Home / frontsports / The Wolf Sports Newsletter: September 12, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: September 12, 2023

A crazy Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season delivered plenty of highlights. Let’s get right to it.


We’ve moved our weekly newsletter release to Tuesdays to coincide with NFL regular season weeks. The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.


Week 1 NFL recap


✈️ We’ll start with last night, which began with new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaving on his first drive with a lower leg injury. Rodgers had X-rays that were negative, but he couldn’t put any pressure on his left leg and ended up in a walking boot. The Jets have officially called it an ankle injury, but there is fear and expectation that it’s an Achilles injury. Former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson is set to take over as the starter for the Jets.


The New York defense stepped up to help force perhaps the worst game of Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s career (three interceptions, one fumble) and ultimately won on a walk-off overtime punt return touchdown by undrafted rookie and Hard Knocks star Xavier Gipson.



Legit Lions: Detroit beat the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, 21-20, in a highly entertaining NFL season opener. David Montgomery scored the go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown and helped ice the game behind the offensive line. For Kansas City, they were without Travis Kelce (knee) and Chris Jones (holdout), and they were also hurt by dropped passes—though they did not look like themselves overall offensively.


The 49ers picked apart the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 30-7. Christian McCaffrey ran for 152 yards including a 65-yard touchdown, and Brandon Aiyuk caught both touchdowns from Brock Purdy, who looked fantastic and comfortable. Purdy became the first quarterback in NFL history to win his first six regular season starts and throw at least two touchdowns in each start. For Pittsburgh, star defensive lineman Cam Heyward is out several weeks due to a groin injury.



On the day the Patriots honored the legendary Tom Brady in Foxboro, the Eagles held off a tough Patriots squad, 25-20, after building an early 16-0 lead.



Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns (Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns) in Miami’s 36-34 win at the Chargers. Tua’s 466 passing yards is the fourth most in a season opener in league history.


The Rams upset the Seahawks in Seattle, with running back Kyren Williams scoring twice and rookie receiver Puka Nacua catching ten passes for 119 yards in his first career game.


The Cowboys started quick with a blocked field goal and a pick-six on their way to a dominant Sunday night road victory against the Giants.



Other Week 1 games:


  • Browns 24, Bengals 3: Cleveland continues to have the number of Joe Burrow and Cincy, with a superb performance in Jim Schwartz’s first game as the team’s defensive coordinator. Star receiver Ja’Marr Chase was not happy with losing to the rival again.



  • Ravens 24, Texans 9: The Ravens’ highly anticipated passing attack didn’t get much going in less than ideal conditions (as we saw throughout much of the East Coast), and unfortunately running back J.K. Dobbins—a player entering the season looking for a new contract—is out for the year with a torn ACL; offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley (knee) and Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) are week-to-week; and safety Marcus Williams is set to be out a while due to a pectoral injury.
  • Buccaneers 20, Vikings 17: Kirk Cousins had some uncharacteristic turnovers, and 150 receiving yards by the all-world Justin Jefferson wasn’t enough for Minnesota versus a Tampa Bay defense that looked stingy. Baker Mayfield and Chris Godwin connected for a clutch game-sealing out route to get the road win and start 1-0. Next up for the Vikings… The Eagles this Thursday night on Prime Video.
  • Falcons 24, Panthers 10: No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young had a couple of bad interceptions on throws where he simply didn’t see high-priced free agent signing Jessie Bates III ranging the middle of the field for Atlanta. Bijan Robinson’s first NFL touchdown was a sweet one, as he shedded three tackle attempts on a bubble screen.



