Week 1 sure flew by fast, didn't it? We're one full game into Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season (thanks to Jamaal Charles and his well-timed fumble on Thursday Night Football) and we've got more hot cakes coming out of the oven tomorrow!
The early part of the season is always so much fun. Everything feels so new and fresh, there are no bye weeks, and the Oakland Raiders are kind of relevant. Last week hope ran eternal for all 32 teams, but half of them walked off the field as losers.
Who will join the Denver Broncos as Week 2 winners? You've come to the right place to find out.
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Victor Cruz can use pregame warmups to help decide whether he wants to start OBJ or Julio Jones in his fantasy lineup as this game figures to have some big plays made by some big-time wide receivers. The Giants are coming off of one of the most gut-wrenching losses in recent memory, and Eli Manning's leadership is already in question just one game into the season.
Dan Quinn's version of the Atlanta Falcons looked pretty feisty on Monday Night Football earlier this week. I believe that their pass rush is going to get after Elisha, I mean Eli, and force him into his usual habits of general unawareness. Atlanta is going to cruise to victory over a mentally defeated Giants team, something like 27-10.
New England Patriots (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0)
It's kind of adorable how obsessed Rex Ryan is with Bill Belichick. I get that he's hyper competitive and is going after the kings of the division, but dude Rex just chill out once in a while.
Ryan's Bills circled the wagons all around the Indianapolis Colts last week as their elite pass rush repeatedly got to Andrew Luck. Marcell Dareus is returning from his one-game suspension so you'd figure that the defensive line will be even more loaded.
If there's one thing that we've all learned about the Rex/Belichick "rivalry" it's that when Bill is silent he is preparing to drop a hammer on Ryan. The Patriots will have had 10 days to prepare for this game, not to mention that they are out to send a message to the world, and with the Bills selling air pumps in their team store you just have to figure that they are poking the beast. Belichick and Brady do their thang - Pats win 24-20.
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
The Cardinals are returning to the city where they were born to take on the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler and Co. actually put up a decent fight against the Green Bay Packers last week, and while I don't think it was a fluke... I'm starting to buy in to this Cardinals team.
Bruce Arians is a heck of an NFL coach and gets guys to play at an elite level. Carson Palmer looks 10 years younger all of a sudden. I expect John Brown to have a huge game and the Cardinals to really limit Matt Forte as they win a boring one, 17-10.
San Diego Chargers (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
This could be one of those random shootouts that when you keep refreshing Twitter you say, "THEY SCORED AGAIN?!".
I really like both offenses in this game, save for Andy Dalton, and the Cincy defense is no joke. Fantasy players probably spent the past week plastering pictures of AJ Green on milk cartons, but I think he's going to take over this game and carry the Bengals to victory something like 38-35.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
The Heisman House might as well just be an RV that follows Marcus Mariota around. The second overall pick will become the first quarterback in NFL History to make his first two starts against Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. How cool is that?
Beyond the Heisman hype, the Tennessee Titans looked good last week. I understand that you, me, and Miss Sally down the street could look good against the Bucs... but are the Browns really that much better? Chip Kelly is going to be watching this game with his I Heart Marcus shirt on as the Titans win an easy one 23-6.
Detroit Lions (0-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
It seems way too early to dub any of these "must wins" for a team, but it'd be tough cookies to fall to 0-2 and 0-1 in your division so soon in the season.
Detroit played well in a loss against the Chargers last week, but Minnesota just got absolutely Tomsula'd on Monday Night Football against the 49ers. At least I think that's what happened, it was hard to tell with Trent Dilfer yelling at us the whole time.
The Lions are a legit team that came within minutes of winning a playoff game last year. They'll find a way to put it together and pick up their first W of the season - Lions win 27-23.
St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1)
The Rams might sack Kirk Cousins 73 times. Seriously.
Nick Foles knows this team well so I don't think he'll have any huge problems, but the Redskins managed to limit Ryan Tannehill last week so I don't think the Rams will score a whole lot. I do think that Pierre Garcon is going to have a surprisingly nice game with DeSean Jackson out though. Look for St. Louis to win a game that's the leading candidate for you to take your nap during, 17-13.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Remember that whole "you don't want to fall to 0-2 and 0-1 in your division" thing? Yea, totally happening to the Bucs this week.
Jameis and the Succaneers are going to get pulverized by the Saints. Drew Brees and his toys didn't have too fun of a day in Arizona last week, but their offense showed signs of some explosiveness. Not every defense is as good as Arizona, and New Orleans is going to prove it when they win handily 31-7.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
As I typed the names of the teams I knew that I was going to take the Steelers, but you know what? Jim Tomsula is a wild card, man.
