MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: The first Sunday has big reveals and false positives

Sep 12, 2022, 6:20 AM | Updated: 3:30 pm
Patrick Mahomes...
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of the 2022 season. The league opened their season on Thursday, and on Sunday the action heated up even more.

I like the first week of the regular season. It’s a little nerve wracking because I have to wait until Monday night to see the Broncos play, but Sunday was a thrill ride.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Big Reveals and False Positives

In Week 1, you get big reveals and false positives. For example, with the Dolphins, we got the big reveal of the speed in that offense. Wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill both made big plays and showcased their talents in the new Mike McDaniel offense. Another big reveal we got in Week 1 was the play of Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown. We all know he’s a stud player with Pro Bowls in his future, but it was good to see how Philadelphia made sure to go to him early and often.

There were also some false positives. Every year, there are performances in Week 1 that will not be repeated at any point during the rest of the season. For example, Houston Texans tight end O.J. Howard scored two touchdowns and will be a darling of fantasy GMs this week. However, I don’t believe Howard repeats that performance, and there’s a chance he won’t score two more touchdowns the rest of the season. We’re all excited for football season, but we need to make sure expectations are tempered and wild predictions don’t get bandied about just because of one game.

For a team like the Steelers, you beat the Bengals, but at what cost? Bengals quarterback, young superstar Joe Burrow, had the worst game of his career and the Steelers barely won. This is what I call a false positive. T.J. Watt, arguably the best pass-rusher in the game, may be lost for the rest of the season due to a pec injury from the Bengals game. Also, by winning with lousy veteran quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, it just delays the inevitable debut of 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett. The Steelers are not going anywhere this season, and with that defense, they should play the rookie Pickett just like they leaned on the defense when Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie years ago.

The Broncos don’t face a very good opponent in the Seahawks on Monday night. I don’t want their results to be a false positive. They should look good, but I’m not going to get carried away until the Broncos play a team that could put up a real fight. There’s a good chance the Texans, who put up a fight against a strong Colts team on Sunday, are going to be more of a challenge for the Broncos than the Seahawks will be in Week 1.

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On a Different Level

I know it’s just Week 1, and I don’t want to overreact, but man alive there are teams that just look different than others. Mainly, the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs look like teams that are on a different level from the rest of the teams in the league. There is no doubt they are the elite teams in this league, and it’s going to be tough for the Broncos to beat either team if/when they run up against them in the postseason. In fact, it looks like the Bills and Chiefs are on a collision course for the AFC Championship Game this year after just one week.

I won’t exaggerate (see above), but we’ve been expecting these two teams to be great well before they put on the pads for Week 1. Other teams like the Baltimore Ravens or the Minnesota Vikings (on the NFC side) had good weeks, but they don’t seem to be in the elite tier like the Bills and Chiefs.

We must see on Monday night what tier the Broncos could be on. Seattle is a bad team, so the Broncos – a good team – should be able to win and make it look easy. Yes, there’s emotion involved with the return of Russell Wilson to Seattle. However, I think Wilson won’t react to the emotion of the moment in the same way Peyton Manning did when the Broncos traveled to Indianapolis with Manning for the first time years ago.

A win is all that matters in Week 1. If the Broncos get a W, I won’t be complaining. However, the optics do matter. If they barely win against a bad Seattle team, then questions could arise and some of the concerns might be fair. If the Broncos clown hammer the Seahawks, then everyone will recognize they are the far superior team. The Seahawks are bad, but just how good are the Broncos? We will get a clue on Monday night.

After watching the Broncos throughout training camp and the preseason, I do not believe they are one of the upper-echelon teams in this league – yet. In fact, I think things could be a little rusty on offense in Week 1. Especially in the passing game, there might be some rust that Wilson needs to shake off even though he’s facing an inexperienced Seattle secondary. I don’t think we can fully judge the Broncos in comparison to the Chiefs or the Bills after Week 1. Right now, they are not in the same tier but it’s a long season. If the Broncos progress, they could push one of these teams and perhaps even pull off an upset in the postseason if they cross paths with the league’s best.

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New Coaches Look Good

During the day games on Sunday, there were eight of the 10 new head coaches making their debut. After those eight contests were done, the new head coaches had a record of 5-2-1. So, what could that say about Nathaniel Hackett in his debut?

Being a head coach in this league is much different than being a coordinator or assistant coach. That’s something former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio never understood, and that’s one of the many reasons why he failed. Instead of ignoring one side of the ball, like noted defensive guru Vic Fangio, Hackett needs to manage both sides of the ball. Hackett needs to make sure he gives both sides equal time and attention. Then, there’s things like calling timeouts and challenging calls that a head coach must be dialed in on. From the preseason, it seems like Hackett is well on his way to understanding his full responsibilities as the Broncos head coach.

We’ll see what the Broncos look like on Monday night, and what Hackett does to put his team in the best position to win. He’s a first-time head coach, and on Sunday similar coaches went 4-0 (Mike McDaniel, Matt Eberflus, Kevin O’Connell, Brian Daboll). If the Broncos lose, Hackett would be the only first-time head coach to come out without a victory in Week 1. I have a feeling that won’t be the case.

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D-23 Dominance

Over the weekend, the D-23 Fan Expo took place, and it was making my phone buzz constantly with movie and comic book updates. The D-23 Fan Expo celebrates the Walt Disney Company, and it features news on all their beloved characters and stories for the upcoming years. As a comic book fan, I can count on D-23 to give us teasers about upcoming TV shows and movies that will impact the comic book market.

One Disney-plus show I’ve been looking forward to is “Werewolf by Night.” We are going to see Disney dive into the bronze-age horror comics from the 70s with characters like the Werewolf by Night, Dracula, and others. This is a departure from the somewhat cheesy, and certainly family friendly, Marvel movies and shows from the MCU. This new show “Werewolf by Night” had the first trailer revealed over the weekend, and it looks like an intense experience full of thrills and chills shot in black and white.

One of my favorite Marvel characters, supernatural/vampire hunter Elsa Bloodstone, was featured in this trailer as one of the main characters. Having been a fan of Elsa Bloodstone since she debuted in the first issue of “Bloodstone” back in 2001, this was a dream come true. She is a badass character who has the potential to become one of the biggest fan favorites in the MCU. In addition to the trailer for “Werewolf by Night” we got to see previews and got more information on projects like Thunderbolts, Fantastic Four, Black Panther 2, Ironheart, Star Wars and much, much more.

What are your thoughts on all the trailers shown at D-23? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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