Week 3: Matchups Within the Matchup

Through the first two weeks, we have seen plenty of action, but not enough to determine the outcome of the season in the NFL.

Patrick Mahomes continues to set the league on fire as he has the most passing touchdowns through two games in NFL history. Also, the state of Florida is undefeated as often-criticized signal callers Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles, and Ryan Fitzpatrick have led their teams to fast starts.

Seven teams have yet to lose while nine teams still yearn for that feeling of euphoria following a sweet, sweet victory.

Here are the interesting matchups and stories to pay attention to heading into Week 3 with a potential upset brewing in Florida:

Can Somebody Get Open?

In what as being dubbed as “The Battle of LA”, the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams virtually mirror one another. They both have explosive offenses as well as fast, attacking defenses. The Rams have a better coach in Sean McVay as well as a better special teams unit. On the other hand, the Bolts have a better quarterback in Philip Rivers.

The game could and should come down to the Chargers’ receivers versus the Rams’ defensive backs. Keenan Allen had his way in Week 1 facing no resistance versus the Chiefs (8 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD), but Tre’Davious White forced him to operate in the slot against the Bills, limiting his productivity (6 catches, 67 yards). Allen can’t escape anyone this week as Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will be outside with Lamarcus Joyner drawing anyone on the inside.

Rivers will still take his chances with Allen, but Mike Williams has been productive (9 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD through two games) after a dismal rookie campaign. Tyrell Williams will need to step up as well. Otherwise, the Chargers run the risk of getting blown out like the Raiders and Cardinals.

My Way or the Highway

Adam Gase has been a busy man for the last 12 months. He got rid of stars or never paid guys like Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, and Ndamukong Suh. As a result, we have seen guys like Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore, Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, and Danny Amendola become the players that produce for the Miami Dolphins. Basically, he has ditched stars for guys that bought in or fit the mold in changing the culture for Miami.

Sound familiar?

Jon Gruden wrote the book on what Gase is doing in Miami. That is why guys like Marquette King and Khalil Mack are no longer on the Oakland Raiders. Like Gase, it will take time for Gruden to get his team in order, but it’s definitely interesting to see the philosophical approach both coaches seem to be taking on.

The Dolphins defense will frustrate Derek Carr and Gruden with two or three takeaways as they are third in the league in that category.

The Next Rookie to Start is…

Who is the next rookie quarterback that could play next?

Sam Darnold is the unquestioned guy for the Jets and Josh Allen figures to stay in command for the Bills. On the contrary, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson might be limited to a clipboard for the next few weeks as long as Tyrod Taylor and Joe Flacco don’t cost their teams victories.

What about Josh Rosen?

You kind of thought it would happen against the Rams when they got down in a hurry, but you have to wonder if Rosen will be the next rookie quarterback to be unveiled for the Arizona Cardinals. Sam Bradford’s lack of emotion has spread like a bad disease among the other 10 guys on offense, making the offense pedestrian.

With Khalil Mack and the reinvigorated Chicago Bears rolling into town, I’m willing to bet Sam Bradford struggles like Russell Wilson did on Monday night except he can’t produce the same magic as him. At home with the crowd booing, head coach Steve Wilks will feel the pressure to put Rosen in. If he doesn’t, we will see Rosen make his debut in Week 4.

The Student and the Teacher

Things will get ugly in Detroit on Sunday night as the Lions will host a very angry New England Patriots team that is fresh off a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator for the Pats the last few seasons.

Patricia has been looking to change the culture in Detroit, but to no avail. With reports of players not looking to buy into “The Patriot Way” in the Motor City, the rookie coach could use a big win in a primetime game. He is familiar with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the entire team, but they know him as well.

With too many issues in Detroit, Brady and company will make a statement under the lights to the entire NFL in blowout fashion. The Patriots offense will generate 50 or more.

Panic! at the Bay

At one point, we all listened to Panic! at the Disco, on purpose or accidentally.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers win last week was considered an upset, but record-wise it’s hard to say them beating the winless Pittsburgh Steelers is one. Regardless of record and current team status, the Bucs winning this football game would be just that.

The Steelers are in disarray right now with Le’Veon Bell nowhere to be found, Antonio Brown growing frustrated with his lack of touches, and a defense that opens up easily like a revolving door. On a scale from one to ten, Pittsburgh is at a six. However, after Ryan Fitzpatrick carves them up for 400 yards and three touchdowns in another win for the Bucs, that meter will read at a nine.

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