With Week 2 of the National Football League’s regular-season in the books, the best teams are beginning to emerge before our eyes. The only problem is that things are still a little hazy. Now, just 10 of 32 teams in the NFL remain unbeaten — two of which are a meager 1-0 due to Hurricane Irma’s wrath. Both the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were finally able to play their first games this past Sunday.
Neither disappointed — the Bucs annihilated the Chicago Bears, 29-7, and the Dolphins escaped due to a missed field goal in the waning seconds by the Los Angeles Chargers, 19-17.
In Week 3, I’m looking forward to one key NFC matchup.
Falcons @ Lions
This game easily boasts two of my top 8 pigskin slingers in the league — it’ll be fun to watch. Quarterbacks’ Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford will face one another in the Lions’ kingdom, Ford Field, this coming Sunday. Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons made a statement against the Green Bay Packers in a highly anticipated NFC Championship rematch on Sunday Night Football. On the heels of their 34-23 victory, Atlanta showed the world why they had a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51. Of course, that score evaporated quickly, and the Falcons found themselves on the short end of the stick with the New England Patriots hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
We now have our answer as to how Atlanta would respond to such a demoralizing defeat on the world’s largest stage. They appear to be on a mission to get back to the Super Bowl and finish business this time around. Ryan played well versus the Packers — he was efficient, going 19-28 for 252-yards and a touchdown. His favorite target, wide receiver Julio Jones snagged five balls for 108-yards. And as I mentioned last week, balance would be key for the Falcons on the legs of running back Devonta Freeman. Mr. Freeman rambled for 84-yards with 19 totes of the rock and two touchdowns. Defensively, the vicious Vic Beasley helped hound QB, Aaron Rodgers. On one particular play, Beasley blasted Rodgers as the football left his hand — the pass was ruled a lateral, and Desmond Trufant took care of the rest with a 15-yard scoop and score. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Beasley will not be available due to a hamstring injury that could sideline him for at least a month. That being said, other defenders will step-up for Atlanta — if the above ingredients are added once again in Detroit on Sunday, the Falcons are looking at a 3-0 start.
When looking at statistics alone, Stafford really didn’t do much on Monday Night with a 15-21, 122-yard and two touchdown effort. But those two sweet lil dimes for TDs counted the most in an easy 24-10 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Additionally, solid defense, rookie Jamal Agnew’s ridiculous game-changing 88-yard punt return for a TD and that balance I always refer to made the difference. Lions’ RB Ameer Abdullah did just enough with 17 carries for 86-yards in the contest. Expect Detroit fans to be raucous at Ford Field, but the home-team will need more offensive firepower if they have hopes of remaining undefeated.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a bevy of good matchups in Week 3. However, for me, this one stands alone.