LOS ANGELES – Last week, we had the “Battle of Ohio”. In week two, two California teams will play against each other in what will be a very exciting football game. The Los Angeles Rams will challenge the juggernaut defense of the San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco’s defense boasts several big-time playmakers including Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave, and Javon Kinlaw. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthews Stafford could have a rough game. He will need to pass the ball quickly as Stafford isn’t known for being a mobile quarterback. Stafford will have to get receiver Van Jefferson to make big plays right away. The Rams will be without their two playmakers receiver Cooper Kupp as he continues to heal from a hamstring injury. Kupp won’t play until week five against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Even without Kupp, Stafford managed to bounce back from the awful 2022 season. He passed for 334 yards in the week one win against the Seattle Seahawks. Rams running back Cam Akers needs to do better as he struggled in week one with 22 carries for 29 yards (1.3 yards per carry). That won’t be easy against the 49ers defense.
The Rams have a few big-time defensive playmakers of their own including defensive end Aaron Donald and safety Jordan Fuller.
The 49ers’ offense has the star of all Mr. Irrelevants quarterback Brock Purdy, who shocked the NFL with his big-time playmaking late in the 2022 season and in the playoffs before his injury. Purdy played extremely well for going against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in week one. Purdy passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception and had a quarterback rating of 89.5. That’s outstanding for any quarterback. It’s even more impressive for the last draft pick of 2022. Part of that success is due to the playmaking of receiver Brandon Aiyuk (8 receptions, 129 receiving yards, two touchdowns), receiver Deebo Samuel (5 receptions, 55 receiving yards), and running back Christian McCaffrey (22 carries, 152 rushing yards, one touchdown).
Prediction: 49ers 31 Rams 17
Steelers vs Browns
In the epic rivalry game which is back on track, the Steelers host the Browns on Monday Night Primetime. The second of the two games will be very interesting.
Although one would assume the Browns have the advantage in this game, things could change as the Browns top receiver Amari Cooper is questionable with a groin injury. Will receivers Marquise Goodwin, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Bell, and Cedric Tillman step it up if Cooper misses this game?
Quarterback DeShaun Watson is facing one of the toughest defenses in the league but won’t have the pressure of facing Steelers pass rusher Cameron Heyward since he’s out with an injury. Heyward is also a great run-stopper so that means running back Nick Chubb will likely have a solid performance.
Without Heyward, the Steelers defense could struggle in this game. However, playmakers like Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will have all eyes on him.
Steelers Quarterback Kenny Pickett will be without his top receiver Dionte Johnson. However, he still has George Pickens and Allen Robinson II. These two can challenge the Browns defense.
However, Pickett faces the Browns defense which played like a top-five defense against the NFL’s number one offense, the Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland limited Cincinnati to just threw points and made quarterback Joe Burrow look like he just couldn’t do anything with just 82 passing yards despite having receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
Browns top playmakers Za’Darius Smith, Myles Garrett, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Dalvin Tomlinson, Grant Delpit, and Juan Thornhill (back from his injury) could have big games.
Prediction: Browns 28 Steelers 13.
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