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Week 1 in the NFL is in the books and, as always, many fan bases have already overreacted in one way or another.
Are the Green Bay Packers really in trouble, or will Aaron Rodgers and company come out in Week 2 and tell everyone to “R-E-L-A-X” once again?
Are the Houston Texans actually kind of decent, or did they just play the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Thankfully, fans don’t have to wait long to get a clearer picture of their team, and to either confirm or deny their pre-emptive proclamations, as another full Sunday slate is less than a week away.
So to get you set, here are three of the most intriguing games in Week 2:
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, Sept. 19 at 1:00PM ET | Live stream
Spread: Buffalo -3.5
Over/Under Total: 48.0
Moneyline: Dolphins (+140), Bills (-165)
One team that definitely didn't have the Week 1 debut they were hoping for was the Buffalo Bills. Fresh off an AFC Championship appearance last season, the expectations for the Bills were sky-high heading into the 2021/22 NFL campaign.
Unfortunately for Buffalo fans, the Pittsburgh Steelers had other ideas. The Steelers’ stifling defence made life difficult for Bills star quarterback Josh Allen, handing the Bills the dreaded 0-1 start.
Luckily for head coach Sean McDermott and his squad, they get a chance to bounce back in a big way when they head south to take on the division-leading Miami Dolphins in the first of their six AFC East divisional matchups.
The Dolphins — the lone team at 1-0 in the AFC East after Week 1 — come into this contest riding high after taking out the New England Patriots in Foxborough. It wasn’t pretty at times, including a horrendous late-game interception from second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but Miami made just enough plays and was able to get the job done with a 17-16 win. Plus, you never second-guess a win against Bill Belichick in New England. Those don’t come around that often.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores is now 3-2 against his mentor, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and has notched two wins in Foxboro.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 12, 2021
In the Week 2 matchup, Buffalo will look to get their high-flying offence back on track when they head down to Florida. After averaging 29.9 points per game last season, they were held to just 16 against the Steelers. Running back Devin Singletary was effective when given the chances, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt on just 11 carries. It will be interesting to see if offensive coordinator Brain Daboll opts for a more balanced attack in game number two.
But the Dolphins' defence will be no slouch. Brian Flores and Miami also held the Patriots to just 16 points last week, as well as forcing two key fumbles that changed the momentum of the game.
Can the Bills quell their fan’s early-season worries, or will the Dolphins jump out to an early lead in the race for the AFC East crown? Find out on Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, Sept. 19 at 4:25PM ET | Live stream
Spread: Chargers -3
Over/Under Total: 55.0
Moneyline: Cowboys (+135), Chargers (-160)
Expect some fireworks in this one.
Both the Chargers and Cowboys have offences that should give opposing defenses nightmares all season long. A multitude of weapons headed by two of the most promising young quarterbacks in the league is a deadly combo.
In Week 1, the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott went toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losing on a last-second field goal. Despite the loss, Dallas fans had to love what they saw from their team — especially the offense. Dak Prescott, who was playing in his first game since a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 of last season, looked back to his old self. He threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns, completing 42 of 58 attempts.
If there is one concern with the Cowboys' offense coming out of Week 1, it was the lack of ground attack. Ezekiel Elliott ran for just 33 yards on 11 carries, not exactly what we are used to from the sixth-year player. The good news for Elliot and the rest of the Cowboys running backs? Dallas activated All-Pro guard Zach Martin from the reserve COVID-19 list on Monday, which should provide a much needed boost.
On the other side of this game, the Chargers' offense should be licking their lips coming into this one, as the Cowboys' defense just gave up 379 yards and four touchdowns to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the opener. Quarterback Justin Herbert and company only put up 20 points in Week 1, but they were going up against what many to believe was a top-five defense in Washington.
Still, Herbert managed to throw for 337 yards against the Football Team and made the plays the team needed down the stretch to pull out the victory — something Chargers teams of yesteryear often could not do. The receiving duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams combined for 17 catches, 182 yards and a touchdown, and will be their young quarterback's favourite targets all season.
#Chargers WR Mike Williams’ early scouting report on the Dallas Cowboys’ defense: "Tampa Bay receivers looked like they was having some fun out there."
— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) September 13, 2021
Los Angeles’ defense was stellar last week, but the test gets that much harder in Week 2. Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are a bit of a different animal to corral than the Washington offense.
Starting 0-2 is not ideal for any franchise, but with the Cowboys, it often seems like the sky is falling. The Cowboys will try to avoid a winless first two weeks and make Jerry Jones proud Sunday in Los Angeles.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:15PM ET | Live stream
Spread: Chiefs -2.5
Over/Under Total: 55.5
Moneyline: Ravens (+130), Chiefs (-159)
The marquee matchup of Week 2 comes under the lights on Sunday Night Football when Lamar Jackson and the Ravens host Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Both teams had somewhat shaky starts to their NFL seasons, although one was able to shake off the rust and come out with a win, one was not.
Kansas City, the defending AFC champions, looked to be in trouble against the Cleveland Browns in their opener, trailing 22-10 at the half. But Patrick Mahomes decided to flip the switch in the second half and start doing Patrick Mahomes things. It was just that easy.
Mahomes led the Chiefs offense to 23 second-half points, on route to a 33-29 comeback victory over the Browns. His favourite receiving duo of tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill were stellar as per usual, combining for a massive 273 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
Kansas City’s defense left something to be desired in Week 1, especially on the ground. But reinforcements should be on the way for their primetime matchup, as safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark are both expected to be back in the fold.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, their Week 1 story didn’t have as happy of an ending. In one of the wilder Monday Night Football games of the past decade, John Harbaugh’s squad fell to the Las Vegas Raiders in an overtime thriller.
Baltimore came into this game dealing with more season-ending injuries than any other team — yes, season-ending injuries before the season had even officially started. Two running backs in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards went down, as well as one of their top corners in Marcus Peters. The reserves filled in admirably, but it was still not enough to come out on top against the Raiders. Especially when you give up 435 yards of offence through the air.
However, with Lamar Jackson at the helm, they will always have a chance. The only problem, if Jackson had a kryptonite, it would be the Kansas City Chiefs. The fourth-year quarterback is 0-3 against Andy Reid and the Chiefs, including a Week 3 loss last season when Jackson was held to just 97 yards passing.
Jackson and the Ravens will need to get the monkey off their backs to avoid back-to-back losses, but against Mahomes and the Chiefs, that is easier said than done.
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