The NFL is a business, a business that presents football games. And their schedule in Week Two is loaded with great match-ups, and great match-ups are good for business.
An enticing NFC contest features the Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers, and in the AFC, you have a rematch of last year’s conference champion game, with New England visiting Jacksonville.
But perhaps taking away from these great match-ups, for some fans, are those players still protesting during the anthem. It’s not many, but there are a few still around.
And one of those players, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, doesn’t plan on stopping, even though it’s hurting the Dolphins at the gate.
“We started the protest two years ago now – three years ago now – and we’re not going anywhere,” said Stills, who kneeled during the anthem before the Tennessee-Miami game in Week One. “It’s not going to change. Activism isn’t something you just kind of get involved in and then turn your back on it. Once your eyes are open to some of the things that are happening, you continue to work and try and grow and create change for the rest of your life, so this is something I’m committed to forever.”
That commitment won’t hurt the Dolphins’ ticket sales this week, with Miami on the road facing the New York Jets, and rookie QB Sam Darnold, another good Week Two match-up.
Here is a preview of all Sunday’s games:
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Will Packers QB Aaron Rodgers play in this game?
If he doesn’t, Vikings should win this game.
If he does, the Packers should win.
That’s how good he is.
Carolina Panthers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
The Panthers are a mess on the offensive line, with three starters out, including both starting offensive tackles.
The Falcons have injury problems of their own, losing two key defenders in their opener, safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones, to long-term injuries.
The Falcons had 10 days to fix their red-zone offense, which was awful in their opening night loss to Philadelphia.
Expect the Falcons’ talented defensive line to take advantage of Carolina’s offensive line mess and lead Atlanta to a win.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
The Bills caved to public pressure and will start raw rookie QB Josh Allen, after the team got blown out in Week One in Baltimore, with Nate Peterman under center.
“As we’ve seen on film, he’s a guy who gets a little nervous under pressure,” said Chargers cornerback Desmond King said about Allen. “And once he feels it, he likes to scramble.”
Expect him to be scrambling quite a bit behind a porous offensive line, and for the more experienced QB Philip Rivers to lead the visiting Chargers to a win.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1)
This could be quite an aerial show. Both teams are loaded with passing game weapons, and each team is short on cover guys.
The Steelers will likely be without both starting cornerbacks. Joe Haden is definitely out with a hamstring injury and Artie Burns is questionable with a toe injury.
The Chiefs’ suspect secondary will be without their best player, safety Eric Berry.
Expect Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes to come back to earth after a strong opener, and for Pittsburgh to win this game.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Tampa Bay is coming off a big win on opening day, but enter their home-opener with some big secondary problems. The Buccaneers will be without both starting cornerbacks – Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves – due to injuries.
The Eagles’ defense is healthy, and their outstanding defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had ten days to prepare, so don’t expect Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to repeat his Week One performance.
There will likely be a split crowd in Tampa Bay with a lot of Eagles fans travelling to the game, expect a Philadelphia win.
Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)
The Saints defense didn’t show up last week, giving up 48 points to Tampa Bay, starting a backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
And it’s not like they’re devoid of defensive talent, so expect a much better performance this week after getting read the riot act by their coaches.
Speaking of defense, the Browns will be without starting defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, so expect a lot of double teams on star defensive end Myles Garrett.
The Saints, behind Drew Brees, who threw for over 400 yards last week, should lead New Orleans to a win.
Detroit Lions (0-1) at San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
The Lions are a mess. They are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jets, and player agents are leaking to reporters that their clients don’t like playing under new coach Matt Patricia.
Their offense should be fine moving forward with Matt Stafford under center, but their defense is in a transition year as they look for players to fit Patricia’s system.
49ers head coach Kyle Shananan is one of the best play callers in football, and should be able to take advantage all the holes in Detroit’s defense, and San Francisco should win this game.
Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)
Raiders first-year head coach Jon Gruden claims to be a big fan of quarterback Derek Carr, but perhaps that is window-dressing.
Carr had a rough opening game in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and Gruden said after the game, “[WR Amari] Cooper was open deep, he was open a couple of times, for whatever reason, we didn’t go there.”
The Raiders have issues at offensive tackle, and are facing a team with a great pass rush led by Von Miller, who is coming off a monster opener.
Denver will likely win this game.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0)
The Jets are getting a lot of hype in the New York tabloids due to their impressive debut behind rookie QB Sam Darnold.
But Darnold will face a much tougher test this week against a Miami defense with a much better pass rush than Detroit.
This game is a toss-up.
New England Patriots (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
Perhaps the league’s best offense (New England) against the NFL’s best defense (Jacksonville).
It’s very hot and humid in North Florida this time a year, so that should favor Jacksonville since their players are used to it.
The Patriots are very thin at wide and running back, which is far from ideal when playing a great defense.
This game is too close to call.
New York Giants (0-1) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Giant safety Landon Collins is never at a loss for words and this week was no different, as he made it clear he doesn’t think much of Dallas QB Dak Prescott as a passer.
“(We must) take the air out of their running game, put the ball in Dak’s hands and I think we will have a better shot at winning,” Collins said.
It’s hard to tell which team has a better shot at winning this game, which is too close to call.
Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Offensively, this could be a very ugly game.
Both these teams have major issues at offensive tackle, so blocking could be a problem.
Both starting Tennessee offensive tackles, Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, are out. Houston is moving their inexperienced left tackle to right tackle, and starting a rookie at left tackle.
Houston should win this game because they have the better pass rush to take advantage of the other team’s offensive tackle mess.
Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
The Arizona Cardinals managed just six points in their home-opener against Washington, so it could be tough-sledding against the Los Angeles Rams, a team loaded on defense.
Also, the Cardinals couldn’t stop the run against Washington, and now they face Rams star tailback Todd Gurley.
The Rams should have little problem winning this game.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Washington Redskins (1-0)
The Colts offensive tackle situation is a mess. With left tackle Anthony Costanzo out, they moved right tackle Joe Haeg to the left side, but the man who replaced him, J’Marcus Webb, got hurt last week, and was put on injured reserve, and the man backing up Webb, Denzelle Good, is out this week, with a knee injury. You get the idea.
The Redskins, with their talented front seven on defense, should take advantage of the Colts mess up front, and win this game.