The long wait is finally over and week one of the 2023/24 season is now in the record books. Ahead of the campaign, teams had been preparing behind the scenes with drafts, trades and a number of offseason matches.
So, how did those teams fare on the opening weekend? Were there any shocks, did the favorites live up to expectations, and how did that week compare to the results from 2022/23?
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The new NFL season began on Thursday, September 7th, as the Detroit Lions took on the Kansas City Chiefs. As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs had the honor of getting the new campaign up and running, but it didn’t go to plan as the Lions came through 21-20.
A full schedule of fixtures followed with all 32 NFL franchise teams involved. The most notable result was a 40-0 trashing by the Dallas Cowboys over the New York Giants, but there were interesting outcomes across the divisions.
As the season continues, NFL fans can keep up to date via the usual news channels, while sports betting operators will tell us who the latest favorites are. There will be team odds and NFL player props published throughout the season so we can assess who the likely winners will be.
It’s the opening week, and there is plenty more football to be played between now and the end of the season, but how do those initial games compare to the results from 2022?
As we know, the Kansas City Chiefs emerged as winners of the Vince Lombardi Trophy when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in the Super Bowl game last February. In 2022, the eventual winners of the two Conferences started strongly in game week one.
A year ago, the Chiefs beat the Cardinals 44-21, while the Eagles overcame the Detroit Lions by 38 points to 35. While there are no guarantees that previous results will be an indicator of future trends, this does suggest that the eventual winners of this season’s Super Bowl will need to get off to a fast start.
Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers also began their challenge strongly. The team is among the favorites for success in 2023, and they started with a comfortable 30-7 points win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A year ago, the 49ers went down by 10-19 to the Chicago Bears, so fans of this franchise will have been pleased to get off to that fast start.
As mentioned, the biggest win of game week one came on Monday night when the Dallas Cowboys put 40 points on the New York Giants, shutting out their opponents in the process. The Cowboys are expected to make a challenge this term and to make the playoffs at the very least.
Twelve months ago, the biggest win of the opening weekend was the Kansas City Chiefs’ 44-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals which we’ve already discussed. Based on that information, could the Dallas Cowboys be genuine contenders for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next February?
The New York Giants suffered that heavy defeat on the opening weekend. The Giants are among the underdogs to win the Super Bowl this term, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that they went down in game one. However, the margin of that defeat will be of concern to fans of the franchise.
Were there any shock results from the first week of 2023? One of the only outsiders to claim a win at the start of the campaign were the Washington Commanders. It should, however, be remembered that they beat weak opposition in the shape of the Arizona Cardinals, so maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that 20-16 victory.
Another unfancied team to win their opening match were the Las Vegas Raiders who overcame the Denver Broncos 17-16. The Broncos are also expected to struggle, and that early loss suggests a fruitless campaign.
We’re only two weeks into the new NFL season, but can we read anything into those opening results? As we have seen, the two Super Bowl contenders from February 2023 both won their first games of last season. Teams have time to make up ground, but a fast start builds momentum that can be carried forward through the regular season.
In the main, those early games went with form and there are few, if any, upsets in game week one. The strong teams began in a positive fashion, while many teams who are expected to struggle suffered early defeats.
Shock results may follow but, as with 2022, the opening weekend favored the stronger teams. Moving forward, we may already have some indicators as to who will contest the Super Bowl at the start of next year.