New York Jets (0-0) Vs. Detroit Lions (0-0)
Written By: Jack Bourgeois
Preview: Rookie Quarterback Sam Darnold is set to make his first start in the NFL, while Matt Patricia will be on the opposite sideline making his debut as an NFL head coach. The Jets have invested a lot in order to find an answer at QB, and throughout the preseason they seemed to have found their guy. Now as good as the rookie has looked, a Matt Patricia-led defense has never lost to a rookie quarterback while at home. While the Jets made it a point this offseason to establish a passing game, the Lions have invested quite a bit into their offensive line and backfield. For arguably the first time in his career, Matthew Stafford will have a run game to go along with his career average of 4,000+ passing yards and 28+ touchdowns.
Players to watch: It goes without saying that all eyes will be on Sam Darnold in his NFL debut, but his 35 turnovers in two years at USC will be his biggest worry coming into 2018, especially when defensive back Darius Slay is lined up on the opposite side of the ball. Rookie Kerryon Johnson is expected to solidify himself as Detroit’s top back, but both LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick will surely impede on his workload. Jets safety Jamal Adams will be the focal point of the team’s defense and a huge factor in both the run and pass games.
New York’s keys to the game:
Get Darnold in a rhythm early
Contain Detroit's run game
Detroit's keys to the game:
Establish the run game
Disguise coverages and blitz packages
Win turnover battle
Josh Martin , OLB, concussion (OUT)
Jermaine Kearse, WR, abdomen (DOUBTFUL)
Marcus Maye, S, foot (DOUBTFUL)
Andrew Donnal, OL, knee (OUT)
Top 5 Fantasy Players
Matt Stafford, QB (DET)
Kerryon Johnson, RB (DET)
Golden Tate, WR (DET)
Robby Anderson, WR (NYJ)
Marvin Jones Jr., WR (DET)
Prediction: Between Matt Patricia’s record vs rookie quarterbacks, the fact that this is Darnold’s first ever NFL start, and Darnold’s history of turnovers, it’s an easy decision to take the Detroit Lions at home. Stafford is set to have a career year if the team can establish a run game and set up the play action. The Jets just don’t have a roster to compete with potential playoff teams such as the Lions. The offensive line is shaky, they lack playmakers, and Adams is the sole talent on the defensive side of the ball. To top it off, they’re on the road. It’s hard to find a way the Jets win this game.
Final Score: Lions, 28-17
Los Angeles Rams (0-0) Vs. Oakland Raiders (0-0)
Written by: Alexander Amir
Preview: In some ways, this game displays the extremes of the NFL offseason. The Rams acquired star power in the form of Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Brandin Cooks. The Raiders, on the other hand, ended up trading Khalil Mack, a generational edge defender, due to a contract dispute. They also got rid of Ryan Switzer and Martavis Bryant, two receivers that the team acquire earlier in the offseason. There’s still some talent with Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Bruce Irvin, but the Raiders just seem overmatched.
Players to watch: I’m interested to see how good Brandin Cooks really is. He’s played with Tom Brady and Drew Brees in his career, so have they elevated him beyond his real ability? Linebacker is the one weak position on the Rams, so some combination of Cory Littleton, Mark Barron, and Ramik Wilson will have to prove themselves. Now that Khalil Mack is gone, Bruce Irvin will have to prove he can be Oakland’s new defensive leader. If the Raiders want any chance of winning, Marshawn Lynch will have to dominate. Rookie Kolton Miller will play a massive role in protecting Derek Carr’s blind side against this scary Rams defense.
Los Angeles keys to the game:
Don’t get reckless
Protect the ball
Shut down the run game
Oakland keys to the game:
Marshawn Lynch dominates
Protect Derek Carr
On defense- bend, but don’t break
Mark Barron, ILB, ankle (DOUBTFUL)
DeAndre Washington, RB, knee (OUT)
Brian Price, DT, hamstring (QUESTIONABLE)
Top 5 Fantasy Players
Todd Gurley, RB (LAR)
Brandin Cooks, WR (LAR)
Marshawn Lynch, RB (OAK)
Amari Cooper, WR (OAK)
Jared Goff, QB (LAR)
Prediction: If the Ravens weren’t playing the Bills week 1, this game would be the biggest blowout of the week. The talent divide is simply too large. Oakland could make it somewhat competitive if they establish a strong running game, but against Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh I don’t see how that’s possible. The Raiders defensive backfield has some talent and could contain the Rams receivers, but then Todd Gurley will just destroy them. The Rams will win this easily.
Final Score: Rams, 34-10