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.
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.
Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.
A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.
Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.
First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:
- Earl Thomas
- Landon Collins
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Tyrann Mathieu
- Adrian Amos
- Clayton Geathers
- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
- Glover Quinn
- Tre Boston
- Kenny Vaccaro
- George Iloka
- Jimmie Ward
- Adrian Phillips
Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.
With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.
Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.
Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.
The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.
Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?
Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors
What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.
Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?
As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.
Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.
That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.
However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.
Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.
Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.
The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.
Just something to think about...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.
As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.
Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.
These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.
Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.
Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.
Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.
Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.
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