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BASN’s NFL Sunday Preview: Week Two
PHILADELPHIA — This week’s NFL games due not feature a catchy moniker like last week. But I believe with the San Diego Chargers traveling to New England, “revenge” may be the word for the weekend’s games. I am just glad that the NFL’s schedule is now two game days with only one Monday Night football game.
1:00 PM ET 49ers at Rams (Fox)
This is a NFC divisional game that features an old NFL rivalry and it may also be a meeting of two teams going in opposite directions. The young Niners are trying get to 2-0, while the aging Rams are trying to avoid an 0-2 start. Both need keep pace with division favorite Seattle. The game will feature the NFC’s top two players in scrimmage yards in 2006 — StL RB Steven Jackson (2,334 yards) and Niners RB Frank Gore (2,180). The Niners should be confident, because their Head coach Mike Nolan is 3-1 (.750) versus the Rams. Gore is aiming for his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game versus the Rams. Watch for Rams DE Leonard Little, who has 8.0 sacks in past 8 meetings versus the Niners.
1:00 PM ET Packers at Giants (Fox)
This game features an offense that scored a lot, but lost (Giants) and an offense that didn’t score a touchdown while winning (Packers). The Giants (0-1) will be missing several veterans including QB Eli Manning (shoulder). Brett Favre will look to continue his 238 consecutive games played streak and will attempt to break his all-time wins record (148) that he currently shares with John Elway. The Packers (1-0) have now won 5 in row dating back to 2006. Giants RB Derrick Ward will probably make the start after running for a career-high 89 rush yards last week versus the Cowboys.
1:00 PM ET Bills at Steelers (CBS)
The Steelers seem poised to go on a run after trouncing the Browns and their new Head Coach Mike Tomlin has issued a tough disciplined style. The Steelers will try and continue their defensive dominance after posting six sacks and five turnovers versus the Browns. Buffalo will limp into the game after losing in week one to the Bronco and they will need to find several healthy bodies on defense after several player didn’t finish the game. Watch for the Bills to play tough for injured teammate TE Kevin Everett (neck).
1:00 PM ET Saints at Buccaneers (Fox)
After a Thursday night drubbing at the hands of the Colts, New Orleans has have a long week to lick their wounds and prepare for a big divisional road game. The offense will be a big focus as the Saints’ only touchdown against the Colts came on a fumble return. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, had to travel across the country to Seattle and suffered key injuries against the Seahawks, something that will severely test the Buccaneers’ depth this week. The Saints’ offense was embarrassed against Indy and did not stick with the running game long enough against the smaller Colts, something that should change against an undermanned Tampa defense.
1:00 PM ET Texans at Panthers (CBS)
Both teams are off to a good start and both offenses, which have struggled in the past, were productive in Week 1. Carolina’s offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson did well in the season opener establishing the run game and, more specifically, his zone-running attack. RBs DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams were productive and seemed to fit the scheme well. QB Jake Delhomme threw three touchdown passes and 201 yards against St. Louis.
1:00 PM ET Falcons at Jaguars (Fox)
This should be an interesting battle between two teams that don’t want to get behind the eight ball early in the season. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio has a ton of pressure on him to produce, especially after the controversial departure of the popular QB Byron Leftwich and considering he’s working with what most experts feel is a talented football team. The high-powered offense of Atlanta head coach Bobby Petrino sputtered in the opener and will try to improve on the three points it put up against Minnesota. Both franchises have question marks at the quarterback position and will need to get their respective signal-callers on track.
1:00 PM ET Bengals at Browns (CBS)
This will be the second straight divisional game for both teams. The Bengals are looking to get to 2-0 versus the hapless Browns. The Browns pass protection and quarterback play were horrible in week one as starter Charlie Frye was benched for Derek Anderson and then traded to Seattle on Tuesday. First-round pick Brady Quinn should be getting the start for the Browns soon, but Anderson will get the start this week. Bengals QB Carson Palmer has 5-1 record and 13 TDs in 6 games versus Browns. In their last meeting, Palmer completed 25 of 32 passes for 275 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT. Bengals WR Chad Johnson needs 82 yards to become Bengals all-time leader (Isaac Curtis, 7,101). Last time they met on 11/26/06, the Bengals won 30-0 as they posted their first shutout since 1989. The victory was their fifth straight over Cleveland.
1:00 PM ET Colts at Titans (CBS)
This AFC South battle has quickly become a rivalry as the Titans led by QB Vince Young beat the Colts once in 2006 and it was almost twice. In last meeting on 12/3/06, Tennessee K Rob Bironas kicked a 60-yard FG with 7 seconds remaining to give the Titans a win. The Colts defense stymied the Saints in week one, but now they will be facing the NFL’s best running attack including a mauling offensive line. The Colts will look for Peyton Manning to continue his mastery of the Titand (Last 6 vs. Titans: 1,647 yards & 15 TDs). Watch for Vince Young running against the Colts (121 yards (9.3) on 13 carries and 1 TD versus the Colts). It should be a good battle of the Colts explosive offense featuring Peyton Manning, WR Marvin Harrison, RB Joseph Addai and others against the Titans defense which allowed only 72 rushing yards in week one.
4:05 PM ET Seahawks at Cardinals (Fox)
Two high-powered offenses should light up the scoreboard. Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt will try and get his first win in the NFL. Whisenhunt will look to lean on RB Edgerrin James and get QB Matt Leinhart and WR Larry Fitzgerald on track. The 2-0 Seahawks will look to run the ball with RB Shaun Alexander (105 yards in opener) behind their big offensive line. The Seahawks have won the NFC West the past 3 seasons and 10 of their last 13 divisional games.
