NFL Week 2 Game Previews: Late Games


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson @badasskidsent


Detroit Lions (0-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)


Preview

During opening week, both of these teams suffered underwhelming losses to their opponents. The 49ers offense was shut down against the NFL’s elite in Minnesota, and the Lions were demolished in an upset loss against the New York Jets. Both quarterbacks threw three interceptions or more, but expect that to change as Detroit and San Francisco rally in an attempt to capture their first win of the season.


Players to watch

After a disappointing start to 2018, Jimmy Garoppolo attained the first loss of his career after a performance that could be, well, forgotten. Completing 45.4% of his passes for 1 TD and 3 picks isn’t a stat line he would like to remember. Look for him to rebound against a weaker defense that let up 48 points just a weak prior. George Kittle was the only reliable weapon in a 49er jersey. He will quickly become Jimmy G’s favorite option in the passing game Alfred Morris is the back to watch in San Fran, as he took two goalline carries and fumbled the opportunity away. If given another chance, he could find a large role this season with familiarity in Kyle Shanahan's system. Matthew Stafford actually topped Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance. It's hard to believe, but Stafford managed to throw 4 interceptions en route to scoring only 17 points in the demolition. Kenny Golladay accrued his first 100 yard performance in week 1 against the New York Jets, and should be a big contributor in week 2.


Keys to the Game

Detroit Lions

  • Spread the Ball around

  • Pressure Garoppolo

  • Protect the Football

San Francisco 49ers

  • Establish the Run

  • Force Turnovers

  • Play the Pass


Injury Report

Detroit Lions

  • Andrew Donnal, T- Knee (Out)

  • T.J. Lang, G- Back (Out)

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE- Shoulder (Questionable)

  • LeGarrette Blount, RB- Shoulder (Questionable)

San Francisco 49ers

  • Adrian Colbert, DB- Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Joshua Garnett, G- Toe (Out)

  • Marquise Goodwin, WR- Quadricep (Out)

  • Erik Magnuson, OL- Hamstring (Out)

  • Mike Person, OL- Foot (Questionable)

  • Malcolm Smith, LB- Hamstring (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Matthew Stafford, QB (DET)

  • Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (SF)

  • Golden Tate, WR (DET)

  • Kenny Golladay, WR (DET)

  • George Kittle, TE (SF)


Prediction

After a rough outing in week one, each team looks to rebound in an effort to find their first win of the season. The 49ers are led by one of the brightest minds in the game, and the Lions have already began to cast blame on their new head Coach Matt Patricia. That rift could divide the team even more once the 49ers win in week 2.


Final Score: 49ers, 27-24


Written by: Jason Feiner


Arizona Cardinals (0-1) vs. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)


Preview

After their starters sat out the entire preseason, the Los Angeles Rams took a full half to get into rhythm. They struggled to keep pace with high octane Oakland team that seemed to have more energy than its neighbors. But the Rams scored 20 second half points, giving up only 56 yards on defense in the process. They now look to turn their attention inside the division as the face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. The Cardinals looked slow and confused against the Redskins on opening weekend. Sam Bradford was terrible and nothing seemed in sync. This will be one of the toughest tests all season for the Cardinals. It is a crucial game and will have playoff implications down the road.


Players to watch

The Rams possess one of the most talented rosters on paper, but their All-Pro squad didn’t come to play for a full game. Aaron Donald was held to 1 tackle in week one. He is one of the elites in the NFL and won’t be denied much longer. Jared Goff started off slow but put together a strong second half performance, connecting with Brandin Cooks multiple times down field. If that chemistry continues to grow, it is another dimension they improved this offseason. The Arizona offense is run off of the legs of David Johnson. They will fly as far as he takes them. If the Rams can bottle him up, the Cardinals are in for a long day. Ricky Seals-Jones is an athletic tight end with loads of upside. Jared Cook torched the Rams for 9 receptions and 180 yards in week 1, and Jones will certainly put the Rams inexperienced linebackers to the test.


