Don’t put all your chips down on the table for either poor or brilliant performance in Week 1 of the National Football League slate. However, I did learn a few things from the start of the NFL’s regular-season, allowing you to put some of your chips on the table. Yes. . . Football’s back y’all. Thank goodness.
Before I dive into some of my favorite Week 2 matchups, what did I learn from Week 1? Well, the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers are dreadful. The Colts lost, 46-7, to the Los Angeles Rams. Indy’s head coach, Chuck Pagano, disagreed – he thought their butts were handed to them by San Francisco. Seriously? Whoops. As for the Niners, they were demolished by the Carolina Panthers, 23-3. On the other end of the spectrum, the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs are looking mighty good after Week 1. As I said last week, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are indeed, yet again, like peas and carrots. As for what’ll be the best division in football in 2017, look no further than the AFC West.
Eagles @ Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles’ fans saw where the ceiling for second-year quarterback, Carson Wentz, can go in Week 1. In my opinion, it could reach towards the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai – it’s currently the tallest artificial structure in the world. Add the home-run hitting threat of Nelson Agholor at wide receiver as well as the duo of the powerful LeGarrette Blount and electric Darren Sproles in the backfield, and the Eagles have some offensive firepower. Philadelphia’s defensive line showed their strength against the Washington Redskins; however, key injuries in the first regular-season game of the year could really cramp the Eagles’ style.
Playing in the NFL opener at the home of the World Champion, New England Patriots didn’t fluster Kansas City whatsoever. Their 42-27 “W” on the road has everyone buzzing about where they can go this season. Let’s not jump to conclusions, but Kareem Hunt’s debut at running back was spectacular. If what we saw from Hunt against the Pats becomes the norm, look out for the Chiefs. I touched on Tyreek Hill’s value last week – the Kansas City offense with Alex Smith at the helm was smart enough to target the speedy little jitterbug as he ripped apart New England’s secondary. Led by Justin Houston, the Chiefs’ defensive game plan was unorthodox, yet it certainly reaped rewards in the end. Instead of blitzing Tom Brady, they dropped back in coverage to minimize the damage.
Vikings @ Steelers
Minnesota Vikings’ QB Sam Bradford looked as sharp under center as we’ve seen in his entire career. Behind a talented offensive line, Bradford had plenty of time to survey the field and he certainly didn’t disappoint against the New Orleans Saints. Mr. Bradford was throwing sweet lil’ dimes all evening. And the magnificent debut of RB Dalvin Cook gave us a peek as to how dynamic he can be. Minnesota’s defense isn’t a slouch either – if they stay healthy, there’s no question that they have a top-5 group of potential “Purple People Eaters!”
Led by Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers are most definitely Super Bowl contenders. Big Ben, with Antonio Brown being the most notable at WR, has weapons galore. Then, you have arguably the best RB in the NFL with Le’Veon Bell. After escaping the Cleveland Browns’ grasp and collecting a 21-18 “W” in Week 1, the Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” defense looked like it’s up to the task in 2017. Another NFL rookie with an extraordinary debut – T.J. Watt (little brother of the famous J.J. Watt) had himself a game. Just like his big brother, T.J. can play this game at another level. Watt finished with seven tackles, two sacks, and an interception.
Cowboys @ Broncos
In Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys have three franchise faces on offense. QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, and tight end Jason Witten are quite a trio. With Zeke’s 6-game suspension up in the air, it looks as though he’ll play all 16-games for Dallas in 2017. Prescott had no trouble with the New York Giants on Sunday night, racking up 268-yards in the air while Zeke had another 100-plus yard game on 20-plus carries. Dallas’ offensive line should be considered the best in the league, giving Dak and Zeke the ability to do their thing. How about Witten? He had a historic night on Sunday as he surpassed Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin with the most pass catching yards in Cowboys’ history. Remarkable. Let’s not leave out Big-D’s defense – albeit short of their star WR Odell Beckham, Jr. due to injury, Dallas completely dominated the Giants in a 19-3 victory.
For the Denver Broncos, let’s start with their outstanding defense. Although the Los Angeles Chargers responded in a big way in the fourth-quarter, Denver’s defense had stymied QB Philip Rivers and the Charger offense through three-quarters. On the flip side, QB Trevor Siemian seems to be settling into his role as the clear-cut starter in Denver. He may have looked somewhat mediocre at times when being head-hunted by Joey Bosa and Brandon Ingram. Even when pass protection was bad, Siemian often found a way to utilize his mobility and accuracy to make big time plays. Trevor finished with two passing TDs to the emerging talent of WR Benny Fowler. Additionally, Mr. Siemian faked-out Bosa for a walk-in, rushing touchdown. Above all, All-Pro WR Demaryius Thomas was on the same page as Siemian, and it paid-off immensely as DT hauled in some critical receptions.
At RB, despite Jamaal Charles’ late fourth-quarter fumble, both C.J. Anderson and Jamaal played well in Week 1. Thank God above that Shelby Harris’ enormous paw got a piece of the Chargers’ last-second field goal attempt, or Denver might be at the bottom of the AFC West at 0-1.
Packers @ Falcons
Although critical defensive plays will decide this prime time Sunday night affair, I’ll make this preview short with plenty of offense. How about Rodgers and his trio of receivers? The combination of Rodgers to Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams makes this Green Bay Packers’ attack ruthlessly potent.
For the Atlanta Falcons, it’ll be QB Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan’s favorite target in wideout Julio Jones that will make or break the Falcons’ chances in this one. But not without the balance of their running game with RB Devonta Freeman. If he can gain close to 100-yards on the ground in prime time, Atlanta will have a good chance to win this one in their own building.
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