Week one did not disappoint. The 2016 season is underway and we, as viewers, got our first taste of each team in the National Football League. Now, Monday or Tuesday may have been woeful workdays for half of us, but those of us on the right side of .500 are already counting down the days until their week two matchups. Before we preview the week ahead, lets recap an exciting first week.
How can I not start with the play of the first game QBs? I’m not just talking about Carson Wentz, who looked great in his first NFL start. He threw the ball confidently, accurately, and his two TD passes to Agholor and Matthews were “Dilfer Dimes.” Yes, he faced the Cleveland Browns, but if you think any collegiate team can beat an NFL team, your opinion means nothing. He beat an NFL team; case closed. Dak looked decent, made some good plays, and now comes into an interesting week two matchup in Washington, but he didn’t impress me the most. Unfortunately, and what most people probably don’t want to hear, Jimmy G was the most impressive QB to start his first NFL game. I’m not sure what their scouts see when the NFL Draft approaches, or what they feed the QBs in Foxborough, but this guy looked legit. Yes, it was the first game for all three of these guys, but Jimmy G went on the road, into a hostile environment against the NFC runner-up, and beat arguably the best defense in football. He went 24/33, had a 101.6% passer rating, and threw 1 TD with no INTs. He led the offense without Gronk and did what needed to be done to win. Who knows, two more years under Brady, and this guy could be the next big thing in this league… that’s scary.
Best Week 1 Win:
How bout them Raiders? As a fan/player of the Oakland Raiders, you cannot be happier with the two point conversion gamble, which ultimately lead to a one point win at the end of the game. Jack Del Rio rolled the dice, let his team know that he’ll take his guys vs. their guys any day of the week, and converted a two point conversion with under a minute left to take a one point lead. Yes, there was a questionable pass interference call a few plays earlier, but at the end of the day, the Saints Defense just had to make one play to win, and they didn’t. A great road win in week one in a tough atmosphere for my AFC West-predicted champions. I’d be remiss not to give an honorable mention to Alex Smith and the comeback Kansas City Chiefs, but I was more impressed with the “Just Win Baby” Raiders.
Worst Week 1 Loss:
The Indianapolis Colts hold this title after week one. It was promising to see Andrew Luck get back to form and throw for 385 yards with 4 TDs. However, much like the Saints whose QB threw 4 TDs and were on the wrong side of the ‘Best Week One Win’ – where’s the defense? I’m taking nothing away from Matt Stafford and the Lions offense but the Colts are supposed to be contending for a division title, playing at home against a team that went 7-9 last year and lost their most explosive player to retirement – and they lose? The Colts still have the teams like the Packers, Steelers, and Broncos on their schedule. It’s just week one, but each game is important, especially the easier half of your out of conference schedule. Outside of the Titans, who looked terrible, the Colts play in a tough division. It’ll be a bumpy ride with the defense they have, and I don’t think they will un-seed Houston for the AFC South crown.
Week 2 Predictions:
Can’t Miss Win
My can’t miss win this week is the Panthers over the 49ers. I don’t think many people thought the 0-1 Panthers would be playing the 1-0 49ers in week two, but this is a no brainer. The Panthers are coming off a tough loss in Denver and will have a chip on their shoulders. The 49ers are starting 2016 like they did in 2015, with a big week one Monday night win on the back of RB Carlos Hyde, but they have no shot against the Panthers. Carolina is better at almost, if not, every single position, and will handle the Chip Kelly Niners with ease. Panthers by at least two touchdowns.
The most intriguing matchup is Cincinnati visiting division rival Pittsburgh. Last time these two teams met was in the Wild Card Round of the 2015 playoffs, where the Steelers pulled out an ugly win due to some uglier penalties by the Bengals. This early matchup between 1-0 divisional foes will be full of bad blood, big plays from Green & Brown, and yes, more personal fouls. I like the Steelers at home in a one score game.
Upset alert! I like the Rams in a bounce back game, at home, against the Seahawks. This is the first game in LA since 1994. Russell Wilson is hobbled, and honestly, the whole Seahawk offense stuggled to victory in week one. Don’t expect the Rams defense to get run through again and look for big bounce back games from Keenum and Gurley. Rams win by 6 with a little help from the Special Teams. Tavon Austin will take a punt return to the house.
Ezekiel Elliot, Allen Robinson, and Cam Newton will have BIG weeks. Cam is almost a lock to have a big game against the 49ers. The Panthers will possess the ball for the majority of the game. Expect a lot of dancing in the end zone in what should be blowout. It took Alex Smith a few quarters to get going but he was able to put up 363 yards and add 2 TDs against a lackluster Charger defense. Expect more from a growing Jaguars offense lead by Pro Bowl WR Allen Robinson. Robinson will find the end zone once, maybe twice, and will be around the 100 yard mark. The Chargers just don’t have enough talent in the secondary. Finally, Ezekiel Elliot will run wild in DC, or Landover. DeAngelo Williams put up career numbers for a single game against the Skins. An old school battle versus divisional rivals, fairs well for the run game. Zeek has the best O-Line in football, and will put up similar numbers to what Williams did week one on Monday night.
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