Some coaches just have a knack for getting their guys to get up for games. I think that Tomsula is one of those cats. The Steelers have a crazy loaded offense even without Lev Bell, and even with Antonio Brown going off my gut says that the Niners still find a way to compete. Give me San Francisco in a close one, maybe a game-winning field goal, 30-27.
Houston Texans (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
I watched all of Hard Knocks and to be totally honest I came away from it as a big fan of Bill O'Brien. He seems like a really cool, really down to earth dude that loves football.
I am not a fan of switching quarterbacks the second week of the season. Is Brian Hoyer great? Of course not. Is Brian Hoyer even good? Probably not. If I had to trust Brian Hoyer with a football would I? Not in a million years! Nevertheless, you don't yank him after just one game. Cam and Co. are going to dance around JJ as the Texans continue to implode, 24-10.
Baltimore Ravens (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Even if Derek Carr plays, the Ravens are going to stampede the Raiders. Amari Cooper is a fun guy to watch, it's just a shame that he has such little talent around him.
The Ravens are going to be very hungry after a loss against Denver last week. I do think that they'll get off to a slow start though, they are traveling across the country after all. Give me Ravens 23-9.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Can you imagine a real-life fight between a Dolphin and Jaguar? How entertaining/weird/fascinating would that be?
The Dolphins came out pretty flat last week in Washington, but I think a lot of that was just the usual Week 1 rust. I expect Tannehill to get the gang going in a Sunshine State showdown as the Jaguars prove once again why they're the Jaguars. Dolphins win 31-17.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Losing Dez Bryant hurts. Duh.
Being an Eagles fan hurts way worse. Duh.
The Chip Kelly experiment is on the line this weekend because if the Eagles lose the sky is going to start falling in Philly. I actually really like the spot that the Cowboys are in coming into this game - no Dez means no pressure to win. If the Cowboys lose then you can very easily sum it up to that, "Oh well we were without Dez... of course we lost."
The pressure is HIGH on Philadelphia in this game. They're 0-1, they could be 0-2 with a loss, they'd be 0-1 in the division with a loss, AND 52 guys on the roster have the added pressure of proving that DeMarco Murray chose the right team to go play for.
The Eagles don't seem mentally tough enough to handle all of that and I think that they're going to cave under all the pressure. Cowboys win this one 31-14.
Seattle Seahawks (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
The last game that the Seattle Seahawks won was against the Green Bay Packers.
The last game that the Green Bay Packers lost was against the Seattle Seahawks.
Russell Wilson and his Hawks have never lost to the Packers. While Lambeau Field is a tough place to play, I just don't see it happening Sunday night. Seattle is going to mix Jimmy Graham in nicely (Russell will finally have some time in the pocket without playing against St. Louis) and they're going to win easily.
I know what I just said, r-e-l-a-x. Aaron Rodgers threw some touchdowns to James Jones last week - cool. Odds are heavily stacked against him doing it again. The Packers are going to miss Jordy Nelson a lot in this game as they lose 27-20.
New York Jets (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Can I just say that I am so excited for a Super Bowl III rematch?
The Jets and Colts squaring off is one of the more underrated uniform matchups that there can be, and I'm going to enjoy every second of it on Monday Night Football.
If Antonio Cromartie doesn't play then Andrew Luck is going to have a nice fantasy stat line, but I think that's going to be it for him. The Colts seem like a classic finesse team that can't handle intense pass rushes... and the Jets are going to bring the house.
If the name above #14 said something besides "Fitzpatrick" then we'd all praise Ryan a little bit more. He'll have a nice "game manager" type night as the Jets pull out the dubayoo, 23-17.
Are the Dallas Cowboys Distancing Themselves from HC Jason Garrett?
Training camp is always an exciting time for the Dallas Cowboys, with 2018's proceedings being no exception. A major difference this year is the hype carrying over to the Cowboys coaching staff, featuring newcomers at the positional level everywhere but running back, safety, and defensive tackle.
Experienced coaches like Kris Richard, Paul Alexander, and Sanjay Lal will have a big impact on the Cowboys development as a 9-7 team that's only gotten younger this offseason. Still likely in need of a playoff appearance to save the job of Head Coach Jason Garrett and his coordinators, one can't help but question Garrett's effectiveness with this year's team.
The Cowboys appearance on NFL Films' latest All or Nothing series offered Cowboys Nation a rare look inside this team's day-to-day activities, including Garrett's role as a motivator and leader to many coaches no longer with the team.
