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NFL Week 1: Big questions, risers, fallers and takeaways

The 2023 NFL season kicked off with a bang in Week 1, offering football fans a tantalizing taste of the action to come. In the early window, several teams made a strong statement, including the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and a slew of rookies who made impressive debuts.

Here are some key takeaways and questions emerging from Week 1, highlighted by the Dallas Cowboys’ dominant performance over the New York Giants.

Are the Cowboys the Real Deal?

The Dallas Cowboys sent shockwaves through the NFL with a commanding 40-0 victory over the New York Giants. This win was reminiscent of their last such dismantling of the Giants in 1995, a season that culminated in a Super Bowl victory. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution before penciling in those Super Bowl tickets just yet.

While the Cowboys displayed utter dominance on both defense and special teams, it’s essential to recognize the challenging road ahead. Their next matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets will be a formidable test. Still, this performance undeniably marks one of the most dominant showings during Mike McCarthy’s tenure.

Stock Up After the Win: Dan Quinn

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn deserves special recognition for his role in the Cowboys’ success. The defense was more than ready for action, showcasing complete dominance with six sacks in under three quarters of play. Since Quinn’s arrival in 2021, the Cowboys have notched 10 defensive touchdowns, the most in the NFL during that period. Additionally, they boast 22 games with multiple takeaways, three more than any other NFL team.

Stock Down After the Win: Brandon Aubrey

If we must single out an underperformer, it would be Brandon Aubrey, who missed his first extra point of the season. This hiccup may have briefly stirred memories of Brett Maher, but Aubrey rebounded by converting his next four point-after attempts and both field goal tries. There’s no need for undue concern.

The Cowboys’ Week 2 matchup against the Jets will provide a clearer picture of their prospects for the 2023 season.

Giants’ O-Line Woes in Focus

For the New York Giants, Week 1 was a harsh reminder of their ongoing offensive line concerns. Facing the Cowboys’ formidable pass rush, the Giants allowed a staggering seven sacks. This crippling offensive line performance hindered their ability to mount any meaningful offense, leaving quarterback Daniel Jones visibly frustrated.

The Giants’ glaring weakness in pass protection raises questions about their prospects for the season ahead. Unless they can swiftly rectify this issue, they may face another embarrassing defeat in Week 3 when they take on the San Francisco 49ers in prime time.

The right side of the offensive line, manned by Evan Neal and Mark Glowinski, was of particular concern. These players were responsible for five of the seven sacks allowed by the Giants. Additionally, they struggled to contain the constant pressure exerted by the Cowboys throughout the contest.

While it’s challenging to find silver linings in a 40-0 drubbing, the Giants must address their offensive line woes promptly to have any hope of a competitive season.

In summary, Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season delivered a mix of exhilarating performances, questions, and concerns for teams like the Cowboys and Giants. As the season unfolds, fans can expect more thrilling action and plenty of surprises along the way.

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