Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Week 1 stats: 25/32 passing, 288 yards, 4 touchdowns
It's Tom Brady's world; we're just living in it. After a relatively quiet offseason (just kidding), Tom Brady returned to the gridiron last Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers to do what he does best: sling the pigskin. As always, he made it look easy and played a near-perfect game (can't forget those seven incompletions). Rob Gronkowski ended up being his favorite target - to nobody's surprise - and the duo connected for three touchdowns. In his 16th season, Brady looks as good as ever, so the rumors that he's actually a Terminator might be true.
Chad Henne (Jacksonville Jaguars)
If not for Blake Bortles suffering some injuries last year, Chad Henne probably would have never seen the field in 2014. Therefore, there's a high probability he doesn't see it in 2015. Chad's never been consistent (or good) enough to warrant confidence in him being a full-time starter at quarterback, which is too bad. He's probably looking at being a backup for the rest of his career, unless the Cleveland Browns somehow get their hands on him.
Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Week 1 stats: 5 carries for 19 yards, 2 receptions for 26 yards
With 488 rushing yards in the last seven games of the 2014 season, Robinson finally started to show Jacksonville and the rest of the league what he was capable of doing. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to stop the Jaguars from drafting T.J. Yeldon this year, who is now the starter despite Denard getting "far more reps [than Yeldon] in the preseason." This tells me the coaching staff still believes in him and could be hoping for a two-headed monster in Yeldon and Robinson. It's too bad the Jaguars are a miserable football team. In Week 1, Denard saw less than a quarter of the offensive snaps and failed to do much with his limited action. Hopefully that changes because everyone loves Denard (and he's also on my fantasy team).
Fitzgerald Toussaint (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Toussaint ended up in Baltimore last year, where he saw action in four games. This offseason he couldn't make the cut, and the Ravens dropped him. Pittsburgh signed him to their practice squad two days later. It's likely that he remains there the rest of the year.
Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)
Avants numbers have been steadily declining since peaking from 2009-12. In his 10th NFL season, he's found his third home in Kansas City. At this point in his career, Avant brings those intangibles, such as 'veteran presence,' to a team, and his experience as a slot receiver will likely be used in short-yardage situations as he's probably not going to blow the top off of a defense anymore. He only played on 11 snaps in Week 1 and recorded no stats; however, a hip strain he's been dealing with since near the end of the preseason may be to blame for his limited action.
Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)
Week 1 stats: 1 reception for 9 yards
I still find myself daydreaming about the thought of Funchess staying at Michigan and being here now with Harbaugh. Instead, he's the fourth option for Cam Newton in Carolina where they need all the help they can get after losing star wideout Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL. In Week 1, Devin played on 26 offensive snaps and was targeted twice, catching one and dropping the other. He'll need to hold on to the ball if he wants more playing time.
Taylor Lewan (Tennessee Titans)
As a rookie, Lewan started in six of the Titans first 11 games last year before suffering an ankle injury. Now, he's healed up and the started at left tackle in Tennessee. After calling the 2014 Titans offensive line "soft," Lewan will be looked upon to be the anchor of their line for years to come. During the Marcus Mariota show in Week 1, Lewan played on 48 (81%) offensive snaps and 6 (23%) special teams snaps.
David Molk (Philadelphia Eagles)
Molk came to Philly last year to fill-in for some injured Eagles. He played in seven games, starting in four, and was expected to be the backup center this season. Unfortunately, he was placed on season-ending injured reserve today after suffering a torn biceps Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
Patrick Omameh (Chicago Bears)
After starting all 16 games last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Omameh failed to make the 53-man roster in Florida and ended up in the Windy City. He's currently second on the depth chart at right guard and is likely a depth signing for Chicago. In Week 1, he didn't see any action on offense and only played on six special teams snaps.
Michael Schofield (Denver Broncos)
Denver used a third-round pick in 2014 to grab Schofield and then proceeded to keep him on the active roster without giving him any game action the entire season. After an up and down preseason for Schofield, it seems like his status will remained unchanged for the time being as he didn't play in Week 1. To be fair, he didn't do himself any favors with a horrible showing in the final preseason game. It'll be interesting to see how this develops as the season goes on.
Alan Branch (New England Patriots)
Week 1 stats: 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 assist)
In New England, Branch hopes to find a fresh start à la Randy Moss after a rough 2014. First, after signing a three-year contract extension with the Bill, he failed his conditioning test in July. Then, he was arrested for a DUI during preseason, leading to the Bills releasing him. But he ended up signing with the Patriots in October and resigned for two years worth up to $6.6 million this offseason. In Week 1, he didn't see many defensive snaps - just 12 - but managed two tackles anyways. This year will be one of redemption for Branch if he can keep his act together.
Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)
Week 1 stats: 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 assist)
Martin has spent his entire career in Tennessee mainly as rotational depth on their defensive line. Music City Miracle summarized his status before the start of preseason:
[He] has had a pretty disappointing career thus far...between injury and overall poor play he has not seen the field too much throughout his career...it would not be surprising to see Martin on the way out.
However, Martin remained a Titan after roster cuts and sits third on the depth chart at defensive tackle. In Week 1, he played on 20 (27%) defensive snaps and a couple of special teams plays.
