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#402285 - 09/11/18 07:43 PM NFL Week 2
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Coach John Harbaugh did his best to downplay the notion of revenge as the Baltimore Ravens travel to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in an early-season AFC North showdown. Harbaugh maintains that his focus will be on defeating a fierce division opponent rather than facing the club that unceremoniously ended the Ravens' playoff aspirations in 2017 with a last-minute touchdown in the season finale.

"You always want to redeem yourself as best as you can, certainly, but it's not going to factor into who wins the game. It's not going to matter in the outcome," Harbaugh said of a perceived revenge factor. "You still have to play better than your opponent on that day, and that's really what we have to focus on. You could easily get all wrapped up in that and get distracted from what matters, which is going out there Thursday night and playing well." Baltimore certainly played well in its season opener on Sunday, as new Ravens receivers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead each caught a touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in a convincing 47-3 romp over Buffalo. The Bills effectively ended a long postseason drought last year after Cincinnati's Andy Dalton capped a three-touchdown performance by tossing a 49-yard scoring strike to Tyler Boyd in the season finale against Baltimore. The 30-year-old Dalton overcame an early interception on Sunday to complete 21 of 28 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns in a 34-23 season-opening victory over Indianapolis.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Pick. O/U: 44

ABOUT THE RAVENS (1-0): Alex Collins has been plagued by fumbles throughout his brief NFL career, so much so that Harbaugh made it a point to bench the running back after he put the ball on the ground in the second quarter of the opener. "It's always a technique-thing. You can't fumble no matter what. Alex knows that, " Harbaugh said. "... We don't want to turn the ball over - especially fumbles. He knows that. He'll focus on that." Collins joined fellow running backs Javorius "Buck" Allen and Kenneth Dixon by finding the end zone while electric backup quarterback Lamar Jackson added 39 on the ground against the Bills, although Dixon's availability for Thursday's contest is in question as he nurses a knee injury. Baltimore's defense made a statement in the opener, permitting the fewest points and yards (153) in the league while recording six sacks and two turnovers.

ABOUT THE BENGALS (1-0): Coach Marvin Lewis isn't worried about expanding the workload of Joe Mixon, who had 22 carries and collected 149 yards from scrimmage (95 rushing, 54 receiving) on Sunday. "I think (Mixon) can carry it 22 times. The number of receptions (five) he had was good, and they were well-used," Lewis said of the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Mixon. "He got to the right spots in the pass game, and that's important." Mixon's performance drew rave reviews from teammate A.J. Green, who said that the second-year running back belongs in the same class as Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley and Pittsburgh Steelers stud Le'Veon Bell. Green, who had six receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown against the Colts on Sunday, was limited to just seven catches for 91 yards total in a pair of games versus the Ravens last season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cincinnati LB Preston Brown is optimistic he'll play on Thursday despite sustaining an ankle injury in the season opener.

2. Tavon Young became the first Baltimore defensive back in 22 years to record two sacks in a game last week.

3. Bengals LB Nick Vigil, who had a team-high 11 tackles in the opener, posted 10 tackles and an interception in a 20-0 loss to the Ravens on Sept. 10, 2017.

PREDICTION: Ravens 27, Bengals 17
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#402420 - 09/12/18 09:55 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins


The Washington Redskins' defense was impressive in a Week 1 win at Arizona but it will be tested in the coming weeks by a string of top-notch quarterbacks, beginning with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, who visit the nation's capital for a matchup Sunday. The Redskins held the Cardinals to 68 yards rushing and forced a pair of turnovers in a dominating 24-6 win last Sunday.


"I think any coach has that vision," Washington coach Jay Gruden told reporters. "That's what pro football is all about: your ability to run the ball and stop the run. And we're getting there. We've got a long way to go, but I'm happy the way this game ended." The Redskins will now face Luck - who was solid in his return from a shoulder injury that robbed him of the entire 2017 season - followed by star signal-callers Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Cam Newton over the next four contests. The Colts raced to a 13-point lead in the third quarter last week against Cincinnati before fading down the stretch and turning the ball over in the final minute in a 34-23 loss. Luck completed 39-of-53 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns in his first regular-season game since Jan. 1, 2017.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Redskins -6 O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE COLTS (0-1): Luck will have a big member of his protection unit available Sunday when standout left tackle Anthony Castonzo returns from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the opener. "Certainly having Anthony back is a plus," Luck told reporters. "I think he's elite at what he does. He's an elite left tackle, and he's also a great friend of mine, so it's great to have one of your friends back in the huddle. I'm excited for him. He's excited as well." Tight end Jack Doyle had seven catches for a team-high 60 yards against the Bengals but it was his fumble in the final minute that was returned 83 yards for a clinching score as Indianapolis was driving for a potential game-winning touchdown.

