Packers (1-0) @ Panthers (0-1)
Packers are coming off a impressive victory over New Orleans saints at home, winning 43-36 after in a goal line stop with no time remaining on the clock, Rodgers looking impressive as ever picking up where he left off from last season playoff. His opposite number had eye of the media watching him to justify the no.1 overall tag where many have not lived up to the hype. Unable to get a victory in his debut in the regular season, but Newton impressed on his debut throwing over for 422 yards and 2 TD breaking the record of Otto Graham from 1950 on his NFL debut, show casing his ability on what shown at Auburn where he dominated the college game winning the BCS title and Heisman Trophy.
What to watch out for
Aaron Rodgers: Aaron Rodgers was impressive against the saints, spreading the ball around to number of receivers and tight ends. As one of the favorites to win the MVP award when all said and done, we will see how much of an improvement he can make from an impressive week one performance at home and if can he continue to play like this.
Cam Newton: How will Newton able to hand the pressure playing at home and that impressive outing against the cardinals as many fans expect him to do it on a weekly basis, but coming up against much tougher opponent the Superbowl champion’s one of the top 5 defenses in the league.
Dom Capers: How will Dom Capers plan his defense vs. Cam Newton, who likes to bring the pressure from different areas of the field, especially likes to bring the corner blitz which we saw with Charles Woodson against Vick in the NFL playoffs who has similar traits to Newton where he decided to use Woodson as a LB/CB scouring the field in case Vick decided to run off with the ball.
Prediction: I expect them to win this game comfortably; with the number of weapons the packers have at the dispose it may be too much for the panthers to handle, especially after losing MLB Joe Beason who key leader for that team in defense who always impressive will be a huge loss for them, Packers may take target the middle of the field with the loss of Beason. Key for the Panthers is to get their running game going after poor outing against the Cardinals where Newton was leading rusher for the team and take the pressure off Newton against a stout defense… Projected Final Score: 28-9.
Tampa Bay (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Both teams coming off a tough loss, with the buccaneers losing at home to the lions after a awful showing from their offense who couldn’t get anything going against the Detroit lions and the Vikings losing to the chargers away from home but McNabb was uninspiring performance throwing for just 39 yards the whole game and just couldn’t get anything going during the whole game, with the help of specials teams and AP getting the points for
Donovon McNabb: An awful performance by McNabb against the Chargers in week one, he will need to step up and move up some gears to get to the level people have seen of him in the past, keep eye out on Ponder in the background who may get some game time action during the game if McNabb continues to struggle against the buccaneers.
Josh Freeman: Left during the game for injury to the hand/arm, how will he able cope with the injury if he has recovered from it?, he looked out of sorts against the lions as they brought pressure up the middle and stopped freeman running with the ball especially after Vikings front 4 looked impressive against the chargers.
Prediction: Close game to call both teams have good running backs one on the rise and one that is elite, Viking will use more AP if McNabb cant going and buccaneers surely will use Blount more after non factor in the game plan against the Lions to ease the pressure on Freeman from throwing the ball, both have impressive Special teams the game could be won and loss by field position if both QB can’t get going in this game. Projected Final Score: 21-19 Vikings.
Cleveland browns (0-1) @ Indianapolis colts (0-1)
Both teams coming off a loss, the colts much more disappointing loss losing 34-0 against their AFC South rivals the Texans, who outplayed them in every position of the field mainly at the QB position with Kerry Collins having poor performance but also the defense didn’t step up when it needed to with the loss of Manning. Browns lost at home to the Bengals who lost Dalton halfway through the game, Cleveland could not take advantage of that as Bengals constantly ran the ball against them, which allowed OC Gruden to call more play action pass to take pressure off the QB.
Kerry Collins: How will Collin bounce back from his performance against the Texans against a team up on the rise and playing at home brings more pressure with the fans maybe wanting a change at the QB position with only painter on the bench, colts will have live or die by Collins until or if manning returns.
