Previewing Week 2
Before we head into week 2, I thought we’d take a peak at some of our favourite storylines to keep an eye on from the upcoming games.
Rookie QBs: As we get to the 2nd round of games, it seems a little surprising that despite the sheer amount of QBs we saw going early in the draft, that we’ve only seen 1 actually start a game. This week however Josh Allen joins the mix, thanks to an atrocious Nathan Peterman performance against the Ravens. At the Gents club house we’ll be watching Allen’s first start through the gaps of our fingers. Accuracy issues, a poor supporting cast of weapons and one of the worst offensive lines in football have us more than a little concerned that it might not go well. The Chargers secondary should be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of getting back into last season’s form against a Bills offence that has struggled to find it’s rhythm and this game could get ugly quickly. On the subject of rookie QBs, if Tyrod plays the same as last week for the Browns, it could be the last time we see Baker Mayfield on the sidelines with the same being said in Arizona. It could only be a matter of time before we see Josh Rosen take the field.
Are They Who We Think They Are? We saw positive surprises from a new look Bucs offense. Can we expect the same this week against the Superbowl Champs? Well with the Bucs it appears the problem might have been tied up in Dirk Koetter’s play calling. Todd Monken has been a breath of fresh air so far, and has managed to get the most from a team loaded with talent. Now we need to see if it lasts. On the flip side we saw the Saints defence struggling to deal with the new look Bucs offense. Hopefully this was a wake up call to a talented Saints defence that just couldn’t stop the Fitzmagic and a surprisingly poor performance from Marshon Lattimore who struggled to slow down Mike Evans. Evans caught 4 passes for 115 yards against Lattimore, so it remains to be seen whether he can shake off the rust and get good against a Browns team that really held their own against the Steelers last week. All i’ll say is if there’s a QB that can be exploited by a good corner, it’s probably Tyrod Taylor.
Injured Players: A lot of QB’s suffered injuries in week 1 and it seems they’ll all play. Aaron Rodgers suffered a sprained knee, but seems determined to take the field against a Vikings team that took him out for a good chunk of last season. Like in the 2nd half of the last game, expect quick passes to set up the deep ball. Matt Stafford missed some snaps last week, but looks set to try and redeem himself against the Niners this week. Big Ben seems to spend his time in-between games dealing with a variety of injuries nowadays and this week is no different. Ben however was a full participant and looks set to play again this week, which is good news when going up against Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs will be expected to put up a ton of points on a leaky Steelers defence and Ben will be needed to win a potential shootout. Finally it’s an interesting day for Marcus Mariota who its looking like might share some reps with Blaine Gabbert thanks to some injury concerns.
The rise of the AFC North: If there was any worries about the quality of the AFC at the start of the season, perhaps we can quell some concerns with the talent that has been on display so far in the AFC North. The Bengals look like a completely different team this year thanks in no small part to coordinators Bill Lazor and Teryl Austin, who have made a massive difference and could keep Marvin Lewis in a job. The Ravens took their foot off a little this week with some questionable decisions from Flacco, but they do at least still feel dangerous. Then there’s the Steelers and Browns who went toe to toe with each other last week, but this week we get to see exactly what they are. If the Browns can cause the Saints problems then maybe they close the gap between them and the rest of the division. The Steelers window is closing. They need to put in a good performance today to remind everyone that they’re one of the teams to beat in the AFC.
Josh Allen vs Casey Heyward: Nathan Peterman threw 2 interceptions directly to Casey Heyward in their last matchup. Now Josh Allen takes over from Peterman and needs to learn from his mistakes. Casey Heyward is something of a boogieman to the Bills and a good performance in this game would go a long way to put previous mistakes behind them.
Michael Thomas vs Denzel Ward: It’s clear that the Browns really like Ward and had the confidence on his first outing to put him up against Antonio Brown. This week he’s up against a totally different type of receiver in Michael Thomas, a former college teammate of Ward’s. Thomas racked up 180 yards last week and on paper is a potential size mismatch against Ward. If Ward can keep Thomas quiet then we have an early frontrunner for defensive rookie of the year.
Vikings Defensive Line vs Packers Offensive Line: Arguably the biggest matchup in this game. The Packers offensive line last week did a good job in the second half keeping Rodgers upright, thanks in no small part to the Packers making quick passes to set up deep passes. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see the same this week meaning the Vikings will have to get to Rodgers in a hurry. Luckily having someone like Harrison Smith in the Secondary makes life a little easier. If the Vikings can get pressure with just Hunter, Richardson, Joseph and Griffen then they can use Barr and Kendricks to cut out the short passes. If not then a blitzing Barr opens up some holes. There’s more to this than just keeping Rodgers upright.
Ramsey vs Gronk: Couldn’t not talk about this. Jalen Ramsey seems to have something to say about everyone and has been the go to for soundbites in the NFL. Really he’s become a cartoon villain and his comments should be taken with a pinch of salt, however here I am… talking about a matchup that might not even happen. In the last game, he covered Gronk for just 2 snaps and historically doesn’t cover tight ends. I’m not saying we won’t see it, I’m just saying it’s been blown out of proportion and more likely we’ll see Myles Jack and Tashaun Gipson covering Gronk. That being said who doesn’t love a big personality in the NFL. It’d be a lot duller without you Jalen.
Enjoy week 2 guys and don’t forget to check out Touchdown Trips.