“If you’re the same team you are Week 1 that you are Week 17, 16, then you’re not making very good strides. You’re probably not a postseason team.”
Those were the words of Brian Hartline following the Miami Dolphins’ 23-10 season-opening win against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday.
It certainly makes sense – as a team, you always want to improve. By the time it’s all said and done, you will be just a vague, nearly unrecognizable form of your first-week self. Whether or not that’s good or bad depends on how you play in the games in-between.
So, if we were to look at the results of the NFL’s first week, we would be bound to these conclusions:
- No one in the AFC North will win a game
- Peyton Manning is not a human being
- That the New York Jets would live in a universe where they are considered a good team
- The Eagles’ offense and Colin Kaepernick will always put up more than 400 yards of offense
- You’re going to get rid of your entire fantasy team in a blinding rage
Of course, some of these storylines could very well play out as truth over the course of the season. The Browns could remain as hapless as ever and Manning will throw seven touchdowns every game.
But the overwhelming majority of Week 1 stories will fizzle out quickly, most by the time Sunday’s slate of games kicks off.
This doesn’t stop anyone from flying off the handle, though. After all, this is only a 17-week season, and most people want you to believe that every. single. thing. that. happens. is a storyline for the year and will play the ultimate role in a team’s fate.
The key is to keep the big picture in mind, and to understand that not everything has an earth-shattering importance attached to it.
Teams always, without a doubt, change throughout the season in some way or another. There is the notion that a team can’t be accurately analyzed until its played at least four or five games.
Let’s trying practicing that for once, okay?