Week 1 of the NFL season gave us some great games and several great performances – here are some Week 1 highlights:

Drew Brees – QB, New Orleans Saints – Despite the Saints falling to the Oakland Raiders 35-34, Drew Brees had a phenomenal first week. He passed for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns, while posting a 131.3 passer rating. Brees was flanked by top receiver Brandon Cooks (more on him in a minute) and potential breakout player Willie Snead, who both posted fantastic numbers. Brees, the true the focal point of this high-powered Saints offense, seems to be on pace to have another fantastic year.

Brandon Cooks – WR, New Orleans Saints – The Brees and Cooks combination was cooking (cringe pun intended) all game long for the Saints. Cooks had six catches for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns -he was also on the receiving end of the longest passing touchdown in the history of the Saints franchise, 98 yards. Look for much more greatness from this speedy wideout throughout the rest of the year.

C.J. Anderson – RB, Denver Broncos – Anderson really was the difference maker in the Broncos win over the Carolina Panthers. He had two touchdowns on 139 total yards – he was a great security blanket for former seventh round pick QB Trevor Siemian in his first ever NFL start. C.J. Anderson came up clutch on several third downs and had a plethora of explosive runs throughout the Broncos season opener. Anderson figures to have an expanded role in the Broncos offense this year and if Thursday night was anything to go by, C.J. Anderson is in for a huge year.

Leonard Williams – DT/DE, New York Jets – The former USC Trojan lived up to his potential in the Jets first game of 2016. The former sixth overall pick had 2.5 sacks in his team’s first game. Leonard Williams was a monster in the trenches and a matchup nightmare for the Bengals. Unfortunately for the Jets, Williams’ 2.5 sacks were not enough, and the Jets fell to the Bengals 23-22. With a few more games like the one this past Sunday, the young defensive lineman has a great chance to make 2016 his breakout year.

Kwon Alexander – MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kwon Alexander was perhaps the best overall defender in Week 1 of the NFL season. He flew around the field for 17 tackles and 1 sack in the Buccaneers season opener, a 31-24 win over NFC South division rival Atlanta Falcons. Since being drafted in the 4th round by Tampa Bay in 2015, Alexander has been a starter at middle linebacker on this young Buccaneers defense. Expect great things from this young star in 2016.

A.J. Green – WR, Cincinnati Bengals – Honestly, nothing A.J. Green does should surprise us. He has been one of the NFL’s top receivers since coming into the league in 2011. In fact, A.J. Green has topped 1,000 yards in each of his five full NFL seasons. He is on pace to do it again in 2016. Green had 12 catches for 180 yards and 1 touchdown in the Bengals win over the Jets – proving himself to be a fantastic safety net for QB Andy Dalton. A.J. Green is going to be more important than ever for the Bengals this year, because without recently departed wide receivers Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) and Marvin Jones (Lions), A.J. is going to have to increase his production from a year ago. One thing is for certain – he is definitely capable.


Published by Joseph Lowery