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (1-0): While the defense turned heads in the opener, Washington was pleased with its new-look backfield. Quarterback Alex Smith (21-of-30, 255 yards and a TD) was solid in his team debut, as was running back Adrian Peterson, who ran 26 times for 96 yards and a TD and also recorded a team-high 70 receiving yards -- his best total since 2011 -- against the team with whom he finished last season. His backup, Chris Thompson, needed just five carries to pick up 65 yards and added 63 yards and a TD through the air as Smith relied heavily on his running backs and tight ends in the passing game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Redskins rookie WRs Trey Quinn and Cam Sims both had ankle surgery and were placed on injured reserve.

2. Colts DT Margus Hunt had two sacks and three tackles for a loss in the opener.

3. Indianapolis won the last three meetings, including the most recent matchup in 2014, when Luck threw for 370 yards and a career-high five TDs in a 49-27 rout.

PREDICTION: Redskins 27, Colts 24
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#402421 - 09/12/18 09:55 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan has carved up the Carolina Panthers in recent years, and the Atlanta Falcons hope that trend holds when they host their NFC South rivals on Sunday. The Falcons have won four of the last five meetings and haven't lost to the Panthers at home since 2014.


Ryan has averaged 343.2 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in the last five games of the all-time series, and the Falcons need another big effort from him to avoid an 0-2 start. The Panthers are attempting to begin with a 2-0 record for the fourth time in five seasons. "We know they're going to be fired up. Well, we're going to be fired up," Carolina safety Da'Norris Searcy told the team's official website. "It's going to be a clash of some pretty big heavyweights - Battle of the South. Divisional opponent. It's going to be good." It's an annual homecoming for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, a native of nearby College Park, Ga. who has accounted for 25 touchdowns (18 passing, seven rushing) in 14 career games against his hometown team.


TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -6. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (1-0): Carolina has some issues on offense, as evidenced by the fact Newton was the team's leading rusher and running back Christian McCaffrey was the leading receiver in the season-opening 16-8 win over Dallas. Now the offense will be without one of Newton's most reliable targets in tight end Greg Olsen due to a broken foot. The Panthers will have to lean on a defense that was dominant against the Cowboys and has gone an NFL-best 21 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher after limiting Ezekiel Elliott to 69 yards on 15 carries.


ABOUT THE FALCONS (0-1): Atlanta was too one-dimensional on offense in an 18-12 loss at Philadelphia on opening night, as Julio Jones caught 10 passes for 169 yards but no one else did much of note. Running back Devonta Freeman was off to a good start before leaving with a knee injury and is questionable for Sunday. The defense had a solid debut but lost two key players in Week 1, as Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal (knee) and Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones (foot) both were placed on injured reserve this week.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Newton has rushed for at least 50 yards in six consecutive games.

2. Falcons LB Vic Beasley Jr. has registered four sacks and a forced fumble in six games against Carolina, including at least one sack in each of the last two meetings.

3. Panthers LB Luke Kuechly has recorded at least eight tackles in 12 consecutive games against division opponents.

PREDICTION: Falcons 20, Panthers 17
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#402422 - 09/12/18 09:56 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

The status of Aaron Rodgers may not be determined until close to kickoff on Sunday, when the Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North clash. Rodgers injured his left knee during the season-opening contest against Chicago before returning to engineer a second-half comeback in the 24-23 victory.

Rodgers admits the knee is "pretty sore" and missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday, but he remains hopeful of being ready to go on Sunday - even if his mobility is limited. "The small circle I was moving in Sunday night, if I can get back to that, hopefully a little better than that, without pain, then hopefully I'll be able to go," Rodgers told reporters. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expects Rodgers to play, saying that "he walks on water, so I'm sure he's going to play," while safety Harrison Smith asserts even a limited Rodgers would represent a big challenge for the defense. "It's difficult to play against the guy no matter what, so that's what we're preparing for," Smith told reporters. "Whether he's going to stay in the pocket or move around, he's tremendously successful doing both."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -1. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-0): Kirk Cousins passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns in his team debut and wide receiver Adam Thielen had six receptions for 102 yards as Minnesota opened with a 24-16 victory over San Francisco. Smith led a strong defensive push with seven tackles (two for loss), one interception, one fumble recovery and one sack while earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career. "He's really smart," Zimmer said. "He's got great vision. I think that's a big part of it - he sees things, he anticipates. He's a tough guy. He's versatile. He can do a lot of things."

