NFL Week Two Preview
Giants @ Football Team (WFT)
There is nothing like watching two teams in the NFC East go head-to-head on prime time. These are two defensive teams with bottom tier quarterbacks and struggling offensive lines. If you're expecting to see a high scoring match up like week one's Thursday Night Football game, prepare to be disappointed. With that being said, we still get to watch Chase Young, a potential defensive player of the year candidate, lined up against one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Young, along with Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and the rest of the WFT's defensive line, should be salivating in preparation for this game. Not only do the Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, but their quarterback, Daniel Jones, is known for his inability to hold on to the football. In Jones' 27 career starts, he has fumbled the ball 30 times. For the WFT's defensive line, it should be like stealing candy from a baby. The Giants defense is once again getting overlooked this year. While the Broncos did have their success on offense, this Giants secondary is still no joke. Logan Ryan led the team in tackles last week, James Bradberry got an interception, and Jabril Peppers was flying all over the field. Taylor Heinicke won't have an easy time throwing on this defense. With Ryan Fitzpatrick out for the distant future, Heinicke will have to step up and make plays against a top ten defense. He will have to take shots to Terry McLaurin and check down to Antonio Gibson in order to beat the Giants. This is going to be a low scoring game, but I don't think the Giants have the linebackers to stop Logan Thomas or the lineman to stop Chase Young.
What to Watch For: Daniel Jones' Ball Security
Player of the Game: Chase Young DE WFT
Final Score: Giants 16 WFT 20
Raiders @ Steelers
This is one of my favorite matchups on this week's slate of games. The Steelers and Raiders are both coming off of upset victories over two of the top three teams in the AFC. We also get to see strength on strength in this matchup, the Raiders offense vs the Steelers defense. Last week, the Raiders offense was able to not only hang with the Ravens defense, but keep them on their toes. Just when guys like Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Queen thought they were going to make a stop, the Raiders would get a big first down. They didn't just feed Darren Waller in week one, they gave him a full Thanksgiving Meal: Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, the whole nine yards. This week it will be Devin Bush lined up against Waller. Overall, a phenomenal matchup. Bush was one of the best linebackers in the NFL last season prior to his injury and now we get to see what he's really capable of by going against one of the top three tight ends in the NFL. This matchup should be a ton of fun to watch. Las Vegas' front seven looked unbelievable last week, but I'm expecting regression in week two. Traveling across the country after an overtime game with just six days to rest is tough. However, Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib should still be able to get to Ben Roethlisberger. Ty'Son Williams was able to break some long runs in week one for Baltimore and I expect Najee Harris to do the same thing in Pittsburgh. As for the Raiders run game, Kenyan Drake will get the load this week. Drake should have a breakout game, but I don't think it will be enough to win for the Raiders. The winner of this game will be determined explosive plays downfield. This will be the week where Harris comes into his own and the Steelers take down the Las Vegas Raiders.
What to Watch For: Devin Bush lined up against Darren Waller
Player of the Game: Najee Harris RB Steelers
Final Score: Raiders 27 Steelers 33
Broncos @ Jaguars
This is a game where both teams might not be super bowl contenders, but it should answer a lot of questions. Are the Broncos legit? Teddy Bridgewater looked like the real deal and was dealing against the Giants on Sunday. While Javonte Williams didn't break a big run in week one, he did get more carries than Melvin Gordon, who gashed the Giants defense for a 70 yard carry. The amalgam of Gordon and Williams should be hard for Jaguars defensive coordinator, Joe Cullen, to tame. Last week the Jaguars defense couldn't stop the Texans arsenal of Brandin Cooks and Chris Conley. That doesn't make me confident in their ability to slow down Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, and Tim Patrick. Offensively, the Jaguars are filled with question marks. While Trevor Lawrence did show some promise and had three touchdowns in week one, he also threw three interceptions. Jacksonville also struggled to include James Robinson in the game-script. Urban Meyer shit the bed in his first game as an NFL head coach, but he will have the opportunity to redeem himself in his first home game. There are three players that will tear the Jaguars game plan up: Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Sutton. Two of the best edge rushers in the NFL, both Miller and Chubb will have a chance to baptize Lawrence. As a more physical receiver, Sutton is a bad matchup for Shaquill Griffin. The Broncos will be able to throw the ball all over the Jags defense and their pass rushers will be able to get the rookie quarterback. The first overall pick will have to wait at least another week to pickup his first win in the NFL.
