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.
Why I’m Not Buying The Jason Witten Rejuvenation Story
Last week, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made headlines with some quotes about the return of Jason Witten. Neither Garrett nor Witten tend to make headlines with their words often, but the two combined to do so with a quote this week.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.” - Jason Garrett on Witten.
Multiple Cowboys' media outlets ran with these quotes, looking to show that the Cowboys have found a version of Jason Witten that they have not seen in quite some time. They are, publicly, stating that they believe a year away from the game did Witten some good, and that he will be a much healthier and fresher player in 2019 than he was back when he last played in 2017.
As a fan of the team, I sure hope this is the case. But as a realistic human being, I can't get behind this at all.
Jason Witten hasn't been very good for quite some time now. I know he's a Cowboy legend, and will forever be a fan favorite, but the facts are the facts. As a run blocker Witten has regressed greatly in his later years. More often it seemed he was re-adjusting his jersey after a missed block than he was making blocks to spring Ezekiel Elliott on the edge.
As a receiver, Witten's much slower than he used to be. And while he was never a blazer who relied on his speed to win, his lack of speed certainly holds him back in today's game. And if the Cowboys want to be multiple and versatile on offense, I'm not sure how a greatly-aged tight end helps them to do so.
He's still the smart, instinctive route runner he's always been, but at 37 years old what can we realistically expect from him?
I'll be honest, I'm very skeptical that Jason Witten is going to give the Cowboys anything in 2019. Maybe earlier in the season he will look better than expected, but can he withstand a full NFL season? It's impossible to say for sure now, but I'm absolutely not buying that he's rejuvenated or extra-fresh after a year off from football.
Connor Williams Hopes Added Weight, Experience Aids Him In 2019
Offensive lineman Connor Williams had himself an interesting start to his young career. The second round pick was expected to be a plug-and-play guard for the Cowboys, earning the starting left guard spot from just about the first day of training camp.
The results from Williams' play were mixed, however. At moments Connor Williams looked like his athletic, technically sound self, working well on the Cowboys outside zone runs. Other times, though, he was simply overpowered by bigger and stronger defensive tackles.
Williams lost his left guard spot due to injury late in the season, and when Xavier Su'a-Filo came in and played relatively well, fans soured a bit on the then-rookie lineman. Still there was no question that Williams was the better player between the two, and he rightfully started in both the Cowboys playoff games last season.
Now entering year two, and with third round pick Connor McGovern potentially competing for a guard spot and rumors of a move to right tackle swirling around him, Williams believes he's done enough to improve before his Sophomore year.
Connor Williams spoke to DallasCowboys.com, and gave some decent quotes on what his offseason preparation has looked like thus far. Williams emphasized that his main goal was to add strength and size, something he looks to have clearly done based on recent photographs.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position. Now it’s just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable.” - Connor Williams
According to Williams he played at a "light 300" pounds in 2018, but is now tipping the scales at 315 pounds. That's quite the difference, especially considering that Williams carries the weight pretty well in his frame.
All Pro veteran guard Zack Martin has taken Williams under his wing, as the young lineman credits Martin for being his lifting partner this offseason.
Right tackle might be in Connor Williams' 2020 future, but as of now, he has to ready himself to compete at left guard against the heavier defensive tackles he once struggled with. It's very encouraging to see the progress he has made so far.
Travis Frederick’s Return Highlights Start Of Cowboys’ OTAs
The Cowboys opening of voluntary OTAs came with some serious excitement from football-starved fans. But as we all know, these workouts are just about meaningless in terms of storylines for the upcoming season.
I say "just about meaningless" because there are some storylines which matter, though. Travis Frederick's return, of course, is one of those storylines.
After missing all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, Frederick appears to have gained his strength and ability back heading into 2019. Now he is back where he belongs, as the starting center for the Dallas Cowboys.
@tfrederick72 🔙 at it! 💪🏼 #OTAs https://t.co/wht2Lh5yr5
Travis Frederick's importance to the Cowboys cannot be understated. In addition to being one of the best linemen in all of football, the All-Pro veteran center is responsible for much of the pre-snap communication across the offensive line. His absence was clearly felt in 2018, even as Joe Looney played well-above the preseason expectation level.
Frederick returns to anchor an offensive line which is surrounded with some serious pre-season hype. With Zack Martin back to full health, Connor Williams having a year under his belt, and newly-drafted Connor McGovern comes in with high hopes of starting on the interior.
Regardless of how the rest of the Cowboys' offensive line works itself out, it was great to see Travis Frederick back in action, even if it was during a non-contact voluntary practice.
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