The Schein Nine  

 

Colts, Giants, Seahawks in trouble? Marcus Mariota = the truth?

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Week 1 of the NFL season was wild, wacky and absolutely delicious. After a long offseason, predictably, the hyperbole is flowing.

So let's examine some conventional hot takes coming out of the weekend, judging what is fair and what is foul, Schein Nine style:

1) The Colts are NOT who we thought they were.

Well, in a column earlier this month, I picked the Indianapolis Colts to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. But in that piece, I acknowledged the Colts are far from a perfect team, noting major concerns all over the defense. My rationale for still giving them a ticket to Super Bowl Sunday: I thought Andrew Luck could be the ultimate deodorant. On Sunday in Buffalo, he stunk along with the rest of the Colts, as the Bills rolled to a 27-14 win that wasn't even that close.

Credit Buffalo. The Bills' defense flew around, Tyrod Taylor made plays, the crowd was awesome and Rex Ryan proved me wrong by winning his debut in impressive fashion.

The Colts' weaknesses -- including an overmatched O-line and the aforementioned shoddy defense -- were glaring. This was a grotesque debut for a team thinking Super BowlStill, the hot-take headline above is a little aggressive -- I'm not jumping ship after one game. 

2) The Giants can't recover from Sunday night's debacle.

This take is sizzling hot -- and totally accurate.

What happened on Sunday night was an absolute mess for the New York Giants. Unfathomable, to be honest.

Big Blue was in control of the game, leading 23-20 and facing a third-and-goal with 1:43 remaining, the ball at the Dallas 1 and the Cowboys out of timeouts. Then offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and head coach Tom Coughlin called a pass play.

What?? That's inexplicable.

The Giants had every reason to run the football: Run to score and put the game away; run to bleed the clock, so Tony Romo doesn't have enough time to execute a game-winning drive; run to win. That was a losing play call. And Eli Manning's execution certainly didn't help. Throwing the ball away instead of just taking a sack and allowing the clock to tick? Wow! New York failed on every level.

Every game, all season

Romo got the ball back and did what Romo does in the fourth quarter, slicing through the suddenly-passive Giants defense, traveling 72 yards in 1:27 and hitting his main man Jason Witten for a pulsating, game-winning touchdown. The Cowboys consistently shot themselves in the foot all game and lost Dez Bryant to a broken foot for four to six weeks, but they came away with a season-opening win.

The Giants don't have the talent to recover from this debacle, having blown a golden opportunity to change the narrative of their 2015 season.

3) Seahawks holdout Kam Chancellor made money on Sunday.

I think this is an overreaction, despite the fact the Seattle Seahawks did lose to the Rams in St. Louis, and despite the fact Chancellor's replacement, Dion Bailey, got burned for the game-tying touchdown with 53 seconds left.

Let's be honest: A lot went wrong for the two-time reigning NFC champions.

The offensive line play was poor. The special teams, outside of Tyler Lockett's punt-return TD, looked very suspect -- in particular, Seattle's onside kick to start overtime. That was mind-boggling. After the game, Pete Carroll said it wasn't supposed to be an onside kick, that Steven Hauschka mishit the ball -- a claim Hauschka backed up. I don't know. It sure didn't look that way. To me, it looked like the Seahawks' staff made a goofy call late for the second consecutive game, going back to Super Bowl XLIX. Whatever the case, the result was ruinous.

I've always believed in the Super Bowl hangover for the losing team, and Seattle just didn't look like its usual self on Sunday. Which leads us back to Chancellor ...

The strong safety is a star. He's the second-best safety in the NFL (behind only his teammate, Earl Thomas). Seattle missed him, for sure, but the team had many opportunities to win this game. The Seahawks just paid Chancellor. I can't see them panicking and handing him gobs of new money now. And they shouldn't.

4) The Bucs will regret picking Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota.

This is not a baseless hot take, not a Week 1 overreaction. This is exactly what I wrote both before and after the 2015 NFL Draft.

