Already one week into the NFL season, and sadly some of us have already felt the harsh sting of heartbreaking defeat and the all too familiar “here we go again” shame of those losses. (Looking at you Chicago and Indianapolis)
But what’s done is done and a new week is upon us with a new schedule filled with some interesting matchups to focus on.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday 1:00pm
In this matchup of high scoring offenses, this game will most likely come down to either who’s defense can get a critical stop, or who’s offense makes the most mistakes.
With James Conner looking like a quality back so far during Le’Veon Bell’s holdout, the Steelers are confident they can produce a better showing this week than they did against Cleveland. However, their defense may have a tough time trying to keep up.
On the other side, the speedy Chiefs offense, led by second-year QB Patrick Mahomes, had no trouble putting up points last week against a pretty good Chargers defense. Add in Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, & Sammy Watkins and this game could turn into a track meet for the Steeler defense very quickly.
Winner: Chiefs 31-21
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers – Sunday 1:00pm
After a tough game against my Bears last week (tear), the Packers are getting thrown back into the fire again facing arguably the best defense in the league against Minnesota.
Aaron Rodgers who’s been diagnosed with a knee sprain is currently questionable to play Sunday, which means if he can’t go the Packers will be going with Deshone Kizer, who made a brief appearance last week after Rodgers went down. Rodgers didn’t practice Wednesday, so it’s fairly possible he will be a game-time decision depending on how he feels.
The Vikings meanwhile are coming off of a season-opening win against the 49ers, in which they were clicking on both sides of the ball. Kirk Cousins seemed comfortable as he spread the ball around to all of his new weapons and throwing two touchdowns. Their defense forced three INTs and had three sacks as well last week. That’s bad news for the Packers O-line who struggled to keep their QB clean and upright in Week One.
Winner: Vikings 24-13
New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
A rematch of last year’s AFC title game, both teams look to come into this game ready to make a statement that they are the team to beat in the AFC.
The Patriots had a strong showing agains the Texans last week in which Tom Brady carved up the defense for three early TDs and never looked back, despite Houston making the game close late. Brady and the Pats offense already appears to be in midseason form as they prepare for a tough day on the road against “Sacksonville”.
The Jaguars are awaiting to see if they will have their workhorse running back, Leonard Fourtnette, on the field Sunday after not practicing because of a hamstring injury. Without him in the lineup, expect Pats coaching mastermind Bill Belichick to force Blake Bortles to beat them on Sunday. The Jags defense will have their hands full trying to slow down the Pats offense who don’t seem to have as many household names as in years past, yet they always seem to still get the job done.
Winner: Patriots 17-14
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys – Sunday Night Football 8:20pm
Both teams took tough losses last week, yet look completely different in their respective games.
In a word, the Cowboys offense looked lost in their game against the Panthers. Their powerhouse back Ezekiel Elliott only had 15 carries all game and Dak Prescott struggled to get the ball to his receivers on the outside. It’s clear that this team is missing a real WR threat as all the Panthers cared about was stopping the run and forcing Dak to throw the ball. It’s a shame they probably aren’t high on Dez Bryant’s list of teams. (Chuckles) It remains to be seen if the ‘Boys will go back to their run-heavy offense.
The Giants on the other hand looked sharp against a great Jags defense. Eli Manning started the game completing his first ten passes on his way to a 224 yard passing game. Rookie Saquan Barkley topped one-hundred yards and scored his first TD in his debut. Newly paid star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. had 11 catches for 111 yards. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, other than not being able to finish off drives with points. This game will be decided on defense and will be a close game, as NFC East games typically are.
Winner: Giants 14-10