ABOUT THE PACKERS (1-0): Second-year pro DeShone Kizer will draw the start if Rodgers can't play after tossing twice as many interceptions (22) as touchdown passes (11) in 15 starts for Cleveland last season. Wide receiver Randall Cobb caught a game-winning 75-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 left against the Bears while hauling in nine passes for 142 yards, perhaps setting the stage for a big season after failing to reach 700 yards in each of the last two years. Mike Daniels' next sack will allow him to match Cullen Jenkins (29 from 2004-10) for the most by a Packers defensive tackle since 1982.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Vikings swept last season's two-game series and have won four of the last five meetings.

2. Minnesota RB Dalvin Cook recorded 95 total yards (40 rushing, 55 receiving) against the 49ers in his first regular-season game since tearing his left ACL more than 11 months ago.

3. Rodgers' winning TD pass to Cobb was his 10th of at least 75 yards since 2008, tying him with Eli Manning of the New York Giants for most in the NFL over that span.

PREDICTION: Vikings 30, Packers 16
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#402423 - 09/12/18 09:56 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills


The Buffalo Bills will try to get past an embarrassing season-opening loss by turning to rookie Josh Allen at quarterback when they host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Allen, who was drafted seventh overall in April, replaced Nathan Peterman in the third quarter in last week's 47-3 loss at Baltimore and will take over to begin the home opener.


"At the end of the day, he's a young player," coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "We keep that all in mind, manage expectations, and know that we embrace that growth mindset that there's going to be some challenges, some adversity, and you keep learning as you go and you embrace that." There figure to be loads of challenges and adversity for the Bills if they continue to play like they did last Sunday, when they managed a measly 153 total yards in the team's most lopsided loss in nearly 11 years. The Chargers are also looking for a rebound performance after a 38-28 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. Los Angeles routed Buffalo 54-24 last year while intercepting Peterman -- who was making his first career start -- five times in the first half alone.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -7. O/U: 43

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (0-1): Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns last week -- despite a handful of notable drops by his receivers -- as Los Angeles outgained Kansas City by nearly 200 yards and had a 33-19 advantage in first downs. Melvin Gordon had 64 yards rushing and another 102 on nine receptions while Keenan Allen -- who had 159 yards receiving and two TDs last year against Buffalo -- hauled in eight catches for 108 yards and a score versus the Chiefs. Star defensive end Joey Bosa missed the opener and is reportedly not expected to be available for this one as he tries to overcome a bone bruise in his left foot.

ABOUT THE BILLS (0-1): Buffalo responded to last year's 30-point loss to the Chargers by winning four of its next six games to end a long postseason drought, and the current unit is hoping for another turnaround. "It's one game and we have to keep things in proper perspective," McDermott told the media. "We're still finding out who we are as a football team, and we have to continue to grow and learn from the film." Allen completed 6-of-15 passes for 74 yards and added 26 yards on the ground in his limited action.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Bills RB LeSean McCoy has 32 rushing yards in 18 attempts over his last two regular-season games.

2. Los Angeles RB Austin Ekeler had five catches and five runs in Week 1, compiling 126 total yards and a TD.

3. The Chargers have won the last three meetings by an average of 23 points.

PREDICTION: Chargers 27, Bills 18
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#402424 - 09/12/18 09:56 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans started the Mike Vrabel era with a loss last week, but the first-year head coach should have his team well prepared for Week 2. Vrabel and the Titans will try to earn their first win when they host his former team, the Houston Texans, on Sunday.

Vrabel spent three seasons coaching the linebackers in Houston before serving as defensive coordinator in 2017 and certainly has the respect of the Texans. "Any time guys in this league have a guy like that teaching them, it's a good thing," Houston head coach Bill O'Brien told reporters of Vrabel. "He's been there. Mike did a great job for us. He's an excellent coach, a good teacher. He can inspire his players. Everybody here had great respect for Mike, and we appreciate everything he did for us." Vrabel's new team dealt with a pair of lightning delays in his debut before falling at Miami 27-20 in Week 1 and is experiencing some key injuries on offense heading into Sunday. The Texans are looking for their first win as well after dropping a 27-20 decision at New England and lost a pair of key players as right tackle Sentreal Henderson (ankle) and cornerback Kevin Johnson (concussion) were placed on injured reserve.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans -1.5. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE TEXANS (0-1): Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson opened eyes during an injury-shortened 2017 rookie campaign but struggled in Week 1, completing 50 percent of his passes for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. "For me as a quarterback, I want to be on the same page with the receivers all the time," Watson told reporters. "We just misconnected on some throws and wasn't on the same page. So, we're going to correct that this week and move forward." Watson is expected to get another weapon in the passing game on Sunday with the return of wide receiver Will Fuller V, who sat out Week 1 with a hamstring injury.

