Everyone knows that everything seen in Week 1 of the NFL preseason is exactly what it will be for the 2019 regular season.
Now that every team has played at least one game that doesn't count, it's time to
overreact to the first live action of the NFL season. Here we add a dose of reality to the most hyped storylines coming out of the weekend.
2019 NFL PREDICTIONS:
Standings, playoff projections, Super Bowl pick
Overreaction: Patriots are ready to replace a retiring Tom Brady (again)
Brady and his wife are selling their mansion in Massachusetts. He is set up to be a free agent in 2020. At the same time, while Brady sat out New England's preseason opener, rookie fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham parlayed his strong training camp into a fine debut (14-of-24, 179 yards, TD, 95.7 passer rating) against the Lions.
Stop if you've heard this before: From all accounts, Stidham's talent, toughness, smarts, knowledge of the offense, confidence and poise already make him a worthy heir apparent to Brady. So it looks like the Patriots have their new Jimmy Garoppolo, just in time for Brady's true swan song as a 42-year-old.
After all, Brady will be lost with a limited receiving corps behind Julian Edelman and can't possibly lead his team to a fourth Super Bowl in six years. We've heard all about this perfect story to write him off before. Haven't we learned by now that the GOAT we see is the GOAT we get?
Overreaction: Giants are fast-tracking Daniel Jones to starting status
New York fans are wishing and hoping they saw the end of the end of Eli Manning as the team's starting quarterback when Jones relieved him against the Jets and rated perfectly (5-of-5, 67 yards, TD, 158.3). There's also the sense that Giants officials might have extra motivation to prove all those who doubted Jones' No. 6 overall selection.
But the Giants are methodical with these things, and coach Pat Shurmur already told everyone to "slow their roll." Manning is still the favorite to start in Week 1 when it counts, but Jones is a good bet to start most of the team's games in 2019.
There's no point in rushing to the Jones era for a team playing the long game with its personnel.
Overreaction: Steelers have their surefire Antonio Brown replacement
Pittsburgh's leader to be the new No. 2 starter opposite elevated No. 1 JuJu Smith-Schuster was Donte Moncrief early in training camp. Second-year speedster James Washington, however, made a solid case for that role by catching four balls for 84 yards — including an eight-yard TD and a 43-yard play — against the Buccaneers.
That was an impressive, needed performance from Washington, but his big-time playmaking is not the question mark. It's more about matching the consistency level of Brown to win routes against tough coverage everywhere on the field.
Rookie Diontae Johnson still profiles better as a Brown- or Emmuanuel Sanders-like wideout for Pittsburgh, and despite a recent hip injury, he should be ahead of Washington (and Moncrief) because of his well-roundedness.
Overreaction: Cowboys can't move the ball without Ezekiel Elliott
Dak Prescott got some tune-up work, and Dallas failed to score a touchdown in its 17-9 loss to San Francisco. Among Mike Weber, rookie Tony Pollard and Darius Jackson, none had any highlights running the ball. Without Amari Cooper, there was no pop in the passing game; just a whole bunch of spreading around.
Jerry Jones saw the Zeke backlash coming and went to share his high confidence in Pollard "carrying the whole load." This is on the heels of Jones saying he thinks the Cowboys can win the Super Bowl without Elliott.
Expect the Cowboys to have worked hard on the contingency plan with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and their non-Zeke personnel. Don't expect them to tip their hand on how their offense will really look with or without Elliott.
Overreaction: Ravens are letting Lamar Jackson loose as a passer
The second-year quarterback had a terrific outing early in Baltimore's 29-0 rout of Jacksonville. Jackson was near-perfect efficiency-wise (4-of-6, 59 yards, TD, 138.2 rating) and in full command of Greg Roman's offense. Of those passing yards (9.8 per attempt), 48 came from plays to wide receiver Chris Moore, 30 from an after-the-catch burst and 18 on a downfield throw.
Days before the game, Jackson suggested he would not be running as much as he did as a rookie. But then coach John Harbaugh contradicted that by saying he could see Jackson running as much as Cam Newton did early in his career. The heart of this team is still power running behind a mighty offensive line and complementing it with a pounding defense.
Jackson might have more success with calculated deep passes this season, but that will be because of how much teams respect how the Ravens can run the ball in different ways. Baltimore is built to be league's most run-heavy team, and it can't afford to rely too much on a wide receiving corps that's in flux.