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Top Performances to Expect in NFL Week 1

Time for quarterbacks to take off the non-contact jerseys and for offensive play-callers to put away their vanilla call sheets. The NFL is back for real, and these are the top performances to watch out for this weekend.

The Arms in the NFL AFC West

We talked a lot this offseason about the four quarterbacks in the NFL AFC West, and two of them are in for huge games on Sunday, and coming against each other.

Justin Herbert and the Chargers ranked third last season in Real Quarterback Rating – the definitive measurement of overall quarterback efficiency as tabulated by Cold, Hard Football Facts. Sunday’s NFL opponent, the Raiders, finished the year 24th in Defensive Real Quarterback.

Herbert was godlike in his performance against Las Vegas in Week 18, throwing for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if he gets to 400 on Sunday.

In that Week 18 game it was less about the pass for Las Vegas, but that changes now that Davante Adams is a Raider. The Chargers new addition, cornerback J.C. Jackson, will not play in Week 1. That means the Carr to Adams connection will be used early and often. Carr will also be over 300 and three touchdowns by the end of the game.

Wide Receivers Go Wild

The Bears might be the worst team in the NFL, and the deficiencies are across the board. The offensive line is abysmal, and the secondary is going to get torched all season long. That will begin in Week 1 by the 49ers and Deebo Samuel.

Chicago ranked 22nd last year in Cold, Hard Football Facts’ Defensive Real Quarterback Rating, and Kyle Shanahan is going to want to make things easy for his young quarterback by putting the ball in his playmaker’s hand. Samuel will have a field day both running and catching the ball on Sunday, going for 150 total yards.

The Packers defense was good in 2021, except when it came to Total Team Yards Allowed, another Cold, Hard Football Facts stat. There they ranked just 21st last year, and they open this season against a new offense in Minnesota, and a more dangerous NFL offense.

Kevin O’Connell had such great success last season as the Rams offensive coordinator, and now he gets to scheme for Justin Jefferson as the Vikings new head coach, getting Jefferson to 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his season debut.

Home Run Running Backs

Long gone are the days of ground and pound running backs. This is the era of the big hitter, and we’ll see a number of big runs this week.

Jonathan Taylor ran for 288 yards and scored four touchdowns against the Texans in two games last season. He will get to 145 on Sunday, including a touchdown of more than 50 yards.

If the Eagles have a weakness it is stopping the run. They ranked just 28th last season in Defensive Rusher Rating. That means that we should see a big game from the Lions, D’Andre Swift. He twice went over 130 last season, and don’t be surprised if he does the same thing Sunday against Philadelphia.

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