ABOUT THE TITANS (0-1): Tennessee franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota endured a season debut to forget when he managed 103 passing yards and was intercepted twice before leaving with an elbow injury, but he returned to practice this week. "I am feeling pretty good," Mariota told reporters after practice on Wednesday. "I am kind of taking it one day at a time, but I was able to go through practice today and felt pretty good. For me, I just went through practice and felt it went fine." Mariota may be dealing with some protection issues in Week 2 with left tackle Taylor Lewan in the concussion protocol and right tackle Jack Conklin (knee), who sat out Week 1, still limited in practice.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Texans S Tyrann Mathieu recovered a fumble and recorded an interception in his team debut last week.

2. Titans rookie LB Rashaan Evans (hamstring) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and is on track to make his NFL debut Sunday.

3. The home team took each of the last four in the series, with Tennessee grabbing a 24-13 victory in the most recent meeting on Dec. 3.

PREDICTION: Texans 31, Titans 24
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#402425 - 09/12/18 09:57 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Patrick Mahomes passed his first test with high marks, but he will face a bigger challenge when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Steelers have caused plenty of problems for the Chiefs in recent years, and their blitz-happy defense will be eager to put the pressure on the second-year quarterback.


The Steelers have won six of the last eight meetings, including a playoff victory at Arrowhead Stadium two years ago and a 19-13 road triumph last season. "Every game has been a little bit different, but the end result was that they won the game," Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the team's official website. "When you play this crew, you have to play a complete game. When given opportunities, you have to take advantage - that's normally what differs a game when two good teams are playing each other." While the Chiefs are trying to improve to 2-0, the Steelers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 21-21 tie at Cleveland in Week 1. Ben Roethlisberger missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, and Josh Dobbs would be in line to see his first NFL action if the veteran quarterback is unable to play.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -4.5. O/U: 53.5

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (1-0): Mahomes shined in his first game as the primary starting quarterback, passing for 256 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. It helped that he had the electric Tyreek Hill at his disposal, as the duo connected seven times for 169 yards and two scores, but the Chiefs need to do a better job of establishing the run. The defense was torched for 541 total yards, and it could have been worse if not for several dropped passes.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (0-0-1): Pittsburgh likely would have come away with an easy win last week if not for six turnovers, including three interceptions by Roethlisberger. The absence of holdout running back Le'Veon Bell wasn't much of a concern, though, as James Conner racked up 192 yards from scrimmage and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. The run defense is a concern after giving up 177 yards to the Browns, and the secondary could be short-handed, too, as cornerback Joe Haden (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Hill has recorded 13 touchdowns of 50 or more yards in 32 career games and is tied with Gale Sayers and Devin Hester for the most through 35 career games.

2. Roethlisberger has thrown 14 touchdown passes and four interceptions in seven career starts against the Chiefs.

3. Steelers WR Antonio Brown surpassed 10,000 receiving yards last week in his 116th career game, tying him with Torry Holt for the second-fewest games needed to reach the milestone.

PREDICTION: Steelers 31, Chiefs 27
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#402426 - 09/12/18 09:57 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets


The hysteria surrounding New York Jets rookie Sam Darnold has been ratcheted up mere moments after the completion of the 2018 NFL Draft, with the tabloids' loud headlines doing little to silence an enthusiastic fan base that has seen plenty of mediocrity at the quarterback position. After a promising season-opening performance, Darnold will make his home debut on Sunday as the Jets host the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.


"It's only been one game. To sit here and say whether he's great or whether he's trash or whether he's anything else, it's way too early for that," New York coach Todd Bowles said of Darnold, who completed 16 of 21 passes and threw two touchdown passes in a 48-17 romp of Detroit on Monday. Robby Anderson made the most of his lone target by reeling in a 41-yard scoring strike against the Lions, and the wideout bids for a fourth straight game with a touchdown versus the Dolphins. While Darnold has become an overnight sensation in a New York minute, Miami needed over seven hours to post a season-opening 27-20 win over Tennessee -- due in a large part to a pair of lightning delays. Ryan Tannehill completed 20 of 28 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns and as many interceptions while playing for the first time since sustaining a knee injury during the late stages of the 2016 season.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Jets -3. O/U: 44

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (1-0): Named one of the team captains this season, Kenny Stills led by example against the Titans by catching four of five targets for 106 yards and two scores -- highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown reception. The 26-year-old's multi-score game was his first since Oct. 22, when he had six catches in Miami's 31-28 win over New York. Fellow wideout DeVante Parker (broken finger) looks to make his season debut versus the Jets, against whom the former first-round draft pick had eight receptions for 76 yards and a score in a 20-6 loss on Sept. 24. Defensive end Cameron Wake lit up New York with 2 1/2 sacks in the most recent encounter to raise his total to 6 1/2 in his past four meetings.

