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NFL: Week 1 winners and losers

After a thrilling first round of fixtures, we take a look at the winners and losers in the NFL from Week 1.


Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens

Jackson was one of the big stories going into Week 1 after walking away from the negotiating table and backing himself to play his way to more guaranteed money than the Baltimore Ravens were prepared to offer at this stage of his career.

He did all right as the Ravens, who were beset by injuries last year, blew the New York Jets away at Metlife Stadium, 24-9.

Jackson threw 17 completions from 30 attempts for 213 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

And, while he appeared reluctant to test his legs, he did manage one incredible third-down scramble to keep a key drive alive when all seemed lost.

Not vintage stuff, but the ball looks like it's going to be firmly in the Ravens' court next year if the quarterback leads them to impressive victories like this.

Saquon Barkley

Barkley may be the only superstar name in the NFL with more at stake this season than Jackson. Both came out of the loaded 2018 draft that saw four QBs taken in the first round as the New York Giants faced flak for passing on Josh Allen and the Ravens star to select a running back.

Nobody was complaining when Barkley exploded onto the scene as a rookie with over 2,000 all-purpose yards, but the naysayers turned up the volume when injuries struck him down in years three and four.

The Giants hedged their bets on the Bronx-born back last year by picking up his fifth-year contract option, but if he carries the ball as well as he did on Sunday, they will be rushing to get him signed up on a long-term extension.

Barkley looked back to his best as he ran for 164 yards, a touchdown, and caught six passes for 30 yards in New York's 21-20 comeback win over the Tennessee Titans.

Von Miller

The two-time Super Bowl winner raised a few eyebrows when he chose to leave Los Angeles for unfashionable Buffalo in free agency just weeks after helping the star-studded Rams end their 23-year wait for a second Lombardi Trophy.

But his reasons for flipping to the Bills, if not already evident, became crystal clear at SoFi Stadium in Week 1 as Sean McDermott's team dominated in all phases to beat the Rams 31-10.

Miller had two sacks and three tackles for loss against his former team, sparking a Bills pass rush that didn't get enough pressure up front in 2021 to take Stafford down a total of seven times in the backfield.

After just one start for the Bills, who also forced three fumbles, he looks like he could be the former missing piece for Buffalo's championship jigsaw.

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There were 15 missed kicks in the 14 games that were played on the NFL's opening Sunday with the Jaguars, Jets and Texans among the teams whose kickers missed makeable field goals in the early games.

The Bengals and Steelers went to overtime after Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson had an extra point blocked as time expired. McPherson then traded missed FG attempts in the extra period with Pittsburgh's Chris Boswell before the Steelers kicker then drilled his second attempt to give them the 23-20 win.

Tennessee's Randy Bullock missed from 47 yards as time expired and the Titans lost to the Giants.

Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship sent two kickoffs out of bounds for penalties, and then missed the game-winning 42-yard FG in overtime.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys

It was awful news for the injury-prone QB and the Cowboys after Prescott was injured in their season-opening 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.

He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a thumb injury that was sustained in the fourth quarter when he hit the hand of outside linebacker Shaq Barrett while throwing a pass.

America's Team will now go with fifth-year back-up Cooper Rush as their starting quarterback from next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Prescott, who didn't miss a game in his first four seasons, missed 12 games over the previous two with the Cowboys going 5-7 in his absence.

The Green Bay Packers

It was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Packers going to Minnesota without All-Pro offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, former Pro Bowl tackle Elgton Jenkins and top receiver Allen Lazard.

The Vikings churned out another big win over the Cheeseheads as Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times and pressured heavily throughout. The reigning regular season MVP finished 22-of-34 for 195 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, one fumble and a 67.6 passer rating.

Don't put all of their 23-7 defeat on Rodgers though as the Packers' secondary was continually burnt by Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson and Green Bay's receiving corps were off their game - second-round rookie Christian Watson dropping a perfectly-delivered ball on their first play which should have resulted in a 75-yard TD.

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