Week 1 has wrapped up. It has been an exciting first week for the 2018 season. There were plenty of great performances, some expected and some unexpected. The Buccaneers surprised the Saints, Aaron Rodgers showed why he is still the GOAT, and the Browns are still on a quest for their first win. There were some players that shined week 1 and here are the top 10 that performed the best.
Honorable Mention: Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns
Ward had the task of covering the best wide receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown. The rookie held his own bringing in two interceptions. He gave up one touchdown, but Ward is showing why he was the number 4 overall pick in this year’s draft. He has great coverage skills and exceptional tackling why he is going to be big in this league.
10. Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes takes over for longtime Chief, Alex Smith. Some had doubts for the second-year man to take over the Chiefs organization. Mahomes played phenomenally tossing 4 touchdowns and leading the Chiefs to a win over the Chargers in week 1. Let’s see how Mahomes builds the rest of the season
9. Tyreek Hill
268 total yards on the day for the explosive Tyreek Hill. Hill started his game with a 91-yard punt return. I still don’t know why the Chargers kicked to him. He also brought in 169 yards in receiving. Hill is started to really develop into a great receiver and primary target for the young Mahomes. I am looking for him to have another 1,000-yard season. The chiefs will need this to make the playoffs this season.
8. TJ Watt
Watt is starting to look like big bro JJ out there. Against the Browns, Watt registered 8 tackles, 4 sacks, and blocked a game-saving field goal to prevent a loss. Watt was dominant all game as he sealed the edge on the Browns talented backfield. He applied constant pressure to Tyrod Taylor and was a roadblock to a promising Browns offense. Watt has been increasing his play coming off a seven-sack season last year. The Steelers will need this play out of Watt for a playoff and possibly Super Bowl run.
7. Drew Brees
Now 39 years old, an expected decline is cast on Drew Brees, but, he had other plans. The Saints opened against rival Tampa Bay at home and were expected to coast to an easy win. Tampa Bay had other plans putting up 48 points led by a certain player I’ll get to later. But, Brees played phenomenally. He completed 82 percent of his passes for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Saints put up 40 points which should’ve been enough, but their defense played terribly. The Saints will look to rebound against the Browns next week.
6. Michael Thomas
Another Saint is continuing to show why he is one of the best in the league. Thomas racked in a franchise record 16 receptions for 180 years. He is slowly creeping into that top 5 receiver discussion after performances like this. The numbers speak for itself and he has been a consistent target for Drew Brees.
5. Harrison Smith
This is the best safety in the league, no discussion. Smith played incredibly against the 49ers holding each running back to under 50 yards and flustering Jimmy Garoppolo into throwing 3 interceptions. Smith’s range to be able to play in the box to stop the run and drop back into coverage to force an interception. This Vikings defense coming off last year hasn’t lost a step and it showed Sunday. They need Smith to perform at this level to make that Super Bowl run.
4. Odell Beckham Jr.
The highly anticipated matchup between Odell and Jalen Ramsey was brought to our TV screens this past Sunday. Ramsey mentioned it to the media all week leading up to the game saying the two were going to put on a show. Didn’t really live up to the hype but Odell still put on a good show against this legendary Jaguars defense. Odell registered 11 catches for 111 yards and barring a couple pass interferences and overthrows, would’ve put up even more monster numbers. Odell needs games like this coming off an injury to show why he is worth the 90 million dollars New York paid him this past offseason.
3. Saquon Barkley
The game did not start too well for the second overall pick. He was getting met at the line of scrimmage every play and couldn’t seem to find open space like he did in college. However, in the fourth quarter, Barkley broke for a 68-yard touchdown run to bring the Giants back in the game. This performance showed the grit and determination Barkley. He didn’t back down and showed why he was the second overall pick and why he will go on to dominate this league.
2. Jaguars defense
It’s between the Jaguars and Vikings defense. I don’t know which is better. Both teams put on tremendous performances, but the Jaguars defense played better on Sunday. To start, the defensive line destroyed the Giants offensive line. Calais Campbell absolutely destroyed Ereck Flower. He had Flowers reaching for air on multiple plays. Yannick Ngakoue also destroyed veteran tackle Nate Solder. This defense controlled the entire game and did not let up. Their defense is so good that the Jaguars offense can play mediocre and they will win.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
This performance shocked everyone. 417 yards and 4 touchdowns for Ryan Fitzpatrick is insane. The Bucs came out and shocked everyone as their offense looked unstoppable putting up 48 points against the Saints. The journeyman quarterback displayed accuracy and a great third down presence. If he keeps this up then Jameis Winston will be the backup in Tampa Bay this season.