Thursday, 17 September 2015

NFL 2015 Week 2 Preview


Okay, so firstly the breakdown of Week 1:

Pittsburgh @ NEW ENGLAND 21-28 Y
GREEN BAY @ Chicago           31-23 Y
Kansas City @ HOUSTON       27-20 N
Cleveland @ NY JETS               10-31 Y
Indianapolis @ BUFFALO          14-27 Y
MIAMI @ Washington                 17-10 Y
Carolina @ JACKSONVILLE      20-9 N
SEATTLE @ St. Louis           31-34 OT N 
New Orleans @ ARIZONA           19-31 Y
DETROIT @ San Diego              28-33 N
Tennessee @ TAMPA BAY         42-21 N
Cincinnati @ OAKLAND              33-13 N
BALTIMORE @ Denver               13-19 N
NY GIANTS @ Dallas                   26-27 N
PHILADELPHIA @ Atlanta            24-26 N
MINNESOTA @ San Francisco     3-20 N

So a very Detroit looking 6-10 but as I said in my Week 1 preview, there are always a lot of surprises to be had and a lot has been learnt. 

However, I had my heart set on Buffalo and I am pleased I went with the Ryan Bills, it was my
upset special for the weekend and the dominant defensive display by the Bills against Andrew
Luck who had a rough day due to the constant change of looks that Rex Ryan gave him.  In the end the scoreline flatters the Colts who were just bad all day on the offensive side scoring both their touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

As for the Bills, I for one thought they would be the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC East this season and they get a chance to test their credentials when they host the Super Bowl champions on Sunday with Tom Brady facing off against Rex Ryan again.  Brady was in command against the blitz this week versus Pittsburgh but the front 7 of the Bills is a totally different proposition and will be one of the games to watch this Sunday.

Here are my picks for Week 2:
TENNESSEE @ Cleveland
Houston @ CAROLINA
ARIZONA @ Chicago
Detroit @ MINNESOTA 
San Francisco @ PITTSBURGH
ST LOUIS @ Washington
MIAMI @ Jacksonville
Seattle @ GREEN BAY

Match of the Week

Seattle Seahawks (0-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-0)
In these previews you want to try and avoid picking the same teams and give some coverage to other teams. On the face of it thee are two matches of the week, but seeing as I covered the Cowboys at home to the Giants, it is best to look at the repeat of last year's NFC Championship game as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.

In a reversal of home field advantage, the Super Bowl finalists Seahawks are on the road again to face Aaron Rodgers. Seattle lost in overtime to St. Louis in an indicator as to how difficult the NFC West will be this year with three out of four teams being victorious in week 1. Seattle seemed at odds to garner a momentum in offence as Russell Wilson had only one pass travel further than 10 yards, failing to utilise Jimmy Graham nor Marshawn Lynch. Credit where it is due though, the Rams have an exceptional defensive front 7 led by Aaron Donald, and while a lot of criticism has been hurled at Wilson, it was his leadership that got the game to overtime.

Green Bay meanwhile made short work of Chicago on the road, in a collision of contenders and pretenders. Rodgers mobility in and out of the pocket meant that the Bears could not get any pressure on the QB, and despite the season ending injury to Jordy Nelson, Rodgers makes names out of people and the reunion of James Jones (after an awful spell in Oakland) for two TDs gave Green Bay an easy start.

Of course, this Sunday is a battle of titans but it could well have major play off implications as you can imagine Green Bay eager for the win to go to 2-0 restrict Seattle to a winless record but more importantly hold the tiebreaker when it comes to home field advantage in January. Both teams are so dependent on home field, Packers for climate and Seattle for hostility, and many felt that Green Bay would have won that Championship game had it been in Lambeau.

While the weather should have no bearing on this game in mid September, there is a wave of
momentum currently in Green Bay and they have playmakers in their own front 7 - Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix to stifle the Seattle output.  I fancy the Packers by 6.

Upset of the Week
This is a tough week to call in terms of match ups and records already, but if you were to pick two it would be either Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at home to Miami Dolphins (1-0) who did little to flatter themselves against Washington, needing a 74 yard punt return from Jarvis Landry to get the victory. The Jags have some good wide threats and if Blake Bortles at quarterback can minimise his turnovers and mistakes they have a chance.

As do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) versus the New Orleans Saints (0-1). The Bucs need a statement following their pitiful performance versus the Titans last week at home. If Jameis Winston wants to be considered a legitimate overall No1 draft pick he needs to step up and lead.  The return of Mike Evans will help him, and free up Vincent Jackson who was double covered, and that two wideout threat may well help Doug Martin find running room. The Saints question marks remain on defence giving up 307 passing yards to Arizona, and in Brandon Browner they have a cornerback who gives away silly pass interference penalties frequently, something that may well occur in the matchup with Evans.

Fantasy Advice
- Get on the Mariota express, expect Tennessee to show his legs this week and become a dual threat QB treat. Pity if you're playing him this week
- Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) is back from hamstring injury, expect him to get targets but also help Vincent Jackson in that regard.
- St. Louis Rams defence, best in week 1. Play Washington in Week 2. No brainer
- Expect Steve Smith Jr. (Baltimore) to do some damage on the Oakland D

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