ABOUT THE JETS (1-0): The opportunistic defense picked off Matthew Stafford five times on Monday, an impressive total considering New York had just 11 interceptions last season -- with four coming against Miami. Darron Lee created headlines by claiming the defense knew Stafford's signals, prompting Bowles to pour water on his linebacker's claim. "We didn't know any audibles and we didn't know any plays," Bowles said. "Those guys did a good job following out their assignments that the coaches taught them." Lee, who matched Buster Skrine with a team-high seven tackles, had two interceptions against the Lions and 11 tackles and a forced fumble versus Miami on Oct. 22.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miami WR/KR Jakeem Grant was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after totaling 125 yards on two kickoff returns -- including a 102-yard scamper for a touchdown.

2. New York RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for two touchdowns in the season opener and is averaging a league-best 10.2 yards per carry.

3. Dolphins S Reshad Jones recorded his first career multi-interception performance on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Jets 20, Dolphins 16
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#402427 - 09/12/18 09:57 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Backup quarterbacks making the most of their opportunities will be on display on Sunday as Nick Foles guides the Philadelphia Eagles into the Sunshine State to face Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Foles, however, has sputtered since his MVP-winning performance in Super Bowl LII while Fitzpatrick rode a five-touchdown effort (four passing, one rushing) in the season opener to NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.


"You know I'm better right now than I've been at any point in my career and a lot of that is mentally and whatever else. Truly I feel like the older I've gotten, the better I've become," the 35-year-old Fitzpatrick said on Thursday, four days after throwing for a career-best 417 yards to fuel upstart Tampa Bay to a 48-40 victory over New Orleans. Fitzpatrick, who is playing in place of the suspended Jameis Winston, tossed a pair of touchdown passes to former Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson and one each to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The clock may be ticking for Foles as franchise quarterback Carson Wentz reportedly inches closer to a return after injuring his ACL and LCL in December. Foles threw for just 117 yards with an interception in the Eagles' 18-12 victory versus Atlanta on Sept. 6, although the signal caller finds himself in a favorable situation as he faces an injury-depleted Buccaneers secondary that was gashed for 439 passing yards last weekend.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -3. O/U: 44

ABOUT THE EAGLES (1-0): Zach Ertz answered a career-best eight-touchdown effort in 2017 by dropping a pair of passes in the season opener, leaving the tight end searching for answers. "I don't think I've ever dropped that many balls in a game in my life. Contested or not, whatever it was, it just can't happen," the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ertz said. Nelson Agholor proved to be Foles' most sure-handed receiver last week with eight receptions, albeit for just 33 yards. Doug Pederson limited Jay Ajayi in the first half against the Falcons due to his ailing toe before upping his carries, resulting in a pair of touchdown runs as well as the coach's admission that the running back's workload would increase.

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (1-0): Tampa Bay's secondary was still licking its wounds from a savage beating by the Saints before it was dealt another brutal hit with cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) being placed on injured reserve. With four-time Pro Bowl selection Brent Grimes nursing a groin injury that sidelined him for the season opener, Tampa Bay relied on rookies Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart as well as third-year pro Ryan Smith versus New Orleans -- and the results weren't pretty. Linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander each recorded nine tackles last week while former Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry registered the team's lone sack. Speaking of former Eagles, Jackson was limited in practice Thursday as he deals with a concussion and shoulder injury.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Tampa Bay TE Cameron Brate did not have a target -- let alone a reception -- last week after recording 48 catches for 591 yards and six touchdowns in 2017.

2. Philadelphia LB Jordan Hicks and DT Fletcher Cox each had 1.5 sacks in the season opener.

3. Tampa Bay's Peyton Barber had 19 of the 22 carries by the team's running backs last week.

PREDICTION: Eagles 24, Buccaneers 21
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#402428 - 09/12/18 09:57 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Cleveland Browns vs. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints won the NFC South and went to the playoffs last season on the strength of a dynamic young defense that was supposed to take another step forward in 2018. That defense is licking its wounds after Week 1 and will try to find the form it displayed down the stretch in 2017 when the Saints host the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 on Sunday.