What to Watch For: Trevor Lawrence's pocket mobility against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb
Player of the Game: Bradley Chubb DE Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 28 Jaguars 27
Texans @ Browns
One team that surprised everybody in week one was the Houston Texans. Tyrod Taylor looked sharper than ever and Brandin Cooks was an alpha on the field. All be it they were facing the Jaguars, the Texans still looked like a team who will upset some contenders in 2021. With that being said, the Cleveland Browns will not be one of those teams on upset alert. The Browns were a drive away from upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs in week one and are playing in their home opener. The fans in Cleveland will be going crazy and their home field advantage will play a pivotal role in this game. Baker Mayfield always plays with a chip on his shoulder, but coming off a loss in the season opener, he will be playing with a little extra fire. With Odell Beckham Jr. still on the sideline, Kevin Stefanski is going to lean on the running game. I expect Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to give the Texans defense trouble all game long. This may be one of the biggest blowouts of the week, I just can't see the Texans hanging with the Browns.
What to Watch For: Can Tyrod Taylor continue the success that he had in week one?
Player of the Game: Nick Chubb RB Browns
Final Score: Texans 20 Browns 31
Saints @ Panthers
This has to be the hardest game to predict for week two. Both teams had big time wins in week one, and had a lot of turnover this offseason. Both of these teams were supposed to be in "transition years" before finding their franchise quarterbacks. These transition years have been put on hold. The Saints had arguably the biggest upset of week one while the Panthers looked dominant in all four quarters. How does Jameis Winston come back after throwing five touchdowns? That's what I'm watching. The Panthers defense sacked Zach Wilson six times in week one and only allowed 14 points to the Jets. While the Saints are a much more well-rounded team than the Jets, I still believe the Panthers defense will give Jameis Winston more problems than the Packers posed. While the game may be looked at as a battle of Winston vs Sam Darnold, it should really be Alvin Kamara vs Christian McCaffrey. I believe that both Kamara and McCaffrey have over 100 receiving yards. These guys are the two best players in this game and it should be a lot of fun to watch. The Saints defensively are without Marshon Lattimore, that means that Paulson Adebo is going to have step in as the starter in just his second ever NFL game. Adebo picked off Aaron Rodgers in week one and now we get to see a rookie showdown between him and Terrace Marshall Jr.. There isn't a player on the Saints defense who will be able to cover DJ Moore one-on-one with Lattimore out. I like the Panthers to exploit the Saints wounded secondary and be the upset of the week.
What to Watch For: Can Jameis Winston be consistent as a starter?
Player of the Game: DJ Moore WR Panthers
Final Score: Saints 26 Panthers 27
49ers @ Eagles
It seems like every analyst is calling this a trap game and are picking the Eagles to upset the 49ers. With Jason Verrett, Raheem Mostert, and Dre Greenlaw sustaining long term injuries, it's an easy upset to predict. However, I don't see it happening because of Deommodore Lenoir, Elijah Mitchell, and Azeez Al-Shaair. One general manager who doesn't get enough respect is John Lynch who drafted Lenoir, Mitchell, and Al-Shaair all in the 5th round or later. Those three players all played incredible games in week one against the Lions and now have an even greater challenges against the Eagles in week two. While it might not be the most glamorous matchup, I expect Lenoir versus Devonta Smith to be a lot of fun to watch. Smith is the best rookie receiver in this draft class and we get to see him go against an other standout rookie in Lenoir. The Eagles have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, so it will be hard for Mitchell to repeat his success from week one. I expect San Francisco to utilize a lot of play action and down field passing to George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. While Aiyuk put up a stinker in week one, this should be a bounce back week for him. 49ers offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel said he had a great week of practice and should be ready to play alot against Darius Slay and the Eagles defense. As for the Eagles offense, they should be able to exploit the 49ers run defense with an outside zone scheme. However, I think they'll have a hard time running up the middle against Javon Kinlaw, who is making his season debut for San Francisco. There will be shots open for the Eagles downfield, it's just a question of if Jalen Hurts will take them or not. Look for Jalen Reagor to potentially have a huge game if he's lined up against Josh Norman. While I expect this to be a one score game, I can't see Kyle Shanahan taking his foot off the gas like he did last week.