Joe Haden: Did a great job covering AJ Green when playing against the Bengals, he got burned once for a TD run by Green, but over the whole game he kept Green quite, it will be important to keep Reggie Wayne quite the biggest threat for the colts on offense and Collins favorite target, browns should allow Haden to follow him around the field he has become Browns best CB in the team.
Prediction: Tough game to call as both teams didn’t look that impressive offensively, i give the slight edge to the browns as their run game is much better and if McCoy gets into trouble they always can rely on their run game. In the colts case they need Collins to start getting some momentum he showed flashes late on against the Texans with more time spent with the offense he may get better but overall I think the Browns team is better. Projected Final Score: 24-17 browns
Houston Texans (1-0) @ Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Texans coming off a impressive performance against the Colts dominating on all fronts from offensive to specials teams, most impressive was the defense who starting to gel as a 3-4 defense as each game comes along they get better and could be a huge factor in getting them over the hump and making the playoffs for the first time, Miami coming off a loss to the Patriots who was clinical as ever with Brady throwing over 500 yards but the untold story of this game is that Henne was quite impressive throwing for over 400 yards and kept Miami in the game throughout but Brady was better on the night.
Cameron Wake: Was kept by quite by the patriot’s offensive line throughout the game, when left unprotected he can be a disruptive force leading Miami with 14 sacks last season, if he can get going and be disruptive it opens up space for people on the other side to get to the QB and force fumbles/turnovers.
Mario Williams: Looked more comfortable at the OLB position against the colts, as he understands his role more in the 3-4 expect him to be a force especially as Wade Philips turned Ware into force and has been the sack leaders in the last few seasons, don’t expect to see Williams in coverage but going after the QB and trying to create pressure.
Prediction: Texans were impressive last game, expect that to continue against Miami especially after Miami gave up over 500 passing yards, Matt Schuab likes to the throw the ball around expect him to put up some big numbers against dolphins. Miami need to get their run game working with Bush and Thomas in the backfield and create some pressure on the QB, with two good CB it will help them create turn over’s. Projected Final Score: 28-14 Texans.
San Diego Chargers (1-0) @ New England Patriots (1-0)
Two teams coming off a win, the patriots having on their best showings offensively with Brady throwing over 500 yards+ winning AFC offence player of the week, one story coming out this game that has not been told is how poor defensively the patriots were with Chad Henne throwing over 400+ against them. On the flipside the chargers picked up where they left off by giving up a TD return for the opening kickoff, then losing their kicker during the game changed their gameplan which meant they were going for it on 4th down more times than they should, Rivers & Tolbert were the standouts for the chargers in their win.
Chargers Special Teams: Awful last week against the Vikings giving up a TD on the opening kickoff, was awful last season giving up so many big plays i.e punt blocked, punts returns etc, they hired a new ST coach but doesn’t look like his work hasn’t don’t help as they gave up a TD, Patriots have a impressive ST can they exploit the weakness and give shorter fields for Brady to take advantage of and punish the chargers.
Brady vs. Rivers: Arguably the best QB in the league at this moment going against the no.4/5 QB in the league both players like to throw the ball down the field and take advantage of match ups they see with the down the field with the chargers having Big tall basketball type WR which enables rivers to the throw the ball field where only his WR can get the ball and creates alot of miss matches. Brady likes to throw the ball underneath with no help from the running game but with the amount of times he throws the ball taking the time off the clock and slowing down defences.
Prediction: Tough game to predict especially how good both offences are but with the patriots at home and how well Brady played against the Miami the edge has to go to the patriots especially much better ST compared to the chargers who look like they going to give up a TD anytime they kick the ball back to the opposing team, for the chargers to have success they must be able to run the ball well taking time off the clock giving less opportunity for Brady to get onto the field and tighten up their ST not given up the big plays to the patriots, I expect a shootout with the patriots with the patriots coming out on top winning 35-28.
