR, suggesting that teams with more firepower under center will be more successful this season.
5: The Steelers Win “Without Style Points”
Mike Tomlin provided a great quote after his Pittsburgh Steelers knocked off the Buffalo Bills on the road, saying that he did not care that they won “without style points.” Last year’s AFC North champs finished top-five in Scoreability, Bendability, Defensive Real Quarterback Rating, Defensive Rusher Rating, and the Intelligence Index. This is a real feather in the Steelers’ cap, considering the Bills reached the AFC Championship game last season, and will give them plenty of momentum ahead of a week-two clash with the 1-0 Las Vegas Raiders.