Keys to the Game

Arizona Cardinals

  • Establish the Run

  • Protect Sam Bradford

  • Stop Todd Gurley

Los Angeles Rams

  • Establish the Run

  • Spread the Ball

  • Pressure the Quarterbacks Drop Point


Injury Report

Arizona Cardinals

  • Markus Golden, DE- Knee (Questionable)

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE- Achilles (Questionable)

  • Olsen Pierre, DT- Toe (Out)

  • Haason Reddick, LB- Ankle (Questionable)

  • Andre Smith, OL- Elbow (Out)

Los Angeles Rams

  • Mark Barron, LB- Ankle (Outl)

  • Mike Thomas, WR- Hip (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Todd Gurley RB, LAR

  • David Johnson RB, ARI

  • Jared Goff QB, LAR

  • Brandin Cooks WR, LAR

  • Ricky Seals-Jones TE, ARI


Prediction

The Rams possess a superstar squad with the potential to close this game early. With a dominant defensive line staring down David Johnson and pressuring Sam Bradford it will be tough to move the ball down the field. The Rams have a dominant offense. Expect Todd Gurley to get fed throughout the afternoon, wearing out Arizona in the process.


Final Score: Rams, 34-23


Written by: Jason Feiner



New England Patriots (1-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)


Preview

24-20. That was the score when the Patriots beat the Jaguars in last year’s AFC Championship Game. Every new season brings teams a chance to make amends for their past, and you just know that Jacksonville has had this matchup marked on the calendar since April. Bill Belichick and company just view this as another game that they are going to do their best to win. Regardless, I am expecting an emotionally filled Jaguars team that will be looking to stick it to the Pats.


Players to watch

Yes, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are big pieces to a New England victory, but I want to see who they need to help them get there. Phillip Dorsett took a huge step-up with Julian Edelman out we will need to see if he can be consistent to them. James White might be the back to lead the way if Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are still banged up on Sunday. Blake Bortles is the player who will determine if Jacksonville pulls this off or not. After not helping seal the game last time, he gets a second chance to make things right. Yannick Ngakoue needs to put the pressure on Brady and make him uncomfortable all Sunday afternoon.


Keys to the Game

New England Patriots

  • Feed Gronk

  • Protect Brady

  • Don’t let their defense beat you

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Disrupt Brady’s pocket

  • Force turnovers

  • Sustain long scoring drives


Injury Report

New England Patriots

  • Rex Burkhead, RB - Concussion (Questionable)

  • Marcus Cannon, OT - Calf (Questionable)

  • Keion Crossen, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Sony Michel, RB - Knee (Questionable)

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Leonard Fournette, RB - Hamstring (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Leonard Fournette, RB (JAX)

  • Rob Gronkowski, TE (NE)

  • Tom Brady, QB (NE)

  • Phillip Dorsett, WR (NE)

  • Keelan Cole, WR (JAX)


Prediction

As I previously mentioned, the Jaguars have been looking forward to this game for a long time now. The Patriots will be well-prepared for this matchup and I am sure their offense will have their moments, but I think the Jaguars defense will put the team in favorable situations all afternoon. If this was in New England or a playoff matchup then I would lean towards the Pats, but I think Jalen Ramsey and company give Brady fits all afternoon, helping lead the way to victory in Duval County.


Final Score: Jaguars, 27-23


Written by: Cody Manning


Oakland Raiders (0-1) vs. Denver Broncos (1-0)


Preview

This game looks to be a tough divisional matchup for two teams that are both trying to establish their identity. Denver is coming off a close 27-24 victory over the Seahawks, but have still yet to truly show their strong suit on offense. On the other hand, Oakland is looking for redemption after a disappointing debut for head coach Jon Gruden. They lost 33-13 to the Rams. Although things looked rough for the Raiders, I still look for this to be a very close, hard-nosed game.