What to Watch For: Devonta Smith vs Deommodore Lenoir
Player of the Game: Javon Kinlaw DT 49ers
Final Score: 49ers 30 Eagles 26
Bengals @ Bears
These are two of the most difficult teams to predict in the NFL. The Bengals came up with a huge upset victory in over time against the Vikings in week one. The Bears on the other hand struggled to move the ball with Andy Dalton behind center. All be it they were facing the Rams, it's time to put Justin Fields at quarterback. I expect this game to be low scoring, but if Fields gets put at quarterback, the Bears to win. If Andy Dalton stays in, despite not being able to move the ball downfield, then I expect the Bengals to win. One player on the Bears who will dominate regardless whose at quarterback is David Montgomery. Montgomery is slowly becoming one of the best running backs in the NFL and this is a very favorable matchup for him. The Bears should be able to run all over the Bengals defense. However, I don't expect Chicago to throw the ball downfield against Jessie Bates and the Bengals' secondary. In week one, Dalton didn't attempt a pass over 15 yards downfield. That can't happen again this week, if Dalton is playing too passive, then it's time to put in Fields. As for the Bengals, I'm still worried about Joe Burrow. I had the same concerns about Lamar Jackson early on in his career. I felt like his mother watching him play because I'm scared to see him get hit. The Bears defensive front is still at the top of the league. I expect Chicago to generate pressure with just four down lineman because of Khalil Mack. Burrow will have to take one on one shots with both Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase. That actually takes me perfectly to my favorite matchup in this game, Chase vs Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is one of the best second-year corners in the NFL who plays well against physical receivers. Chase is one of the most physical receivers to enter the NFL in the past five seasons. This should be a great matchup, but I'm giving it to Johnson. I'm taking the Bears in this one, as long as Fields is in for at least ten snaps. Regardless, it should be a low scoring game.
What to Watch For: Ja'Marr Chase vs Jaylon Johnson
Player of the Game: David Montgomery RB Bears
Final Score: Bengals 22 Bears 24
Rams @ Colts
The Rams are dangerous. They are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Matthew Stafford has a new sort of swagger to him playing for Sean McVay and this offense is lethal. The Colts defense struggled to stop the Seahawks downfield passing attack in week one, and I expect them to struggle once again in week two. In order for the Colts to pull off this upset, they need to control the time of possession. They need to establish the run and pull tricks out of the 49ers hats, who have been able to have success running on the Rams in recent history. Expect a lot of pre-snap motion into outside handoffs from the Colts offense this week. If Frank Reich is able to steal some plays from Kyle Shanahan, Indianapolis will have a chance to pull off the upset in week two. The best matchup in this game, and arguably in all of football this week, is Quenton Nelson against Aaron Donald. It's the best interior offensive lineman in the NFL vs arguably the best interior defensive lineman in NFL history. A true heavy weight fight. It's hard to pick against Donald in this matchup. The Rams offense will run through Robert Woods on the outside this week. Kenny Moore and Julian Blackmon are one of the best nickel/safety combos in the NFL, but the Colts struggle against Tyler Lockett from the outside in week one. I expect McVay to exploit the Colts defensive weaknesses and air the ball out. While there is a recipe for success with the Colts, it is too hard to pick against the Rams right now.
What to Watch For: Quenton Nelson vs Aaron Donald
Player of the Game: Robert Woods WR Rams
Final Score: Rams 31 Colts 24
Bills @ Dolphins
On paper, this should be a very fair rivalry game, but in reality, I expect Josh Allen to come back this week and tear up Miami's defense. Allen always has success against the Dolphins, and he's going to put this defense on notice very early in the game. Brian Daboll and the Bills offense is going to be in attack mode. After putting up a stinker in week one, I expect the Bills to be running angry, without remorse. That loss had to of put a fire under Josh Allen's ass. For the Dolphins, I need to see Tua Tagovailoa be more aggressive. When facing pressure last week against the Patriots, Tagovailoa seemed flustered; which is the opposite of what happened in college. One of Tagovailoa's best traits coming out of Alabama was his decisiveness. If he likes what he sees, he should be taking shots downfield. If Jaylen Waddle has a favorable matchup in the slot, Tua needs to take it. Teams don't pull off upsets by playing passive. As for these defenses, both tend to be very disciplined, but will have moments in the game where they blow coverages. Both Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa need to capitalize on these moments. I can't see the Bills losing two games in a row to start the season, I like Buffalo in this matchup by double digits.
