Week 2 players and match-ups to watch!

By Lawrence Edwards

WHAT A WEEK! Before we get started let’s look at what we learned from last week’s games…

  1. The Patriots defense is vulnerable, particularly against the run. Yea I know it’s week 1 but I have never seen a worse start for Belichek and Brady ever!
  2. The year of the rookie running back is off to a good start. Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Tarik Cohen exploded on the scene during their respective rookie debuts, with Cohen being a pleasant surprise to Bears fans
  3. The Giants offensive line is still the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen…
  4. Matthew Stafford so far is playing like a man who just got PAID!

Now that that refresher is over let’s look to week 2 shall we?

Two 1st ballot hall of famers, two multiple record holding QB’s, two of the most prolific QB’s of my generation, Two QB’s who stood and watched as they were out ‘quarterbacked’ and their defense was smoked by ‘lesser’ QBs and two rookie RBs… New England and New Orleans, two completely different cities and cultures got off to a similar start. The Patriots were destroyed on their home turf by Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt and the Saints were slaughtered by Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook on the road. The good thing for the Saints is they get to play for the home crowd in their dome which has given them great advantage in the past years, the bad news is they play an angry hoodies Belichek and red eyed Tom Brady. After watching Sam Bradford and Stephon Diggs rip apart the Saints defense, Tom Brady is at home Birdman rubbing his hands as he watches game tape. I expect a little bounce back from the Pats defense but not by much. The Saints defense? Not so much. We could be in for a high scoring affair in The Big Easy.

Pats 38 Saints 28

The Steelers took care of business on the road against the Browns as expected and the defense had a stellar outing. The Vikings wiped the floor with the Saints and the defense was spectacular against Drew Brees. However for this game I can see a little less defense, not terrible but these two defensive units won’t perform like they did last week. The Vikings are not the Browns and their offense, albeit against a bad Saints defense, was running like a well oiled machine. On the other side the Steelers are not as QB dependent as New Orleans. Stephon Diggs and Adam Theilen are proving to be viable receiving threats who should be taken seriously and who you have to game plan for and don’t forget to add in rookie Dalvin Cook who is off to a good start to his career. The Steelers have a dynamic trio of their own in Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant. With both of these teams having the types of threats on offense as they do, it can make for some sparks on Sunday. However, I’m going with the home team here the Steelers trio is far better than the Vikings trio but that gap could close a little as the season goes on.

Vikings 24 Steelers 31

Kareem Hunt exploded on the scene and made his presence known last Thursday night with 22 overall touches (17 rushing 5 receiving) for 246 yards from scrimmage and 3 total TD’s and Alex Smith went off on their way to a rout of the Patriots. The Eagles had a good game against the Redskins and sent them packing in their own stadium with a 30-17 win. Carson Wentz had a great outing with 307 yards and 2 TD’s and I’m interested in seeing if he can show some more of that escape magic with a healthy Justin Houston gunning for him. Alshon Jeffery was a bit of a non-factor against the Redskins, I expect the same this week, assuming he will have Marcus Peters covering him. The Chiefs should keep rolling here. The weapons Kansas City have on the offense and a healthy Justin Houston will make it tough for the Eagles. It also doesn’t help they will be playing in one of the noisiest stadiums in the league and the Chiefs will be looking to give their home crowd a similar performance from last week not mention Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are the real deal.

Eagles 17 Chiefs 31

One of the best defensive lines in the NFL and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL go head-to-head in the trenches… Something has got to give!

Dallas pulled out a tough win against a top defense last Sunday night and Dak had an efficient game. Ezekiel Elliot topped 100 rushing yards and the Cowboys defeated the New York Giants 19-3. The defense took advantage of the Giants weak offensive line held Eli and company to 3 points. The Denver Broncos defense started Monday night looking dominant as ever – however they did allow a late comeback by Phillip Rivers – and Trevor Siemian had one of his best performances against a good Chargers defense. He finished with 219 yards and 2 TD’s. If the Dallas Cowboys get behind or try to feature Dak more and pass in the redzone and short yardage situations like they did last week, they will be in for a long day. Unlike the Giants the Denver offense can move the ball and keep their defense from tiring out. This game is hard to call because so many ‘if’ factors play into both sides. I picked Denver to win this game a few times earlier in the week but at the moment my gut is telling me to pick Dallas. If they pound the rock with Zeke and control clock and not try to get fancy with passing so much then Dallas takes this game with ball control and TOP, but if Scott Linehan tries to get cute, particularly in the redzone and short yardage situations then Denver defense will take advantage. Something tells me Dallas will feature Zeke to keep Von Miller off Dak’s back.

Dallas 24 Denver 20

We get a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game and I know the Packers are out for redemption after the Falcons spoiled their Super Bowl hopes. The game is again in Atlanta and Matt Ryan and his offense overall looked good but they struggled against the Bears defense. The defense also almost allowed a late game win steal had it not been for a few TD’s drops by the Bears as time ran out. The Packers however found moderate success themselves against the always good and tough Seattle defense. The Packers defense also smothered and had Russell Wilson running all night and held the Seahawk defense to just 9 points. Rookie Tarik Cohen had breakout game against the Atlanta defense and the Pack utilizes Ty Montgomery in the same way but with an elite HOF quarterback to throw him the ball. Look for Montgomery to have a stellar outing out of the back field and Rodgers to have more opportunities against a softer defense. Green Bay gets its revenge here.

Packers 34 Falcons 24

 

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