New Orleans allowed Tampa Bay backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to shred the defense for 417 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-40 home loss in Week 1. "We have to gel as a defense now," Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan told reporters. "It is one thing to be the preseason, but we are facing live bullets. We are in the thick of things. We have to address ourselves of who we exactly that we want to be. The 48 points we allowed (in Week 1) was unacceptable." The Browns were closer to a win in Week 1 than at any point in their winless 2017 campaign but couldn't quite make the plays they needed and settled for a 21-21 tie at home against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. "You should always be hungry to win," Cleveland safety Jabrill Peppers told reporters. "We accept the 0-16. We take it on the chin. But that was last year, and it's a whole new feeling around here now. We showed good things (in Week 1). Just got to put it all together."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -9. O/U: 49.5.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (0-0-1): Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon missed most of training camp and was targeted only three times in Week 1 despite playing 69 snaps, and the team is looking to get the star more involved in the offense. "Josh, when he is going like we know he can, he has an opportunity to make plays," Browns coach Hue Jackson told reporters. "He has to continue to work to be in the right spot. We have to give him opportunities, and I think that we will do that." Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a team debut to forget in Week 1 while completing 15-of-40 passes for 197 yards, but his lone TD pass was to Gordon with 1:58 left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (0-1): New Orleans largely abandoned the running game in Week 1 while trying to play catchup, but second-year running back Alvin Kamara still found ways to impact the box score. The 23-year-old managed a pair of rushing TDs on eight carries and hauled in nine catches for 112 yards and another score. "He is extremely versatile," Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters of Kamara. "I love his demeanor. I love his approach to the game. He is a guy who comes to practice ready to work. There is no air to him. He just plays with a lot of confidence, plays with a lot of swagger, but I think he also knows when it's time to work, knows when it's time to have fun."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) sat out practice on Wednesday and is questionable.

2. Saints WR Cameron Meredith was inactive Week 1 and is still learning the offense but could make his team debut Sunday.

3. Cleveland took the last two meetings, including a 30-17 win in its last trip to New Orleans on Oct. 24, 2010.

PREDICTION: Saints 31, Browns 28
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#402429 - 09/12/18 09:58 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams


After needing the first 30 minutes of their season opener to shake off the rust, the Los Angeles Rams resembled the team that won the NFC West last year in the second half. Los Angeles figures to be in top form from the onset when it hosts the division rival Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in its home opener.


The Rams' offensive starters did not play during the preseason while many of their top defensive players saw little action, and the lack of time was evident early last week as the team trailed at halftime before outscoring Oakland 23-0 in the second half en route to a 33-13 victory. Jared Goff threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns without an interception while Todd Gurley rushed for 108 yards and caught a TD pass as Los Angeles made easy pickings of the Raiders' beleaguered defense. Arizona will need to put forth a better effort than it did in its season-opening loss to Washington in order to avoid suffering the same fate as Oakland. The Cardinals trailed 21-0 at halftime as they had only three possessions and were outgained 429-213 overall as David Johnson rushed for only 37 yards on nine carries while Sam Bradford completed 20-of-34 passes for 153 yards in his team debut.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -13. O/U: 45

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (0-1): Johnson, who agreed to a three-year contract worth a reported $39 million the night before the season opener, is battling a back injury but practiced Thursday and is expected to play against Los Angeles. Bradford, who spent the first five years of his career with the then-St. Louis Rams after being drafted first overall in 2010, stated he is focused on performing well but is not preparing harder just because he's facing his former team. "If (the matchup) would've happened sooner, maybe there would be more (emotion)," he told reporters on Wednesday. "There's just not a lot of connection that's still there for me."

ABOUT THE RAMS (1-0): Marcus Peters had a successful debut for Los Angeles after being acquired from Kansas City in March, returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. Fellow cornerback Cory Littleton also had a big game, picking off a pass while registering a career-high 13 tackles. Goff has passed for 908 yards and seven TDs with just one interception in his last three games at home.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rams LB Mark Barron (ankle) has not practiced and could miss his second straight contest.

2. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald had made 16 career touchdown catches against the Rams, which is his second-highest total versus any opponent (17 against San Francisco).

3. Los Angeles K Greg Zuerlein was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after going 4-for-5 on field-goal attempts and 3-for-3 on extra points.

PREDICTION: Rams 37, Cardinals 13
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#402430 - 09/12/18 09:58 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers


Matt Patricia's debut as coach of the Detroit Lions was a complete disaster, but his club looks to put the beating aside when it visits the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Detroit was walloped 48-17 by the New York Jets in a dismal performance on Monday Night Football in which Matt Stafford was intercepted four times.