Ravens (1-0) @ Titans (0-1)
Baltimore coming off one their best performances in a while was beating the Steelers their biggest rivals in the AFC North creating 7 turnovers, Flacco finally beating Steelers with Roethlisberger in the line up. Titans lost jaguars with poor outing from Chris Johnson after his holdout for wanting a new contract which he got but with no OTA’s and training camps which was expect one shining star to come out this game was Kenny Britt having a impressive performance having 5 receptions for over 100 yards a deep threat Hasselbeck will need for the season with nothing else outside of him.
Players to watch:
Chris Johnson: After a poor outing against the jaguars rushing for less than 30 yards and now with couple of weeks training underneath him, it will be interesting to see how well he can do against the tough defence of the ravens and can he continue his success from last season, the centre piece of their offence it is important he gets going in this game.
Ed Dickson: Has a fantastic game against the Steelers he was very quick and the secondary couldn’t keep up with him and look comfortable at the position which allowed Flacco to go back to him on several occasions during the game. As the chemistry builds up between the two it become a explosive part of their offence which allows them to stretch the field which they have been sorely lacking in past seasons.
Prediction: I can only seeing this going one way with the Ravens winning from home after their impressive performance against the Steelers with their defence playing superbly all over the field with the likes of Suggs, Reed having massive games i expect that to continue, what was more impressive was their offence with the likes of TE Dickson stepping up and having a huge game, for the titans to win this game they need to protect the QB from the ravens defence and not force any turnovers, if scoring chance arises they must take it to stop the ravens from scoring from defence and offence which will be quite difficult, it going to be a long day for the titans. The Ravens win 21-3.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints:
The Bears opened up their season with a dominant win over the Falcons as their defence stymied the Falcons offense limiting them to just two field goals (Falcons TD came on a pick six). The Saints on the other hand came up just one yard short against the Packers at Lambeau Field. This will be one of the weekends most interesting match ups with both sides having much to prove still. Can the Bears stop the juggernaut Saints offense on the road? Will the Saints bounce back on their own turf? We will find all of this out and more on Sunday
What to watch out for:
Jahri Evans vs Henry Melton: Henry Melton dominated on the defensive line against the Falcons, wracking up two sacks of quarterback Matt Ryan. He was helped greatly by superstar teammate Julius Peppers who also wreaked havoc against the Falcons, with Peppers commanding double teams it will be up to Melton to build on his great opening weekend with a strong performance against the Saints. He will be facing one of the best guards in football in Jarhi Evans. Evans is a dominant, physical lineman who will handle has the ability to handle Melton on his own, he did however struggle in the opener against BJ Raji. This matchup will be crucial in deciding the outcome of this game, If Melton can disrupt Drew Brees then the Bears have a chance.
Jonathan Vilma vs Matt Forte: Vilma is the undisputed leader of the Saints defence and he will be eager for himself and his unit to bounce back after a tough opening night against the Packers. Vilma will have a tough time in shutting down Forte who is both a tough interior runner and an effective receiver out of the backfield. Forte scored on a long screen against the Falcons and it will be up to Vilma and his linebacking crew to limit the effectiveness of the Bears screen game which is usually an integral part of their offense. If the Saints can limit this part of the Bears offense then it will force Jay Cutler to throw downfield more which could lead to more turnovers.
The overall game:
This will be a hard fought game and should be a close one. The homefield advantage for the Saints should be enough to shade it for them. On the fast track of the Super Dome look for Brees to throw deep to his speedsters Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson and test the Bears secondary which was left unchallenged in week 1. The Bears should have a good pass rush again against a Saints line that struggled in week 1, this pressure on Brees should slow down the Saints somewhat but I don’t see the Bears putting enough points to hang with Saints for a full game. Saints 28- 17 Bears
Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions
In this matchup at Ford Field we have two teams heading in completely different directions. The Chiefs opened up the season with a debacle at home against the Bills as the Chiefs fell to a 41-7 defeat. The Lions on the other hand opened their season with a win for the first time since 2007 and look poised to compete for the playoffs in the NFC. The Lions offense was firing on all cylinders against Tampa in week 1 and look poised to terrorize a Chiefs defence that gave up four touchdown passes to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
What to watch out for:
Matt Stafford vs the Chiefs secondary: Before the season started the Chiefs figured to have a good young secondary with rising stars such as Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers, this was not the case in week 1 however as the Chiefs were dominated by the Bills unheralded offense led by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Since then Eric Berry has been placed on IR making an underperforming unit even weaker. Look for Matt Stafford to have another great game and for to throw a couple more touchdown tosses to Calvin Johnson.