What to Watch For: Tua Tagovailoa's decisiveness
Player of the Game: Stefon Diggs WR Bills
Final Score: Bills 34 Dolphins 23
Jets @ Patriots
Here we have another great AFC East rivalry, but this game is unlike the Jets vs Patriots games in years past. We get to see the rivalry of the future, Mac Jones against Zach Wilson. Jones is exactly the pro that everybody thought he'd be. A decisive passer who knows how to find the open receiver. His confidence is through the roof and he'll be able to exploit the Jets' weak secondary. Zach Wilson had an up and down performance in week one, but he showed signs of greatness. Towards the end of the game, he drove the Jets offense downfield and scored a touchdown and two point conversion. While this quarterback matchup is awesome, I'm also watching both of these team's rushing attack. Damien Harris was explosive in week one and I'm curious if he can replicate the same success against Quinnen Williams and the Jets defense. Harris is giving me similar vibes to David Montgomery in 2020. The game has slowed down for him, he's seeing the field and is more deliberate when deciding what holes to run through. I think he'll be able to gash Robert Saleh's young defense. The Jets need to get Michael Carter going. He didn't do much in his first game against the Panthers, but if the Jets are going to win this game, they'll need to control the clock. Based off the way Mac Jones played last week, it's hard for me to bet against the Patriots. The Jets defense doesn't have enough depth and star power to hang with the Patriots offense. Mac Jones should take this first game against Zach Wilson in a rivalry of the future.
What to Watch For: Mac Jones vs Zach Wilson
Player of the Game: Mac Jones QB Patriots
Final Score: Jets 20 Patriots 24
Falcons @ Buccaneers
Unfortunately, this might be the biggest blowout of the week. Arthur Smith doesn't have the personnel for the offense he wants to run. The Falcons offensive line is brutal and their rookie, Jalen Mayfield, got baptized at left guard against the Eagles in week one. This week he doesn't have it much easier. He has to go against Vita Vea and Ndamokung Suh. Overall he's had to face two of the best interior defensive fronts to start his career. Due to their struggles on the offensive line, it's hard for Arthur Smith to get Mike Davis and the Falcons run game going. The Falcons will be playing from behind so expect Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley to have a lot of balls thrown their way. Tom Brady has had ten days to rest and is playing against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. He will most likely be the highest graded passer in all of football this week. I need to see Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich get Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and the Bucs run game going. That's the key to this game for the Buccaneers. I don't see the Falcons having much of a chance in this game, the reigning Super Bowl champs should be playing like Super Bowl champs this week.
What to Watch For: The Buccaneers running game
Player of the Game: Tom Brady QB Buccaneers
Final Score: Falcons 16 Buccaneers 33
Vikings @ Cardinals
Here we have it, a Patrick Peterson revenge game, unfortunately, I don't see much revenge in Peterson's future. These two teams' week one performances were nearly polar opposites. The Vikings shit the bed while the Cardinals looked like super bowl contenders. This week, I expect Kyler Murray to continue his success. He was slinging the rock downfield last week and put up video game like numbers. My bold prediction for Murray is that he has back to back games with five total touchdowns. He will absolutely torch the Vikings defense which struggled against the Bengals in week one. While I don't expect Chandler Jones to have five sacks again, Kirk Cousins won't be able to get much going against the Cardinals defense. Isaiah Simmons is finally coming into his own and the Cardinals front seven was able to shut Derrick Henry down. Dalvin Cook won't be able to run much in the desert because the Vikings will be playing from behind. Justin Jefferson is one player on Minnesota who I do think will have success. With that being said, I expect this game to also be a blowout.
What to Watch For: How does the Vikings secondary stop the Cardinals receivers?
Player of the Game: Isaiah Simmons LB Cardinals
Final Score: Vikings 23 Cardinals 34
Titans @ Seahawks
Once again we have a tale of two tapes, two teams that played like polar opposites in week one. The Titans got ran off the field by the Cardinals while the Seahawks played soundless football against the Colts. This week it's a different story, it should be a high-scoring offensive affair. The Seahawks should be able to throw the ball over the Titans secondary, while the Titans should have their success running the ball on the Seahawks front seven. Both matchups play out well for the offenses. The Titans need to dominate the time of possession. Derrick Henry must find his rhythm in order to keep Russell Wilson on the sideline. Taylor Lewan must bounce back, his first game coming off the ACL injury was atrocious. Lewan doesn't have as hard of a matchup, but he needs to play the game one play at a time. I'm confident he can overcome what happened last week. On thing I'm looking forward to watching is Lumen field illuminate with the 12th man back in the stands. The stadium is about to be rocking come game time. There isn't a defensive back who will be able to stop DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett. While it will be fun to see Metcalf and AJ Brown face off against each other for the first time in their careers, I expect the Seahawks to show out in week two.