Kenny Demens (Arizona Cardinals)
In Arizona, Demens has mostly played on special teams, and that's where he's starting 2015. Revenge of the Birds summarized him this offseason as "solid on defense and...a very good special teams player." He played on 20 special teams snaps in Week 1 but failed to record any stats. Also, like many Wolverines fans, he enjoyed De'Veon Smith's performance against Oregon State:
#4 running how them old school Michigan running backs used to!— Kenny Demens (@kdemens25) September 12, 2015
Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)
Week 1 stats: 3 tackles (2 solo, 1 assist)
2015 could finally be the year of Brandon Graham after the lifetime Eagle signed a four-year, $26 million contract in March, and he's starting the season as a starter for the first time in his career. He lost ten pounds to prepare for the increased workload, and Bleeding Green Nation expects him to have a career-year. Heck, Graham set the bar for himself at 32 sacks on the season, saying, "Hey, let me tell you, two per game. That's all. Take it how you want it. I ain't saying nothing but two per game." He may have fallen short of that two per game goal in Week 1, but by all accounts, Graham should be in for a solid season.
David Harris (New York Jets)
Week 1 stats: 8 tackles (6 solo, 2 assist), 1 sack
Entering his 9th season as a central piece in the Jets defense, Harris looks to extend his streak of 100+ tackle seasons to four in 2015. He's already on his way with a solid performance in the season opener that saw him on defense for 99% of the snaps.
Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)
Week 1 stats: 1 tackle (1 solo)
After a solid preseason, Ryan was a lock to make the Packers 53-man roster. He figured to be a rotational backup for the season, barring injuries to those ahead of him. Well, following today's report that Green Bay's starting inside linebacker Sam Barrington is out for the season with an ankle injury, Ryan is now one of two full-time inside linebackers on the roster. While he only played on special teams in Week 1, look for that to change in Week 2.
LaMarr Woodley (Arizona Cardinals)
Week 1 stats: 2 tackles (2 solo)
After suffering a torn biceps in 2014 and being cut by Oakland in the offseason, Woodley ended up in Arizona where he's currently the starting strongside linebacker. He played on a little over 50% of the Cardinals defensive plays and recorded a pair of tackles.
Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)
Week 1 stats: 3 tackles (2 solo, 1 assist)
With two torn Achilles in the past four years, Leon Hall has lost a step after being a force in the secondary early in his career. His spot on the Bengals roster was never in jeopardy this offseason; however, his starting spot wasn't guaranteed. He competed with with Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Adam 'Pacman' Jones and currently sits second on the depth chart behind Jones and Kirkpatrick. But if Hall stays healthy and consistent while Pacman continues to attack opposing players, this may not last long. Even so, Hall played on 62% of Cincinnati's defensive snaps this week and recorded a trio of tackles.
Jordan Kovacs (Miami Dolphins)
Since leaving Michigan, Kovacs spent 2013 jumping between Miami's practice squad and active roster before being dropped during roster cuts in 2014. He ended up on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad for the start of the season, and the Dolphins ending up re-signing him due to injuries last November. This offseason, Jordan may have been the last player to make Miami's 53-man roster, due in large part to starting safety Louis Delmas tearing his ACL. He will likely be second on the depth chart for most of the season, but he should still see action. In Week 1, he played on 15 snaps, all special teams.
Ryan Mundy (Chicago Bears)
In 2014, Mundy started in all 16 games for the Bears, recorded a career-high four interceptions with on returned for a touchdown, and tallied over 100 tackles. Unfortunately for Ryan, his season ended before it began as he was placed on season ending injury reserve in late August due to a hip injury.
Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)
Week 1 stats: 7 tackles (5 solo, 2 assist)
Woodson's still cruising through the twilight of his playing days as a Raider after signing another one-year contract this offseason. Unfortunately, it's unclear when Woodson will play again after suffering a separated shoulder near the end of the Raiders blowout loss this week. Woodson hasn't missed any time since rejoining the Raiders two years ago. The fact that this happened on a meaningless play near the end of a shellacking - a play that did not require Woodson's presence on the field - makes it suck that much more.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The only correct choice
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The sack gave him an edge over Woodson
WEEK TWO MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Tom Brady vs. the Bills Secondary
The Bills secondary absolutely stifled Andrew Luck and the Colts on Sunday, limiting him to 243 yards passing and forcing two interceptions. While Tom Brady seemed to be in sync with his receivers last Thursday (re: Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski), look for the Bills to disrupt the Patriots' passing game a bit. This is also a home game for Buffalo, so the fans will be trying their hardest to disrupt Brady and the rest of the offense.
ADVANTAGE: Bills Secondary
Charles Woodson vs. Steve Smith
NOTE: This assumes Woodson plays, which looks unlikely given his shoulder injury.
The Raiders-Ravens game this coming weekend will feature two veterans matching up against one another in Charles Woodson and Steve Smith. However, Woodson suffered a right shoulder injury during the game this past weekend against the Bengals, and his status for Sunday's game is unknown. If he plays, though, look for a little revenge by Woodson: the last time these two players were matched against one another, Smith caught 6 passes for 156 yards.
ADVANTAGE: Steve Smith
LaMarr Woodley vs. the Bears Offensive Line
The Bears offensive line is somewhat of a question mark heading into this season, with only left tackle Jermon Bushrod starting in the same position that he did in 2014. Although the line struggled mightily in the preseason, on Sunday they allowed the running backs to gain 189 yards and provided stable protection for Jay Cutler for the majority of the game. However, if they perform as they did in the preseason, watch for LaMarr Woodley to have a solid performance on Sunday.
ADVANTAGE: LaMarr Woodley