Tamba Hali vs Jeff Backus: Hali is the Chiefs one real pass rush threat and if the Chiefs are to pull off the upset then they will have to get in the face of Matt Stafford and disrupt his rhythm. He will be up against the underrated Jeff Backus who has had his critics over the years but is actually a solid starting left tackle. Hali should be good enough to get to Stafford if he is in one on one matchups with Backus but if the Lions give Backus some help then look for Stafford to be upright for most of this game.
The overall game: The Lions seem poised to go to 2-0 as they face a Kansas City team with problems on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs however cannot be as bad as they were in week 1 again so look for the game to be closer than the Chiefs effort against Buffalo. The Lions however have too much on offense for the Chiefs to keep up and once the Chiefs go behind the Lions can unleash their pass rush on a lacklustre Chiefs offensive line. Lions 35 – 14 Chiefs
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets:
The Jaguars travel to New York in what should be one of this weeks more straight forward matchups. Both teams started the season with wins at home and both narrowly. The Jags did well amongst the turmoil of releasing former starting quarterback David Garrard to pick up a win against Tennessee. The Jets meanwhile relied on the implosion of Tony Romo to get their win against Dallas. Quarterback Mark Sanchez performed well in the spotlight against Dallas and if he can keep up that level of performance against Jacksonville the Jets should win comfortably.
What to look out for:
Maurice Jones Drew vs David Harris: MJD is the Jaguars offense in its entirety, the passing game has no playmakers and tight end Mercedes Lewis is mailing it in now he has got his big contract so everything falls on the shoulders of MJD. Harris will have the task of marshalling the Jets D and stopping Jones-Drew from getting going in this matchup. Harris is one of the better middle linebackers in the league and with the help of his running mate Bart Scott he should shut down the Jaguars running game.
Santonio Holmes vs Rashean Mathis: Holmes is underrated around the league but in my opinion he is one of the better receivers in the league and a great weapon for Mark Sanchez to develop with. Mathis although on the downside of his career is still a decent corner and will matchup against Santonio. Holmes unheralded speed will cause Mathis problems and look for him to get a touchdown in this encounter.
The overall game:
The Jets are the clear cut favourite in this match up and with good reason, they are at home against a team that I believe will struggle greatly throughout the season. The Jaguars secondary is woeful and with Mark Sanchez coming into his own in year three the Jets should have their way with the Jaguars defence. Offensively Jacksonville will struggle to get anything going with their lack of weapons and a game manager at quarterback. Jets 34- Jaguars 6
Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos
The surprising 1-0 Cincinnati Bengals travel to the 0-1 Denver Bronco’s in a matchup of two teams expected to struggle this season. Cincy opened up the season with a surprising win on the road in Cleveland due to their strong running game and a defence that was able to shut down Cleveland’s ability to run. The Bronco’s limped to a defeat at home to the Raiders and look to be in a battle with the Chiefs to avoid bottom of the AFC West. To go along with that there is already a quarterback controversy brewing in Denver with the fans at Mile High wanting Tim Tebow to replace the incumbent starter Kyle Orton.
What to look out for:
Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith vs Elvis Dumervil & Von Miller:
The tackles for Cincinnati are the strengths of their offensive line and if rookie quarterback Andy Dalton is to remain upright then they will have to play superbly to keep the Bronco’s pass rushers out of the backfield. Miller and Dumervil are both dynamic, speedy edge rushers who will wreak havoc of the edge for years to come in Denver. Both of them however are undersized and figure to struggle against the Bengal behemoths, this will lead to a big day rushing for Cedric Benson who opened the season with a strong performance against Cleveland.