What to Watch For: The Seahawks' home field advantage
Player of the Game: DK Metcalf WR Seahawks
Final Score: Titans 23 Seahawks 30
Cowboys @ Chargers
This is personally, my favorite matchup of the week. Even though they didn't win, the Cowboys looked awesome in week one. Dak Prescott was hitting on all cylinders and looked better than ever. Having played on Thursday Night Football, the Cowboys have also had time to rest. With that being said, they have six starters who won't be playing this week due to injury. Could Demarcus Lawrence's foot injury be a blessing in disguise? The Cowboys' linebacker depth chart is by far the deepest in the league. They can now utilize their three starters: Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander-Esch, and Micah Parsons, in their own roles. They won't have to rotate because Parsons will primarily be playing on the edge. While it wasn't the Cowboys intention when they drafted him, Parsons could be the best pass rusher in Dallas this season. The Chargers kept the game a little too close for comfort last week against the Washington Football Team. Nine of the ten teams that had the lowest yards per early down (first and second down) lost last week. The Chargers were the only team that won. That will be hard to replicate in back to back weeks. Joe Lombardi and the Chargers offense needs to be more consistent on early downs. Justin Herbert needs to do a better job at getting Austin Ekeler the football in the passing game. I was originally going to pick the Cowboys in an upset, but the injuries have scared me off. I still like them to cover the spread of +3. This game could go either way, but the Chargers are the healthier team. With Donovan Wilson out, Justin Herbert should be able to throw on the Cowboys defense. It should be a high scoring affair that comes down to who ever has the football last.
What to Watch For: The Chargers early down success rate
Player of the Game: Austin Ekeler RB Chargers
Final Score: Cowboys 30 Chargers 33
Chiefs @ Ravens
This might be the most anti-climactic Patrick Mahomes vs Lamar Jackson showdown we have ever seen. While these are still two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, the Ravens are just too dinged up. Having lost to the Raiders last week, the Ravens secondary has been exposed on the other side of Marlon Humphrey. Assuming Humphrey will be on Tyreek Hill, the Ravens don't have a player who can match up with Travis Kelce. Darren Waller tore this Ravens defense to shreds in week one, Kelce will do the same in week two. Patrick Mahomes looks just as good this year as he has in the past. He makes football fun. He's a player who is unlike anyone I've ever seen and he will shut M&T Bank Stadium down on Sunday night. If the Ravens are going to upset the Chiefs, Lamar Jackson would have to play nearly a perfect game. The Chiefs are getting back Tyrann Mathieu, their fearless leader on the defense. While this quarterback matchup is one of the best yearly traditions, this matchup won't be much of a game.
What to Watch For: Marlon Humphrey vs Tyreek hill
Player of the Game: L'Jarius Sneed CB Chiefs
Final Score: Chiefs 37 Ravens 27
Lions @ Packers
This has to be a bounce back week for the 2020 NFL MVP. Aaron Rodgers stunk last week, there is no other way to put it. Luckily, this week we get to see him on primetime against a team who he is invincible against. Rodgers is going to being playing with a relaxed demeanor and look like his old self on Monday Night Football. With that being said, don't underestimate the Lions this year. They put up a fight against the 49ers (even though they took out: Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Dee Ford), and both Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift looked phenomenal. While I do think Detroit will be able to run the ball on Green Bay, they will have to throw the rock to pull off the upset. Dan Campbell, also known as MCDC, knows how to motivate this team, but the Packers will be playing with a fire lit under them. After losing Jeff Okudah to a torn achilles, the Lions definitely don't have anyone who can hang with Davante Adams. Aaron Jones should also be toting the rock a ton if the Packers jump out to an early lead. If the viewers want to see vintage Aaron Rodgers, this is the game to watch. Get ready Packers fans, this is going to feel like a religious experience.
What to Watch For: Can the Lions offense keep up with the Packers?
Player of the Game: Davante Adams WR Packers
Final Score: Lions 24 Packers 34