Garrett's walk through a proverbial hall of mirrors at The Star reflects much deeper though. Ultimately, it's the players that decide games on Sundays, and the Cowboys didn't have enough of their blue chip ones on the field together for 2017. Whether or not this changes in 2018, the Cowboys can do little to shake the truth that conditions must be perfect for Garrett to captain this team to success.
If having a future Hall of Fame tight end like Jason Witten around wasn't enough for Garrett, going all in on this team in their first year without not only Witten but Dez Bryant feels foolish.
This underdog status and youthful nature may very well bring the Cowboys back to their 2016 form. I've already mentioned mirrors however, and how about the smoke? Garrett's best year out of eight full seasons, that 13-3 campaign was surely not all 'smoke and mirrors', but it is now far enough in the past to expect improvement from the Cowboys head coach.
Garrett must overcome massive changes on the offense he once coordinated to see third-year Quarterback Dak Prescott put this team back in the playoff picture, or the Cowboys will only continue to change face even more dramatically for 2019.
Long gone are the innocent days of Garrett playing catch under the California sun with a rookie Prescott, who had no idea the impact he'd make on the entirety of this franchise so quickly. Now, the Cowboys may have to quickly separate this duo if looking to preserve a window of contention under Dak's rookie contract.
It truly will be fascinating to see the new points of emphasis this revamped Cowboys coaching staff brings to the team not only on the field in Oxnard but through their team meetings and into the regular season. As Garrett allows the likes of Richard and Lal to oversee important changes at CB/S and WR respectively, his overarching message of character, competition, and respect will still echo throughout the team.
Whether or not the slew of new players Garrett has to coach can inspire him to implement this message effectively, or if his days are numbered given the slack the Cowboys have already provided, is the most important story line for the Cowboys in 2018.
By most team's standards, a 9-7 season given the circumstances around the Cowboys a year ago is acceptable -- which it ultimately was for Dallas as they kept Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli.
This team's shortcomings through a disappointing season was enough for the Cowboys to begin reevaluating the coaches below this trio though, leaving only their ninth year head coach to fall victim to the level of turnover NFL teams are experiencing on the fly right now.
The Cowboys roster has received this message loud and clear. Will Garrett's carry the same impetus, and will it truly matter for the 2018 season?
Is WR Cedrick Wilson the Player With Most to Gain in Training Camp?
Within the Dallas Cowboys' uncertain wide receiver core, is sixth-round pick Cedrick Wilson. Considered a draft steal by many, Wilson's name is often lost in the mix among Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley and third round rookie Michael Gallup. Just days away from the start of the 2018 training camp, Cedrick Wilson might be the player with the most to gain on the team.
Wilson comes from the Boise State Broncos, where he set the school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,511 last year. As a sixth-round rookie, the young 22-year old receiver has an uphill battle ahead of him to earn a spot on the Cowboys' 53-man roster.
It shouldn't come as a surprise if he emerges victorious in this battle, though.
You see, the lack of a #1 receiver has been one of the main story lines for the Cowboys and for good reason. Heading into the preseason, there is no clear-cut "#1." But even though there isn't a big name such as Dez Bryant, I'm sure we'll feel way better about the wide receivers once the season starts and the offense manages to sustain a good passing attack led by Dak Prescott.
Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup seem like the two front-runners for being the "X" receivers on offense, the position in which Wilson lined up at Boise State during his last year in college football. It's tough to imagine a sixth round rookie being the starting "X" receiver in his rookie season, but that doesn't mean he can't earn an important role at some point of the year.
In 2017, the offense struggled due to the receivers failing to create separation downfield. Wilson, although a raw route-runner, was a very dangerous vertical threat in Boise State and could be just that for the Cowboys down the road.
He needs to improve as a player, but with Sanjay Lal focusing hard at route-running with his receivers, Cedrick could become an important target for Dak earlier than expected.
In order to do so, the young wide receiver will have to find success in training camp. Wide receiver will undoubtedly be one of the most intriguing position battles on the team, with many young yet unproven talent.
There's too many receivers that will be fighting for a roster spot over the following weeks, so Cowboys Nation is bound to be disappointed with so many so-called "pet cats." One or two of these guys will be released and I bet it'll hurt, just as it happens every year.
In all seriousness, though, with his ability to stretch the field and be a vertical threat plus his experience as an "X" receiver, Cedrick Wilson might not only make the roster, but become a significant piece for this new-look offense in Dallas during his rookie season.
Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?
The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.
The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.
All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?
Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.
In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.
That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.
So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.
Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.
It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.
Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.
Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.
Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?
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