The single biggest thing that bettors need to remember after the first week of the NFL season is that we really don't know much. Casual fans and lazy media members will panic about bad play and embrace strong play in the first week. Smarter people realize that prizes aren't won in September and that it is a long season.
Remember, for example, that last year Seattle was just 3-3 after six games and looked pretty bad, but things turned out alright for them in the end - at least until the very end. With that in mind, though, there are inevitably some lessons to be learned after one week of action. Think of these more not as things we know for sure but as things we think we know after a week:
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Foles has found a home: Giving up on Sam Bradford was risky - the kind of move that can backfire if the former No. 1 pick can stay healthy and deliver on his massive potential. It was a lot easier to take, though, when Nick Foles came back in return. People watching this game - and there was a real shortage of St. Louis fans in the home stadium thanks to the horrible ownership they have to deal with - this had to be a very comforting game. Foles wasn't outstanding, but he was very solid. Solid in the best sense of the word. He was efficient. He avoided mistakes. His offense looked composed around him. He didn't get flustered in the late moments of the game or in overtime. He played just like we know he is capable of - and that is exactly what St. Louis needs from him. Add the competence of Foles to the ferociousness of that defensive front for the Rams and they could have the makings of something impressive to watch this year - even if no one at home watches them.
Jameis is not doomed: There are a lot of people who, after the opening matchup between the top two quarterbacks selected in last year's draft, are saying that the Bucs made a mistake in taking Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota. Those people are morons. I'm not saying that Winston will be better in the long run. In fact, I like Mariota a little better. It's just insane to think that one game means anything - even if Mariota did look all-World in that game. The fact is that if Winston played anyone else it would be an entirely different narrative. He wasn't good, but he had his moments. He wasn't uniformly terrible, though he had those moments, too. In short, he looked like a raw rookie - which he is. He also looked like he plays on a really bad team - which he does. There is only so much that any quarterback can do, and a rookie isn't going to fix the Tampa woes in a hurry. Let that be the lesson of the first week - not anything about how Winston will fare in his career or how he compares to that guy in Tennessee. As for Mariota, some perspective is helpful there, too. We can draw an interesting parallel to another current Pac-12 quarterback. In his first game at UCLA two weeks back stud true freshman QB Josh Rosen looked about as good in his debut in college as Mariota looked in the NFL. Last weekend, against a much weaker opponent, Rosen looked like, well, a freshman. Rookie quarterbacks are all about peaks and valleys - even Marcus Mariota.
Buffalo is buying what Rex is selling: I don't yet truly believe in the Bills - the Colts did as much to beat themselves as the Bills did, and that crowd was a huge asset for Buffalo. What was clear after one game, though, is that the aura of Rex Ryan is working for the players right now. They believe in their coach, and they are happy to be playing for him. That won't last forever, but as long as it does it makes this team dangerous and fun to watch. It also sets up the most interesting showdown with New England that we have seen in a long time.
Gronk still creates mismatches: Speaking of the Patriots, it's amazing to me to think about what Rob Gronkowski did on Thursday night. He owned that game - a total beast. Everyone in the world knew that Brady was going to look for him early and often in that game, but the Steelers couldn't do anything about it. If you double him up Brady makes you pay for it elsewhere - or Gronk just catches the ball anyway. If you put a linebacker on him, well, it's a disaster. Things that once worked in the NFL have a habit of not working anymore - and sooner than you usually think. The fact that Gronkowski is still such a force is amazing.
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