  • Commanders 20, Cardinals 16: It wasn’t pretty, but the Commanders were able to sneak away with a home victory against the Cardinals to win the first game under the new ownership group.
  • Jaguars 31, Colts 21: Anthony Richardson was impressive in his first career start, but 14 fourth-quarter points from the Jaguars—capped by a 26-yard dash to the end zone by Travis Etienne Jr.—led to a ten-point loss for Indy. Trevor Lawrence gave some friendly advice to Richardson, who was banged up late, by telling him to try to protect himself to stay healthy after the game.
  • Saints 16, Titans 15: In a defensive battle, Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions and Derrick Henry had just 15 carries while New Orleans secured a home win for Derek Carr’s first start.
  • Raiders 17, Broncos 16: Both AFC West squads played hard and tough, but the Raiders and new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made enough plays—including a game-sealing run—to start Sean Payton’s Denver tenure off with a loss. Both star running back Josh Jacobs and star defensive end Maxx Crosby called Garoppolo a “dawg,”and the quarterback with a 41-17 record in his career seems to be acclimating well to his new team.
  • Packers 38, Bears 20: The underrated Packers defense got plenty of pressure on Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who struggled as a passer and could not connect much with new receiver D.J. Moore (two receptions, 25 yards). Offensively, Jordan Love threw three touchdowns (two to Romeo Doubs) and running back Aaron Jones had 127 total yards and two touchdowns on just 11 touches. Head coach Matt LaFleur is 9-0 in his career versus Chicago.



Top fantasy performers in Week 1


  • Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill: 39.0 points
  • Cowboys D/ST: 35.0 points
  • 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk: 28.9 points
  • Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa: 27.14 points
  • Packers RB Aaron Jones: 25.7 points


(point totals are for half PPR scoring)


Contract news


Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow signed the biggest contract in NFL history.


  • Burrow’s contract had been almost a formality, but it’s officially a five-year, $275 million deal.
  • The highest-paid player in NFL history has changed four times since the end of the season, going from Jalen Hurts to Lamar Jackson to Justin Herbert to now Burrow.
  • Burrow’s Bengals were shut down by the Browns in Week 1, scoring just three points.


49ers reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension.


  • The deal makes Bosa the highest paid defender in NFL history, and it comes after the star defensive end held out all summer.
  • Bosa had his 2020 season wiped out due to a torn ACL, but he came back and recorded 15.5 sacks and 18.5 sacks the past two years.
  • The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft turns just 26 next month.


Chiefs All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones is back after missing the season opener, agreeing to a revised contract.



  • With the new agreement, Jones can reportedly earn more money via incentives this season.


Cooper Kupp hits IR


❌ The Rams placed Cooper Kupp (hamstring) on injured reserve.



  • Kupp had been ruled out ahead of Week 1, but he was then also placed on injured reserve on Saturday.
  • This move forces Kupp out for at least the first four games of the year.
  • The hope is that he can get to 100% health and into playing shape in the next month to be ready to go in Week 5.


NFL Sunday Ticket review


We tested the first week of NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV.


  • The good: If you set up a few big-screen televisions, you can watch every game at once more easily than with DirecTV given the unlimited screens offered by YouTube TV (keeping in mind one or two of the televisions will show the local games not available on Sunday Ticket). Additionally, the ability to do 2-game, 3-game, or 4-game multiview allows you to see each game bigger than the Game Mix on DirecTV.
  • The bad: Finding the games and multiview options was more difficult than it should be. Overall, the interface could use improvement. And the changing of the sound between games while on multiview was delayed by up to 30 seconds.


Other Sports Updates


Quinn Ewers threw three touchdowns as No. 11 Texas took down No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.



Sticking with college football, Deion Sanders and Colorado improved to 2-0 with a 36-14 win over Nebraska. Caleb Williams threw more touchdowns (three) than incompletions (two) in USC’s rout of Stanford. And Clemson bounced back this past weekend against Charleston Southern, but they lost their season opener to Duke on Labor Day.


Also, Michigan State has suspended head coach Mel Tucker (without pay) for allegedly sexually harassing prominent rape survivor Brenda Tracy. Harlon Barnett has been named the program’s interim head coach, and former longtime MSU head coach Mark Dantonio will contribute as the associate head coach.


American tennis star Coco Gauff won the US Open for her first major title. On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic won the US Open for his 24th grand slam title.




In Case You Missed It