Patricia, who formerly was the defensive coordinator of New England, told his new team that it has to immediately forget about the season-opening drubbing. "Every week is different and every week you have to start over," Patricia told reporters. "You can't let one week bleed into another week. You have to learn and, unfortunately on a very short week, you have to learn quickly. We have to refocus our energy and get ready for the 49ers." San Francisco is optimistic that it is ready to challenge for a postseason berth, but the club looked spotty in a 24-16 loss to Minnesota. Jimmy Garoppolo threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Mike Hughes.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: 49ers -6. O/U: 48

ABOUT THE LIONS (0-1): Stafford passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns while also getting his knee banged up, and he was hot happy with the outcome. "We don't ever want to go out there and play poor football," Stafford told reporters. "We're disappointed and frustrated with our own performance. We want to be better than that - and we are better than that - but we have to go out there and play better." Cornerback Quandre Diggs had a 37-yard interception return for touchdown on Detroit's first defensive snap, but the unit's breakdowns included allowing New York's Isaiah Crowell to rush 62 yards for a score.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (0-1): Garoppolo passed for 261 yards and one touchdown, prompting coach Kyle Shanahan to say that his signal-caller is bouncing back quickly from a mental standpoint. "I'd be disappointed if it was different," Shanahan told reporters. "Jimmy tries his hardest every week. I know he didn't have his best game last week, but he doesn't need to come in here and make stuff up. He's had some successful games in this league. He's going to have plenty more. He just needs to get back to work." Defensive end DeForest Buckner was sharp in the season opener, recording a career-best 2 1/2 sacks, and rookie linebacker Fred Warner registered 12 tackles and a forced fumble in his NFL debut.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The 49ers have won nine of the last 10 meetings.

2. Detroit WR Kenny Golladay made seven catches for 114 yards against the Jets for his first career 100-yard game.

3. San Francisco placed LB Brock Coyle (concussion/back) on injured reserve and will decide later whether or not he will return this season.

PREDICTION: 49ers 27, Lions 17
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#402431 - 09/12/18 09:58 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars


The Jacksonville Jaguars were one step from advancing to the Super Bowl last season, only to be denied by an old nemesis with a narrow loss in the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars will get a chance to avenge that defeat -- albeit with the stakes considerably lower -- when they host the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon in their home opener.

Reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final nine minutes to rally New England past Jacksonville in January, so he knows what he's up against in a defense that led the AFC in yards and points allowed last season. "They were a great team last year and gave us everything we could handle in the championship game, and they're at it again this year," Brady said. "They've got an incredible rush, great linebackers, great secondary. It's going to be very challenging, tough environment and we'll see what we're made of." The Jaguars turned in a strong defensive performance in a 20-15 season-opening victory at the New York Giants and may be more reliant on that unit with star running back Leonard Fournette a major question mark due to a hamstring injury. "We feel we're so talented on defense," said linebacker Myles Jack, who returned an interception for a score in the season opener. "We've got DBs that can score, linebackers can score. Even D-linemen who can strip sack fumbles and score. We don't put any pressure on the offense. If the offense scores, it puts even more onus on us. We try to create points."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Pick. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (1-0): Brady threw for three first-half touchdowns and wound up with 277 yards in a 27-20 win over Houston, relying heavily on tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had seven catches for 123 yards and a score. With Julian Edelman sitting out the first four games while serving a suspension, Phillip Dorsett provided a boost to the passing game with seven receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. New England has major issues in the backfield: Rex Burkhead (concussion), who rushed for 64 yards in Week 1, and first-round draft pick Sony Michel were both limited in practice Thursday and Jeremy Hill suffered a torn ACL in the season opener. The Patriots' defense had three sacks, forced a fumble and notched an interception against Houston.

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (1-0): Fournette was hurt in the second quarter last week, but he was unable to practice Wednesday or Thursday and labeled himself a "game-time decision." Backup T.J. Yeldon was solid after replacing Fournette, rushing for 51 yards on 14 carries and adding three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. Blake Bortles, who lost top wideout Marqise Lee to a knee injury in the preseason, threw for only 176 yards on 18-of-33 passing against New York and completed at least three passes to five different players, led by Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook with 54 and 51 yards, respectively. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey may get matched up against Gronkowski after saying last month that the tight end is "not as great as people think he is."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brady is 8-0 (playoffs included) against Jacksonville, which has never beaten New England.

2. Jaguars DE Dante Fowler will return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension.

3. The Patriots signed WRs Corey Coleman, a former first-round pick, and Bennie Fowler this week.

PREDICTION: Patriots 23, Jaguars 20
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#402432 - 09/12/18 09:58 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos


Von Miller wreaked havoc in the Denver Broncos' season-opening victory and has a good chance to do it again when his team hosts the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Miller registered three sacks and forced two fumbles, recovering one himself, as the Broncos posted a 27-24 triumph over Seattle last weekend.


