The 5 Worst Games of NFL Week 1 Part 2
BY ADAM GREENE
We’ve already picked two garbage games from NFL Week 1’s slate in Part 1. But there are still three more dumpster fires ready to be beamed via multi-million dollar satellite into your man cave.
3. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (PK)
The Raiders have experienced a significantly quieter offseason thanks to the absence of Antonio Brown, his feet, his helmet and his tendency to allegedly sexual assault people. So that’s been a good thing. They also arguably made their team better through free agency and the draft, though they have earned some skepticism considering Jon Gruden’s first two seasons have been, to be kind, an excrement-covered rat that accidentally jumped into an industrial cooling fan.
But they’re in Vegas now, which would be great if this game was actually in Vegas. Instead, the NFL has tossed the Raiders on the road to the Carolina Panthers who, in a matter of months, not only tossed the best coach in franchise history out the door, but the best quarterback that ever suited up for the team as well.
New head coach Matt Rhule, who looks like a divorced dad trying to convince his kids that Santa needs another week or so to find his new address after Christmas, doesn’t seem like the most exciting choice to lead the team back to respectability and Teddy Bridgewater is fine, but you’re not only replacing a former NFL MVP and NFC Champion at quarterback, but a guy that could show up to a postgame interview wearing a fake chinchilla glow in the dark capuchon at any time.
4. MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-6.5)
Of all the games that could be saved from the crapper on the list, this one has the most potential. We should get a solid look at what Jarrett Stidham can bring to the table in whatever form the NFL preseason takes. I’m not ready to push the Patriots off the gameboard just yet, but let’s be honest here. This is an 8-8 team at best and if they played in any other division in the NFL, they’d go 6-10.
But the curiosity factor is there in the post Tom Brady era, but here’s what’s going to kill it; the Dolphins will, almost without question, start Ryan Ritzpatrick in this game. So unless the idea of watching Tua Tagovailoa on the sidelines set a new personal best playing Fruit Ninja on his Microsoft Surface tablet appeals to you as the Pats and Bill Belichick grind out a 13-10 win at home over Miami, you’re probably going to skip this one.
5. PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT NEW YORK GIANTS (+3)
If you’d just awakened from a three-year coma, you’d be startled to see this game make the list. You’d be shocked at a lot of things, probably. And, really, the fact that the Steelers at Giants is a horrible NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football match up would be the least of your concerns at this point, ranking somewhere between “Murder Hornet Invasion” and “Game of Thrones Final season.”
You’d still be surprised, but I’d wager you’d have some perspective after getting up to date on the apocalypse and whatnot.
Nonetheless, the 2020 version of this game to kick off what could be the final season of MNF on ESPN leaves a lot to be desired. While a quarterback duel between Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in their primes would be an event, Daniel Jones vs Santa Claus is significantly less so.
Sure, both these teams should be better and, if the new playoff system was in place in 2019, Pittsburgh would have made it as the seven seed, but this is the early MNF game on a week the NFL hopes to celebrate not only the return of football, but possibly the return of professional team sports.
It’s a waste, especially when CBS tossed Joe Burrow’s debut with the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:05 p.m. which is basically asking MNF to take it. They should have.