NFL Week 2: Top 10 things that intrigue me
Calvin Johnson vs. Patrick Peterson will be a major battle this week in the NFL, one of the 10 things that intrigue me.
Here are 10 things that intrigue me about this week's NFL matchups:
Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson: I don't think Peterson is the league's best corner, like Bruce Arians said, but he's close -- and might be by the end of the season. This is the type of game where he can earn a lot of respect. Shutting down Johnson won't be easy. I love these outside battles -- man vs. man.
Falcons RB Steven Jackson vs. the Rams, his former team: Jackson left the Rams to sign as a free agent with the Falcons. You know his former teammates will come at him hard. The Falcons need to get Jackson involved in the screen game to slow down that Rams pass rush.
Young Titans defensive front vs. Texans zone-blocking running game: The Titans impressed against the Steelers, limiting them to one garbage-time touchdown. They held the Steelers to 32 yards rushing. The Texans will try and get Arian Foster and Ben Tate going with their zone scheme. It will be interesting to see how the Titans play it. It is a young defense, and that can work against them when facing that scheme.
Can the Steelers offense bounce back vs. a good Bengals defense? The offensive line was horrible against the Titans and now must play without center Maurkice Pouncey. That means they have to be creative to move against a good Bengals front. Fernando Velasco, signed this week, will start at center. It's up to Ben Roethlisberger to get back to his creative ways of making plays.
Are the Buccaneers a team that's about to implode? They need a victory in the worst way. All this Josh Freeman-Greg Schiano talk, going on since last season despite the denials, is taking a toll. Schiano's rigid ways can wear on the players, and another loss could have his team pulling even more away from him. This can go sideways quickly if they don't beat the Saints.
Can the Eagles keep up the pace? They will try. That's what Chip Kelly believes in doing. But I think it will be tough. You saw how they tapered off in the second half against the Redskins. That could be to kill clock, but it also could be because they got figured out some. And now there is a game of tape on them. They will try to keep the pace, but can they?
The Manning Bowl: This might be the last one in the regular season. Assuming they stay with their current teams, this won't happen again until 2017 and Peyton Manning will be 41 then. So when Peyton faces brother Eli Manning enjoy it. They both threw for over 400 yards last week, so I think we will.
How do the Seahawks defend Anquan Boldin? They will play press-man against him. That's what they do. Richard Sherman and his fellow corners, all with good size, will get their hands on Boldin. He won't run by any of them, but he is still capable of making plays with his body and hands. He is a physical receiver.
Will his second-half performance vs. the Eagles carry over for Robert Griffin III? He seemed to get more comfortable as a pocket passer in the second half, which he needs to do. His days of running look to be behind him. They should be. But if he can throw it like he did in the second half against the Eagles, there's no need to run that read-option stuff.
Andrew Luck against that Dolphins defense: Miami was all over Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden last week. Cameron Wake had 2½ sacks. Can the Colts, who gave up four sacks last week to the Raiders, keep the Dolphins off Luck? If they can't, they might hear more of the wrath of owner Jimmy Irsay.
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