Week One revealed a lot about many NFL teams—for example, the New England Patriots were vastly overrated; and the Atlanta Falcons were more than prepared for the visiting Saints and are set on winning the division. Here’s a look forward to this Sunday’s matchups:
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: The Dolphins are coming off of a big win over the Patriots and the Bills are coming off of an unexpected overtime victory over the Bears, so needless to say both squads are pumped up for this matchup. The Dolphins dominated the Patriots offensive line sacking Tom Brady four times; but the Bills line may prove to be a different animal. The Bills offensive line paved the way for 193 rushing yards against the Bears, and E.J. Manuel silenced the countless critics not by posting big numbers but by making key plays that added up to a victory for Buffalo. Manuel has a lot of tools around him, and he will certainly be putting those to use against the Dolphins this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins: The Redskins looked so bad against the Texans that it really would not be that surprising if the Jaguars come out and blow them out. The Jags jumped to a quick 17-0 lead against the Eagles before losing the game 34-17 in typical Jaguars fashion; however, they at least showed some potential. The Redskins couldn’t get anything done in their game though, Robert Griffin III looked sloppy and the offensive line was torn apart by the Texans pass rush.
Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans: The Titans looked great with Jake Locker back under center, beating the Chiefs 26-10—as for the Cowboys…not so much. “America’s Team” got tossed around on both sides of the ball by the 49ers, and Romo’s three interceptions certainly didn’t help. That being said, the Cowboys have always been great at bouncing back from a loss. Dez Bryant was held down by the Niners defense; but he’ll definitely be back with a vengeance in Tennessee. As long as Romo doesn’t blow it, the Cowboys should be able to pull one out in a close game.
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants: The Giants offense looked horrible Monday night against the Lions. Eli Manning looks uncomfortable, and the receiving core is clearly having some problems learning all of the hand signals. The Cardinals did well against the Chargers; however, they do have some problems and mistakes they need to take care of. It will be a lot easier for the Cardinals to readjust than for the Giants to do so, so they should have no problem leaving New York 2-0.
New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings: After being outscored by the Dolphins 23-0 in the second half on Sunday, the Patriots definitely showed that they are far from invulnerable. The Vikings looked great in the second half against the Rams, and Cordarrelle Patterson took over the game as both a receiving and rushing threat. However, the Patriots are still the better team; and they have never started 0-2 under Tom Brady.
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns: If the Saints had won in Atlanta, then this may have been qualified as a ‘trap game.’ But, unfortunately for the Browns, the Saints lost to the Falcons in overtime; so they won’t be overlooking anything this week in preparation for Cleveland. The loss to their division rivals will only strengthen the Saints focus, and they should have no problem taking care of business in Cleveland.
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals: After throwing for a team-record 448 yards Week One against the Saints, Matt Ryan will have the chance to prove himself against the Bengals top five defense. The Bengals defense, however, looked sloppy against the Ravens; and if Joe Flacco was able to pass against the Bengals Ryan will have a field day. Another bonus for the Falcons: Devin Hester, the return specialist who has often been criticized for his inability as a wide receiver, looked phenomenal on the offense. If Hester can keep it up, Ryan will have Hester, Julio Jones, and Roddy White to stretch the field.
Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers: The Lions have never been good at winning games even when they have the victory all but secured, and even Monday against the Giants stupid penalties nearly cost them what should have been an easy win. The Panthers will have Cam Newton back for this game, but that probably won’t help the offense much. The Lions defensive line should be able to contact Newton; whereas the Panthers defense, although one of the best in the league, will most likely have no answer for Calvin Johnson. As long as Matthew Stafford can spread the ball around and keep Carolina’s defense on its toes, the Lions should have no problem stealing a victory in Carolina.
St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: With Sam Bradford and Chris Long both injured, the Rams have almost no chance this season. After being crushed 34-6 by the Vikings, the Rams show absolutely no hope of winning anytime soon. The Buccaneers looked good despite losing to the overpowering Carolina defense, so they should have no problem snagging an easy home victory.
Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers: This game should be an easy win for the Seahawks. Sure, the Chargers are a good team; but if they can’t beat the Cardinals they’ll have a difficult time trying to beat the defending Super Bowl champions. It’s still hard to call the Seahawks the best team in the NFL, but the game next week against the Denver Broncos will definitely reveal a Super Bowl favorite.
Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders: Looks like the Texans will be starting 2-0 again. The Texans have J.J. Watt and the Raiders have a struggling rookie quarterback. Do the math. The Raiders managed only 158 yards of offense against the Jets, and most of that yardage came in garbage time at the end of the game. If they can’t do it against the Jets, they surely can’t do it against the Texans who, despite their record last season, had one of the better defenses in the NFL.
New York Jets at Green Bay Packers: The Packers have a few extra days to get over their 36-16 loss to the Seahawks last Thursday and to come back firing on all cylinders against a weak Jets secondary. The Jets barely slipped past the Raiders, so they’ll have a difficult time trying to keep up with the Packers in Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers will surely bounce back from the loss in Seattle, but Geno Smith still has some issues to work out.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos: The Chiefs of 2014 are much different than the Chiefs that started the season 9-0 in 2013. The Chiefs not only lost 26-10 to the Titans at home but also lost two defensive starters, Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, to torn Achilles tendons. The Broncos on the other hand are looking to bounce back from a bad second half against Indianapolis. All things considered, it’s not looking good for the Chiefs.
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers: Jay Cutler proved that money doesn’t make a player good. After throwing two interceptions and losing to the Bills in overtime in Chicago, Cutler and the Bears aren’t looking good. The 49ers on the other hand are coming off a dominating performance against the Cowboys. The last time the Bears played in San Francisco they were crushed 32-7. The Bears showed a lot of problems against the Bills, and they can’t fix them fast enough to be ready for the Niners. The 49ers had a lot of offseason problems, but their victory over Dallas effectively silenced those. 49ers fans should have nothing to worry about this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts: The Colts may be 1-0, but Andrew Luck nearly led his team back from a 24-3 halftime deficit against the new and “improved” Broncos defense. The Eagles season didn’t start out the way they would have liked either, falling behind 17-0 to the Jaguars; however, Nick Foles was able to lead the team back and stomp out the Jags 34-17. With Luck at quarterback the Colts never seem to be out of the game, but their defense as it is now is not good enough to stop Chip Kelly’s offensive schemes. Don’t expect a slow start from either team, but with a high-powered offense against a low-ranking defense the Colts may find themselves in an unfortunate 0-2 position.