Jermaine Gresham vs Denver linebackers:
Gresham kicked off his sophomore season with a good performance against Cleveland, he had over 50 receiving yards and a touchdown. This points to him developing a good rapport with Dalton and he will undoubtedly be a safety blanket for the rookie passer. The Denver linebacking core led by DJ Williams who is joined by the aforementioned Von Miller and also Joe Mays will have to find ways to limit Gresham’s effectiveness. This will likely fall to Williams as he is the most adept in coverage of the group. Look for Gresham to catch plenty of underneath stuff from Dalton and also be a viable threat in the red zone.
This should be a tight game but with Denver banged up with injuries (Brandon Lloyd, Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil and Knowshon Moreno all haven’t practiced yet this week) then Cincinnati has the chance for a second straight road win. If Lloyd is out Denver will have no one to throw too and the young Bengals pass rushers will have longer to get to the immobile Orton. The Bronco’s also struggle stopping the run so Cincinnati will be able to ride Cedric Benson all the way to a win this week. Bengals 24 – 17 Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons:
The return of Michael Vick to the house he built and then tore straight back down. This weeks Sunday night football matchup is between two NFC playoff contenders who are both desperate for a win. The Eagles opened up the season with a win on the road in ST. Louis capitalising on mistakes made by a young Rams team. The Falcons season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start with the team being demolished by the Bears at Soldier Field. The Falcons come home to the Georgia Dome in an effort to kick start their season against their former hero.
What to look out for:
John Abraham vs Justin Peters:
Abraham opened the season with a dominant performance against the Bears and he will have to be on top form against Peters to get to Vick. Peters on his day is one of the best left tackles in the NFL but he is inconsistent in both his effort and performance levels, he will have to be in good form to subdue Abraham who has excellent pass rushing moves to go along with his undoubted athleticism. With the ability to bull rush or use his speed look for Abraham to take down Vick at least once.
Dunta Robinson vs Desean Jackson:
The match up of the two players involved in the biggest collision in the NFL last season where both players were laid out after a ferocious hit. Jackson’s deep speed is enough to test the best corners in the league so Robinson, who some think has underperformed since joining the Falcons will be in for a tough day. If Robinson is to be successful against Jackson he will have to be physical and impose himself at the line of scrimmage.
The overall game:
This will be one of the most emotional games in the NFL this season with Vick returning to a city where for some reason he still has supporters. If the Falcons fans can get behind their team and create an atmosphere in the Georgia dome that intimidates the Eagles then the Falcons stand a chance. They will also have to hurry Vick and force him to make errant throws. The play calling on offense must improve for Atlanta as they must attack the Eagles. In this one I see Philly having too much for Atlanta as their high powered offense fulfils its potential. Eagles 31- Falcons 24
(0-1) St Louis Rams @ New York Giants (0-1)
With St Louis playing their first Monday Night Football game since December 2006, they will be looking to avenge defeat by the Philadelphia Eagles, and notch up their first win of the season. The Giants also suffered the first day blues in an emotional clash at FedEx Field in Washington, where the overall mood of the occasion was dominated by the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The Rams looked uninspired in all but the first minute of their home opener against the Giants NFC East rivals, and after Steven Jackson took the Rams first play from the line all the way to the house, he left the game and his teammates produced little else on offense. New York on the other hand were playing very well for a half. They led the Redskins early on, but fell away, and after suffering a raft of preseason injuries, never had much of a chance of gaining victory once they trailed by 14 points.
What to watch out for:
NYG D-Line vs. Rams QB:
After consistent pressure against Philly, the Rams line began to buckle late on, and with only a few minutes to go, Jason Babin got to Rams QB Sam Bradford, breaking his finger, which kept the sophomore out of the rest of the game. His status is questionable going into this, and although likely to start, back-up A.J. , whilst OT Jason Smith is missing with the unreliable Adam Goldberg coming in as a replacement. This will allow the Giants strong D Line, with features Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Chris Canty, to bring heavy pressure. Rams O Line coach Steve Loney will have a long night ahead of him on a national stage if Goldberg doesn’t step up to the plate.
