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The NFL has a way of making us overreact on the first Monday of the season. What will we freak out about this year? 

By Conor Orr
September 10, 2018

NFL fans are a group of people who, for the most part, care not about sample size.

The first Monday morning of every NFL season brings with it some of the most irresponsible overreactions and takes in the sporting world. Imagine judging a presidential campaign off of the first debate (whoops!) or a tennis match off the first game. It’s totally ridiculous. It exposes our natural inclination to spout off whatever is at the tip of our tongue without doing a lick of research. It makes us undeserving of the myriad statistics and experts at our fingertips.

And while that’s mostly something we need to work on (seriously, let’s do it together), it’s great when it comes to the NFL cocoon.

Here are five of the things we’ll be losing our minds about this morning, which will probably not hold true in January:

1. The Giants are bound to suffer another hapless season at the end of Eli Manning’s serviceable years:

What is it about bad games in the Manning era that turn Giants fans into mopey, pre-World Series Red Sox fans? I was on hand for the loss to Jacksonville, and have a few thoughts. One, they will fix the offensive line. Ereck Flowers is not long for the NFL as a right tackle, left tackle, guard, or center. Two, Pat Shurmur’s offense is going to work against almost any other defense. They won’t play a cornerback tandem this good again until the end of October. And Saquon Barkley is good. Really good.

2. The Steelers are fine and can totally forget about Le’Veon Bell!

James Conner was wonderful in his NFL debut, no doubt. But as I wrote earlier on Sunday, it would be ludicrous for a team not to prefer two running backs who are versatile, slashing players who can impact the passing game. Pittsburgh has always been better with a second, complementary back who can supplement Bell’s exhausting role. He wants his workload reduced, and now that can happen.  

3. Jimmy Garoppolo’s start was just a mirage! We’re doomed!

The team fumbled at the one-yard line and endured one of the worst performances by Garoppolo we’ve ever seen and lost by eight points. All three of Garoppolo’s interceptions were bad, with no one else to blame. But what we do know is that there’s a decent sample size of him making those throws with a receiving core inferior to his current lineup.

4. Hey, that Washington football team in the NFC East is getting overlooked!

Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson both looked great in their debuts against arguably one of the five worst teams in the NFL. Let’s check back in after the Week 3 game against the Packers in D.C.

5. The Bills are in for a long season!

Eh, actually, that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

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NOW ON THE MMQB: Why Jalen Ramsey won his latest matchup with Odell Beckham ... Cam Newton and Norv Turner are off to a good start in Carolina ... Matt Patricia is gone, but the Patriots defense looks pretty good

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: The NFL is not starting the season with a new anthem policy, and will likely not create one soon ... Inside the destruction of the once-dominant Seahawks ... As they did in 2018, Philly finds a way against the Falcons in the opening game of the 2018 NFL season last Thursday night.


PRESS COVERAGE

1. The Giants struggled last season with a leaky offensive line and a quarterback who sometimes struggled to make critical throws. That trend continued on Sunday

2. Tyreek Hill. Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are going to be fun as hell in 2018. A reminder that two (!!) MMQB staffers picked them to reach the Super Bowl.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the hero Tampa Bay deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

4. Can Browns fans feel O.K. with a season-opening tie (it is their best start to the season since 2004)? 

5. Dez Bryant is the college freshman going back to his high school games. Someone get this man a contract!

6. Don't look now, but the Bengals ain't half bad

7. The Jimmy Garoppolo hype machine has slowed.


THE KICKER

What are the chances Jon Gruden checked out that Bears pass rush for a little while Sunday?

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com.

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