4:05 PM ET Vikings at Lions (Fox)
Both teams have struggled in recent years but opened this season with impressive wins: Minnesota blew out Atlanta while Detroit won at Oakland. The Lions put on an impressive offensive display with 289 yards in the air against a strong Raiders pass defense. Minnesota, meanwhile, got 14 points and six sacks from its defense and held last season’s rushing leaders to just 96 total yards on the ground. This looks like a good matchup between a potent offensive machine and a strong defensive unit.
4:05 PM ET Cowboys at Dolphins (Fox)
Both teams are under the leadership of new head coaches, but both feel like they are legitimate playoff contenders and they don’t want to let any teams get a big lead on them in the standings. Miami is already trailing the Patriots after a Week 1 loss to Washington and must rebound with a win in Week 2, while Dallas and Washington both sit at 1-0 in the NFC East and the Cowboys want a win that will put them ahead of the Redskins or at least keep them even.
4:15 PM ET Jets at Ravens (CBS)
Both teams have playoff aspirations and are coming off tough losses to division opponents. Neither team wants to dig out of an 0-2 hole playing in tough divisions. Starting Jets’ QB Chad Pennington has what appears to be a sprained ankle, but the team has not said much about to this point early in the week. We might be looking at the debut of second-year QB Kellen Clemens, who looked very solid in the preseason. The Jets could not establish the run last week but will need to vs. a very stingy Ravens defense. Ravens LB Ray Lewis could also be a question mark in this game. He injured his triceps Monday night but played through the injury. How would this defense fare without its emotional leader?
4:15 PM ET Chiefs at Bears (CBS)
Even in Week 2 this is a must-win game for both teams. Kansas City offensive coordinator Mike Solari must find a way to improve his anemic passing attack and figure out how to protect QB Damon Huard against the Bears zone-blitz pressure schemes. Look for Solari to spread the field by using shifts and motions to create more running space between the tackles for RB Larry Johnson. However, the Chiefs’ shaky offensive line could be in for another long day against a very good Bears front seven. In their last meeting back in 2003, Kansas City RB Priest Holmes scores 2 TDs to set then-NFL record 27 TDs in a season in a 31-3 rout.
4:15 PM ET Raiders at Broncos (CBS)
Two of the NFL’s best defenses highlight this matchup between the Raiders and Broncos. Both teams feature talented secondaries run by talented best defensive coordinators in Oakland’s Rob Ryan and Denver’s Jim Bates. Oakland’s defense didn’t hold up as well as it has in the past last week so it’s up to Ryan to put it back on track. Denver’s defense lived up to expectations in a last-second win against Buffalo. Denver head coach Mike Shanahan has to get more production out of his young QB Jay Cutler and rookie head coach Lane Kiffin has to decide on whether to stick with QB Josh McCown or start veteran Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper may be the offensive jolt the Raiders need to win a game. Both teams play with a physical and relentless attitude and the sound of shoulder pads colliding will be a familiar one this week.
8:15 PM ET Chargers at Patriots (NBC)
The last time the Chargers and Patriots met it was in a Divisional playoff game in San Diego, a game the Patriots won 24-21. New San Diego head coach Norv Turner will continue to rely on RB LaDainian Tomlinson against a Patriots defense that will commit multiple defenders to the box on heavy run-down tendencies. Expect Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees to set his game plan on containing LT and attacking QB Phillip Rivers in the pocket in passing situations. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will continue to spread the field with multiple personnel groupings that will allow QB Tom Brady to attack the Chargers defense by design in his pre-snap reads with either a run or pass play depending on situational matchups. Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell must find a way to create pressure with a four-man rush led by LB Shawne Merriman while being physical with his corners and not giving up any big plays on the back end in coverage.
For the second week in a row the Chargers and new head coach Norv Turner play one of the top teams in the league. Last week they were able to beat the Chicago Bears but did not look like the team that went 14-2 the year before. They will need more than 14 points this week to beat the Patriots who head home after an impressive win over the Jets. Both defenses were ready to start the season and should make this game tight and judging from week one the Patriots offense is the better of the two, but discount Norv and LaDainian Tomlinson will be looking for a better game.
The Chargers secondary will have a tough task as Randy Moss looks to be the Moss of old and the rest of the new receiving corp looks good as well for the Patriots. If they can spread the ball around and the line can keep Brady from taking too many hits, it will likely be an impressive 2-0 start for them. However the Chargers defense will look to disrupt the timing and not give him enough time to go deep to Moss. If they can keep it close they will have the advantage with Tomlinson and Michael Turner. Of course that didn’t work out well in the playoffs last year when the Patriots came to San Diego and won 24-21. The Patriots will put 8 men in the box on most all run downs, so it will be a key for the Chargers to be able to strike downfield, especially on early downs to make the defense honest and give Tomlinson some room to run.
8:30 PM ET Redskins at Eagles (ESPN)
This is a key divisional game in an NFC East race that should be tight all season long. The Redskins got by Miami 16-13 in Week 1 and the Eagles lost at Green Bay by the same 16-13 score. Neither team is very explosive on offense but both play well enough on defense to stay in the game. Philadelphia needs a better passing day from Donovan McNabb while Washington needs more consistency from young QB Jason Campbell. Still, this game will likely come down to which team does a better job of running the football and controlling the clock.