Players to watch

For Oakland, the first player that comes to mind is running back Marshawn Lynch. Derek Carr couldn’t get going last week against a tough Rams secondary and it could go the same way against the Broncos. That being said, Lynch has to get going. Also keep an eye on Amari Cooper to see if he can finally get going after a terrible week one performance. For the Broncos, I want to see if Case Keenum can have a breakout game against a struggling Raiders secondary. I also want to see if Bradley Chubb and Von Miller can put pressure on Carr, who threw 3 interceptions last week.


Keys to the Game

Oakland Raiders

  • Get Beast Mode going!

  • Protect the QB

  • Make Denver beat you with the run

Denver Broncos

  • Get pressure on Carr

  • Establish a running game

  • Find your third receiver (Sutton)


Injury Report

Oakland Raiders

  • Gabe Jackson, Guard - Pectoral (Questionable)

  • Dwayne Harris, WR - Foot (Questionable)

  • P.J. Hall, DT - Ankle (Out)

  • DeAndre Washington, RB - Knee (Questionable)

Denver Broncos

  • No injury designations - Entire team practice fully on Friday.

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Jared Cook, TE (Oakland)

  • Amari Cooper, WR (Oakland)

  • Demaryius Thomas, WR (Denver)

  • Marshawn Lynch, RB (Oakland)

  • Case Keenum, QB (Denver)


Prediction

This game will be a very competitive one. For the Raiders, if they don’t get the run game going, they could be in trouble. I just don’t see Carr having a good game against this Broncos defense. Denver could have a lot of success in the passing game but still has yet to find a running game. My prediction is that this game is close for 3 ½ quarters and Denver pulls away in the fourth.


Final Score: Denver 28-17


Written by: Ryan Lippert


New York Giants (0-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)


Preview

Well, here we are again, another season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants...ok maybe not quite. In the past couple years the NFL typically schedules these two divisional foes to face each other in week one, but it was off by a week this time. These two teams both suffered close losses against playoff teams from last season and the upcoming schedule does no favors for either, making this essentially a must win game for both teams. Starting 0-2 leaves little margin for error in a competitive NFC. Every win early on counts.


Players to watch

All eyes will be on Dak Prescott and how he responds to the criticism from his less-than-inspiring performance last week against the Panthers. He missed throws and held on to the ball too long, which is not good against a top tier defense and shaky O-line play. The offense needs a spark from Ezekiel Elliott, who only had 15 carries this past Sunday. Part of Zeke’s lack of involvement probably had to do with the inconsistency of the offensive line, so rookie Connor Williams will be monitored as he faces off against DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Speaking of defense, Giants safety Landon Collins all but dared Dak to beat them with his arm this week. Elsewhere for the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. will be watched simply because he’s Odell, the best player on their team, and he gives them the best chance to win.


Keys to the Game

New York Giants

  • Make Dallas one-dimensional

  • Get the ball out quickly

  • Utilize all offensive weapons

Dallas Cowboys

  • Get Zeke involved

  • Pressure Eli

  • Avoid silly offensive penalties


Injury Report

New York Giants

  • Tae Davis, LB — Hamstring (Questionable)

  • OIivier Vernon, LB — Ankle (Out)

Dallas Cowboys

  • Travis Frederick, C — Illness (Out)

  • Randy Gregory, DE — Concussion (Doubtful)

  • Datone Jones, DT — Knee (Out)

  • Xavier Woods, S — Hamstring (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Dallas Cowboys)

  • Odell Beckham Jr., WR (New York Giants)

  • Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)

  • Dak Prescott, QB (Dallas Cowboys)

  • Eli Manning, QB (New York Giants)


Prediction

It’s hard to see how this game will swing as both teams are dealing with inconsistent play and a reliance on young players to step up. I see Dallas’ defense being a bit better, with their front seven having a little more talent and ability to consistently get to the passer. The Giants are daring Dak to beat them in the air, and I think with the right play calling by OC Scott Linehan and usage of their weapons it can be done. The game won’t be pretty and will have a good amount of mistakes/penalties on both teams, but at the end of the day I think the Cowboys have a larger chip on their shoulders.


Final Score: Dallas Cowboys, 21-17


Written by: William E. Heiges II

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