The NFL regular season is upon us. We look forward to 17 glorious weeks of sloth, gluttony, and the inevitable wrath as we see our favorite teams go down. With a slate of a dozen games each Sunday, it can be hard to keep track of what’s on. So each week, The Turf will preview the Sunday games so you know what to keep an eye on as you debate whether or not you should continue eating like a hobbit with your 6th meal of the day.
Let’s kick things off by looking at Week 2.
Early Sunday Games
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-7.5), 1:00 p.m. on CBS
The Jaguars upset of the Colts last weekend likely caused the end of many Survivor pool submissions. However, there could be some quick explanations for what led to Jacksonville’s success which likely won’t be repeating this week.
The Jaguars faced a QB at the end of his career playing in a new system for the first time since 2004 and picked him off twice.
Ryan Tannehill is six years younger than Philip Rivers (and has seven fewer children), played in the Titans system before and only threw six interceptions in 10 starts last year.
The Colts lost their starting RB Marlon Mack early in the game and the Jags held the team to 88 total rushing yards.
Derrick Henry ran for 116 yards in Denver last week and it’s unlikely the Jags will see a starting RB go down two weeks in a row.
The Jaguars were at home playing a dome team.
The Titans will be the home team this week and play outdoors.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5), 1:00 p.m. on Fox
It’s silly to say one game means anything for any player or any team.
Having said that, Tom Brady’s performance looked very similar to his play from last season. The big difference is this season he’s surrounded by arguably the most talented group of skill players he’s ever had (and maybe had his worst group last year).
Rob Gronkowski also looked more like his 2018 version than the game-changing superstar from earlier in his career.
Again, it’s one game. But these two players don’t have the best coach of all-time to rely on anymore. And their new coach is already throwing shade at them.
The expectation is Brady has a better game this week and quiets the “he’s done” talk. But the outlook for the season definitely took a hit last week.
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7), 1:00 p.m. on CBS
Ben Roethlisberger is 3-6 all-time vs. Denver (including the playoffs), and his last victory came in 2015.
He is 1-1 at home though, and this feels potentially like Ben’s last chance to get a winning record vs. the Broncos in Pittsburgh where he threatens retirement every year.
The odds are in Pittsburgh’s favor as the Broncos will be missing their best defensive player (Von Miller) and their best skill-position player (Courtland Sutton) is a game-time decision.
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5), 1:00 p.m. on Fox
The last time the #1 and #2 picks in the 2016 NFL draft squared off was on December 10th, 2017.
The Eagles and Carson Wentz were 10-2 and the Rams and Jared Goff were 9-3. It looked like it was going to be the first game in a matchup that would dominate the NFC for the next decade.
Then Wentz tore his ACL in the second half. The Eagles turned to Nick Foles and won the Super Bowl that season (beating the Patriots). While Wentz became the starter again the following year, he’s ended his last two seasons with injuries and the team no longer looks like the title contender it was in 2017.
In 2018, Goff led the Rams to the Super Bowl before having a very poor performance in a 13-3 loss to the Patriots. Then the Rams and Goff missed the playoffs last year as questions arose about his true potential.
This feels like a make or break season for both quarterbacks, and this game could tell a lot about how each team’s season is going to go.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) at New York Jets, 1:00 pm. on Fox
On paper, it’s a west coast team traveling across the country to play an early game.
In reality, the Jets stink and the 49ers probably could be traveling from Australia and they’d still be able to take care of business.
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. on CBS
The Dolphins just allowed the opposing QB to run for 75 yards and 2 TD. Josh Allen ran for 57 yards and a TD against the Jets last week.
Allen is also 3-1 in his career vs. Miami and the Bills seem to be adjusting perfectly fine to a season where they are expected by many to win the AFC East.
It is supposed to rain in Miami on Sunday, which could also really slow the game down.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (-3), 1:00 p.m. on Fox
The NFL offseason coverage focused a lot on Tom Brady’s move to Tampa, and rightfully so.
But Philip Rivers leaving SD/LA after 16 years is a pretty big deal as well, and it seems the relatively minor coverage of it had many fans expecting it would work out just fine.
So far, that isn’t the case. Without a normal camp and pre-season, any player switching teams is facing an uphill battle. Rivers has the additional disadvantage of nearing 40, and if you remove Brady and Drew Brees, this is when most QBs’ careers end.
It’s (OBVIOUSLY) too early to write off the Colts/Rivers, but this is a legitimate concern. As is a pissed off Vikings team that just got spanked by the Packers coming to town.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6.5), 1:00 p.m. on Fox
The Detroit Lions have not won a game since October 27th, 2019.
They have not won a game at Lambeau Field when Aaron Rodgers throws more than 5 passes since November 15th, 2015.
These things don’t bode great for the men from the Motor City this weekend.
Also, Rodgers has the same possessed look in his eye this year as Tom Brady had in 2014 when the Patriots drafted their supposed QB of the future.
The take here is Jordan better LOVE sitting on the bench this year.
(Hey, it’s Week 2 for all of us.)
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5), 1:00 p.m. on Fox
The Dallas Cowboys had high expectations and then disappointed on a national stage.
The NFL is back.
This week should allow them to right the ship, but it looks it will come in a shootout as each team is stuffed with players starting on fantasy rosters.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-5.5), 1:00 p.m. on CBS
Mitch Trubisky’s draft spot will always be an epic disaster, but he was downright impressive throwing 3 TDs in a fourth quarter comeback win last week.
QBs who are returning with the same coach and same system from last season have a distinct advantage this year. It’s not 100% outrageous that Trubisky uses this to finally turn the corner and lead the Bears to the postseason.
It might be 65% outrageous though.
For the Giants? After this there are only 14 games left.
Sunday Afternoon Games
The Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals (-7), 4:05 p.m. on Fox
If you listened to fantasy football “experts” this year, you would have heard that DeAndre Hopkins was a bad pick. Not a bad player, but a guy picked in the first 25 picks who wouldn’t produce up to that slot.
Hopkins had 14 receptions for 151 yards last week, which is nearly 30 points in a PPR league.
That is good.
Kyler Murray also threw for 230 yards and ran for another 91 yards. Also good.
On defense, there are also several good players.
The Cardinals might be…good? Potentially very good?
That’s about as crazy as a NFL franchise changing their ridiculously offensive nickname to just calling themselves a football te…oh wait.
Kansas City Chiefs (-8) at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
This isn’t meant to disparage the Chiefs. They are extremely talented and should be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl again.
And there is the potential here for a trap game.
This game still just feels like one of those episodes of “Game of Thrones” where characters are just walking around, and nothing really happens.
But if you get through this episode, the trailer for next week vs. the Ravens looks SICK!
Baltimore Ravens (-7) at Houston Texans, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The pressure of this game is all on the Ravens.
If the Texans lose and fall to 0-2 it’s not great. However, they would have losses to the top two teams in the AFC and it’s not like Houston should be expected to beat either team. There’s no shame in aiming to be the #3 team in the AFC.
However, if the Ravens lose then they are playing a likely 2-0 KC team next week in what could be a must-win if the Ravens want a shot at the #1 seed.
Remember only the #1 seed gets a bye this year.
Sunday Night Football
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Cam Newton and the Patriots looked great last week. The offense seemed revitalized by the change in plays motivated by who is now under center.
The concern for this week is they are playing a better team on the road. Newton is also 1-5 against Seattle, and Belichick’s Patriots have not won at Seattle since 2008 (two seasons before Pete Carroll took over).
While the Seahawks won’t have their full “12th man” crowd advantage, this looks to be a tough test for a Patriots team that is still very much in a transition phase.
But, just for fun…
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.