Week two in the NFL is upon us! Now we can finally start to figure out these teams and where they really fit in the league landscape. More division match-ups, fights to avoid 0-2, and maybe the best Sunday night game of the year are among this week’s storylines. Let’s kick off The Opening Drive!
(1-0) St. Louis Rams at
(0-1) Atlanta Falcons
The Rams came out on top against the Cardinals in week one, a team we’re all trying to figure out. Now they get a real test versus the Falcons, who will be heartily trying to avoid an 0-2 start to their 2013 season. Julio Jones will be a game-time decision, adding uncertainty to a Falcon receiving corps that already has a banged-up Roddy White. This will be closer than you think and is my choice for Trap of the Week!
(0-1) Carolina Panthers at
(0-1) Buffalo Bills
Carolina went to war against the Seahawks last week, which should be cause for optimism. The Panther offense may not be hitting on all cylinders yet, but their defense should be more than enough to control Buffalo’s running game and make E.J. Manuel try and out-duel Cam Newton.
(0-1) Washington Offensive Names at
(0-1) Green Bay Packers
Sorry Washington, I don’t see you beating Green Bay at their place. I don’t see you out-scoring Aaron Rodgers. And I don’t see the Packers going to 0-2. RG3 is going to continue to make progress on his clearly still-awkward leg, but he won’t be ready enough to carry this team on his back just yet.
(1-0) Miami Dolphins at
(1-0) Indianapolis Colts
I’m on record as not totally buying into the Colts. And the Dolphins have a shot to be at or around the same level when the season ends. Their offense isn’t as potent as Indy’s can be, but the Dolphin defense is head-and-shoulders better. I’m not surprised Miami is a one point road favorite. I’m still not going to touch this game with a ten-foot cattle prod.
(1-0) Dallas Cowboys at
(1-0) Kansas City Chiefs
Now we can see if the Cowboys can force bunches of turnovers from a team designed to not take those types of chances. Alex Smith won’t toss up three picks to the Cowboys, will he? Expect to see Monte Kiffin’s run defense tested against Jamaal Charles, a test it didn’t see against the Giants in week one. Hold onto your butts KC, you might just equal your 2012 win total this weekend.
(0-1) San Diego Chargers at
(1-0) Philadelphia Eagles
I have no reason to trust either of these teams, both of which had great first halves in their week one outings. In Philly, I’d give the nod to the Eagles, whose fast-paced offense was the “belle of the ball” in week one. San Diego will still be without linebacker Manti Te’o, who hasn’t practiced at all during the regular season. His girlfriend will be in attendance.
(0-1) Cleveland Browns at
(0-1) Baltimore Ravens
Ugh. The Ravens can be relied upon to score just a few more points than the Browns right now. Baltimore’s tight end situation is a travesty and their wide receivers really only go one deep. Browns QB Brandon Weeden had some terrible decisions against the Dolphins, but this game will go a long way in determining if he’s ready to run this offense. This score will be about as ugly as the Bengals-Steelers point totals. AFC North. Ugh.
(1-0) Tennessee Titans at
(1-0) Houston Texans
Tennessee isn’t a fancy offensive team like the Chargers tried to be Monday night. They are aggressive at the line of scrimmage and try to run the ball up your grill consistently. If they can see success early they might hold off a Houston team that had its issues scoring last week. Otherwise Matt Schaub and company shouldn’t have trouble out-pacing the Titan offense.
(1-0) Detroit Lions at
(0-1) Arizona Cardinals
The Lions give me fits. Were I an actual fan of theirs, I would be drive insane by their ability to play so well and so poorly at the same time. This week their defensive front gets to take advantage of a weakened Cardinal offensive line without the threat of a legitimate running game. Carson Palmer will attempt to get the ball into Larry FItzgerald’s hands at every opportunity. So the Cards could hold serve at home, if they don’t let Reggie Bush scamper all over their field.
(1-0) New Orleans Saints at
(0-1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints whupping the Bucs is probably the safest bet of the weekend. If you bet on such things. (Which you shouldn’t.) The Bucs’ offense is struggling mightily and gets to go up against a new-look Saints D. And will all the upgrades in the Tampa secondary be enough to heavily slow down Drew Brees and that offense? Last time I checked, Darelle Revis doesn’t cover tight ends. Jimmy Graham might go off.
(0-1) Jacksonville Jaguars at
(0-1) Oakland Raiders
Oh man. Hold on. I’m gonna throw up.
Now that’s been expunged, this game should be hella-fun. Terrelle Pryor versus Chad Henne? This game could be Turnover Central. …Not that I’ll be watching all that closely. There are going to be so many better games on in the afternoon slot. (But it’ll be fun it you have to watch it.)
(1-0) Denver Broncos at
(0-1) New York Giants
MANNING BOWL BRAH. As if, besides for the coin toss, a Manning would actually be on the field at the same time with another Manning. They won’t be, FYI. What will be on the field are two secondaries with major issues. Champ Bailey will be out yet again for Denver, while the Giants are still cobbling things together as Prince Amukamara will be coming back from a concussion. I know counting out the Giants is a rookie mistake, but I’m not convinced these are the same Giants. I think Peyton kicks them around Sunday afternoon.
(1-0) San Francisco 49ers at
(1-0) Seattle Seahawks
Sunday Night Football brings us the clear-cut game of the week. Two of the best defenses in the league and two of the best young quarterbacks will be on the field for NBC’s affair. It would entirely be a toss-up… if it wasn’t in Seattle. The Seahawks just don’t lose at home. I don’t care who they’re playing. If someone could beat them at CenturyLink Field, it would be the Niners, a team that plays them twice a year. I’m just gonna curl up and enjoy the show.
(0-1) Pittsburgh Steelers at
(0-1) Cincinnati Bengals
Another AFC North match-up? Gross. Monday night’s showing on ESPN brings us two teams that will be all into hitting each other… and stuff. The Steeler faithful are in panic mode after a slew of injuries and a weak-sauce loss in week one. The Bengals played well in Chicago (especially A.J. Green) but couldn’t squeeze out a win. So one of them will become the second AFC North team to get to 1-1 this weekend. (Unless there’s a tie…) The Bengals have way too many weapons to keep track of, especially at the second level. Dalton’s tight ends should play a major factor here.
That’s all I’ve got for week two in the NFL! Check back Monday night for The Final Drive, recapping the most exciting and interesting games of the weekend!