Giants run game vs. Giants O Line:
Last Sunday, the Giants looked weak throughout, and Ahmad Bradshaw never really got his game sorted. He gained a poor 44 yards from 13 carries, averaging only 3.4 yards. His one highlight, a TD in the first half will have helped his confidence, but he will have to rely on his big men up front. With the likes of Chris Snee, David Baas, and Kareem McKenzie in the Giant’s line, Bradshaw should excel throughout the year, and although the Rams front seven is a strong unit, expect the Giants RB to rack up some yards in this game.
This promises to be a pretty thrilling matchup with two team who are out to avenge a first week loss, both of whom were written off in their division before the start of the season, and both having to compensate for mass injury throughout their roster. The Rams running game, with or without Steven Jackson, is strong, and Cadillac Williams will be out to prove that he is still a useful back. The Giants however will go into this game expecting to win, but this will be dependant on which Eli turns up. If the interception throwing, poor decision making Eli takes the field, Tom Coughlin and his Giants could be in for a long night, however if the composed, steady, intelligent Eli plays, then he could lead the Giants to a big victory, taking advantage of the Rams’ lack of ability at CB. Giants by 7.
(1-0) Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills (1-0)
In past seasons, a matchup of two team with a winning record would rarely contain both the Bills and the Raiders, but this weekend, the two meet up coming off of different types of victories, looking to extend their run and, and go 2-0. The Bills, who last week scored 40 points (yes, that’s right, 40) against Kansas City will be anticipate a second victory, in their home opener, whilst Oakland, who scraped a victory at divisional rivals Denver will tie their cart once again to electrifying running back Darren McFadden, and all jump aboard.
Buffalowere impressive last week with Ryan Fitzpatrick under centre, and the former Harvard QB, now in his 6th year, will be looking to build on a career-high 4 TDs, as well as his 208 yards and 133.0 passer rating, a league high for week 1.Oakland on the other hand has two immense special teams’ players. Sebastian Janikowski tied an NFL record in Denver on Monday night with a 63 yard FG, and Shane Lechler, consistently the league’s best punter, hit a franchise long 77 yard punt, and both will be looking to replicate their form going into upstate New York.
What to watch for:
Darren McFadden vs. the world:
The Oakland RB is by far the best player on this offense, and can light up the scoreboard. Rushing for 150 yards against and admittedly weak Denver D saw McFadden, ranked at #98 in the NFL Player’s Top 100 Players List of 2011, lead the league, and delight fantasy owners. It’s not going to be as easy this week though, and McFadden will have to really work to reach 100 yards against a strongBuffalofront seven, playing in a dangerous 3-4 formation. Marcell Dareus, Alex Carrington, and Nick Barnett are quality players, and will present the Raiders O-Line problems, however McFadden’s elusiveness is a massive facet of his game, and he will exploit that for all its worth.
Scott Chandler vs. Oakland front 7:
The previously little known TE Scott Chandler had a career day Sunday against the Chiefs, and will play a big part in this Bills offense throughout the season. A seemingly reliable target for Fitzpatrick,Chandlerprovides another target now that the Bills have lost Lee Evans. He has not got the potential top be great by no means, butChandlercould fast turn into a top TE, and expect a fair few balls thrown his way this Sunday. TheOaklandDC, Chuck Bresnahan, won’t have missed his performance, and will ensure thatChandlerreceives a not so warmer welcome from his group. It’s definitely worth considering this TE for a spot on your fantasy team at flex, as the Bills will use him well throughout this game.
A clash of the (Week 1) titans will provide some pretty good entertainment and one-one-one matchups. The Bills temporarily won a few people over last week, and will hope to grab a victory here to consolidate that. Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson are solid offensive options, and second year coach Chan Gailey will be excited for the upcoming year. The Raiders, under first year HC HueJacksonwill have work to do, and although they won last week, it was a close fought match with against a worse opponent. It’s rare to see anyone favour the Bills, but this week, they should just edge it. Bills by 4.