Just like that, Week 1 of the NFL is a wrap and we are already at hump day with Week 2 merely a day away from its’ genesis.
We saw Odell Beckham Jr. and Jalen Ramsey go toe-to-toe, Sam Darnold outwit Matt Patricia, Sean McVay school Jon Gruden, and a host of other memorable matchups within the matchup.
Here are five enticing matchups to get ready for Week 2:
Allen’s First Start
Maybe subconsciously (or consciously) affected by Sam Darnold’s steady debut for the in-state rival Jets, the Buffalo Bills have pulled the plug on the Nathan Peterman experiment. Now, we get a first look at another quarterback experiment in rookie Josh Allen.
The last time the Bills started a rookie against the Los Angeles Chargers it ended badly as Peterman threw five picks. You have got to believe that Sean McDermott will lean on veteran LeSean McCoy and limit Allen to 15 to 20 passing attempts against an eager Bolts’ defense. Sadly, the Bills have more problems on the offensive line and out wide with their pass catchers so it may not matter what the gameplan is for Allen.
Even without Joey Bosa this week, the Chargers should be able to generate at least three turnovers in what is quickly becoming a refurbishing year for Bills Mafia.
The New England Patriots versus the Jacksonville Jaguars should be the matchup of the week for obvious reasons. One being that they met in the AFC Championship last season.
The main reason Jacksonville almost made it to the Super Bowl was because of the power running of Leonard Fournette. However, a hamstring injury limited him in Week 1 against the Giants and those types of injuries tend to linger all season with all sorts of restrictions. In addition, the defense looked vulnerable for the first time since the 2016 campaign. Saquon Barkley rushed for 100 yards while Odell Beckham Jr. surged for 100 in the aerial assault.
Now, the Patriots don’t have quality skills players like the Giants, but they do have Tom Brady.
Brady was very Nip Tick-esque as he was surgical against the Texans despite throwing a pick. He threw three touchdowns and connected with eight different guys.
If the Jags can eliminate Rob Gronkowski, who caught eight passes for 123 yards and one touchdown, then this becomes an ugly contest in favor of Sacksonville. This is a contest that could go either way, but I’ll go with the mystique of Brady and Bill Belichick.
Can Wilson Avoid Mack?
Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are in the midst of a “Sack-tations” Tour. They just faced Von Miller, will see Demarcus Lawrence next week, Chandler Jones the following week, and Ndamukong Suh along with Aaron Donald to end a brutal schedule. As for this week, they travel to Chicago where they’ll take on Khalil Mack and an improved Bears’ defense.
Despite being a top 10 quarterback, Wilson has a leaky front, pedestrian rushing attack, and no-name pass-catching options. Those are bad ingredients to have against an already motivated defender with a chip on his shoulder in Mack.
Expect the newest member of the Bears to generate three sacks and two strips.
The Big Arm versus the Steel Curtain
If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers or Sam Darnold stealing the limelight, it would be hard to deny what Patrick Mahomes did on Sunday to the sexy Super Bowl pick that is the LA Chargers in a 38-28 win. He threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in a bit of a coming out party for him and the new look Kansas City Chiefs.
Mahomes wasted no time showing off his rifle of an arm as he found Tyreek Hill routinely on deep bombs. Andy Reid dug into his bag of tricks with all sorts of gadget plays too. Lost in all of this is the Chiefs defense that gave up 541 yards and a lackluster performance by the 2017 rushing leader in Kareem Hunt (49 rushing yards).
On the flip side, the Pittsburgh Steelers just came off a disappointing performance against the Browns headed by Ben Roethlisberger (five turnovers). Le’Veon Bell remains an enigma in regards to when he will suit up and of course they started the season with a tie. James Conner was a beacon of hope has he totaled 192 yards and scored twice.
The Steelers will limit the dynamic duo of Mahomes and Hill, but Reid finds a way to overachieve with the Chiefs every year due to fast starts in the season. Kansas City should win causing more panic to surround Pittsburgh.
Upset by the Bay
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored 48 points against the Saints as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards. They face the defending champs this week in the Philadelphia Eagles who will be without Carson Wentz. The Bucs win versus the Saints was largely due to forcing two turnovers and holding them to a total of 43 yards rushing.
The Eagles willed their way to a win on the backs of Jay Ajayi and a loaded defense that held an explosive Falcons offense to 299 total yards. The Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles, threw for 117 yards and a pick as he looked nothing like the guy that outdueled Brady in the Super Bowl.
In a battle of the backup quarterbacks, it will come down to who can make more plays between Fitzmagic and Foles. Considering Julio Jones just blitzed the Philly secondary for 169 yards, I anticipate a lot of Mike Evans touches in an early season upset as the champs hit the road in Tampa.