Miller's efforts helped make Case Keenum's debut with Denver a successful one as the journeyman completed 25-of-39 passes for 329 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions after signing a two-year, $36 million contract in March. Miller could have an even bigger day against Oakland, which started well but faded miserably in its season-opening 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Raiders scored a touchdown on the first possession of the game and held a 13-10 lead at halftime but allowed 23 points while being blanked in the second half. Derek Carr threw for 303 yards but was intercepted three times and failed to record a TD pass as the Raiders sent their fans home disappointed in coach Jon Gruden's return to the sideline after a nine-year hiatus.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -6. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (0-1): Oakland added a new, yet familiar, face this week, re-signing wide receiver Martavis Bryant on Wednesday after releasing him nine days earlier. "I think he's in a good place right now," Gruden told reporters of Bryant, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in April but had a disappointing training camp. "I think he's healthy. I think he's ready to go. I'm sold on that." While top receivers Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson combined for 32 yards on four receptions last week, Jared Cook had a huge game, making nine catches for a career-high 180 yards to become the seventh tight end in NFL history to record those numbers in a single contest.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (1-0): Denver received solid contributions from a pair of rookie running backs in its season opener as Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman each gained 71 yards on 15 carries, with the former also catching a touchdown pass. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas also had a TD reception against Seattle and looks to make it six consecutive home games with a scoring catch on Sunday. Emmanuel Sanders aims for another big day against the Raiders after hauling in 10 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown in the season opener.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miller leads the NFL with 86 1/2 sacks since entering the league in 2011.

2. Oakland DE Bruce Irvin has forced 11 fumbles since 2016 - the most in the league in that span.

3. Keenum threw only seven interceptions in 15 games with Minnesota last season.

PREDICTION: Broncos 41, Raiders 17
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#402433 - 09/12/18 09:58 PM Re: NFL Week 2 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

In a division featuring the defending Super Bowl champions, neither the New York Giants nor Dallas Cowboys want to be staring at the prospect of an 0-2 start to the season. The longtime NFC East rivals each sputtered offensively in season-opening losses and will look to break into the win column when the Giants pay a visit to the Cowboys on Sunday night.

"It's a big hole, especially in this conference game. So, we need this game," New York safety Landon Collins said. "We need this win. It's definitely big to us. Out of the two teams that we're both 0-1, one of the teams got to come out with a victory." Dallas swept the season series in 2017, outscoring New York 49-13, and the trash-talking has already heated up between the clubs. Collins said the Giants will bolster their chances of winning by choking off the Cowboys' running game and putting the ball in Dak Prescott's hands, to which the Dallas quarterback responded: "Challenge accepted." Expect both teams to lean heavily on the ground game in the first matchup between Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and New York's Saquon Barkley, this year's No. 2 overall selection.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Cowboys -3. O/U: 42.5

ABOUT THE GIANTS (0-1): New York struggled offensively against Jacksonville's ferocious defense in a 20-15 loss, but the highlights were provided by Barkley and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Barkley finished with 106 yards on 18 carries in his NFL debut and scored the Giants' lone touchdown with a highlight-reel 68-yard run while Beckham, who missed most of last season due to a broken foot, had 11 receptions for 111 yards. Beckham has five touchdown receptions in six games against Dallas, so he can expect another heavy dose of targets from Eli Manning, who was intercepted three times in the two matchups versus the Cowboys last season. New York's defense struggled to contain Jacksonville's ground game despite an injury to lead back Leonard Fournette.

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (0-1): Dallas did not get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter in last weekend's 16-8 loss at Carolina, managing only 232 yards of total offense and allowing Prescott to be sacked six times. Elliott, who scored the only touchdown and finished with 69 yards on 15 carries, rushed for 104 yards and added five catches for 36 yards in his lone matchup against New York in 2017. The Cowboys' passing game struggled with the departures of longtime standouts Dez Bryant and Jason Witten as Prescott threw for only 170 yards, with Cole Beasley leading the way with seven receptions for 73 yards. Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (concussion) missed practice again Thursday while defensive tackle Datone Jones (knee) was limited.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Manning has 49 career scoring passes against Dallas, his second-highest total versus any team (51, Philadelphia).

2. Prescott torched New York in the last meeting with three TD passes and a career-high 332 yards.

3. Barkley can become the first rookie since 2005 to rush for 100 yards in each of his team's first two games of the season.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 19, Giants 17
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