Scully's NFL Notebook: Kyler Murray is better than ever
It's great to have the NFL back! Week 1 delivered many thrills, and Green Bay’s 35-point loss to New Orleans wasn’t the only surprising outcome.
Here are some news and notes after a tumultuous Week 1.
Underdogs ruled in Week 1
Underdogs dominated the betting fare in Week 1, compiling a 12-4 record against the spread (ATS). Nine underdogs even won straight-up.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) and Los Angeles Chargers (+6) produced the biggest upsets, knocking off the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team, respectively. Of the three teams favored by at least seven points, the Los Angeles Rams (-9) provided the only cover.
Home favorites were only 2-7 ATS.
AFC West, NFC West unblemished; NFC North winless
Every team in the AFC West and NFC West divisions won, the first time since the NFL merger in 1970 that a pair of divisions were undefeated in Week 1.
NFC West members Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle all won by at least eight points – it’s going to be a wild race in the league’s deepest division.
On the other side of the equation, all four teams in the NFC North lost, the fourth time in the last 20 years a division has been winless in Week 1.
Cardinals, Chargers have improved
Among non-playoff teams from 2020, the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers caught the eye in Week 1.
Kyler Murray’s shoulder injury derailed Arizona last season, but the third-year quarterback proved better than ever in a 38-13 rout at Tennessee.
Defensive end Chandler Jones appears highly motivated in a contract year, recording five sacks and two forced fumbles, and Arizona upgraded its roster during the offseason.
Los Angeles was far from perfect, turning it over twice inside the opponent’s red zone and surrendering 94 penalty yards, but the Chargers prevailed 20-16 over defensively stout Washington due to the poise of Justin Herbert.
Behind an improved offensive line, the second-year quarterback logged 337 passing yards, and Los Angeles converted at an astonishing 73.7% rate on third downs (14-for-19). The Chargers used to find ways to blow close games, losing 16 one-score games over the last two seasons, and new coach Brandon Staley is off to a good start.
Chiefs vs. Ravens top Week 2 action
A number of interesting matchups will be featured in Week 2, including Buffalo (-3.5) at Miami, Dallas at Los Angeles Chargers (-3), and Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Indianapolis, but the must-see game involves Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, as Kansas City (-3.5) travels to Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.
Mon, September 20 2021, 12:20 AM
After orchestrating more late game theatrics in Week 1, leading Kansas City back from a 12-point deficit over Cleveland, Mahomes will try to beat Jackson for the fourth consecutive time in the regular season.
Baltimore will be motivated, losing by 14 as a home favorite to Kansas City last year, and the Ravens have never been a 3+ point home underdog with Jackson.