What a miserable day for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, who had to watch the true franchise quarterback they passed on shred their defense in Raymond James Stadium. And Marcus Mariota did it in historic fashion, becoming the first NFL quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his first half of regular-season play. Mariota was so good he spent the fourth quarter on the sideline, soaking up the Tennessee Titans' 42-14 win.

Mariota over Winston on Sunday was a major harbinger of things to come. And a bad look for Lovie Smith.


» Inside Slant: Mariota can shatter spread-QB stereotypes


5) The Chiefs will win the AFC West.

I picked Denver to win it at 10-6, with the Chiefs a game out at 9-7. And as bad as Peyton Manning looked throwing the football on Sunday, as dominant as the Chiefs looked in a 27-20 victory over Houston, I'm not ready to change my tune. So, no, I'm not buying the above proclamation.

Denver's defense was fantastic against Baltimore, with Aqib Talib's pick-six of Joe Flacco representing the biggest play of the Broncos' win. Wade Phillips is going to make this unit one of the NFL's best in 2015. Thus, Peyton will not have to completely carry this team on the strength of his right arm (or lack thereof).

I'm still riding with Denver for now. But here's the beautiful thing about Broncos-Chiefs questions ... They're playing each other in Arrowhead Stadium this Thursday. Can't wait to watch this collision on CBS/NFL Network!

6) Terrell Suggs' injury drops Baltimore to third in the AFC North.

This is a devastating season-ending injury, the ugh, awful moment of the week. I named Suggs one of the NFL's nine indispensable defensive players back in June. Yes, T-Sizzle's getting long in the tooth, but he still is a pass-rushing stud and the pulse of the tough Ravens defense.

Still, I'm not ready to overreact.

Pittsburgh's play selection -- why in the world did Todd Haley call that trick play with the Steelers marching on the game's opening drive? -- and defense were terrible last Thursday in New England. The Bengals looked fantastic at Oakland on Sunday, but a) they were playing the Raiders and b) we know the Andy Dalton-Marvin Lewis duo's reputation in a big spot.

The road to a division title just got much more difficult for Baltimore, but I certainly wouldn't deem it impossible.

7) The Browns are better off with Johnny Football under center.

Definitely. Especially thinking about the 2016 Browns.

Here's the deal: Cleveland is dreadful. Free-agent addition Dwayne Bowe was inactive -- and a poor signing in the first place. The receiving corps is a barren wasteland. The Browns' D gave up 31 points to a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense -- though, obviously, the unit was dealt a tough hand with five turnovers from Cleveland's offense.

Josh McCown is a solid veteran presence, but not the guy you want as a starter. For 2015, Johnny Manziel has more upside than McCown. And, more importantly, the Browns need to find out if a more mature John Football can be their man for next year or if they have to be in the quarterback business again.

8) Houston should make an immediate change at quarterback.

Yes, this is true.

Like I wrote often in the preseason, Brian Hoyer is not a legit starting quarterback. I'm not crowning Ryan Mallett, but the Texans have more upside with him under center. His cannon arm provides some necessary sizzle in the Texans' offense, as we saw when he led the Texans on a pair of scoring drives in the final six minutes of the home loss to K.C. Might as well give him a whirl as the starter.

Now, will the Texans' QB position be a problem area all year long? That certainly could be the case. But I'd rather see what they have in the more unknown commodity. We all know what Brian Hoyer is.

9) James Jones will lead the Packers in touchdown receptions.

This is a stretch, but it isn't one to say that Jones -- who caught two scoring passes in Sunday's win over the Bears -- will make a major impact. On the day Green Bay brought back Jones, I said on CBS Sports Network that he would catch 60-plus passes. He knows Aaron Rodgers and the system. Scooping him up on the cheap was a no-brainer for Ted Thompson and Co.

Still, Randall Cobb will be the touchdown-scoring machine.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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