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Sunday NFL Preview: Packers-Falcons, Vikings-Steelers Highlight Action

Getty Images Kevin C. Cox
Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

A lot of teams trying to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole in Week Two of the NFL season, including the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots who travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints, who are in the same boat.

Here is a preview of the Sunday NFL action:

Tennessee Titans (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)

The Jaguars surprised many by blowing out Houston last week on the road. That win was spearheaded by their pass rush which finished with 10 sacks. The Texans were playing without their best offensive lineman, left tackle Duane Brown. Don’t expect a repeat performance against the Titans who have much better offensive line. Also, the Jaguars lost star receiver Allen Robinson for the season last week with a knee injury. The pick here is the Titans who have the better quarterback and are more desperate, looking to avoid 0-2.

Washington Redskins (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

The Rams shocked some by blowing out the Indianapolis Colts last week. However, the Colts were playing without their star QB (Andrew Luck), center (Ryan Kelly) and top corner (Vontae Davis) to name a few. While it was an impressive win, the Rams probably aren’t as good as they looked.

The Redskins present a bigger challenge than the Colts, and should be able to escape Los Angeles with a win.

Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

This is the first home game for the Falcons in spectacular, new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Yet, winning this game won’t be easy because Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a 111.2 QB rating in indoor stadiums since 2008.

The Packers are banged up at offensive tackle, so they could have protection issues against the Falcons’ talented pass rush led by Vic Beasley.

This game could go either way.

Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

The Ravens’ defense was superb in a 20-0 blanking of Cincinnati on the road in Week One. Now they come home to face a rookie quarterback (Deshone Kizer) playing his first-ever NFL road game.

History tells us rookie quarterbacks tend to struggle on the road.

The Ravens should win this game.

Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

Two of the most banged-up teams in the league square off. The Cardinals are without the entire left side of their offensive line, and star running back David Johnson.

It might be easier to list who ISN’T injured on the Colts.
Indianapolis is starting a quarterback they traded for two weeks ago, Jacoby Brissett, who barely knows the offense and has no chemistry with their receivers.

Considering the Colts’ dysfunctional QB situation (you never want to start a QB this soon after a trade), the Cardinals should win this game.

Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)

The Bills first-year coach Sean McDermott was a long-time Panther’s assistant, so he knows the Carolina personnel and playbook fairly well.

So the Bills should have great game plans on both sides of the ball. McDermott has a great feel for the strengths and weaknesses of Panthers QB Cam Newton.

While most favor the Panthers in this game, we view it as a toss-up.

Chicago Bears (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)

The Buccaneers open their season this week after having their first game postponed due to Hurricane Irma. Tampa Bay will be without starting tailback Doug Martin who is serving a three-game NFL suspension.

Bears QB Mike Glennon was the scout-team QB with the Buccaneers the last two years in practice, so he has a strong feel for their defensive personnel and strategy.

While most think this will be an easy win for Tampa Bay, don’t be shocked if the Bears pull a surprise with Glennon at QB.

New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-0)

The Raiders first home game since they announced they are moving to Las Vegas in three years. It should be an weird atmosphere.
The Raiders have a QB on the rise (Derek Carr) and myriad weapons in the passing game. The Jets start two rookie safeties and are inconsistent at cornerback.
Carr and the Raiders’ passing attack should spearhead a win over the visiting Jets.

Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)

This is the Chargers’ home-opener, in their temporary Los Angeles home, Stubhub Field, a 27,000 seat soccer stadium they are struggling to sell out. There isn’t much buzz about this team in their new home city.

This is the Dolphins’ season-opener after having their Week One game postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

The Dolphins are loaded with talent at wide receiver, and the Chargers will be without their best cornerback, Jason Verrett.
The pick here is Miami.

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0)

The Cowboys enter this game pretty beat up, with two starters out on defense – cornerback Orlando Scandrick and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Also, starting safety Byron Jones is iffy with a groin injury.

This is a pretty even match-up, but we give the edge to Denver due to home-field advantage and the Dallas’ defensive health issues.

Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

The Steelers have won 12 of their last 13 home-openers.

The Vikings are very concerned with the left knee of starting QB Sam Bradford which swelled up after their opening day win over New Orleans. Bradford has blown out that knee twice, and now it’s acting up again. The Vikings signed a third QB as insurance. Two other key Vikings players are also banged-up – linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

They are both questionable for this game.

The Steelers should prevail in this contest.

New England Patriots (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)

These teams were responsible for the two worst defensive performances in Week One. The Patriots gave up 537 yards in a loss to Kansas City, and New Orleans allowed 470 yards in losing to Minnesota.

Since 2003, the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots are 42-6 in regular season games after a loss.

Expect them to make it 43-6. The Saints will be starting two backup offensive tackles.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

The Chiefs last played on Thursday, September 7 when they blew out the Patriots. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a master-tactician, and you give him 10 days to prepare for a game, he will have a special game plan.

The Eagles will be without starting cornerback Ronald Darby who dislocated his ankle in Week One.

Expect the Chiefs to win their home-opener.

San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

The 49ers have pass-protection issues. In a Week One loss, they gave up four sacks and eight quarterback pressures.

The Seahawks have one of the best pass rushes in the league, so 49ers QB Brian Hoyer better where a flak jacket.

Seattle should have little trouble winning their home-opener.

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