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Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts

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The first NFL Sunday is in the books for the 2023 season and it was glorious! YouTube TV made my first dive into the NFL Sunday Ticket experience outstanding and showed why DirecTV needed to be replaced.  Seriously, how did they have Sunday Ticket for two decades and couldn’t figure out how to put multiple games on one screen and YouTube figures it out in its first run?

That’s for another article.  For now, and maybe this becomes a weekly series for the NFL season, we’ll take a look at the best & worst “Sunday Scaries”.  The idea is that there are things that are good scary and things that are bad scary and I’ll give mine each week and feel free to give me your own in the comments below.

Bad Scary: Running Backs Fail to Make Most Out of Opportunity

Deon Jackson for the Colts, Cam Akers for the Rams, Alexander Mattison for the Vikings.  What do they all have in common?  They had double-digit carries and had atrocious gained yardage to show for it.  Jackson, in for Jonathan Taylor, had Colts fans yelling “FIGURE IT OUT!” to Chris Ballard and the front office after Jackson totaled pitiful 14 yards on 13 carries for a 1.1 yard average.  What’s even worse was his long of the day was a carry of 7 yards meaning the other 12 carries added up to 7 yards.  It was a cuttable performance from a guy that should be trying to make the most of this opportunity.

For Akers, he was somehow even worse than Jackson, though he did find the endzone.  Akers accumulated 29 yards on TWENTY-TWO CARRIES.  You read that right.  His long of 12 means 21 other carries went for a total of 17 yards. His paltry performance may get swept under the rug due to the Rams’ stunning win over the Seahawks.  As for Mattison, now with Dalvin Cook in a Jets uniform it was his time to shine for the Vikings and he showed up in the sense that he outgained both Jackson and Akers, which isn’t saying much.  11 carries for 34 yards and no touchdowns. Though he did find the endzone in the passing game, his lack of getting anything going in the backfield definitely played a role in the Vikings falling to the Baker Mayfield-led Bucs.

Good Scary: The Dallas Cowboys & San Francisco 49ers Defenses

Defense wins championship as the old adage goes and if that’s the case then Dallas and San Francisco have some real championship aspirations.  The Cowboys humiliated the New York Giants in a 40-0 rout on Sunday Night Football and most of the scoring was from the defense and special teams who racked up seven sacks, a blocked field goal, two scores and 12 QB hits.  They look every bit as good as advertised.

For the 49ers, they throttled the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on both sides of the ball but Nick Bosa and company made Kenny Pickett fall back to Earth after a near flawless preseason performance.  Pickett was sacked five times, threw a pair of interceptions, was hit 9 times and was seeing ghosts by halftime.  The 49ers look like a force in the NFC and their defense is a big reason why.

Bad Scary: Same Old Bears

The Bears were coming off a 3-win season yet there was reason to be optimistic that this year would be different.  They traded the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a slew of future picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore, they spent a ton on both sides of the ball in free agency to help Justin Fields develop and they hired Kevin Warren to oversee Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus as the organization finally put football guys in charge of a football team.  Yet, their opener against the hated Green Bay Packers looked like a repeat of last season.  Justin Fields had no time in the pocket, he turned the ball over, D.J. Moore was targeted TWO TIMES in the entire game and the defense couldn’t contain a fart with a paper bag against their cheeks as they made Jordan Love look pretty good despite Christian Watson not playing.  It was a complete mess for a team that had high hopes heading into the season and one game in looks like not much has changed.

What were your good and bad scaries of Week 1?  Let me know in the comments and check back next Monday when we’ll get a look at Week 2.

-Marc Dykton

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